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The Sun and The Moon and The Rolling Stones

Rich Cohen

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The Brits who came of age in late 1950's had a black-and-white world with no vibrancy or warmth. Suddenly rock 'n' roll a wave of technicolor. No one ever cared more about music than that first generation, escaping from drab history.

The parents of the 60's were right to fear rock 'n' roll. They'd survived the Great Depression and won the war, but now their power evaporating before their eyes.

An 18 yo in 1962 would havejust been starting his teens when Elvis hit. A completely different creature to what his parents had been at same age. Grew up as a rock 'n' roll native in same way as today's kids growing up digital natives.

A hard life - if you look at any of the early English rockers you see tough, lean guys with bad teeth bc they didn't get to eat properly.

Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated - floating personnel depeneding on who was around. One night Mick, Keith and Dick Taylor went to seethem and for first time met Brian Jones. Tiny (5'6") but he cd play slide guitar like their black American blues heroes.

1962 Brian Jones set up new band. Had Geoff Bradshaw and Brian Knight. Singer Paul Jones (later Mannfred Mann) declined invite bc already had good paying gig singing with a dance band ("in Slough"!). "It was a mistake, but life is nothing but a series of mistakes. At least mine have been colourful."

Mick auditioned - verdict was that he wasn't much of a singer, but he had charisma, so invited. But he wd only join if Keith was included, and the other members didn't like Keith bc he was a Chuck Berry fan, and Chuck Berry was sneered at bc he was "too pop". There was an argument, Bradshaw and Knight stormed out, exiting history. So Jagger brought in Dick Taylor as well, who had to quickly learn bass guitar.

Their first show July 1962, no-one knows who the drummer was. Charlie Watts hadn't yet moved, so assumed to be Mick Avery, but he has consistently denied it. Dick Taylor says "I think it might well have been Mick Avery. I speak from experience about memory. There's whole years I can't remember."

Watts:"I'm not a rocker. I just play the drums. I happen to play in the RS. I've done that for a long time. It's a blues band. You can call it rock 'n' roll but it's blues. Chuck Berry is a blues player but he virtually invented rock 'n' roll.""I give the impression of being bored. I'm not. I just have a boring face."

At some point you go through a stage where you shift from the life yr parents made for you to the life you make for yourself.

Beatles' Love Me Do a huge shock to other bands - Stones, Yardbirds, Kinks - struggling away in London, paying their dues. Suddenly a group from Liverpool, of all places, provincials, has a bluesy sounding song on the charts. Panic at first - was there room for any other blues type pop group? - but of course it actually opened many doors, as record company execs came looking for others to tap into the new market.

Stones always second. No matter how great they got, they cd never entirely get over arriving on the scene after the Beatles had succeeded. They were always defined in comparison.

Beatles met Stones at a Crawdaddy Club gig, then went back to Mick and Keith's squalid flat. On way out, invited Stones to their show at the Royal Albert Hall - a painful contrast: v Crawdaddy Club.

Treat everything asa game; understand that life is 99% marketing. You're better off with a crappy product and a great salesman than the other way round.

With the success of their first record (C'mon, engineered by Oldham's PR rather than any great musical charm), the Stones left for the big stages. Looking back, Keith reckoned that was when he sold his soul to the devil. Up until then they'd been playing the blues to afficionados. On tour, they were playing to screaming teenage girls who didn't have a clue. They gained money and notoriety, but they lost connection with audience.

In America in 50s and 60s, blues had a racial and dangerous context. If you were a white fan, then it was assumed that you also stood for desegragation and misengenation. But in England it just meant you liked the music. It had no bultural context at all.

Murray "the K" NY DJ played "It's All Over Now" to the Stones. They recorded it and it became their first No 1 hit. The black singer-songwriter, Bobby Womak. was outraged that a white group had copied his song. Then he got the royalty check. It was more money than he'd ever seen in his life.

Always get musos claiming that some lyric or tune was stolen from them. But they are never theoriginal source, Eeverything traces back to an earlier example, abck to untraceable dead musos.

Transition of audiences from young and footloose to old, clean and prosperous. And where used to have musos like Chuck Berry or B.B. King backstage, now you'd see celebrities.

Mick's brief solo career demoed that the Stones made money only as a group.

Tattoo You came out when the Stones needed a new LP, but Keith and Mick weren't talking. So producer Chris Kimsey resurrected songs from previous sessions that the group has rejected. One of these was the huge hit 'Srat Me Up' from Some Girls sessions.

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