Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Will There Ever Be Another Rolling Stones?

For nearly 50 years they have graced us with some of the greatest music ever performed. With amazing artists such as Keith Richards and Mick Jagger in the band, it’s easy to understand why The Rolling Stones really are the greatest rock and roll band in the world. It’s hard to imagine a band being together, performing, and producing relevant music for as long as the Rolling Stones have. Sure, Neil Diamond and Willie Nelson come close, but they are solo artists, making all of the decisions. The Rolling Stones are a band, which is akin to marriage. 50 years is an eternity for any band to be together, especially when they still frequently tour and record.

Whether you love or hate them, there is no denying that The Rolling Stones are living legends. They have more gold and platinum albums than any band you can name (except for maybe the Beatles and Kiss). Their music is timeless, their talent is iconic, and the band is still relevant and fun. How many other bands out there can claim that? How many bands currently in existence will be able to hit that mark? Will there ever be another band like the Rolling Stones?

I often wonder if Queen could have been that band. Having formed in 1973, Queen was very prolific until Freddie Mercury’s death (in 1992). They were still recording music that people cared about, but that was only after 18 years. Queen would have needed an additional 30+ years to get near what The Rolling Stones have accomplished. In the end, I’m not so sure that would have happened. Freddie Mercury could be difficult to work with at times, and he and Brian May did not always see eye to eye.

Iron Maiden is another band that comes into my mind. They’ve been touring and releasing great records since 1980. They are 30 years in and still going strong. Iron Maiden shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, and they have a world wide appeal as strong as The Rolling Stones. While they may not get much radio airplay, there is no denying the strength of their fan base. The band has the drive to last another 20 years as well, especially if they scale back touring to only one out of every five years (similar to the way the Stones have toured as of late).

Pearl Jam has a shot at making a run at The Rolling Stones and hitting the mark. Although only celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, they are another band that continues to make music fans care about, frequently tour, and are still considered highly entertaining by all those who see them in concert. And with band members only in their 40s, they are young enough to play for another 30 years, provided that they don’t want to hang it up for a quieter life.

Not many bands can do what the Rolling Stones have done. That mostly revolves around the true love that the band has for music. When The Rolling Stones first started out, all they cared about was being the best blues band in London. Brian Jones and Keith Richards practiced guitar and learned the latest blues songs for hours upon hours, daily. Drummer Charlie Watts only wanted to make enough money to support his family, which meant the band had to perform three to four gigs a week. Other than that, The Rolling Stones were happy. And it’s that passion that makes a band truly great.

Will there ever be another Rolling Stones? I doubt it. I can’t see any band plugging along for as long as they have, not even the two mentioned above. It’s hard to make lasting music and complete relevant tours for that many years. It’s even harder when you’re in your 70s. The Rolling Stones are the rarest of rare breeds, a one of a kind, first class act that will never be repeated. They truly are, the world’s greatest rock and roll band.

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