Apr 222011
 

Draw the line.

In a recent Dugout Chatter question regarding The Rolling Stones‘ “Emotional Rescue” and “Start Me Up,” Townsman bostonhistorian countered a cop-out charge by quickly cementing his place as Mr. Moderator’s Newest Hero. Although Mr. Mod is well aware that this is may not be a title to which many Townspeople aspire, he felt the rock ‘n roll record needed to acknowledge bostonhistorian’s complete dismissal of the Stones’ post 1970 career with a posting of his full opinion on The Main Stage. This dramatic turn of events can be  traced beginning here. The astounding final blow of bostonhistorian’s defense follows:

For real. They should have packed it up after Altamont and the release of Let It Bleed, which both happened in December of 1969. Think about this: what if the last thing anyone ever heard out of the Rolling Stones was “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, and then think about the self-parody which follows. Does anything after Let It Bleed add to their reputation, or diminish it? There’s nothing on Exile as good as the best songs off Let It Bleed, and Let It Bleed also had a tiny bit of cultural relevance. After that, it’s a haze of drugs and navel gazing. I’ve gone on the record as characterizing Mick’s vocals on Exile as Amos and Andy-like, and I find the whole album turgid. Of course Mick and Keith could still write songs, but to what end?

“I admire not only the panache of bostonhistorian’s definitive stance on the subject,” said Mr. Moderator, while departing his colonial home for a drive into the office this morning, “but its moral underpinnings.”

Mr. Moderator went on to add that although he feels the Stones produced another half dozen highly worthy songs following Altamont, including a few from the band’s years matched up against prime Rod Stewart and perhaps his second-favorite Rolling Stones song, “Beast of Burden,” he fully backs the spirit of bostonhistorian’s opinion and is “admittedly deeply envious” of his staking out this position first.

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  43 Responses to “A Townsman’s Heroic Take On The Rolling Stones’ Post-1970 Output”

  1. bostonhistorian

    My guess is that Mr. Moderator’s envy is like a Roman safely in his Coliseum box seats being envious of a Christian thrown to the lions.

  2. As I said in another post, I think the Stones’ time of true greatness lasts through 1972 and Exile on Main Street. Sticky Fingers and Exile are both excellent albums, with the latter being overall the strongest record of the Stones’ entire career. The music on that album is so dense and powerful, and the horns and keyboards just add richness to the mix. The big fall-off began with Goat’s Head Soup, and it just kept going downhill from there. By the way, I think “Beast of Burden” is a terrible song – poorly sung, no groove, no energy, and a really poor attempt at R&B. The little falsetto bit is cringeworthy.

  3. No way, bostonhistorian! I know a proper moderator would have contacted you first for your approval, but I live for this stuff (not to mention most of us regulars, whether we agree or disagree with a particular opinion) – and I have spent years trying to find ways to convince my fellow rock ‘n roll lovers…once and for all…that the ’60s-era Stones was far superior to ’70s Stones. And I truly believe there’s something beneficial for society, or at least the state of music, in our efforts to show folks the light.

    Your definitive stance has done more to convince me, at least, of the righteousness of this cause than anything I’ve ever cooked up. I am standing alongside you to hold off those nasty lions!

  4. Two words: “Brown Sugar”

  5. Pince-nez moment: “Brown Sugar” is from 1969. Didn’t they play it at Altamont?

  6. CORRECT! Another hero is born…

  7. 2000 Man

    More pince nez action – Brown Sugar was indeed played at Altamont, but the version everyone knows and loves (besides bostonhistorian and Mr. Mod, who disavow the Power And Glory of Exile on Main St., thus insuring their souls to rot for all eternity with a record collection consisting solely of the final albums by every band like Boston, Foreigner and Styx) was recorded in 1970 at Olympic. So to be able to include it, you’d have to be one of those in attendance at the speedway that day, and I’d lay money on it most of the people there never heard it. Or any of the songs for that matter.

    I’m not gonna try and defend Exile, since it so obviously doesn’t need defending, but I’ll toss in the best single of the 70’s, It’s Only Rock N Roll as more than enough to “prove” beyond a doubt this misguided fallacy. IORR is one of the greatest studio records ever. Studios were technologically advanced enough to allow all the layers and layers of guitars on that song, and Keith and Mick really put the time in on that one to make it perfect. They turn it into a Chuck Berry retread live because they can’t play it, but the end result of the record is pure perfection.

  8. Two more words: “Rocks Off”

  9. 2000 Man, I agree: IORR’s verses are some of Jagger’s sharpest lyrics, and his singing on the chorus is the last time he could really hit the high notes (without going falsetto).

    It is a rip off of T Rex, but I think the chorus turns it into a sort of inside joke.

    Too bad all of this is lost on the nay-sayers.

  10. shawnkilroy

    yeah, i like 70s Stones. If Let It Bleed were their last album, they would SO be The Band Who Wished They Were The Beatles. Their 70s output allowed them to have an identity beyond that. i like them as real long hair ugly girl lookin electric blues junkies. i like them all the way up until Dirty Work, which fuckin sucks.

  11. bostonhistorian, would you agree that “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll” is better than “Long Live Rock”?

  12. 2000 Man

    Dirty Work just wants to Rock you. Relax, and let it. Steve Lilywhite’s drum sound is shitty, but that can be overlooked. Just skip Hold Back, it’s not that hard to grab a beer and shake your ass to the rest of it.

  13. bostonhistorian

    “Long Live Rock” is a dead end (I’m assuming you mean the Who song ripping off Chuck Berry), as songs about rock and roll usually are. I mean, The Showmen declared “It Will Stand” in 1961, and so it did. “I Know It’s Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)” sounds to me like a desperate man trying to convince himself of the fact after he realizes that the world has passed him by and he’s running dry on ideas. He can’t be bothered to write a love song so divine, he just wants to whine about people taking him too seriously. Complaining about critics in a song is even worse than trying to write a song claiming that rock is somehow threatened, but will live on forever.

  14. bostonhistorian

    As songs go though, the Stones song wins, if only because ripping off Chuck Berry in 1973 is a lot different than ripping him off in 1963.

  15. Jagger’s saying in IORR that whatever he does his teenage audience is too jaded to appreciate it.

  16. BigSteve

    I endorse shawnkilroy’s views on this subject.

  17. Were you paid by the committe to re-elect shawnkilroy?

  18. shawnkilroy

    i will attempt this. i should be able to get this vinyl for a dollar.hahaha!

  19. bostonhistorian, the Hell’s Angels have offered to provide security duty for you until this blows over, but you know you’re probably cool with me and Scott at your side.

  20. shawnkilroy

    those coffers have long run dry!

  21. BigSteve

    Recent court decisions have allowed to keep my funding source a secret.

  22. tonyola

    No, it’s not better. The Who were at their peak (mid-’72) when they recorded “Long Live Rock”. The Stones were already slipping down by the time of “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll”, and the song seems tossed-off and perfunctory, like a band who really wasn’t into what they were doing anymore.

  23. tonyola

    Let’s not forget Danny & The Juniors with “Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay” in 1958, which was a year when rock and roll really did seemed to be threatened because: 1) Elvis was drafted; 2) Jerry Lee Lewis wrecked his career by marrying his young cousin; and, 3) Little Richard gave up rock and roll for religion.

  24. bostonhistorian

    That’s one way of looking at it, but it sure sounds to me like the lyrics are complaining that whatever the Stones do, the songs aren’t good enough to satisfy the critics, so their excuse is that “it’s only rock and roll”.

  25. bostonhistorian

    I’d also like to think that a guy writing lyrics about spilling blood on the stage would be a little more circumspect given what happened at Altamont.

  26. “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay” is actually a compelling case that rock is in fact dead because it’s the exact same track as “At the Hop” with different words. Seriously, it might be the exact same backing track. They plum ran out of ideas after one song.

  27. bostonhistorian

    The fact that they could sell what was essentially the same track again to the people who bought the first song is precisely why rock and roll survived.

  28. Take that one up with the blues, cdm.

  29. tonyola

    Borrowing from yourself is a time-honored rock tradition. A brilliant and blatant example: In 1965, the Four Tops had a smash hit with “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)”, written by the great Motown team of Holland-Dozier-Holland. A month later, the Four Tops had a followup hit that was also written by H-D-H and was virtually identical to the earlier song. The name? “It’s The Same Old Song.” Genius.

  30. hrrundivbakshi

    Lord, but this is all so silly. Sorry to have to turn this into a list-a-thon, but how anybody could say the Stones should have hung it up in 1969 is just beyond my comprehension. I mean, just *look* at this list of stuff you’d never get to hear:

    “Brown Sugar”
    “Sway”
    “Wild Horses”
    “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”
    “Bitch”
    “Moonlight Mile”
    “Rocks Off”
    “Rip This Joint”
    “Tumbling Dice”
    “Loving Cup”
    “Happy”
    “Ventilator Blues”
    “All Down the Line”
    “Soul Survivor”
    “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”
    “Silver Train”
    “Star Star”
    “If You Can’t Rock Me”
    “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)”
    “Dance Little Sister”
    “Miss You”
    “Some Girls”
    “Before They Make Me Run”
    “Beast of Burden”
    “Shattered”
    “Let Me Go”
    “All About You”
    “Emotional Rescue”
    “Hang Fire”
    “Little T&A”
    “Waiting on a Friend”

    … and then I lose interest.

  31. You’re gonna go list on us rather than confront the heart of the matter, HVB? Then I suggest the following revisions:

    “Brown Sugar”
    “Sway”
    “Wild Horses”
    “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”
    “Bitch”
    “Moonlight Mile”
    “Rocks Off”
    “Rip This Joint”
    “Tumbling Dice”
    “Loving Cup”
    “Happy”
    “Ventilator Blues”
    “All Down the Line”
    “Soul Survivor”
    “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”
    “Silver Train”
    “Star Star”
    “If You Can’t Rock Me”
    “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)”
    “Dance Little Sister”
    “Miss You”
    “Some Girls”
    “Before They Make Me Run”
    “Beast of Burden”
    “Shattered”
    “Let Me Go”
    “All About You”
    “Emotional Rescue”
    “Hang Fire”
    “Little T&A”
    “Waiting on a Friend”

  32. Seriously, folks, tastes are tastes and bostonhistorian is my newest hero. How about a healing live Stones video I’d never seen until now, from 1970?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIpqiEK8wfw&feature=related

    Dig Mick’s blouse (and scarf?). Dig Charlie’s soccer jersey. Dig Keef’s clear lucite ax – not to mention the way he wear’s my wife’s vintage, embroidered cardigan! Dig how bloozy the whole scene is. Can we meet on this spot, shake hands, and give bostonhistorian his due for standing up to the gauntlet? Bravo!

  33. tonyola

    Anyone who knocks “Moonlight Mile”, “Loving Cup”, and “Soul Survivor” off the list of great Stones songs also gets knocked off my Christmas card list. Philistine. May the only Rolling Stones you’re allowed to hear for the rest of the holiday weekend be Dirty Work and Jamming With Edward.

  34. bostonhistorian

    I’ll take Nicky Hopkins working out “Highland Fling” over anything on HVB’s list for my listening this weekend.

  35. 2000 Man

    Yuck. Jamming With Edward blows. It Hurts Me Too is the only thing remotely good on it, and that’s not saying much.

  36. machinery

    I’m gonna get flogged for this, but I like Goats Head Soup. It’s stripped down Stones the way I like ’em with some Country thrown in here and there. I mean, who’d thought Mick Taylor!

    (yes Dancing with Mr D. is stupid)

  37. […] edition of Saturday Night Shut-In Mr. Moderator can’t stop thinking about a recent act of heroism. Then, as the evening progresses, he drifts off into bagism, as he considers taking the episode […]

  38. BigSteve

    I like GHS too. Excellent showcase for Mick Taylor. Cool Keith song (Coming Down Again). Nicky Hopkins, Billy Preston, and Stu tag teaming the keyboards. The whole vibe is very true to the hung over early 70s. Almost all of it was recorded in Kingston Jah, and I suspect the studio was pretty cloudy.

  39. machinery

    Yeah, I remember reading that Keith said Jamaica was the only country he could go to — they/he was kicked out of so many.

  40. misterioso

    Oh my God. This is what I get for going on vacation: you get to come back and find the latest installment in this discussion. Obviously, this is one that should be ignored.

    So, having said that…

    I both agree with the basic point that nothing post-Let It Bleed substantially ADDS anything to the Stones’ legacy that would not have been there if they had quit then. Even though Sticky Fingers and Exile are, as any person with a functioning brain knows, two of the top three Stones records, in a sense part of a whole of which Let It Bleed is as good as representative.

    I even agree with the basic point, which may be Mod’s, that taken as a whole, the Stones’ 60s output is more consistent than their 70s output. (I think Mod thinks it is “better” rather than more consistent, but whatever.) The only real 60s lapse is Satanic Majesties and that is not without merits; whereas after Exile, obviously things get mighty uneven.

    But none of this means that we’d be better off without all that came after Let It Bleed.

    All of these arguments could basically be made (and have been made) about Dylan post-Blonde on Blonde. And, again, there is a grain of truth: nothing he did after that, in a certain narrow way of looking at things, exceeded what had gone before, so why not quit?

    I think that artists who are in it for a long haul, though they may have a 3-5 year burst in which they do their most definitive work, sometimes are able to continue to do great and interesting work, even if not so consistently as in their prime.

    Now, on the other hand, if they’d just called it quits after Tattoo You, that would have been just fine, thanks.

  41. It’s nice having you back, misterioso. The term “more consistent,” regarding early vs later Stones, is more useful for discussions of this magnitude, and I like how you characterize Let It Bleed.

  42. bostonhistorian

    All I can say is that without Mr. Moderator baitong into making my assertion, this never would have happened.

 
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