Mick Jagger is the perfect rock star. There's nobody more perfect than Jagger. He's rude, he's ugly-attractive, he's brilliant. The Rolling Stones are the perfect rock group, they don't give a fuck. - Elton John
The Rolling Stones are the most significant band (both musically and culturally) of our times, outdoing their only real rivals, and despite sometimes lacklustre output occasionally in recent times, (you can’t expect Let it Bleed every week) they have somehow weathered just about every possible storm, all the fads, trends, fashions, governments, controversies, deaths, drugs and social scenes over the last 50 years, and still rock.
1.Quite simply, who is/was/will always be cooler? Is it just me who cringes when they wheel out Sir Paul Macca, at yet another royal bash to croon ‘Hey Jude’? Even Prince William looks like he wants to vomit.The Stones wouldn’t be seen dead within a mile of such toss, a tradition dating back to refusing to join the revolving roundabout circus at the end of Sunday Night at the Palladium. Guess who regularly did? In defence of the Beatles, decades later Jagger accepted a knighhood, but it’s no secret he had always aspired to be part of that circle.
2. From a different perspective, how many guitarists have tried to look like John Lennon, or George Harrison for that matter? So back to Image, Androgeny, Yep Iggy Pop, Bowie, the New York Dolls, and countless others capitalised on it in the Seventies and up to this day, but only one person is responsible for bringing it to the masses, whilst admitting that many of his ideas came from Little Richard, and that the famous dance moves that even made Maroon 5 cool for a second, were copied from James Brown and Tina Turner. Not bad from a London school Of Economics student from Dartford, eh?
3. The ‘how to ruin your street cred in one foul swoop’ competition- pyschedelia, pointy hats and magicians clothe sand hanging out with an Indian Guru womanising fraudster? The Beatles fell for it hook line and sinker, even Ringo. Mick went along with Marianne ‘who am I?’ Faithfull, and then promptly left, feeling just a teeny bit silly he’d been duped. Can we blame the acid? The Stones were also guilty, but let’s be fair, they WERE more stoned.
4. Sex: Mick allegedly bummed Brian at the flat they were sharing in Edith Grove in the early days, just to get one over on the only one band member he felt jealous of and threatened by; he also shagged Brian’s girlfriend of the time. This type of behaviour continued later in the Swinging decade, Mick shagging Anita Pallenberg, Keith’s girlfriend, on the set of Performance, a gangster/mind fuck film starring Jagger and James Fox. but this also inadvertently helped create one of the most classic Stones albums ever. Keith immersed himself in Speedballs to numb his feelings about the goings on on the film set.. ‘Gimme Shelter’ a cry for help, is the best example, part of one of the truly greatest albums ever made: Let It Bleed. In the post-Beatles world, Ringo did however woo and marry Barbara Bach, so definite points for that. However, not enough, so in terms of chick quality The Stones thrash the Mop tops in the long run.
5. On the the flipside of ‘Gimme Shelter’ we have ‘Helter Skelter’; a catchy tune, possibly misconstrued by certain people, The Beatles had a knack of attracting rather ‘out there’ characters, I had a childhood friend who even though still late teens, was obsessed with the Fab Four, we are talking 24 hours a day heavy rotation, and as he told me, ‘The Beatles send messages’ and yes, he went mental, I was with him Xmas eve 1979, the usual, Beatles non stop, the next day, during Christmas lunch, he excused himself, went up to his room and blew his head off with a shotgun whilst all the family were merrily munching away downstairs. Nice. Pointless really mentioning Charles Manson and Mark Chapman and George Harrison’s attacker. The Stones only really had Meredith Hunter at Altamont, who was basically stabbed and beaten to death by Hells Angels, the crime was not for a gun as sometimes reported, but a more simple scenario, he was black and was with a white girl. Most other people around the Stones died from drug overdoses, their lifestyle, their problem. You going to keep up with Keith?
6. Next, being the best landlord in the world, I bring you once again Mr Richards. When you get in the rarified ((and unusual) world of where you can’t remember how many houses and apartments you have scattered around the world, you can find yourself giving loose directions and possibly keys to new found friends (or vaguely remembered old ones) to go and stay there, free of charge. Cheyne Walk, Chelsea was one such residence, Count Jean De Beautriell and Marianne Faithful, for instance; the Count is most fondly remembered as a heroin dealer and addict, woman beater, and being responsible for Jim Morrison’s death in Paris. Stash, a drug fiend friend of Brian Jones also was a guest, along with Gram Parsons and anyone too stoned to remember where they lived. Paul McCartney and John Lennon (in rare agreement) were alledgedly so wary of certain Stones and their acquaintances by 1969, they avoided them and the Chelsea set like the Plague, far too bourgeious. Later, Keef hosted the most lavish house party of all time at ‘Nellcote’ South of France, recording Exile... In an extremely rare lucid moment, he realised that literally dozens of people were living there, doing all his drugs, drinking all his booze and enjoying top quality nosh, seved up by his heroin dealer chef, so he presented people with a bill, hotel style. Funny, people weren’t clamouring to go and stay with Paul or George, ever.
7. Next, simple, Mick and my dad both went to Dartford Grammar, albiet in different years. A small point, but consider this. If Mick hadn’t excelled at there, due to the high quality of teaching, ask my dad, he wouldn’t have been accepted at the London School of Economics, which meant he wouldn’t have bumped into a certain Keith Richards, an old playground pal, at Dartford Train Station one morning. He wouldn't have enquired about the bunch of records Mick was holding, import blues and R n’B from Chess Records. The rest, as they say...
8. Street cred again, Ned Kelly and Freejack, hmm, yeah dodgy, but vs ‘Give My Regards To Broad Street’, and the song that we shall never mention. And to finish, a certain narration of childrens books by a certain drummer about a particular form of transport? The Stones win hands down.
9. Fighting time: best in band scraps? Feuds, yes for both bands, but Stones wise, at one point in the early Eighties, as recalled by Keith, Mick had been drinking with him, and at some point early morning in an Amsterdam hotel, decided to phone Charlie Watts’s room, slurring ‘’is that my drummer? Get your arse down here now." Charlie did not appreciate this, went down to Mick's room after putting on one of his best Saville Row suits, and when the door was opened, casually said "I’m not your drummer, you’re my fucking singer" and punched him so hard, knocking him out, he nearly fell out the window. Keith has been known to try and kill Ronnie Wood on occasion, one for freebasing without his permission, another time for watching the boxing when he should have been jamming.
10. Peace signs and or lying in a bed for ages made physical contact/violence easy to avoid for our lovable mop tops, thats not the way, c’mon!
11. Technically not the Beatles, but it is the worst song ever written: ‘Imagine’ This song is utterly horrible, sickly and a reflection of a miserable recluse holed up with a warbling mental in a plush New York department, refusing to see anybody, even Mick who only lived one block away. It makes 'The Birdie Song' sound cool.
12.Whilst Mr Lennon was busy proclaiming his working class roots, it appears he was from a middle class house in a respectable part of Liverpool. he then became famous for sarcastic and often pompously stupid remarks such as: ‘We’re as popular as Jesus right now....’‘and the favourite, whilst rapidly becoming a millionaire, ‘Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry.’
13. The legacy: er..The Waterboys, ELO, ‘All around the world’ Weller, jumping on the bandwagon when he realised Oasis liked him, the Travelling Wilburys, or.... Aerosmith, Quireboys, Black Crowes, Guns and Roses, The Faces, Johnny Thunders, The Charlatans, even The Clash. Mick Jones anyone?.
14. ‘No Rolling Stones in 77, no Sex Pistols in 78’ cackled Lord Keef, another lot been and gone. God knows where these whippersnappers got their ideas from, rebelling against the establishment, guitarists all clones of Keith! Nah, co-incidence!
15. I’m being a little too hard on Mr Lennon, who incidentally was murdered on my 10th birthday. He did write’Strawberry Fields’; fucking brilliant, but keeping in with the spirit of this article there has to be a retort: Candy Flip (in 1988) recorded a better version!!! Download it! Yes I will fry in hell for such a remark, see you there,
17. Keith and Paul met, in Jamacia, circa 2006; Paul knew the Stones' guitarist had a house there somewhere, and in fact had to ask Keith’s neighbour, Bruce Willis, where he lived! Keith recounts that they had never especially talked before, even back when the Beatles helped out the Stones with a song back in the Edith Grove days, and both came to the realisation that the Beatles were always considered a more ‘vocal’ group, i.e. they could all sing, but the Stones were more a ‘musicians’ type group. Thats a bit of an admission from Sir Paul.
18. The Stones have Keith, who to face facts, is the living embodiment of all things Rock n’ Roll.
19. For financial advice about how not to lose half your fortune, Sir Mick is your man, a legendary tightwad, and financially astute, he even managed to prove his marriage to Jerry Hall wasn’t legitimate to save cash. The same cannot be said for another singer
20. In conclusion, the Stones are doing a 50 year celebration bunch of gigs, Sir Paul will continue, hopefully screaming out ‘Twist and Shout’ instead of bloody ‘Hey Jude’ Ringo will continue to do whatever a Ringo does, same with Bill Wyman, and the kids will worship K Pop and that new Asian song, never having to concern themselves with seemingly such trivial matters that some of us consider, and quite rightfully, so vastly important. But the Stones are still rocking and show no signs of going away, and thank Keef for that.
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