I admit that I was late to the party in becoming a fan of the Rolling Stones. As a kid who grew up on a steady diet of punk and new wave and the Stones seemed old and irrelevant to me at the time, but fortunately I have come to appreciate their music in the last few years.
One of the interesting things I took away from the new HBO Documentary “Crossfire Hurricane”, which chronicles the “early” years of the Stones, is how much their musical direction was affected not just by the glimmer twins, Jagger and Richards, but by the guitarists that rounded out the group’s fifth slot over the years.
In fact, you could argue that there have really been three different and totally contrasting versions of the Stones; coinciding with the tenures of Brian Jones (1962-1969) the multi-instrumentalist dandy with a passion for the blues, Mick Taylor (1969-1974) the reluctant virtuoso rock star, and Ronnie Wood (1975- present) the party boy with a rough and cutting style which perfectly compliments Richards.
Another great takeaway was how oblivious the Stones have been throughout their career to the concept of age. They didn’t think they were too young when barely in their 20’s to take up the mantle of legendary the legendary American bluesmen, nor too old when nearing their 40’s to beat back the threat of those same punk and new wave bands I idolized so much.
Even if you’re not a fan of Mick and the boys, it is a fascinating peek into the band that set that standard for what rock stars are supposed to be.