by William Gensburger
On Dec. 1, the Rolling Stones released their first album since 2005, widely applauded as a truly solid Blues offering titled Blue & Lonesome. This latest offering adds to a career of 29 studio albums, 18 live albums, 29 compilation albums and 109 singles.
With a career that began in 1962, there is little doubt that the Rolling Stones have survived the test of time, both musically and in life; although they stand on the cusp of being older than dirt itself.
Rather than review the new album, which has been universally hailed a five out five stars by most review publications, I thought I would focus on the longevity of the band, their many meanderings and the life lessons that they have offered the rest of us.
They have outlasted the Boeing 707 and 747, both long retired, along with the NASA Space Shuttle program. They have outlived many astronauts who walked the moon, half the Beatles, most rock and roll groups from their generation, and more.
Audio cassettes, the computer mouse and silicon breast implants were invented the year the Stones hit the scene. That year the first telecommunication satellite was launched. The milestones amass like so much luggage that it is hard to keep track.
Musically, the Rolling Stones have outlived Reel To Reel, Vinyl L.P.’s, 8-Tracks, cassette tapes, and even the popular Sony Walkman – remember those? They have surpassed those flimsy things into the digital age, MP3 music and, ironically, have lived long enough to see their albums available again on the newly popular vinyl L.P. Records.
All the while the “boys” lived a heavy rock ’n roll existence complete with women, drugs – lots of drugs from weed, to cocaine and heroin – as well as the ordinary alcohol and cigarettes, most of which they now claim they gave up three decades ago! They certainly survived against the odds, despite the weathered faces – Keith Richards’ facial grooves have a similarity to the surface of Mars; weathered, worn hard, but still showing signs of life.
And let’s not forget that they still remain musically relevant.
Front-man Mick Jagger, now a senior 72 years old, is expecting his eighth child. Collectively the group has 19 children of their own, ranging from one month to 48 years old, 17 grandkids (Mick Jagger has one great-grandson). Charlie Watts has one child, Keith Richards has four kids and four grandkids and Ronnie Wood has 6 kids and 7 grandkids, adding to the adage that a rolling stone gathers no moss.
Blues & Lonesome, which features another icon, Eric Clapton playing on two tracks, as well as a haughty music video for the track Ride ‘em on down that features the rebelliously broody actress Kristen Stewart driving a hot, royal blue classic Mustang while acting like a model for designer jeans, a bit of an odd mix, but who cares; it’s the Stones playing great music and everything else becomes irrelevant.
Word has it that this is not their last album. Like I said, older than dirt and a good thing too. In this age of endless change, some things shouldn’t change.