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The Rolling Stones: Fifty Years Kindle Edition
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I was hoping for a well researched, engagingly written, thorough biography and critical evaluation of the Rolling Stones, unfortunately Sandford's book is none of these things. In my opinion, a book about musicians should combine a thorough history of their careers along with a portrait of the protagonists as individuals and an evaluation of their musical output tied into the story. There are plenty of superb books on music which manage this feat convincingly and place an appreciation of the subject's musical legacy at the heart of the text, however, Sandford makes absolutely no attempt to do this. Records are released and mentioned in passing, others don't even get so much as a look in. What Sandford really wants to tell you about is the sex and the drugs, like an old lady peeping through her net curtains he has a prurient obsession with the lifestyle of his subjects but absolutely no interest in discussing their musical achievements, which are the reason why people became interested in them in the first place.
Now there are many ways to tell a story, and a look at the Stone's career that didn't include generous helpings of misbehaviour would be missing a trick, to say the least. However, Sandford's book is never more than gossipy in tone and fatally undermined by a string of factual errors, easily checkable facts at that, which destroy the credibility of his book.
In just the first couple of chapters one could take issue with his tale of a young Jagger and Richards bonding over Mick's copy of Chuck Berry's 'One Dozen Berrys' LP (Every other account has it as 'New Jukebox Hits' and 'The Best Of Muddy Waters'), Mick spending evenings in London's UFO Club in 64 & 65 (it didn't open until December 1966) or the influence on the band of James Brown closing his appearance at the TAMI Show with his extended 'leaving the stage/cape routine' during his song 'I'll Go Crazy'. ( funny, on my DVD of the show the song Brown actually performs this routine to is 'Please, Please, Please'.)
The combined effect of these, and other, inaccuracies, is to render Sandford's entire account unreliable and nothing more than lazy, sensationalist, tabloid hackery.
There remains a huge gap in the market for an intelligent and balanced Stones biography to replace Philip Norman's now long out of date effort, but this isn't it. It isn't even close. Quite frankly, it's crap.
Any story of the Stones is really about the great creative force of Jagger and Richards, and how they have sustained the band despite the great differences in their own personalities. The other players - Jones, Watts, Wyman, Taylor, Wood - and their part in the history are also well documented in the book. Interesting stories on managers, wives and girlfriends, supporting musicians, drug dealers, groupies, and assorted hangers on makes it difficult to put the book down.
The big business side of the Stones is fascinating. Their legend and wealth continues long after their creative peak thirty years ago.
The book's only let down is not having any pictures through the book.
Also I think a lot more should have been written about the most iconic albums the stones recorded.
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