It's only rock 'n roll

John J. Hopkins Mar. 19, 2006, 6:51am

Michael Phillip "Mick" Jagger, Sir Michael Phillip Jagger, turns 62 on Wednesday, July 26, an age when the focus may well be on retirement rather than roadies.

But such is the case for Sir Mick, as together with his chum of 50 years guitarist Keith Richards, they combine to still tour the world, still producing the high energy, hard-driving show envied by men half their age.

The Rolling Stones came to the Savvis Center on Friday night, January 27. Once again, as I have so many times in the past, I was blown away, drained of energy and brought to hoarseness by the one and only sound of the Greatest Rock and Roll Band of all times.

Yes. I am a Stoner, a huge Rolling Stones fan. Between albums, cassette tapes and now CD's, many of them duplicates, I probably have more than 40 Stones recordings. In contrast, until I got married, no Beatle album did I possess.

The distinction is important, as the Stones and the Beatles landed on the world stage about the same time, to be invariably compared, discussed and dissected. The Beatles, fair of face and clean cut, were somewhat different, but harmless, imploring teen America to just..."Hold your Hand."

In contrast, the Stones were raw, nasty, rebellious, asking to "Spend the Night Together," and seeking the elusive goal of "Satisfaction."

The Beatles would cause your parents to ask some questions, but the Stones made your parents very, very nervous.

The Beatles are no more, broken up in the early '70s, now with only two of the original four still alive.

The Stones some 40 years later are still rocking, still delivering, still touring.

Does this mean that the secret to longevity lies not in a healthy life style and moderation, but in long nights, Marlboros, "wine, women and song and the simple pleasures of doing something wrong?"

The answer is for each to decide... but during your deliberations, pick up a copy of "Beggars Banquet." It will help show you the way.

The Beatles for the bulk of their 10-year shelf life served up fluff, a musical cotton candy if you will. While they admittedly turned a bit more serious in the end, the majority of recordings are light weight pop candy.

The Stones on the other hand rarely varied, serving up a basic formula of hard, gut level, visceral energy, music that not only stirs the beast, but sets him free.

The show at the Savvis was a classic, no gimmicks, no excessive reliance on stage productions, but simply the naked power, vitality and force of Rock and Roll, masterfully delivered by the best that ever were, or every will be. Only the very best work without a net.

The Roman poet Cicero in 60 B.C. wrote that nothing counterfeit lasts.

Such is the Stones power. Watching lead guitarist Keith Richards come out for the encore - what else - "Satisfaction," recently selected as the greatest rock song of ALL TIMES - underscores the point.

The song was written by Jagger and Richards more than 40 years ago, and as probably been performed by them a million times. But as the five note introduction kicked in - 'Dunt da, da da da - he slides across the stage with the grinning enthusiastic joy of a teenager, playing it correctly for the very first time. The real deal on display.

The Rolling Stones continue to tour as we speak, finishing up the South American leg of the "Bigger Bang" tour - probably the last tour, but who knows - and returning to the U.S. for four dates.

It's then two months off - they are over 60- then touring Europe, finishing up with two nights in Wembly Stadium in London, a fitting end to more than a year on the road.

Sir Mick and the boys have withstood bouts with drug addiction, rehab clinics, battles with the police, internal strife and ego fights within the house, jealousy and frictions with spouses, death of a founding member, divorce, and finally, cancer.

In short, all of the slings and arrows that have attacked My Generation.

But yet, they're still standing. The lads are nothing if not survivors.

Mick Jagger was once asked what he saw himself doing at age 40, some 22 years ago. He replied that while he did know for sure, he surely did not see himself on stage in Las Vegas singing "Satisfaction."

Last night, Saturday, March 4, the Stones played a return engagement at the MGM Hotel. You know the encore. Never say never.

"I know it's only Rock and Roll" - come on, you know the tune - "It's only Rock and roll, but I like it, like it, yes, I do..."

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