Believe it or not, in a few short months the Rolling Stones will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of their formation in 1962. Fifty years of rocking n’ rolling and acting obscene! Unbelievable! Their first U.S. single “Not Fade Away” released in 1964 is the perfect maxim for this group who refuses to fade away quietly.
I was thirteen when their first album came out in May of 1964. the official title of the album was “England’s Newest Hit Makers.” How record executives arrived at such a funky title is a mystery, it sounded more like an advertisement for the group rather than an album title. Fans took to simply calling it “The Rolling Stones Album.” which is actually what it was called in England where it was first released. Despite the god awful title the album was big! A rhythmn and blues, soul and rock fusion, raw and packed with energy.
Then the Rolling Stones were on Ed Sullivan where the Beatles had premiered several months earlier. Unlike the Beatles, they didn’t dress alike, have the same haircuts or have that clean, polished charm. Three of the Stones wore suit jackets, two wore ties, and Mick Jagger wore a light colored sweater, they were a clash rather than a blend like the Beatles. Even Ed Sullivan made a comment later that the band looked unkempt and that there had been complaints about their untidy appearance and hair. He wasn’t certain he wanted them back, but as their popularity grew Ed changed his mind and had them back five more time.
The Rolling Stones were the anti-Beatles. Their scruffy, unkempt bawdiness became their trademark just as the Beatles Nehru jackets, ties, boots and mop tops became their’s. They were the bad boys of rock, diamonds in the rough, while the clean and polished Beatles were the diamonds. Early on the Stones tried the cutesy approach that worked so well for the Beatles complete with matching suits, ties and cheeriness. In this promotional photo from 1963, they look like every other band from Britain. In fact they kind of look like the Herman’s Hermits. Jagger sort of resemble Peter Noone in the photo. But this definitely isn’t the Rolling Stones we grew to love. It was the bad boy, licentious image that we wanted. An image they created and have easily maintained for damn near 50 years.
So the big question is, will they really tour for their 50th anniversary? The last time they played together was 3 or 4 years ago. Guitarist Keith Richards has already announced that he, drummer Charlie Watts and guitarist Ronnie Wood are going to get together later this month to “touch base and play together a little.” Richards has also said he’d like to see original bassist Bill Wyman and guitarist Mick Taylor come by to jam. There’s still no word from Jagger who has been at odds with Richards since his book was released complete with some choice words about Jagger. Richards may certainly be sorry now for creating the rift as he would really like to make this happen. He hopes it will be a forerunner to a 50 year anniversary tour. Rumor has it that Mick is seriously considering it. Word is he likes some of the idea being kicked around for an anniversary tour, such as performing entire albums. Can you imagine the Stones in Los Angeles doing Exile on Main St, Beggars Banquet, and Let It Bleed. it could work. Hell, Jagger and Richards have always been about the flash and spectacle, so maybe this tour will happen. If not Keith will just have to remember, “You can’t always get what you want!
There are tens of thousands of Baby Boomers who’d be more than willing to fork over big bucks to see “the greatest rock and roll band in the world!” The Economy be damned! Book it and they will come! Why? Nostalgia I guess. Personally I wouldn’t pay to see them now. In their prime? sure, but now? no way! Mick’s 68, Keith will be 68 next month, drummer Charlie Watts is 70 for God sake! I know these guys are committed to ‘rock till they drop,’ but I don’t want to be there to see it. I mean look at these guys would you pay to see them live? Not me, I think they should be happy just to be alive! I’d rather sit at home in front of the big screen and watch old Stone concerts on DVD. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if the 50th Anniversary Tour flies. If it does, if there’s anyone who wants to turn me on to a ticket I wouldn’t refuse it. Hey! I said I wouldn’t pay to see them, I never said anything about seeing them for free!