Is Rock n’ Roll Dead?

You’ve heard it one too many times from the people you know, rock and roll is dead. Is it really?

Well, there are a countless number of people and groups who claim that rock and roll is indeed dead. One very prominent individual would be Gene Simmons who says that rock and roll has no future and in turn is doomed. But how can they say this? Here are some reasons why old stalwards like Simmons say so:

 

  1. The prevailing taste is different – People between the ages 18 – 34 are known to be the biggest spenders when it comes to music. Thing is, what they consume tends to be pop and rap. The problem stems from the fact that there are now lesser “young ones” who appreciate rock and roll.
  2. Music everywhere – The idea of having music available anywhere, everywhere, anytime was nice at the beginning. Sadly, it took a sad turn for rock and roll. Because of the availability, more and more music is produced. As what was mentioned in the first point, what little demographics we have of those who like rock and roll now find it hard to find the kind of music they want.
  3. The pay is different – Rock and roll artists find it hard to introduce their music to the masses. While it is nice to listen to streaming services like Pandora, most of these music streaming sites are already heavily influenced by record labels which in turn favor their music compared to others.

These are some of the reasons why we can say that Rock and Roll is dead. But personally, I just see this as a minor setback. I do admit that the current trend veers away from a possible resurgence but as long as there are rock and roll enthusiasts out there, it will never die.

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The Massively Underappreciated Andrew Loog Oldham

Mick and Keith have naturally grabbed most of the headlines when it comes to the Rolling Stones over the years, but there are not many other people who’ve had as much influence on the band as Andrew Loog Oldham.

As their early manager, he presided over a string of eminently sensible decisions such as:

  • Retaining ownership of the band’s early master tapes to ensure they avoided the fate that befell many of their Blues idols.
  • Encouraging Mick and Keith to start composing their own material.
  • Pushing for the Stones’ early “bad boy” image.

He was also something of a dab hand at arranging a tune, and you might recognise the Andrew Oldham Orchestra’s version of The Last Time from its later global success when repackaged by The Verve as Bitter Sweet Symphony in the 1990s.

Oldham was in charge of all Rolling Stones recordings from 1963 until late 1967 and, while he never quite recaptured those heights in his later career, he went on to be involved with a string of other musical legends over the years including Rod Stewart and Jimmy Page.

rolling-stones-loog-oldhamAny Stones fans looking for a riotous account of the band’s early days (and an insight into the later life of a true original) would be well advised to check out any of Oldham’s incredibly entertaining autobiographies such as 2011’s Rolling Stoned.

The deeper you dive into the Stones’ epic history, the more incredibly complex characters like Oldham emerge. Investigating his fascinating career is highly advised for any and all true Stones fans.

 

Ronnie Wood’s Finest Hour

We’ve sung the praises of Ronald David “Ronnie” Wood here on the site before and he’s given a lot of joy to Stones fans over the years since joining the band way back in 1975. What younger Stones fans may not be aware of though is his considerable musical output prior to hooking up with Mick and the boys.

In fact, there are even those who’d argue that Ronnie did some of his best work outside the Stones. I’m not 100% sure I agree with that but when it comes down to his single finest track, there’s one non-Stones song that I’ve always found hard to beat – Stay With Me.

I’ve never been quite able to place the year of this classic live Faces performance, but it proves two things in spades:

  1. Rod Stewart is one of the great underrated rock’n’roll frontmen.
  2. The Stones pulled off quite a coup getting their hands on Ronnie in his prime.
Ronnie Wood with The Faces

A young Ronnie Wood with The Faces.

The song may fall a little foul of some of the more PC elements of today’s music but as a straight-up, boozy, guitar-driven, rock’n’roll riot it’s hard to beat.

Ronnie went on to play a huge part in many Stones classics down through the years of course, but there’s something about the sheer joy of seeing this played live that’s hard to beat. If you’re a Stones fan and you’ve never checked out The Faces (or much of Rod Stewart’s early work), then a world of classic rock’n’roll pleasure awaits you!

Rock on Ronnie!

Keith Richards on Marc Maron

It’s not often that you get a truly in-depth interview with Keith Richards from someone who has the personal and journalistic chops to really get the best out of the great man. It’s all too easy to go down the Keith-as-cartoon route and rehash the same old stories yet again, or fail to scratch beneath the surface.

Marc Maron and Keith Richards.

Marc Maron and Keith Richards.

Marc Maron’s recent long-form interview with Keith Richards is a welcome change of pace and a truly entertaining and illuminating conversation to boot.

Maron himself has risen to the very top of the podcasting tree over the last few years and even carried off something of a coup recently by managing to land an interview with Barack Obama.

Over the course of 600+ episodes of his popular podcast, he’s emerged as a genuinely insightful and accomplished interviewer.

Maron has also been no stranger to wild times over the years and has his own history of chaos and substance abuse behind him with some wild years on the road earlier in his career. Most importantly perhaps, he’s clearly an enormous Stones and Keith Richards fan and brings some serious passion and knowledge to the interview.

It’s always 50/50 when someone interviews their hero but this is a great example of doing it right. It’s a hugely entertaining deep dive with one of rock’s true greats and it’s wonderful to see how Maron and Richards warm to each other throughout the piece. Sit down, get the headphones on and enjoy one of the best rock interviews you’ll ever hear.

Stones Covers: The Flying Burrito Brother’s Tackle Wild Horses

No Rolling Stones mix-tape, greatest hits or compilation is complete without the wonder that is Wild Horses. What a lot of Stones fans won’t know though is that it was actually got out there in the wild prior to its eventual inclusion on 1971’s Sticky Fingers.

Keith Richards had formed a close friendship with Gram Parsons (then of the Flying Burrito Brothers) and him and Mick were persuaded to let Parsons have first crack at the tune on their 1970 studio release Burrito Deluxe.

Wild Horses single

The original Wild Horses single.

As you can hear in the video up above, Gram and his buddies more than did credit to the track but it’s still not quite up there with Mick and Keith’s definitive version for me.

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Behind The Scenes On The Making Of A Stones Classic

Those who know me would probably confirm that my knowledge of French New Wave cinema is not exactly complete. In fact, what I don’t know about French New Wave cinema could probably fill a fair portion of Carnegie Hall. I’ve always been more of a Scorsese and Coppola guy when it comes to the silver screen.

I am however eternally grateful to a certain Jean-Luc Godard for one piece of his mid-sixties output, the highlights of which are captured above. Godard was on the scene when the Stones were recording their 1968 album Beggars Banquet and filming throughout.

Beggars Banquet has always been one of my favorite Stones albums. Maybe not quite up there with Let It Bleed in terms of overall consistency but it’s pretty damn close. In many ways, it was the first album where the Stones really hit their stride, where the whole perfect package finally came together over the course of a complete album.

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Crowd Control 101: The Keith Richards Method


The Stones were always the bad boys of the rock’n’roll world. Whether it was the infamous early drugs bust, the public urination arrest, or the madness of Altamont, they seemed to carry danger in their wake throughout the early years. And if one member of the band summed that up more than anyone, it had to be Keith Richards.

He’s become something of a punchline over the years, fond of playing up to his image when it suits him, but it’s easy to forget that back in the day there was an air of genuine menace to Keith. Not the cartoonish elder pirate statesman that he portrays today – the man who falls out of coconut trees – but rather a troubled young soul out in the world dealing with some very real demons.

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Where Did Mick Learn His Famous Moves?


If there’s one thing you can say for certain about Mick Jagger it’s that he’s not shy about coming forward. How many other rock frontmen are quite as confident about prancing around the stage as our Mick? I mean we’ve all seen Bruce do his famous Superbowl slide or Bono waving the occasional flag from time to time but Mick is out there actually dancing. It’s a relative rarity amongst rock and roll frontmen and certainly puts him in a class of his own amongst the elder statesmen of that fraternity.

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A Stones Classic Gets A Fresh Lick Of Paint

We had a quick look the other day at one of the Stones’ interpretations of a Beatles track and mentioned how, like so many other groups of that time, they started out as little more than a covers band before the full Jagger/Richards song-writing partnership blossomed.

How did things turn out over the years when the shoe was on the other foot though?

It’s funny. As a lifelong Stones fan, I know there must be literally hundreds of cover versions of their songs out there but very few come instantly to mind when I reach for an example.

Try and think of a Beatles cover version, on the other hand, and you’ll instantly come up with Joe Cocker belting out I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends or Sinatra taking on Something. With the Stones, the shortlist of classic covers isn’t quite as obvious somehow.

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