This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones (they formed in April 1962, and their first gig was in July), which has had me thinking about them a bit more and in a different way than usual—that and having recently read Keith Richards’ really great biography, Life.
Keith Richards backstage at the Winterland, San Francisco, California. Photo by Jim Marshall. Copyright © Jim Marshall Photography LLC. All rights reserved.
They’re one of those bands that have been around forever (literally for my ever: I’m 41), and I have to admit I’ve kind of settled into taking them for granted. That seems to only get punctured when I’m dialing through the radio and hear a split second of “Brown Sugar” before I’m able to change the station. (It’s their worst song. It really is. You’ve got worse? Let’s take it to the comments section, pal.)
But that’s part of the deal of creating something in public for 50 years. It’s not all going to be to everyone’s taste, or always “good,” whatever that means. I’ve just started rereading our book According to the Rolling Stones, which covers the first 40 years of the band in their own words, and which I’m finding is a nice counterpoint to Life. It’s also sending me back to the albums, and especially to the run of records leading up to 1972’s Exile on Main Street.
Charlie Watts and Keith Richards during the acoustic segment of “Sweet Virginia” at the Forum in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jim Marshall. Copyright © Jim Marshall Photography LLC. All rights reserved.
The photos accompanying this post are by the great Jim Marshall, who has captured some of the most iconic images in rock photography, and who also documented the Stones in this era, particularly when Mick and Keith did some work on Exile at Sunset Sound in L.A., and for a week on the California leg of their infamous 1972 tour (also documented by Robert Frank and Robert Greenwald). They’re from our forthcoming book of Jim’s work, The Rolling Stones 1972, which I’m excited to say we’ll be publishing this fall, on the 40th anniversary of his having captured the band at this moment and in these images.
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