It’s been 50 years since the Rolling Stones played their first show at London’s Marquee Jazz Club, and somehow they still manage to make themselves relevant. All between the ages of 65 and 71, the “bad boys of rock” — Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger — are unashamedly celebrating their five-decade legacy in a big way, proving they can not only get what they need, but what they want, too.
The anniversary commemoration includes a new album released last week titled GRRR!. Crossfire Hurricane, a new documentary on the band, just premiered in the UK and the US. The band also released a hardcover photographic book, The Rolling Stones 50. A film retrospective, The Rolling Stones 50 Years, began last week at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. As must now be evident, the media and marketing campaign behind the 50th anniversary has been massive. The Stones even asked artist Shepard Fairey to update the famous tongue logo for the anniversary. But the biggest news for fans is that the band is including five major live shows to celebrate the 50th, the first of which kicked off in London this past Sunday.
Although this level of pomp and celebration might seem a bit much, considering the band haven’t had a hit in over 20 years, loud and obnoxious is what people have always loved the Stones for. Without a doubt, the Rolling Stones changed the face of rock and roll. The iconic style and level of attitude that they possessed would redefine the way rock music from Britain influenced the rest of the world, not only in terms of music, but in art and cinema, too.
They have endured through hundreds of songs, death, drug addiction and several public feuds. Over the years, they have managed to stay in the public eye. Last year, Richards caused a stir with his memoir Life, and Jagger got to host Saturday Night Live.
The great power of nostalgia built around their anti-establishment image is what the Stones thrive on and why they continue to milk the money machine. That, and making it difficult to argue the fact that “they don’t make rockstars like that anymore”. For the Rolling Stones’ remaining legacy, the sum is greater than the parts.
In a sense, Crossfire Hurricane is positioned as a reminder to the world and to younger generations of their wilder, crazier, more prolific