Book about the Stones.
September 7, 2013 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Pretend I came from another planet yesterday. Pretend that today I listened to everything by The Rolling Stones. Pretend that tomorrow I want to read a book about the band/their history/their music. What would that book be?

Naturally I am not from another planet. As a 30 year old American I have heard and listened to the Stones my whole life. But I know almost zero about the band itself and have found that I now need to know more (for a new job). I already have some documentaries I'm going watch, but I really want a good overall book or two that I can read on the subway (which means no huge heavy tomes please).

posted by greta simone to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm not even much of a Stones fan but I've been meaning to read the biography Keith Richards put out a few years ago. Apparently it's just filled with crazy inside stories from their career, and I've heard from others that it's one of the best biographies they've ever read.

564 pages though, I don't know if that's too big for you.
posted by mannequito at 5:34 PM on September 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm fond of Stanley Booth's Dance with the Devil: The Rolling Stones and Their Times (1984); it was reprinted with minor revisions in 2000 as The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones, but I only have the earlier version.
posted by languagehat at 5:38 PM on September 7, 2013

Oh yeah, another vote for Keith's book. It's a fast and intoxicating read.
posted by scody at 6:26 PM on September 7, 2013

"Old Gods, Almost Dead" is not especially good.
posted by box at 6:53 PM on September 7, 2013

Stanley Booth's is very good.
posted by Unified Theory at 7:57 PM on September 7, 2013

"Old Gods, Almost Dead" is not especially good.

I disagree. It's thorough and fascinating and only occasionally slides too deep into the sleaze. I definitely preferred it to Life, simply because it covers way more angles than just what Keef happens to remember through what was far too often a dense heroin fog.
posted by philip-random at 1:28 AM on September 8, 2013

I'd recommend Stones Touring Party by Robert Greenfield. For me the Stones were never better than in the Mick Taylor years (controversial opinion, I know) and this book captures the atmosphere of the 1972 US tour, from both the band's and the fans' perspective.
posted by essexjan at 4:49 AM on September 8, 2013

Yes to Keith's autobio.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 7:09 AM on September 8, 2013

True Adventures of the Rolling Stones is a brilliant first hand account of being part of their entourage with back history and thoughts on their cultural significance. A great read. But when I think of it, I think of it as poetry, impressionistic. There will be more straightforward books out there.
posted by Speculatist at 8:14 AM on September 8, 2013

I listened to Keith's book on CD and enjoyed it thoroughly. One part is read by Johnny Depp in his regular Johnny Depp voice, then the biggest chunk is read by someone imitating Keith's voice - very well - and finally Keith himself reads the concluding chapter. Lots of fun.
posted by Dragonness at 9:43 AM on September 8, 2013

Booth's book is really good - I consider it one of the definitive texts not only about The Stones, but about rock 'n' roll.
His other writing, especially Rythm Oil (not a typo!) is great, too.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:09 AM on September 9, 2013

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