I have an eclectic taste in music; I know people say that all the time, but right my Spotify is playing Rufus Wainwright’s new version ‘Hallelujah’ with Choir! Choir! Choir!, and, while writing this review, it moved to ‘Go, Go, Go Joseph’ from musical masterpiece Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, and then, just by wonderful happenstance, to ‘Angie’ by The Rolling Stones. My dad always told me that no one sings a ballad better than Mick Jagger, and Goat’s Head Soup was, and still is, a constant in his car.
Rich Cohen is what you’d call a Rolling Stones fanatic. Following them on the road as a young journalist, he came under their spell and all that came along with that – from the massive highs and the lowest lows. Cohen’s The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones gives the reader a new understanding and view of the Rolling Stones.
Cohen’s descriptions of the band members give the reader insight into how close and personal he managed to get with the band. While any fan knows Keith Richards isn’t overly articulate these days, unless you’ve spent time around him you wouldn’t know, “Now and then he laughs for no apparent reason, as if the humour of his life suddenly occurred to him, and that laugh often gives way to a coughing fit.”
The book largely discussed the two most recognisable figureheads of the Stones – Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. Cohen’s Richards comes across as a down-to-earth survivor of the Stones’ lifestyle after all these years, while Jagger is described as “showbiz, a pop version of the classic Hollywood diva, for whom the show must always go on, for whom obscurity is even more terrifying than death… He stands before the millions but the millions don’t exist. At the centre of the universe, Mick Jagger dances alone.” After finishing this book, it’s surprising to know that Cohen co-created the HBO TV show Vinyl with Jagger and Martin Scorsese which was cancelled after one season – perhaps a blessing in disguise after Jagger reads this book?
While delving into the longevity of the Stones in discussion with Richards, Richards turns it back to Cohen, questioning his birth year (1968), and asking “What’s it like to live in a world where the Stones were always there? For you, there’s always been the sun and the moon and the Rolling Stones.”
Many of us live in this world Richards describes, where some of the most important and long-lasting music ever written came out decades before we were born. We often learn that members of our favourite bands were dead before we started to truly understand the meaning of their music. While not my favourite band to come from the 60’s (long live The Beatles), the music and style of The Rolling Stones will undoubtedly continue, especially following the announcement of their blues album due out in December 2016.
I’m sure The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones and the new album will make an excellent Christmas present for your Stones fan.
Reviewed by Kimaya McIntosh
The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones
by Rich Cohen
Published by Headline Book Publishing