A rock journalist mines the same vein for the third time, parlaying his brief access to the Rolling Stones into a short book that reads more like an annotated magazine article.
Based in the London bureau of Rolling Stone, American journalist Greenfield (A Day in the Life: One Family, the Beautiful People, and the End of the Sixties, 2009, etc.) enjoyed exclusive access to the Stones’ farewell tour of Britain, before tax issues (and drug laws) sent the band on self-imposed exile. Such access would be impossible to imagine today, and perhaps the main value of this book, written 40 years after the fact but expanding on a feature that he filed for the magazine at the time, is the difference between the rock life then and now. The Stones could actually move about without causing riots when they were recognized, and a journalist could just hang around without anyone questioning his presence. The author had never seen the Stones perform before 1970 and has never seen them again in concert since 1972, so his window of experience is narrow, though his insights into the relationship between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards remain valid (if familiar). That 1971 tour found Jagger courting his future wife, Bianca, (a marriage that the author asserts “put the final nail in the coffin of the personal relationship between Mick and Keith”) and Richards out of control (and rarely on time) with heroin. The account provides a short companion piece to the book Greenfield wrote with greater detail, but less exclusivity, on the Stones’ subsequent tour of the United States (S.T.P., 1974).A book about one of the most interesting eras in the band’s history, for those who have never read anything about the Rolling Stones or who need to read everything.