The Rolling Stones – Hot Rocks 1964-1971

Posted: November 4, 2013 by generationgbooks in Music


I wasn’t a big fan of The Rolling Stones until “Bud Man, Stink Man” (Ex #2) brought out his vinyl albums one day. I had heard bits and pieces of the Stones through the years, but my Mom did not play them a lot, because she didn’t approve of several songs: “Let’s Spend The Night Together”, “Satisfaction”, “Brown Sugar,” and “Under My Thumb”. Various reasons were bandied about, but I have to think it goes back to the fact that she was somewhat of a prude on many matters of the flesh and wicked sin. Unfortunately, shielding me from music that she deemed “vulgar” did not stop her oldest from being a pervert. Sorry, Mom.

“The Poor Man’s Scott Weiland” had Beggars Banquet, Goats Head Soup, and Hot Rocks 1964-1971, on vinyl. He played all three records continuously when he wasn’t trying to play guitar and cat wauling to Disturbed’s debut album (“The Sickness” indeed. You should have heard them. Shameful.) He thought nothing of putting on the Stones when he was drunk and in the mood to fight. For many years after that, I shunned the Stones, for the simple memory of hearing “Under My Thumb” sang to me while I was having an ashtray thrown at me or being spit upon, ruined that song for me. The message of the song itself wasn’t one that I would universally get behind, either. But there was something to it, some undefinable hook, that still has me tapping my foot to it these days. I do tap with a bit of shame, but I tap regardless.

However, years later, due to the magic that was Carol and Jennie’s sterling influence over me, I rediscovered the Rolling Stones and their magnificent catalog of music. There were many weekends shoving my face with Popeyes, coffee, cigarettes, Beggar’s Pizza, and the entire catalog of Rolling Stones at that house in Blue Island. I still miss it. It was fun. It would be fun again to have days where you spend time just shoving your face full of good, healthy food while listening to and critiquing records. My favorite album quickly grew to be the greatest hits compilation Hot Rocks 1964-1971. Everyone knows I had a fixation with greatest hits records, to the point at one time, that over 60% of my collection, was greatest hits. Thankfully, that lunacy passed and I’m back to actual albums again. 

Anyway, this album was a great find. I found it without actually looking for it. It’s solid gold all the way through all four sides. You start with the crooning, wistful “Time Is On My Side”work your way through the haze that was “Mother’s Little Helper” and “19th Nervous Breakdown”to the later 60’s politically charged atmospheric charge of “Street Fighting Man” and” Sympathy for the Devil”up until the quiet soul of “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses”In between, bookended through those eight years of hits covered, are the ups and downs of the times that are encompassed.

It’s also bookended by many chaotic situations not only in the world around the Stones, but in the lives of the Stones. Multiple drug arrests, the tragic drowning death of original guitarist Brian Jones, questions of relationship swapping and excess between Mick and Keith, as well as the tragic Altamont incident captured in the documentary Gimme Shelter. It wasn’t a happy time, but the music carried on. That’s why it’s a true masterpiece. A lot of greatest hits have filler or craptastic songs just tossed onto the selection to fill up enough for the thieves in the music industry to sell this shit. Hot Rocks 1964-1971, happily, doesn’t have a weak song on it.

I found it at a fucking arts and crafts show at Richards High School. Re-read that again. I went with Heidi and her mom and sisters to a Christmas craft show in 1999. The one table had old school vinyl. Since it was not yet sacrilegious in 1998 to play vinyl and cassettes still, I was drawn to it like Rosie O’ Donnell to a triple decker cheesecake.  A lot of crap was in this box of vinyl- Seals And Crofts, America, Debby Boone (Debby Boone???), Paul Williams, and Rita CoolidgeIn other words, lite rock 1970’s AM radio crap that I wouldn’t be caught dead looking at, much less listening to. However, I had a hunch and kept going.

All the way at the end was Hot Rocks. I shrieked in joy. The fool had taken the vinyl with him when he got booted on VD that year (yes, I ended a relationship on Valentine’s Day. I’m sure I’m bound to some sort of Zoosk dating damnation for that, but oh well.), so I was pretty bored without Hot Rocks to keep me and the Southern Comfort and Peppermint Schnapps company on lonely, dark nights. Lonely no more, there it was. It wasn’t, still isn’t, in the greatest shape, but I have it, I own it, I love it, and if you try to take it, I will rip your arm off. In the meantime, if you have no dastardly intent toward my copy of The Rolling Stones vinyl, you really should pick up a copy of it. Preferably, on vinyl. Preferably not on “the Jungle Path toward bookstore Ruination” or EFlay, but at a record store, if you can find one. Nothing sounds as great as “Under My Thumb”, cracks and pops included.


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