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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 19 August 2012
The Rolling Stones: Fifty Years is real page turner. Well written, extensively researched by Christopher Sandford who has previously written biographies on Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
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.
Highly recommended!
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on 31 December 2014
Enjoyable read. Thought it better than Keith Richards dubious account. (Keith, were the Stones REALLY Stu's band and not Brian's? And was not being a party animal REALLY a good reason to sack the great Mick Taylor?). Thought it less boring but also less detailed than Wyman's.
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on 20 May 2015
A pretty dry, monochrome account of the Stones' career to date. Not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but really doesn't bring the world of 60s-70s rock and roll to life. At this point I should add a caveat: I stopped reading about a quarter of the way through. However that in itself tells you all you need to know. As someone who appreciates zippy, fresh writing, at times this book was quite a slog. Now for the good news: Sandford's book was so mediocre that it made me cast my eyes around for something better. In the end I discovered The Stones by Philip Norman. If you want a general history of the group up to the early 80s and beyond, then Norman's book is your best bet. Not just a punchy, well-written account of the group and their music, but an engaging social history of post-war Britain as well. I must admit I was in part drawn to it because I'd read a previous, brilliant history of The Beatles by the same author. But yes, in sum, if you want an engaging all-encompassing history of the Stones, don't bother with Sandford, go for Norman instead.
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on 9 July 2013
I've read several of the classic Stones books and although this one was written without the Stones' direct co-operation, nonetheless it was extensively researched and can claim to be another fairly credible and informative account of the band's charmed life. Using various published sources, including over 40 years of rock journalism and excerpts from the various biographies, the writer spins a lively, and at times rather witty, narrative about the Stones' personal and musical histories.

All the main episodes are well known and evocatively described here: the band's stellar rise from a club blues outfit to 60s anti-establishment heroes for a whole generation, the drug excesses and the Redlands trial, the death of Brian Jones, business disputes with Allen Klein and Decca, Hyde Park and Altamont, the mid period Mick Taylor classic albums and iconic US tours, tax problems, Nellcote, Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg, the arrival of Ron Wood, Keith's scrapes with the law and descent into smack, Mick's marriages and women trouble, Wyman's romantic escapades with nubiles and departure from the band, the 1980s over the top tours and duff albums, Mick and Keith's bitching and backbiting which continued well into the 1990s and noughties and, finally, sitting at the back, Charlie Watts' deadpan nonchalance about the whole shenanigans.

Basically, it's a cracking page turner which makes you wonder why most of the protagonists are still alive and rocking.
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on 14 May 2015
Very good book on one of the most iconic Rock Groups of the 20th Century.
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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on 3 April 2015
A pretty dry, monochrome account of the Stones' career to date. Not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but really doesn't bring the world of 60s-70s rock and roll to life. At this point I should add a caveat: I stopped reading about a quarter of the way through. However that in itself tells you all you need to know. As someone who appreciates zippy, fresh writing, at times this book was quite a slog. Now for the good news: Sandford's book was so mediocre that it made me cast my eyes around for something better. In the end I discovered The Stones by Philip Norman. If you want a general history of the group up to the early 80s (which, let's be honest, encompasses the most interesting periods of the Rolling Stones), then Norman's book is your best bet. Not just a punchy, well-written account of the group and their music, but an engaging social history of post-war Britain as well. I must admit I was in part drawn to it because I'd read a previous, brilliant history of The Beatles by the same author. But yes, in sum, if you want an engaging all-encompassing history of the Stones, don't bother with Sandford, go for Norman instead.
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on 6 April 2013
I have read many books on the Stones, which often peter out after the sixties this continues through the seventies, eighties up to the present day, best account I have read.
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on 9 October 2014
For Stones fans. Much I had read before but at least it's consistent. A good record of their 50 years , starring the Glimmer twins with bit parts played by Bil, Charlie, Brian et al.
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on 8 May 2015
Good, but not as good as expected. So many books have been written about The Stones and I have read better, biographys of Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards are well worth a read more so than this one.
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on 18 April 2014
Without a doubt this is the best book I have ever read about the Rolling Stones. It's full of insights and very well written. I would recommend this for any rock music fan.
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