Stones like fine wine..a midafternoon ramble:

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Posted by Mr. Ventilator ( on November 14, 2000 at 14:22:54:

I got nasty habits..I take Stones at three..and the boots I eat for dinner..must be..nineteen seventy threes.

For the past year or so, I've listened almost exclusively to Stones boots - Handsome Girls, Happy Birthday Nicky, Headin for an Overload, Philly '72, and a few others. I've stopped buying new music almost entirely..nothing else delivers the hit that these Stones boots do.

Every day I get in the car to go to work..and I crank the Stones. I crank 'em again on the way home. And at work..I think about crankin 'em. I've become obsessed with the minutae of Stones tours - whether YCAGWYW was better in '72 or '73, do the best RW-era shows hold up to the MT years, and what exactly it was that made these shows so great.

It's an addiction, that's for sure. How can I stop? This stuff is 25 or 30 years old..why isn't there new music out there which is this real..this edgy..this compelling?

These boots are like legendary bordeaux..they keep getting better with age. If no wine since has equalled, say, the '47 Cheval Blanc, why does it seem so remarkable that no rock music has equalled '73 Stones? Is it because we tend to share the modern mindset that expects things to always be improving? This is mindset that is reluctant to admit that music made 25 years ago hasn't been equalled since.

I'm personally of the opinion that rock music peaked in '70-'73, though I realize that a case can be made for or against this period as the peak, or even the whole concept of a "peak" in any popular culture form. Either way, it must be said that 80% of popular music is dreck, regardless of the year. But I think the real key is how well the very best stuff from a given era holds up decades later. And here the '72-'73 Stones have proven to be the '47 Cheval Blanc of Rock.

Most rock and roll, like most wine, is meant to be drunk young. Only the very finest names, in the finest vintages, can hold up for thirty years or more. And there's nothing wrong with wine - or rock - made for the moment. But when you start drinking the really good stuff - the stuff with the power and intensity to carry it through decades, it's hard to get excited about this year's Beaujalais Nouveau.

There's one difference, of course. A bottle of '47 Cheval Blanc will set you back 2 grand or more - if you can find one. But you can get a copy of Happy Birthday Nicky for just a few bucks..or even free.

Life is good.