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According to the Rolling Stones Hardcover – Unabridged, October, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

According to the Rolling Stones hews closely to the formula set in 2000 by the publication of The Beatles Anthology. Like its predecessor, it's a beautiful coffee table tome with hundreds of gorgeous photographs, from childhood pics of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to concert shots from the 40 Licks Tour. The text is taken from recent interviews with the band's four latter-day members (Mick, Keith, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood). Notably missing, however, is any contribution from former bassist Bill Wyman, who left the band in the early '90s and published his own history of the band in 2002, Rolling with the Stones. Where Wyman is an obsessive collector and diarist, the other Stones are more impressionistic in their memories, lending an approach to history as casual as the band’s concerts are rigorously planned and staged.

The first half of the Stones story has plenty of high drama (tours through the segregated South, Brian Jones's death, Altamont), which no one seems eager to reflect on deeply. (Charlie is the only one even to mention Altamont.) The more recent years has seen a long string of ever-more-successful tours and ever-less-popular albums, interrupted only by Mick and Keith’s near divorce in the '80s, plus rehab stints for Charlie and Ronnie. While The Beatles Anthology offered the surviving members' interpretations of their experiences at a distance of 30 or more years, the Stones are still living the tale they're trying to tell--and they aren’t always the most self-aware narrators. Or generous: Wyman's three-decade tenure is given short shrift, but the book finds enough space for some unnecessary digs (Wyman has "tiny hands," we're told, and an "almost effeminate" style of playing).

To flesh out the band members' own recollections, the book also contains 13 essays from music-industry friends (Ahmet Ertegun, Marshall Chess), collaborators (Don Was), famous fans (Sheryl Crow, novelist Carl Hiaasen), and, yes, even the band's financial advisor for the past 33 years, Prince Rupert Lowenstein. Their views are sometimes fascinating (the unvarnished perspective of Crawdaddy Club owner Giorgio Gomelsky, the well-told stories of art bon vivant Christopher Gibbs), but just as often self-indulgent or sycophantic. Fans looking for an artfully designed volume of photos spanning the Stones' career won't be disappointed. Anyone seeking a comprehensive history of the band may want to wait for the band's definitive biography, which has attempted many times but has yet to be written. --Keith Moerer

From Publishers Weekly

That their longtime band mate Bill Wyman did his own exhaustive Stones coffee-table book last fall hasn't stopped the other members from doing a collection of old photos and recollections, too. The snapshots are wonderful (one of Jagger talking to Chuck Berry, each in a more outrageous '70s getup than the other, is particularly memorable) and the reminiscences, set up as an oral history, London slang and all, are engaging as well. Richards recalling postwar London as "horseshit and coal smoke, mixed with a bit of diesel here and there" really drives home just how long these guys have been around. Richards's wit is razor sharp, and the band's collective knowledge about old blues, R&B and jazz is awesome. What sets the book apart from Wyman's is a collection of essays from various musicians, industry people and authors. Sheryl Crow's is particularly heartfelt, as she describes when Jagger called to invite her to sing at a 1995 pay-per-view gig in Miami, then to share Thanksgiving dinner with the band and vomiting up the holiday meal before taking the stage. "Is there a way to describe what it is like to have Mick Jagger flirt with you on stage as if you were alone in a bedroom?" she writes. Author Carl Hiaasen writes about drawing inspiration from the old Stones photograph that hangs above his desk. Whether there's room on the coffee table for both Wyman's book and this one depends on the fan's love of the band.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (October 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811840603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811840606
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1.5 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #980,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By L. Alper on March 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The recent publication of "According to the Rolling Stones" to coincide with the Forty Licks Tour, is classic Stones-style media manipulation. Looking back over their career & my collection of Stones videos, books & CD's, it is obvious that once again Jagger (& to a lesser extent, Richards) are attempting to revise their personal history and somehow cleanse themselves of their bad-boy image. This particular effort is the penultimate revision of a well-documented history.
From the outset, the choices made by the books' editor (Dora Lowenstein, daughter of the financial advisor to the Stones, Prince Rupert Lowenstein) as to whom to include make it obvious this will be a trip thru the past brightly. The single most glaring omission is that of Bill Wyman; yes, he's not currently a Rolling Stone, but one would think that 25+ years as an official Stone would count for something. Obviously, Dora & Co. didn't agree. Other omissions include Mick Taylor (only the spark for the finest Rolling Stones guitar interplay recorded), Andrew Loog Oldham (even Jagger/Richards admit they probably never would gone beyond the Crawdaddy Club without ALO), Bobby Keys (Keith's best friend for many years & the leader of the Stones horn section since 1969) and the Stones women, past & present. Marianne Faithfull & Anita Pallenberg were considered adjunct members of the Stones for many years, most of them the most productive and artistically satisfying of their career. The list of those Missing In Action could also include dead, but on-the-record Stones members such as Brian Jones and (especially missed!) Ian Stewart who was the original founder with Jones of the band. Stewart knew where all the bodies were buried, and never failed to take the Jagger/Richards egos down a peg or 10.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Morris on November 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
From reading this coffee-table book, a person who did not know much about the Stones could possibly conclude the following:
1. Bill Wyman was not in the Stones
2. Brian Jones made no great contributions and was a drug-addled pain in the a--.
3. Mick Taylor was a Stone briefly
This is a book written by the three original Stones who still play together, plus long-time member Ronnie Wood. It is written in their words and at times I found their comments to be self-serving and overly harsh of others. Wyman, the great bassist, is discussed by his rhythm-mate Charlie Watts because of his effeminate bass playing and tiny hands. Brian Jones, who WAS the Rolling Stones early on and made their music special, is dismissed for his lack of song-writing ability, his drug use, and his mental problems. Should Rolling Stones throw Stones, especially ones who live in glass houses? All of these guys were drug-addled and messed up at one point. Even if he was hard to live with, why not dwell on the many positives that the guy brought to the group? And Mick Taylor, who laid down some of the greatest lead guitar riffs in Stones history, is, like Wyman, alive and well, and yet he and Wyman were never even interviewed for this book. Why is that? Is it because this is a self-serving project aimed at boosting the stock of Rolling Stones, Incorporated, the remaining members?
The photos are excellent. Some of the commentary is interesting, especially from the usually tight-lipped Charlie Watts. The essays by outsiders that are inserted between chapters give new meaning to the term sycophantic.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Manny Hernandez HALL OF FAME on November 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book makes for more than just a nice coffee table book. It's got more than cool shots (a good many of them posed for) and interesting tales of the band by its four remaining members (and a host of interviews by collaborators, fans and close friends). What's missing from the book almost speaks louder than wha'ts in it. It is inevitable to stumble upon the absence of ANY quotes from the late Brian Jones, his substitute Mick Taylor or the former bass player Bill Wyman. It's the proverbial invisible elephant in the room! Let's face it: the book is more about the vibe and chemistry that kept the surviving members together through the years. Those left behind (like Wyman) have only themselves or their legends to speak for them. Because of this, I take a star off my rating, and leave it still at a good four stars, because it is still a nice document.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Berry on December 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I would agree with most of the negative reviews this book has received so far, and history has indeed been re-written. While Mick Taylor's role in the Stones' career could not be overstated, it is Bill Wyman's virtual absence that is the most shocking. Most of the band's shots from the 70's, but especially the 80's and 90's seem to deliberately leave him out. This is insulting to any self-respecting Stones fan and quite a disappointment (although not a complete surprise). As everyone knows, Bill was an original member of the band and his career as a Stone lasted almost 40 years. The Mick'n'Keef show could never have existed without the steadfast rythm section that anchored the band throughout most of its history. Shame on the other Stones for going out their way to practically eliminate Bill Wyman from this biography. And who exactly does Mick Jagger think he is fooling when he sings about neo-cons, then proceeds to pick Ameriquest, one of the worst predatory lenders in America, as a tour sponsor? Who said the Stones aged gracefully? Get Bill's book instead.
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