Rolling Stones

ARTICLE ABOUT Rolling Stones FROM New Musical Express, December 21, 1968

Here`s some more Stones for you. They have a lot of fanatic fans and their contribution to rock music is nothing less than legendary. Still rocking in 2020, they seem indestructible even if their age is catching up with them in various ways. They will live on in rock`n`roll history, that`s for sure!
Read on!

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Keith Altham joins the Stones Rock`n`Roll circus…

The greatest show on earth

The Rolling Stones put in some overtime last Wednesday when they spent 17 hours working on their telethon production of “The Rock and Roll Circus” which is likely to become a pop classic when it is shown. Michael Lyndsay Hogg, who directed some of the more memorable “Ready Steady Go!” sagas, produced this epic with a little help from his illustrious friends, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Marianne Faithfull, Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell, Jethro Tull, classical pianist Julius Katchen, the Who and “perpetual” violinist lvri Gitlis.
It was, in fact, the most exciting pop show I have ever seen and one in which I was involved with those “maniacs” Keith Moon and Pete Townshend, who organised compulsory audience participation and early morning P.T. until 5 o’clock Thursday morning.
“If you had told me four years ago that we would have been involved in something like this I would never have believed you,” said Brian Jones, “but everyone is really enjoying themselves.”
Someone asked John (Lennon) what kind of amp he wanted and he just said “oh one that plays!” The idea is that if everyone has fun the people who watch will too! ”

Missed

When I arrived on set at the Wembley studios around noon I was distressed to find that the boxing kangaroo had been axed. I had also missed Mick wrestling with a live tiger the previous day.
We entered the viewing room in the studios where Michael was waxing enthusiastic over yesterday’s “rushes” of a mysterious American group called the Liquid Wallpaper.
“Oh, great work, Mike – nice shot — that’s the way to shoot rock and roll,” he drawled at a projection apparently taken by the cameraman standing on one leg, shooting under his left armpit through the strings of a guitar.
They were, in fact, very good, but my enthusiasm wained as I arose from my kneeling position in the darkened room and cracked my forehead on the sharp corner of a table.
Dabbing at the wound as the lights went up Michael kindly remarked on his way out, “How are you Keith — just sitting there bleeding — fine!
“The grand parade in the Circus ring was a photographer’s paradise with Yoko dressed as a witch with tall black pointed hat and John as a tumbler. Keith Moon minced up in black tights covered in bright glittering coloured spangles.
“Wait till I change out of my street clothes,” he quipped. Eric Clapton wore a suit of many colours and Mick was dressed as a ringmaster. The photographers were let in and crowded round like a cloud of locusts with Rolliflexes clicking. Ten minutes later Mick curtailed the photo call by announcing: “One more for Andy Gray,” referring to our Editor and the show was almost on.
The usual technical hitches resulted in the entire parade being stuck in the tunnel entrance to the ring from which the sound of Ivri’s interminable violin emerged along with loud rude noises from the Who attempting to play ancient brass instruments. Ivri launched into a Beatles composition.

“Hope you’ve got your performing rights money ready, mate — we’re all composers here,” quipped Townshend.
“Except me — I’m a decomposer!” added Moon. Much laughter from tunnel after 15 minutes of technical hitches.
Meanwhile, back in the sound room Jimmy Miller was semi-hysterical as engineer Glyn Johns raced around checking tapes.
“I haven’t had this much fun with my clothes on for weeks,” declared Jimmy. Jimmy also produced Traffic records and I asked him about the recent break-up of the group.
“It was a complete surprise to me,” he admitted. “I never thought Stevie would leave the group so suddenly. I know he has been very influenced by jazz organist Al Koopers’ recent one-man-work and that he has ideas about playing every instrument on future discs — even drums himself.”
Back in the ring the Parade was on with Cowboy, horse, midgets, clowns, trapeze artists, fire-eater and acrobats supplementing the pop stars.
That being completed, the other acts dispersed around the studios to watch Jethro Tull set up for their contribution, “A Song For Jeffrey.”
Eric Clapton was casting covetous glances at a midget’s huge red-crepe bow tie — “I’d give anything for that,” he whispered.
“Ask him for it,” suggested Keith Richard.
“He won’t part with it,” replied Eric. ” Made it himself.”
” Nick it,” suggested Keith. “You wear his tie and I’ll wear his trousers!”

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BLUES

In spite of all their musical progression it’s most noticeable of late that the Stones are becoming very much interested in blues music again. It was Jagger who expressed admiration of Jethro Tull’s brand of blues and asked them on the show.
Brilliant guitarist that he is, Clapton admitted that his inspirations were really still in his past. “I’m still a rocker,” he grinned, “and there’s nothing I can do about it!”
The event of the afternoon was probably the Super Group composed of Lennon, Clapton, Richard and Mitchell. They played a version of Lennon’s “Yer Blue’s.”
For one or two people it was interesting to note that as a guitarist Lennon, to quote one critic — “is not half bad.”
It was even more noticeable at one or two impromptu jam sessions back stage with the Super stars getting into old rock and rollers like “Hound Dog” and “Peggy Sue.”
Yoko provided a strange diversion to one side with a new dance in which she contrived to wiggle completely inside her voluminous black dress so that neither head or limbs were exposed.
Their second number was an improvisation with Yoko giving us an exhibition of “Japanese throat” which I do not pretend to understand so I will not attempt to criticise.
Sometimes I think she is quietly laughing at our attempts to read meaning into the meaningless.
It really is time that people were kinder towards John and Yoko. As far as I know they have never intentionally hurt or abused anyone and yet they have become the butt for every cheap comic stuck for a joke.
They spent the entire day and next morning along with us, supporting the Stones show from the audience. Photographers returned with smiles and reports of the new “mellow fellow” which is Lennon.
A tea lady brought back excited news after they signed her autograph book and chatted to her: “I was a little frightened of them but they were so nice it made me ashamed!”
Lennon, the millionaire who sat perched about on amplifiers and boxes in his old blue denims — a hole in the elbow and biro marks on the well worn knee — is a man worth watching and listening to and when people like him, Townshend, Burdon, Jagger, Walker, Marriott and Lane quit this business so will I. Talent and guts are rare combinations.

REGAL

Meanwhile back at the show, Miss Marianne Faithfull in a beautiful aubergine gown sat with regal elegance upon a divan and trilled a Gerry Goffin “Something Better” number quite superbly arranged by one Mick Jagger which may yet see her return to records.
Trapeze artists were suspended above pianist Julius Katchen, who admires present pop groups because so much in the classical world is becoming “machine made,” while he played “The Firebird” and a piece of Brahms.
A nice man, as well as a gifted pianist. Clowns, fire-eater and cowboy on horseback led to the Who.
The Who did their mini opera in which Keith Moon regaled us with his latest impersonation of a human fountain by having beer spilled onto his snare drums while in top gear.
Although he might smile at the thought, Townshend is now almost a piece of pop-folklore with his catherine wheel like arm movements and aggresive leaps. The act must make great TV.
Around about 2 am the Stones were on stage and warming up with “Route 66.”
They got through “Jumping Jack Flash” and “No Expectations” to prove they still have the most exciting group sound in the world and the most interesting visual vocalist in Jagger.
At times he strikes attitudes reminiscent of an obscene Nureyev!
“Sympathy With the Devil” was Mick at his provocative best, in which he whipped off his shirt to reveal a tattooed Devil’s head on his chest.
This resulted in the total collapse of a young lady near the stage. “You Can’t Always Have What You Want” is their new number which may be the next single – and likely their next number one.
By 6.30 am Pete Townshend had donned a red leather seat as a hat which together with his red pancho made him look like a member of the Klu Klux Klan.
We all ended up on the finale — “Salt of the Earth” — and I rather suspect I may be seen in a soppy hat and smock amidst the others in a rousing chorus at the end.
At 6.30 am I was earning my lift home by helping pack the Stones amplifiers.

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The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Rolling Stones FROM New Musical Express, December 14, 1968

Just when you thought that it was safe to assume I had used up all my music magazines from before 1976, I have a little surprise for you – starting with this article from the tail end of 1968. Just half a year after the “summer of love” and with a band clearly at the top of their game with a great album soon to arrive, inspiring a lot of other rock bands that would make their debut in the 70s. Here`s a report from a “wild party” celebrating the occasion!

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Stoned at lunch!

With pie-in-the-eye on the menu

By Keith Altham

LAST week the nice Rolling Stones threw a lunch party for all the ladies and gentlemen of the musical Press at the Elizabethan Rooms of the Queensgate Gore Hotel in order to promote their newly escaped album (by kind permission of Decca), called ” Beggars Banquet.”
Unaccustomed as they are to receiving free handouts from the Stones, a most impressive array of editors, reporters and writers arrived for the feast served in ye olde English manner by ye younge English wenches in ye good old low cut blouses!
I noticed quite early on in the proceedings that much of the top brass appeared to be seated exceedingly near mine Rolling hosts, which included those naughty Decca men who would not release the Stones wicked album sleeve. Ye olde Mick scuttled about the tables, referring nobley to Lord Harlech and others as ” our honoured guests,” and when I somewhat ungraciously enquired, with some suspicion, what was afoot he smiled beneath his battered tramp’s hat and quoth ” Don’t worry, I’m saving one for you!” But what was puzzling me was the nature of his game.

Lambs to the slaughter

Like lambs to the slaughter we were fed from wooden platters and the leavings were scraped on to an alms dish for the poor of Kensington, when they find him! Much mead was drunk and our cups overfloweth’d while we sat lulled into a sense of false security. The candles flicker along the dark oak panelled walls and evil waited quivering for sin!
From the head of the table Mick arose to make a speech — a tramp shining, if there ever was one! ” Well, I hope you’ve all had enough to eat and drink (a few drunken lines of ‘For ye’s a jolly good fellow’ from the diners). And I hope you’ve all enjoyed yourselves (reaches for small cardboard boxes which he begins to open). But we didn’t invite you here just to eat and drink and enjoy yourselves, did we?” The last remark was accompanied by a crust pastry pie filled with ” crazy foam ” (not meringue or cream or custard. It all wipes off your suit y’see. Tell that to the dry cleaners).
You meet the strangest people under dining tables! BBC ” Top Gear ” producer Bernie Andrews and I looked out from beneath ours at the ” slap-stick hell ” released by the Stones. Some rejoiced in the revelry and howled with glee as their missiles stuck in the hair and faces of associates, only to be struck themselves. Others took it with good humour — some executives dragged foamy fingers through their hair and assumed cracked grins at the damage done to their Savile Row three-piecers – ” monarchs surly at the wrongs sustained to royal visages — queens gleaming through the splendours last decay ” (borrowed from Bill Wordsworth).
It was a pity that poor old John Peel, at present suffering from jaundice, could not be there to see the ” beautiful and the damned,” but then Bernie Andrews would be able to give him an eye witness account from beneath the table cloth.
The only really sour note to the proceedings seem to come from one aggrieved personage holding his eye, who felt that the least the phantom hurler could have done was to remove the pie from its hard cardboard box before throwing it at him. Thus proving dearly beloved, that he who sups with the devil should have a long spoon.

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The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Rolling Stones FROM New Musical Express, April 24, 1976

I don`t think I have posted an article about Rolling Stones before, so here goes. Will be interesting to see if the Stones fans are out there or if they have read all of this before.
As usual, you can count on Mr. Murray to give a proper slagging off when he feel it is deserved. And, as we have learned before, he often feel it is deserved.
Have a good read!

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Sometimes You Can`t Even Get What You Need

The New Stones Album

Charles Shaar Murray sets off in search of Ancient Gods, and finds nothing more than four (or five or six as the case may be) Ageing Punks in search of an idea.

“The Rolling Stones are a really good band, but, like, I consider them like a boys` band because they don`t play mens music. They don`t play professional music for men, they play music for young people, and even with their most intelligent material as a stimulant, they play music for the young.”
– Mike Bloomfield, 1968.

“I`ve heard some of the Rolling Stones` new tracks and although I dig them, I don`t think they`re anything more than what they are, which is incredible, delicious and wonderful rock and roll and well overdue from them. The Rolling Stones should always be a non-progressive group.
– Pete Townshend, 1968.

“Quite simply, I personally feel that the Stones are the world`s best rock and roll band – quite unqualifiedly. Not that I think their records are always great… it`s like Glyn Johns says about a Stones session, you can sit and wait for weeks and they`ll just churn out a lot of rubbish.”
– Pete Townshend, 1970.

“That`s what makes the Stones the Stones: they never back down, never lose ground, they plunge ahead as raw as life itself, and even though they made mistakes sometimes they`re not afraid to admit `em, and they`ll take another wilder chance round the very next bend. That`s rock and roll, brother, and so are the Rolling Stones.”
– Lester Bangs, 1973.

The last time the Stones put out an album was nearly two years ago.
That was “It`s Only Rock`n` Roll” and since then they`ve pacified the natives only with a couple of crash-course-for-the-ravers compilations of their Decca and Rolling Stones Records periods (“Rolled Gold” and “Made In The Shade” respectively), Bill Wyman`s “Stone Alone”, assorted cameos on Ron Wood`s solo albums, and the everything – you – always – wanted – to – hear – from – the – Stones – and – then – wished – you – hadn`t – asked “Metamorphosis.”
Mick Taylor blue-jaunted at the tail end of `74, just as the Stones were about to embark on their next bout of recording, and various notables – including Jeff Beck, Ronnie Wood (two guys I would deem it inadvisable to invite to the same session), Robert A. Johnson (from John Entwistle`s Ox), Harvey Mandel (late of Canned Heat and John Mayall), and Wayne Perkins (late of Smith, Perkins and Smith) – zoomed in amidst flurries of are – they – or – are – they – not – the – new – Stones to help The Greatest Rock And Roll Band In The World to lay down their weary tracks.
Anyway, Ron Wood won the door prize and gets his pic on the sleeve despite still not being “officially” a full-fledged Stone, and the nationals generally play safe by referring to him as “guitarist with the Rolling Stones and the Faces” even though the Faces are gone-gone.
And guess what? “Black And Blue”, the Stones` new album, released last week, is composed entirely of material recorded between mid-December of 1974 and early April of 1975, featuring Wood, Mandel and Perkins on auxiliary guitars. Relevance, right? Immediacy, right? Fast throughput, right?

In his celebrated Rolling Stone interview, Keith Richard responded to Robert Greenfield`s remark that “Stones albums usually take a long time” as follows: “Which really pisses me off. Because everybody`s laid back a little more and everybody has other things, whereas when it was just a matter of being on the road and recording, that`s all you did… and obviously you could do things much quicker that way, but you can`t have weddings of the year and solo albums…”
So “Black And Blue” comes out nearly a year after it was cut, which would imply (a) that the Stones have been having a more than somewhat turbulent time of it and (b) a fairly low read-out on the prolific-o-meter.
Still, it wouldn`t matter a hoot in hell if the album had proved itself worth the wait, but “Black And Blue” is a let-down of hideous proportions, totally devoid of either the epic sense of sleazy grandeur or the galvanic bejewelled tension which are the Stones` twin ace cards.
From the top, then.
Side one opens up with “Hot Stuff”, with two guitar parts from Keef, lead by Harvey Mandel, and a dollop of piano from Billy Preston. It`s little more than a lengthy (nearly five-and-a-half minutes) workout on a funk riff with Jagger alternately breathing “Hot Stuff, can`t get enough” over the top, and indulging in what sounds like a drunken impression of Captain Beefheart doing an I. Roy talkover. Mandel takes a lengthy psychedelic I-am-backward-tape solo when Jagger pauses for breath, which isn`t nearly often enough. Richard`s rhythm lick is awesomely casual in the time-honoured Keef tradition of playing so loose that it sounds as if he`s going to miss a chop at any moment – except that he invariably holds it down with his patented understatedly deft throwaway precision. Plus Charlie`s good tonight, inne?

Unfortunately, even the sterling efforts of these two stalwarts can`t make “Hot Stuff” anything more than an embarrassment.
“Hand Of Fate” is built around a cluster of supposedly fail-safe Stones devices: a snarling, lurching Keefriff, a spitting, grandstanding Jagger vocal, Watts cymbal smashes to boost the momentum, mixed-down Preston piano, and a hardnosed lead guitar (by Perkins, who sounds uncannily like Mick Taylor, which doesn`t hurt a bit).
Only trouble is it don`t work. It sets itself up as the latest heir to “Brown Sugar” and “Stray Cat Blues,” but winds up as little more than a poor relation.
“Cherry Oh Baby,” the Stones` latest stab at reggae, was written by Eric Donaldson, who recorded the original version which, regrettably I haven`t heard. It features Nicky Hopkins in the unfamiliar role of organist and no less than four guitar parts (three by Keef and one by Honest Ron Wood, putting in the first of his three cameo appearances). Charlie Watts plays delightfully crisp and solid drums – the best white reggae drums I`ve ever heard, in fact – but Bill Wyman`s bass is far too sluggish and the guitars stumble over each other, completely demolishing the feel of the track.
The last time the Stones addressed themselves to the wonders of dat JA beat (“Luxury” on “It`s Only Rock`n` Roll”), they covered their bets both ways by simultaneously stylising reggae to hell `n` gone, and maintaining a basic classic Stones rough-edge drive with a reggae back beat. Here, they attempt a professional-music-for-men straightforward cop of Actual Real JA Licks, and blow it. The vocal is so hammy that any devout Rasta, Muslim or Jew wouldn`t even allow it in the house.
The final track on the side, “Memory Motel”, goes part of the way towards reclaiming the lost ground. Perkins and Mandel play guitars (acoustic and electric respectively), and Jagger and Richard pianos (ditto) while Billy Preston weighs in on string synthesiser (the acceptable face of mellotron). It`s a fair-to-middling example of the Stones Ballad, with just enough roughage from the vocal and drums to satisfactorily complement the pastoral keyboardarama, and extremely winsome melody. It would be a more than adequate Second Division cut on a Grade A Stones album, but on this one it`s the first track that actually achieves what it sets out to do.

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In general, things pick up a little on the second side. They don`t pull off any masterstrokes, but on the other hand they don`t fumble the ball.
“Hey Negrita” is the album`s winner dance track, sinuous stomping funk with Richard and Wood on guitars (a commendably restrained one guitar track apiece) and Preston on piano and organ; tailormade accompaniment for stuff-strutting. The song ain`t no Nobel Prizewinner, but it`s just solid enough to give the riff an excuse for living and the chorus vocals (by Jagger, Richard, Preston and Wood) have a nicely sassy urgency.
“Melody”, which follows, is another of the album`s better moments. Cool, slinky, feline and deceptively mellow, it gives Billy Preston a handsdown landslide as its Best Supporting Player for his piano, organ and backup vocals, tho` Bro` Keef comes a respectable second for his snaky blues fills. It also wins Best Lyric and Best Vocal – not that Jagger gives himself too much competition on this album. There`s a beautiful verse which goes sump`n like:
`I took her out eatin` but she
drank up all my pay,
She said, `I`m gon` fix my
face, don`t you go away`,
I was lookin` for her high and
low like a master for a hound,
She was passed out in the
bathroom in the arms of my best
friend.”
Cute, huh?

Unfortunately, the next cut, “A Fool To Cry”, throws away a very pretty backing track (Richard and Perkins on guitars, Jagger on electric piano, Hopkins on acoustic piano and string synthesiser) and a lovely chorus with a quite unprecedentedly crass vocal and lyric. Maestro?
“I come home baby, after
working all night long,
Put my daughter on my knee,
And she say, `Daddy, what`s
wrong?`
And she whisper in my ear so
sweet,
You know what she say? She
say,
`Daddy, you`re a fool to cry…”
Look, I know Mick and Keith used to write for Gene Pitney, but this is ridiculous.
For closers, there`s “Crazy Mama”, another entry in the Write – A – Classic – Stones – Rock – Out sweepstakes. The song`s a bit of a 98-pound weakling, but the track has a rolling, methodical, remorseless power with Richard playing both the rhythm and the principal leads, augmented by Mr Jagger himself on Assistant Rhythm and (it says here) Wood and Preston for the gorgeous solo and fade-out lick. I haven`t the faintest idea what Preston`s playing, since it sounds like three guitars to me, but I`m too chicken to argue the toss with an Actual Mock-Up of Actual Engineers` 16-Track Mixing Notes.

Commendations: Keith Richard still plays Keith Richard better than anybody else, though he`s played it considerably better in the past. Charlie Watts is, on the other hand, greater than ever. Mick Jagger`s guitar is improving dramatically, and he`s playing very respectable piano indeed.
The Massed Engineers (played by Glyn Johns, Keith Harwood, Phil McDonald and Len Hahn) have achieved a radically different Stones sound: ultra-crisp, clean and sharp, with an enviable degree of solidity and punch on the bass and drums: as opposed to the tangled, shaggy meatgrinder mixes of yore. It`s a Conventional Good Sound, and I still haven`t made up my mind about it.
Brickbats: the quality of the material and of Jagger`s vocals is at an all-time Stones low. The songs are mostly poor, and Jagger sounds strained and uptight, substituting caricature phrasing and enunciation for the deadly, lynx-like confidence of old. Could be he`s unhappy with the songs and is thus unable to work within them to his customary degree.
All in all, “Black And Blue” comes on like an idea-shaped vacuum. Why it wasn`t released a year ago I haven`t the faintest idea; and I can only presume that it`s surfacing now because they haven`t had the time/energy/inspiration (place a tick under either “true” or “false”) to cut anything better in the meantime.
Perhaps the most upsetting aspect of the album is that parts of it already sound dated. “Hot Stuff”, particularly, reminds one that a year ago, when it was cut, earnest spadophiles in the rockbiz were all enraptured by Thangs Fonky (Kool, Ohio Players, Fatbacks etc.) and the likes of Keith and his pals were probably dying to try their hand at Summa Dat Fonky Stoff. (Ditto reggae, for that matter.) Well, Fonk precision-tooled itself into a blind alley and “Hot Stuff” is still staring blankly at the wall.

It doesn`t sound as if the Stones are too much in touch with what`s actually happening. “Black And Blue” is neither a triumphant return to the forefront to show all the upstart bands of the last two years that the Original Is Still The Greatest nor a work of resolute classicism. Rather, it radiates confusion and aridity; isolation and stalemate.
Unquestionably they`ve still got the chops to play the ass off of their next set of good ideas, but those good ideas are gonna haveta be there if the Rolling Stones intend to be anything more than an oldies band. “Black And Blue” is neither a trailblazing foray off the beaten track, nor a confident lap of honour round the main freeway, but a directionless mooch round the side streets.
Oh well, I suppose it`s rather naive at this point to expect veteran heroes – even colossi like the Stones, The Who and Led Zep – to return messianically toting rock and roll salvation in the form of Tablets from the Mountain. The two first-named bands have by now enjoyed longer periods of genuine creativity than either Elvis or Chuck Berry, and even rock stars (especially rock stars) have to contend with built-in obsolesence.
The hell with it. If they won`t rock us, somebody will. But then you can`t always get what you want.

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Impressive ad over two full pages in the NME.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Mick Ronson, British Country Music Festival, Abba, J.J. Cale, Magna Carta, Dr. Alimantado, Steve Harley, Osibisa.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.