50 Licks: Myths & Stories from Half a Century of The Rolling Stones

Pete Fornatale, Author
Pete Fornatale. Bloomsbury, $17 (288p) ISBN 978-1-60819-921-1
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 02/26/2013
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-4088-3382-7
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4088-3383-4
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In his final book, the late Fornatale (Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends) misses his intended mark but still scores a hit with this ramshackle collection of observations, stories, and ephemera surrounding one of rock's most iconic bands. Using 50 songs as its proposed thematic axis, Fornatale promptly abandons it after the table of contents, preferring to offer 287 pages of anecdotes, photos, and off-the-cuff analysis. Readers willing to abandon any expectations (not even the songs/chapters are organized chronologically by release) will likely find Fornatale to be an unabashed admirer of the band, and it's on that level that the book succeeds. Among the real beauties here are Keith Richards's thoughts on the pressure of following up a hit like "Satisfaction", John Lennon's harsh remarks regarding the band ("Satanic Majesties is [Sargeant] Pepper"), the often-silent Charlie Watts on Brian Jones's demise, and the artful collage of comments surrounding the creation of "Exile on Main Street" from the involved parties. Casual listeners expecting a literal song-by-song analysis will be sorely disappointed, but Stones fans interested in the details of the band's career will likely find this to be a highly entertaining read that'll give them a deeper appreciation of the band's legacy. (Feb)
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