Books about the Rolling Stones…there have been books about the band, books, about and by, the members of the band, books about the band’s music, albums, singles, and recording sessions. There have been books about the band’s wives, ex-wives, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, groupies that slept with band members or claim to have slept with band members. Let’s not forget the books about the tours, the producers, the managers, the sidemen, the soundmen, the band’s instruments, the musicians they influenced and the musicians who influenced them. How about the picture books, the coffee table books, the catalogs, the collectibles books, the books that include CDs and the books that include DVDs. Suffice to say that there aren’t too many stones that have gone unturned when comes to writing about the Stones.
The latest entry comes from bestselling author, writer, playwright and the author of two other Rolling Stones books, Robert Greenfield, in the form of Ain’t It Time We Said Goodbye – The Rolling Stones on the Road to Exile. While toiling as the London Bureau chief of Rolling Stone Magazine, Greenfield was the only journalist who tagged along on what was called the Stones “farewell tour” of England, with plans calling for them to become tax exiles following the jaunts conclusion.
While I’m not certain that Greenfield has offered any startling new insights into the band, and who really could at this point, I think he does offer some interesting thoughts about the Stones in that time frame. In the 1971 pre-internet/24 news channel/smart phone world, it still seems odd that that the Stones would jump on what amounts to public transportation, a train, with little to no fanfare to begin the tour. Knowing what would come on future tours, with epic hours long shows; it also strikes me as hard to fathom that the band ripped through two shows a night, 12 songs each, lasting by Greenfield’s estimation 30 minutes. Would today’s fans sit still for that abbreviated set? Not likely.
While Greenfield offers numerous sidebars, he claims from referencing his original notebooks, there are a handful of errors that may seem a bit nitpicky, that find their way into the book. Given Lisa Robinson’s recent seemingly farfetched recollections of her time on the road with the Stones, maybe we need to chalk up these mis-remberances as part of residue of life on the road with the World’s greatest Rock ’n’ Roll Band.