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Article 7

Rock On

It's Only Rock ‘n' Roll-the Rolling Stones

(Published in Times of India, Pune on 21st July, 2001)


If there were one rock band that exemplifies the importance of attitude in the production of successful Popular Music, it would have to be the Rolling Stones! The composers of some of Rock’s finest songs like "Honky Tonk Woman", "Jumping Jack Flash" and what many consider it the all-time greatest rock and roll song, "Satisfaction", the Stones stood for youth’ rebellion and protest against the hypocrisies of the adult world, an attitude which would amplify into a revolution as time went on. In fact at the height of the Rock Revolution in the mid sixties, the Stones along with the Beatles and Bob Dylan were it’s most important forces.

Formed in 1962, the Rolling Stones are the world’s longest lasting active Rock and Roll band that have continued to rule the world’s music charts through four decades of wildly changing tastes of the music buying public. Staying true to their original blues oriented, guitar based style with minor changes to incorporate the latest trends, they have carved out a remarkable career, which seems to go on forever! Back in the sixties, as a school going child, a visit to one of the "beat shows", as they were then called, was an exciting occasion. Every beat group member seemed like a God to us and you could be sure that there would be a lot of Stones played at these concerts. In fact, as soon as one heard the driving fuzzy guitar riff of "Satisfaction", we would be on our feet screaming and cheering. "The Last Time’, ‘Paint it Black" and "19th Nervous Breakdown" were the other songs that inspired similar emotions and I can still hear those wild screams that reverberated through the Shanmukananda Hall when the Mystics, The Reaction, Beat 4, The Savages, The Combustibles etc. and the other leading bands of those days belted out these songs. It was obvious to everybody present that this music stood for liberation from the tyranny of ‘adult oppression’!

The Stones were always the wild ones and the lifestyles of Mick Jagger and company were always looked upon with envy and awe. Their brash naughty ways were reflected not only through their music but also through their clothes, their personal lives, the Album Art, their concerts etc. They consciously worked towards distancing themselves from the clean cut, well behaved and proper manner of the popular Beatles. In fact, the difference between the Stones and the Beatles can best be understood by the titles of two of their songs, which essentially stood for the same thing i.e. Love for the opposite sex. (The most popular topic for song writing all over the world) While the Beatles wrote the polite "I wanna hold your hand" the Stones in their characteristic plainspoken and brash manner sang, "Lets spend the night together". Surely a smart way to catch the attention of the boring straitlaced British establishment, which promptly banned them from the nation’s airwaves and served to further the impact of these "spoilt brats".

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the Glimmer Twins as they were called is one of the most prolific song writing teams of the century and have been responsible for a huge, vastly popular catalogue of hits. Besides the raunchier driving rock songs that they seem to come up with regularity, their ballad writing is also commendable. "Lady Jane", "As Tears go by", "Angie" etc. are some of their best songs and can be praised for their sensitive and melodious approach. The Stones have a meticulous approach to their

Music- making, a quality that seemed to get neglected under the guise of their relaxed and brash manner. This approach is also carried over to their concerts and they are known to be one of the finest live Rock acts ever. In the Eighties, there used to regular rumors about the Stones touring India and it has been my dream to catch this " World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band" live. Now with Mick Jagger turning 58 on July 26, I just hope its not too late. On the other hand, I bet it’s not! As their name suggests " A Rolling Stone gathers no moss"

Rock on!

Nandu Bhende

http://nandu_bhende.tripod.com


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