Dean Clough

September 18, 2023

Portico Darwin: The Rolling Stones Should Stop Rolling


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Over the weekend, I read yet another "The Stones Are Back!" puff piece, this time in Culture's Fall Preview 2023 in The New York Times.  For your Monday, I give you my response:  F'ING ENOUGH ALREADY.

Don't get me wrong - me and The Rolling Stones go way, way back, and I have always been a fan, at times even a big one.  This is from 1981's Tattoo You tour, and I have others.

And earlier this year, I even wrote a tribute about their ability to reinvent themselves. 

But I have now grown tired of the entire schtick:  Keith Richard's stoned pirate, Mick Jagger's unnaturally lithe condition (and resulting arrogance), and Ronnie Wood as the friendly boozer from next door.

Because this "new" profile in the NYT could easily have been lifted from past years - it's always the same crap:
  • Mick and Keith love each other, but still fight
  • Ronnie's just happy to be there
  • Mick pushed the band toward a deadline
  • Keith's stoner mumblings about his guitar interplay with Ronnie; this time, he deems it "weaving"
  • That the album is a return to their blues roots
  • A new producer has rekindled the old magic
  • Their tours transcend life itself

And the first song released from their new album Hackney Diamonds (the band's first of original material since 2005's A Bigger Bang), entitled "Angry", is also more of the same.  Except without founding member Charlie Watts.

You see, I believe at the root of my angst is the fact they're continuing as The Rolling Stones without Charlie.  All situations are different, but there was never a Led Zeppelin after John Bonham, and Rush without Neil Peart is unthinkable.  Likewise, fancy The Police without the drumming genius Stewart Copeland?  The evidence is obvious in the other direction, too, when one considers how The Who's decisions post-Keith Moon have sadly marred their legacy. 

Worse:  Keith Richards never fucking shut up about Charlie Watts, his drumming, and the importance of it to their sound.  I mean go look it up - Charlie was Keith's guy.  Many times I have read interviews with Keith where he flatly declares Charlie Watts as the best drummer in rock and irreplaceable in the band.  

Until he wasn't, as evidenced by this quote from the article.
For the Rolling Stones, “Hackney Diamonds” is the beginning of the band’s next phase. “With Charlie leaving us, I think we needed to make a new mark with Steve (Charlie's replacement Steve Jordan),” Richards said. “To reset the band was important.”

Reset the band?  Charlie just spit out his vintage Port somewhere in heaven.  

Me?  Hearing "Angry" was probably enough.


It was smiles and questionable sunglass picks all around for our niece Nicki Vale and her boytoy Baron Belgium.  These star-crossed kids wanted a romantic trip, and what says romance more like Highmark Stadium in Buffalo for a Bills-Raiders NFL game?

Thank you for reading this newsletter.  


Of course, I am not going to dump on The Stones and leave you feeling empty.  It's the opposite, as here, on both TIDAL and Spotify, are the best Rolling Stones songs, from the beginning until the end (which I claim was Steel Wheels).  Here are the tracks, and I welcome suggestions for improving the content, although there will be no "Angie" - I really don't like that song.

  1. Heart Of Stone 
  2. It's All Over Now 
  3. Not Fade Away 
  4. Time Is On My Side 
  5. As Tears Go By 
  6. Get Off Of My Cloud 
  7. Satisfaction 
  8. The Last Time 
  9. Play With Fire 
  10. 19th Nervous Breakdown 
  11. Mother's Little Helper
  12. Paint It, Black
  13. Under My Thumb
  14. 2000 Light Years From Home
  15. Let's Spend The Night Together
  16. Ruby Tuesday
  17. She's A Rainbow 
  18. Jigsaw Puzzle
  19. Jumpin' Jack Flash 
  20. Salt Of The Earth
  21. Street Fighting Man
  22. Sympathy For The Devil
  23. Gimme Shelter
  24. Honky Tonk Women 
  25. Let It Bleed
  26. Live With Me
  27. Love In Vain
  28. Midnight Rambler 
  29. Monkey Man
  30. You Can't Always Get What You Want
  31. Bitch 
  32. Brown Sugar 
  33. Can't You Hear Me Knocking 
  34. Wild Horses 
  35. Happy
  36. Tumbling Dice
  37.  Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo 
  38. Ain't Too Proud To Beg 
  39. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll  
  40. Time Waits For No One 
  41. Hand Of Fate 
  42. Miss You 
  43. When The Whip Comes Down 
  44. Just My Imagination  
  45. Some Girls 
  46. Respectable 
  47. Before They Make Me Run 
  48. Beast Of Burden 
  49. Start Me Up 
  50. Hang Fire 
  51. Little T&A 
  52. Waiting On A Friend 
  53. Sad Sad Sad 
  54. Mixed Emotions 
  55. Rock And A Hard Place
  56. Almost Hear You Sigh 
  57.  Slipping Away 

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