OLD GODS ALMOST DEAD: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones

Stephen Davis, Author . Broadway $27.50 (624p) ISBN 978-0-7679-0312-7

In 1985's bestselling The Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga, rock biographer Davis shocked and entertained readers with the raunchy details of the band's backstage exploits. In this latest unauthorized biography, he once again details the "musical successes and personal excesses" but fails to offer any new insights into one of the world's greatest bands. (Stanley Booth's 1985 The True History of the Rolling Stones covers much of the same ground). In the first bio on the Stones in more than a decade, Davis begins with the band's first big break as the intermission act at London's Marquee Club in 1962 and ends with their bloated global tours of the late 1990s. While Davis's pulpy narrative ("The smell of espresso is in the air, the smell of sex, the smell of suicide") provides an enjoyable recap and critique of the Stones' records and performances, he misses the most interesting aspect of their longevity. Namely, why do these middle-aged men, once embodying the very pinnacle of renegade youth, choose to keep on as mere shadows of their former selves? This refusal to move on, despite one uninspired disc after another, is the most fascinating part of the Stones' past 15 years. Rock critic John Strausbaugh's Rock 'Til You Drop: The Decline from Rebellion to Nostalgia tackles the subject of has-been rockers in general and features Mick Jagger on the cover, but an account focused on the Stones' slide into irrelevance has yet to be written. 48 b&w photos not seen by PW. (On sale Nov. 6)

Forecast:Despite its faults, this book will sell well to the Stones' many fans, as well as to nostalgic baby boomers.

Reviewed on: 10/08/2001
Release date: 11/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 624 pages - 978-0-7679-0313-4
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