Six decades is a long time to cover, especially for a band with a history as volatile as the Rolling Stones, but British author Jones brings a befitting wit, sarcasm, and snark.
While she commends the Stones’ music, along with many of her interview subjects, she’s heavily critical of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Bill Wyman’s personal shortcomings. Fascinating troubled-childhood insights are provided about founding guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones, and producer Andrew Loog Oldham’s influence is justifiably analyzed. And while the debauchery during the making of 1972’s Exile on Main St. is discussed, an A&R executive praising guitarist Mick Taylor, then vividly slamming his “going through the motions” replacement, Ronnie Wood, is a bit of a blind-siding. The author also laments the Stones transition from a “dangerous” band to mega-profitable corporate machine.
Some guitar info is presented, including how Jones favored a ’63 Gretsch G6118 Anniversary, and there’s the oft-told story of how a dozen of Richards’ axes were stolen during the Exile sessions. Late in the book, the author delves into the music – which matters, of course – but this is more about the tragedy, damaged psyches, and bodies (sometimes literally) left in the wake of the Stones’ rise to superstardom.
This article originally appeared in VG’s December 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.