Say Unkel Book review
Rocks Off 50 tracks that tell the story of the Rolling Stones By Bill Janovitz 2013
Being up for a challenge, another Stones book (especially written by Janovitz's was right in my wheel house). Are you one of those people who have been asked Beatles vs. Stones? I have, in my lifetime it's always has been a no brainer for me, but I come to this book with a different bent. The author of Rocks Off is Bill Janovitz. He is a member of the Boston band Buffalo Tom. Janovitz is also a writer of music new and old. And he's a Stones fanatic and I'm a Buffalo Tom devotee. Growing up, the Beatles wrote music that is unquestionability timeless. In the early nineteen eighties the Stones were pumping out cartoon type music played by a bunch of lampooning leaping freaks. That had an effect on me musically. Having said that, I've always knew The Stones had a very good two + record, greatest hits collection that everyone should own. The Beatles did pop and the Stones wrote R n B music. Most early Stones records have two to three gems on them. But The Beatles had one or perhaps two duds and the rest jewels.
Bill Janovitz broke down Rock Off and the 50 Stones tracks and made me think how great this music really is. And I think that there are even more Stones tracks that hold their own off other Stones records that I truly missed. I really enjoyed the inside recording studio story's. The Stones recorded in many different recording studios throughout the USA, England, France and elsewhere. Some of those recording studios are legendary. Studio greats like Al Kooper, Jimmy Miller are mentioned on tracks that made these songs wonderful. I finished Keith Richards autobiography book 'Life' last year. I really enjoyed it and I gained a huge respect for a man who seem like a regular guy. Pretty cool coming from a man who looks like a modern day pirate and is a medical miracle. But Rocks Off, taught me how smart, creative and clever Keith Richards song writing really is. He's the creative wit within the Stones. The chapter on ‘Satisfaction’ is great rock and roll legend. This is when Keith claims he woke up in the middle of the night with the Satisfaction guitar riff in his head, and turned on a tape recorder (in 1965 tape recorders were pretty new), recorded it, and then fell back to sleep snoring away (with tape recorder still running!). Wouldn’t Stones fans like to hear that one. This broke the Rolling Stones career to the top of the charts. Mick Jagger wrote the Stones lyrics, some sharp, shrewd and chic but others are mumbled and indecent and in today’s politically correct world radical. And there's the huge difference between the two bands. The Stones always brought that barbed edge to rock and roll and The Beatles didn’t.
Of course there is many Stones tracks missing in Rocks off, one being favourite Off My Cloud and another Heartbreaker; but you can't always get what you want.
The Stones solid rhythm section of Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman play minor roles in the book. But still some good facts about both musicians on most pages. I’d enjoy reading more about drummer Charlie Watts any day. And then theres the on again, off again, accounts of vagabond musician Brian Jones. Mick Taylor replaced Jones and later Jones died of a drug over dose in 1969 in his swimming pool once owned by author of Winnie the Pooh fame. And guitar player Ron Wood, who would replaced Taylor in the seventies adds to the Stones legacy. Lot's of great writing about music, drugs, personality conflicts, and other fun rock and roll stories in Rocks Off.
For any Stones fan this book is a great read. If you're like me, and enjoy the studio insider stuff I highly recommend Rocks Off. Bill Janovitiz’s writing is clear and concise. Rocks Off has some great facts about the Stones career and perhaps some rock and roll legends mixed in. But now I’m listening to more Rolling Stones records than before and with more openness. Check out Rocks off 2013 at these links below. And also Bill Janovitz. Or check them out at your local library!