iPad Book Review: The Rolling Stones - 50 Years Part 1 (Views from the Inside, Views from the Outside.)
Reviewed by Guy Dayen
It has been five decades since the Rolling Stones first performed together, with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards forming even then the constant and solid nucleus of what would become "the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band". To celebrate this incredible milestone, publisher The eBook People has just released "The Rolling Stones - 50 years Part One", one of many books out this year commemorating this uncommon achievement.
This new book takes an interesting approach to Rolling Stones history. It is the first volume in a two-volume set, each covering twenty-five years in the long career of the only band to really rival the Beatles in popularity and success. Rather than relying on a single author's point of view, each section of this book covers a particular year through a selection of newspaper and magazine articles that came out in that particular year. This allows for a much wider variety in writing styles and material covered. Musical context is provided by a list of representative albums that came out in each year from 1962 to 1986. There are quite a few illustrations in the book, but the emphasis is strongly on text.
Reading this book could seem very daunting at first; after all, it is right around a thousand pages long! That amount of material might be overkill for all but the most die-hard of Rolling Stones fans, but because the structure is based on individual articles, it is very easy to look through the table of contents and pick an intriguing piece or focus on a particular year. Perspectives in the article vary from the professional side of the Rolling Stone saga to the very personal upheavals, mishaps, intimate moments, tragedies and triumphs the band members went through during their careers and their lives.
On a larger scale, the story of the Rolling Stones serves as a microcosm for the evolution that both the music industry and popular culture went through from the Sixties to the Eighties. From their friendly rivalry with the Beatles as both bands found their audience and created their personal styles while rock music was going through explosive bursts of creativity to the incredible world-wide fame and notoriety the Rolling Stones enjoyed at the height of their career; there are a multitude of stories and anecdotes that detail every aspect of what it was to be a Rolling Stone. Using interviews with Jagger, Richards and other band members, as well as interviews done with insiders give incredible insight into their lives, dreams, ambitions and letdowns; including most famously, the death of Brian Jones.
"The Rolling Stones - 50 years Part One" is a wonderful compendium of information about the band, and will be a valuable resource for any fan, and for anyone interested in rock 'n' roll or in a pivotal era of modern cultural history. I look forward to the second installment of this valuable reference work.