EIGHINGER: A look at Mick and the Boys as The Stones celebrate 50 years
The Rolling Stones are celebrating their 50th anniversary this summer, and that in itself is so ironic.
For those old enough to remember one of their early hits, "Mother's Little Helper," you may recall the first line to that song when Mick Jagger told us:
What a drag it is getting old
I recently heard that song on one of the oldies channels and had to smile. Mick, Keith Richards and the rest are all now in their late 60s and early 70s, and when I look at some of the more recent pictures of the band, I have to admit they look like I feel some mornings. There are more lines in Richards' face than on the Illinois road map that is crumpled up in the glove compartment of my Kia.
Love them or hate them, the Rolling Stones have probably had some sort of an effect on just about everyone alive today. Thanks to the baby boomers, their most familiar music from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s is heard as much or more today than it was in those original decades. Plus, who has not been to some sort of athletic event and not heard "Start Me Up" before the opening kickoff or jump ball?
Some hail the Rolling Stones for breaking new ground -- along with numerous laws -- throughout their career. Others say they pushed the envelope of decency over the edge. While they are now described as "adult contemporary," they were once listed -- even blackballed -- as "rebellious." But let's be honest, much of the trouble and fuss they created many years ago would be considered tame by today's standards.
The Rolling Stones have been on stage since Ken Boyer played third base for the Cardinals. Heck, their first hit record was before we even had color television sets in our living rooms.
The Beatles broke up in 1970, or 42 years ago. The Stones are still going strong, even planning a 50th anniversary tour for 2013. Yeah, that's right, 2013, one year after the actual anniversary. No, they didn't count wrong, it's just taking them a little longer to put everything together. Remember, these guys are old and don't move as fast as they once did, although Mick still prances around stage at age 69 like he was still 21.
At the time the Beatles and Stones were part of the same pop music landscape the general consensus was most parents would have preferred their daughter dated John, George, Paul or Ringo -- as opposed to Mick or any of his boys.
The Beatles sang "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." The Stones gave us "Let's Spend the Night Together." In fact, it was that song that ultimately got the band banned from American television for a few years.
At the time, the Stones were first taking America by storm as part of the famed British Invasion, they made a handful of appearances of the mega-popular "Ed Sullivan Show" on CBS. Sullivan ordered Mick to change the lyrics to "let's spend some time together," and after some heated debates the Stones agreed. But when Mick came to that line in the song he rolled his eyes, making fun of the change.
Sullivan was so infuriated that he vowed the band would never be on the show again -- and he kept his word.
That was hardly the first or the last time the Rolling Stones came under some sort of controversial fire, but I think most would agree their image today is not quite what it once was. That's what "adult contemporary" can do for a band.
What a drag it is getting old.