Veteran music journalist Hanspeter Kuenzler can pinpoint the exact date The Rolling Stones came rushing into his life with the bravado and swagger that still defines the iconic rock band. It was April 18, 1967 when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards rendered the 11-year-old awestruck during a TV news report about their Zurich, Switzerland concert run amok while his parents stood “aghast” and questioned the effect Britain’s bad boys were having on “modern youth.”
“I was just fascinated. It seemed strange and fascinating, this world of music that I didn’t really know yet,” Kuenzler remembers. “I’ve been hooked ever since.”
This early fandom transformed into a lifelong passion that finds Kuenzler at the helm of an eBook celebrating the band’s golden anniversary. 50 Years: The Rolling Stones – Views From The Inside, Views From the Outside, dissects the band’s history year-by-year through press accounts and interviews with those entrenched in the band’s inner-circle. Available through Amazon.com and iTunes, the two-part book also features breathtaking photos documenting Jagger’s baby face and Richards’ ever-present crevices.
Looking back over the band’s storied career showed Kuenzler why the Stones lasted for half a century. “There was a real power in the music and I think even divorced from all that social background and from the soap opera element – when will Keith Richards die on stage? – the music has just an incredible power. The energy hasn’t faded and what it communicates hasn’t faded either.”
Does it irk Kuenzler that the band continues to perform in all its bloated glory? “They’re the first ones to [have to] learn how to grow old gracefully or disgracefully – it doesn’t really matter. They were pioneers in terms of turning rock music into something that was more than just a teenage phenomenon,” he defends. “You can still put on a fantastic show whether you look ridiculous or not . . . the music has endured.”
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