It was 50 years ago today: The Rolling Stones played their first gig - London's Marquee Club, Thursday, July 12.
There will of course be new books and films and re-releases - a new documentary and news of a tour for next year. All of this is either wonderful or not very good news at all. Depends on how you look at it, of course. For every person with a lips/tongue T-shirt there is someone, somewhere, all but banging their head against a wall, saying they just don't get it. The band is not that good.
Also, anniversaries are an ugly but necessary part of rock music. It's how the money is made. So don't fight it, get on board. Or do fight it. If you want.
Well, whatever. Regardless, here are 50 reasons to love The Rolling Stones.
1. You are bound to find something you love, one album in particular, or several. Key songs - certain moments within a song, even. Dive right in.
2. You'll find it is music the whole family will love. Together. That might - ordinarily - sound horrible but the family that plays (music) together stays together.
3. You will get tingles up your arm and/or down your spine the first time you hear the slide and harmonica in Little Red Rooster.
4. You will always hear the bits where Charlie Watts doesn't play the hi-hat.
6. You can at, say, age 9 or 10 drive around the South Island listening to Rolled Gold - their best best-of collection - well, it's best if your parents are the ones doing the driving. But at any rate the memories will be soundtracked forever.
7. You can at, say, age 13 take your mother's copy of the Undercover LP along to school for the music appreciation class. When it's your turn to play a song you can choose Too Much Blood and watch as the rest of the class struggles with it. One guy in the class might think he's funny and suggest that the horn-parps and transmogrified-disco groove are like a sped-up version of the ballroom dancing scenes in The Muppet Show but you'll know what's really going on. It doesn't matter if nobody else does.
8. You will always hear the bits where Charlie Watts doesn't play the hi-hat.
9. You can watch the documentary feature 25 X 5: The Continuing Adventures of The Rolling Stones dozens of times. It's infinitely quotable and it will spark a lifelong love of music-documentaries.
12. You can learn the riff to Satisfaction in an instant but you will never play it just like it sounds on that recording.
13. There are loads of gem album tracks you hardly ever see mentioned like this one.
14. Because Honky Tonk Women has the correct amount of cowbell.
15. You can fit two albums on a C-90 tape and make great combinations: Undercover and Dirty Work might be an early example. Or, even better, Goat's Head Soup and It's Only Rock'n'Roll. Also Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You.
16. You will find that several of the songs are good to practise the drums to - keep that hi-hat clean on the two and four! If you're hitting that snare you are not tapping the hat.
17. It's very good driving music. Especially on Sundays.
19. The picked bass-line from 2000 Light Years from Home (the documentary in point # 9 will tip you off to this).
20. You can travel to Australia, on your own, when still a teen, when still buying cassette tapes, and find heaps of Rolling Stones tapes that they didn't even have in Hastings!
21. You'll find that reading about The Rolling Stones is enjoyable. And addictive.
22. So many great riffs!
26. The Love You Live album is awesome.
27. When the neighbour steals your basketball you can turn up Tattoo You really loud and scream along to "Neighbours/have a good neighbours/have a good neighbours". And you don't have to question whether it makes sense. It's as good as yelling "give our ball back, thief". But you can try that too.
28. Dancing With Mr D.
29. Mick Taylor was a star. He burned brightly across those albums he was on. He is a big reason why that same "big four" always get mentioned.
30. You can't always get what you want when playing along to the Stones on your drums, but if you try sometimes - like most days after school - you'll find you get to where you need to be.
31. It's very good car-cleaning music. Especially on Saturdays.
32. You will marvel over Citadel.
33. "I'll stick my knife right down your throat baby and it hurts!"
35. Moonlight Mile
36. There are seriously so many good books about The Stones. Even the bad ones are worth reading because there are so many good stories about The Stones. This book about Exile on Main Street is crap. But this wee book about Some Girls is amazing.
37. You will get to see The Rolling Stones in your lifetime. Fact.
39. You realise that the important things about this band are Keith's right hand. And Charlie's left hand. The songs live in the spaces in-between.
41. Mick Jagger is a very good singer. A very good dancer. And have you heard that dude play the harmonica?
42. Those songs Keith starts finishing off all the albums with: Sleep Tonight, Slipping Away, Thru and Thru (also The Worst from midway on that same album), How Can I Stop and Infamy. (Okay, maybe not that one so much.)
43. You can go and see the Stones and they can play a whole set and then the next night they can play another whole set - no double-ups/no repeats. Not many bands that can do that. (And make both nights great.)
44. You might find yourself in a bar one time near Christmas - and there might be some Santa suits that you're able to borrow from complete strangers. You can dress up in them with your mates and dance around in front of the band. But this will only work if you're doing your best Mick Jagger peacock strut.
45. You can go back to Sydney on a trip - many years on. You look through stores. But you have everything you need, right? Guess again. The store might just be playing 2120 South Michigan Avenue - the long lost album. So you could buy that, you know. You could own it. Add it to the collection.
46. Some Girls.
47. Take that spare iPod you've got. The old 80GB one - fill it with Rolling Stones albums. And other bands of the era too, sure. Load it up with Stones. Live albums, best-ofs, rarities, bootlegs (maybe even the long lost Chess album), all the studio albums and compilations. You can get plenty on there. You should have close to 80 CDs' worth by now. Easily.
49. You don't have to remain obsessed with them - you can park their albums to the side for a bit. Come back to them now and then. You always will.
50. You might find that there aren't that many bands around that have lasted, forever. And that have songs that bridge generations, that bond families and friends, that epitomise sleazy, sexy, dirty, brilliant, beautiful, perfectly-imperfect rock'n'roll; that so clearly come from rhythm'n'blues and pay respects to that but touch on country and disco and funk and define a classic-rock space that still feels brutal and real and alive, that so often sound amazing when played live, that feed off an energy that comes from audience and performer, that just always work.
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