Friday, October 24, 2008

A Rolling Stone uses no floss

Believe it or not, Bill Wyman, the former bass player for the Rolling Stones makes 72 today. That's not just unbelievable, but downright scary. Wyman, Rolling Stones enthusiasts will tell you, he left the group in 1992 to tour with his own band, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. For me, though, the Rolling Stones have always been (as billed) "the greatest rock and roll band in the world." True, they have gotten on in age and they haven't topped the charts lately, but the legacy they have left us since the early 60s is a treasure trove of some of the best rock, blues, dance and, yes, even country songs from the hit parade. The truth is that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have been at the core of a hit-making, money machine for over four decades. I've always loved the Beatles, but the Rolling Stones have, due to the length and breadth of their work, have always been at the top of my best band list. It is a fact that the late Stones guitarist Brian Jones and I share the same birthday. When I lorded over my oldies show on WTUL-FM during the 1970s and early 1980, I closed every show with a song by the Rolling Stones. I am also proud to admit that the very first concert experience I had outside of New Orleans was in 1972 at the Rolling Stones' appearance in Mobile, Alabama. The two opening acts were not unknown or without talent. In fact Tina Turner had the first set, while Stevie Wonder followed her. Then the bad boys of British rock took the stage. It was an unreal night, but we were all kept in check by the numerous Mobile police officers armed with billy clubs who hovered over the crowd. Since that time I've seen the Stones in 1975, where they began their world tour in Baton Rouge. There were three other shows beginning in 1978 where I saw them again in the Superdome. All of these shows were special, although I must admit that the memories are a bit hazy now in of my years. But, then again, with Mick Jagger at 65 and Keith Richards set to reach that hallmark in another month and a half, I'm beginning to feel a bit younger.

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