I became a Rolling Stones aficionado at the age of six. My sister’s record player in the next room rotated at 45 rpm’s as I pretended to sleep. I knew the words and the tunes to the early songs. My dolls had concerts in the Barbie fashion house that I got for Christmas. Great times they were.
When I was in 6th, maybe 7th, possibly 8th grade I watched Gimme Shelter at the YMCA. Dismissed early from school, I was locked out of the house. I shrugged and went to the Y with my chums. They all chatted and did whatever, but I was glued to the grainy figures on the black and white television set. Wow! This stuff, even edited for the masses, was unbelievable. I was in awe.
The first album that I ever purchased was Hot Rocks; bought at Grant’s-uptown; I had the exact change and absolutely nothing more—the sales tax dumbfounded me. I listened to it for hours on end on my crummy record player which was not manufactured for LP’s. But when my parents were out—their excellent HiFi straight from Japan was put into service. The sound was a–mazing.
My brother joined me in my enthusiasm—a good thing because with the exception of a last name, we had absolutely nothing in common. He helped me purchase albums early on, he understood this sales tax nonsense. As adults the newest creation of any member of the band was waiting for me under the family Christmas tree. He knew my tastes well.
The Some Girls album came out as I started college. The album cover was scandalous and the music fabulous. Every Stone’s song sounded great on the newly installed sound system in the underground campus bar. The Blushing Brides, a Stones tribute group, played at a function during our senior week. They weren’t the Stones, but no one cared.
The Stones toured in 1981 while I was about to enter the world of high finance. I lived in Boston and was unemployed. There was talk of a free Stones concert at Government Center. I was ready, but Boston wasn’t. After I landed a job, the Blushing Brides played Boston at the Bradford Ballroom. I was there—once again. Not the Rolling Stone’s, but it was the best I could do.
I had some complications in my early adult life—who doesn’t, right? Anyway, I was, in effect, shattered. I took solace on my bike and the Rolling Stones played on my Sony Walkman coaching me along my fourteen mile daily ride. Between Shattered, Just My Imagination and Beast of Burden I could take any curve or hill on the rocky New England coastline.
My daughter was born on a Thursday morning. Thank goodness for the drive-thru, push and carry, childbirth rules of the time–otherwise I would have missed the All Stones Weekend on VHI. We had to tape it: our three-under-five had better lungs and demanded more attention than the middle-aged rockers. But that video tape, as it turns out, is a prize possession. The Rolling Stones had just released Stripped and VH1 aired a Stripped program. It followed the Stones from the small European theatre venues to the studio as they recorded the album. The Stripped video isn’t available anywhere. And to this day, along with all the new gadgets hooked up to our giant television, is a dual DVD/VHS player—just so we can still enjoy Stripped.
That year, under the Christmas tree the Stripped cassette was awaiting—unwrapped. My brother had to listen to it before he gave it away. It was, however, the last new cassette ever added to my collection. I believe I listened to it so often that my old Sony Walkman, dragged back into service, ate it up and I was unable to spin it back together again.
I moved on and the Rolling Stones followed me when we purchased a CD player. Strangely enough my first CD purchase was Hot Rocks. Our stereo is mostly dismantled now. We had to make room for the new era of entertainment. Most of my music tends to come from the playlists on my phone–Beast of Burden and Shattered are generally in my top 25.
Something caught my eye this past winter–the Rolling Stones had scheduled a stop in Buffalo. Buffalo! I couldn’t believe they were touring in the U.S, let alone so close to home. I got tickets before they went on sale. This time no matter what, I was not going to miss the Rolling Stones.
Oh my, deep sigh. What a concert. I’d love to write about it, but I wouldn’t be able to conjure up the right words. It was perfect–they were perfect.
In the fifty-plus years that they have preformed together, I have shed the Barbie dolls, graduated from elementary school, high school, and college; had jobs, lost jobs, started businesses; got married, had kids and they transitioned into adulthood. I have listen to the Rolling Stones on every device and watched them on every medium possible. Their music is as much a part of my life as almost anything. But, it was when they were live–in person–that I realized what an unbelievable economic feat they had accomplished. The Rolling Stones are definitely Economics Courageous.
And I didn’t even mention all the products they had licensed over the decades!