The Stone Age: Sixty Years of the Rolling Stones

Pegasus. Aug. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9781639362073. $28.95. MUSIC
There’s something about the Rolling Stones that transcends even bad biography, which this book definitely is. Their lives, individually and collectively, are transgressive; they may be hard to like as individuals, but their lives seem untrammeled in ways that an ordinary person’s can’t be. The group has hung together for 59 years since their debut hit record covering Chuck Berry’s “Come On” in 1963. Jones (Bohemian Rhapsody: The Definitive Biography of Freddie Mercury) doesn’t pretend to be neutral. In long, largely extraneous passages, she sheds crocodile years over their wrongdoings—especially Jagger’s, whose narcissism exceeds all limits. Jones frequently stops to puff herself up as someone close to these celebs. The problem is, she doesn’t show it. Instead, the book is puffed with inconsequential information, like an oversimplified history of the blues and a four-page (!) conversation with a psychotherapist about Brian Jones (although there’s no evidence that the therapist ever met the man). And lots of lists. If cut to its core, the book would only be slightly over 200 pages.
VERDICT Jones doesn’t paint an attractive picture of the Rolling Stones, and her book is over-hyped, but it will likely appeal to readers regardless because, let’s face it, its subjects fascinate.
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