It is now 17 years since Philip Norman first published The Stones. But while his Beatles biography is justifiably regarded as definitive, you're either a Beatles fan or a Stones fan, never quite both. His Stones book was never the final word. Meanwhile the Stones have never stopped playing. In 2002, therefore - already more than ten years since ...
It is now 17 years since Philip Norman first published The Stones. But while his Beatles biography is justifiably regarded as definitive, you're either a Beatles fan or a Stones fan, never quite both. His Stones book was never the final word. Meanwhile the Stones have never stopped playing. In 2002, therefore - already more than ten years since Bill Wyman left the band - it is certainly time for a new book. And what better author than Stephen Davis, whose Hammer of the Gods is one of the rock books of all time? Now he has written unquestionably the definitive book about the Stones' extraordinary 40-year career. Old Gods Almost Dead, therefore, follows the Stones from their beginnings on London's sixties rhythm and blues scene through to their huge pyrotechnic stadium tours of the nineties; from the tortured self-destruction of Brian Jones to the indestructible 'human riff' that is Keith Richards, and the tabloid gossip surrounding Mick Jagger the modern aristocrat. It is a dark, often eerie portrait, above all, of a band who have consistently attracted danger, and frequently had something bad around them, whether it be the homicidal mayhem of their disastrous Altamont concert to the chaotically drug-fuelled recording sessions at Keith Richards' French chateau that somehow produced their finest album, Exile on Main Street. And above all it is an unparalleled study of a band at work - stitching together deals, making records, putting on dynamic shows even late into their fifties. It is a saga as raunchily entertaining as the Stones themselves.
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Publishers Weekly, 2001-10-08 In 1985's bestselling The Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga, rock biographer Davis shocked and entertained readers with the raunchy details of the band's backstage exploits. In this latest unauthorized biography, he once again details the "musical successes and personal excesses" but fails to offer any new insights into one of the world's greatest bands. (Stanley Booth's 1985 The True History of the Rolling Stones covers much of the same ground). In the first bio on the Stones in more than a decade, Davis begins with the band's first big break as the intermission act at London's Marquee Club in 1962 and ends with their bloated global tours of the late 1990s. While Davis's pulpy narrative ("The smell of espresso is in the air, the smell of sex, the smell of suicide") provides an enjoyable recap and critique of the Stones' records and performances, he misses the most interesting aspect of their longevity. Namely, why do these middle-aged men, once embodying the very pinnacle of renegade youth, choose to keep on as mere shadows of their former selves? This refusal to move on, despite one uninspired disc after another, is the most fascinating part of the Stones' past 15 years. Rock critic John Strausbaugh's Rock 'Til You Drop: The Decline from Rebellion to Nostalgia tackles the subject of has-been rockers in general and features Mick Jagger on the cover, but an account focused on the Stones' slide into irrelevance has yet to be written. 48 b&w photos not seen by PW. (On sale Nov. 6) Forecast: Despite its faults, this book will sell well to the Stones' many fans, as well as to nostalgic baby boomers. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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