The Rolling Stones are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, and like everything with the Stones, they're doing it big. The band has scheduled a series of five special concerts on both sides of the Atlantic, beginning next Sunday in London and continuing in Newark, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, New York, in December.
And like everything with the Stones, it's expensive. Tickets for the London shows, for example, range in price from about $150 to $1,500, which has prompted more than a few complaints. The band has defended the prices, saying that they're doing a large-scale show with only five audiences to cover the production costs. "We've already spent a million on rehearsing in Paris," guitarist Ronnie Wood told The Telegraph recently. "And the stage is going to be another few million. And the lights. We feel no bad thing about ticket prices. We've got to make something."
The rock 'n' roll businessmen also expect to make something from a pay-per-view broadcast of the sold-out December 15 show in Newark, along with sales of a new illustrated autobiography called The Rolling Stones: 50 and a retrospective album called GRRR!, which comes in several editions ranging from the three-disc basic CD version to a five-disc vinyl boxed set. While promoting the album, all four members of the Stones agreed to be interviewed by Melissa Block of the NPR program All Things Considered. Block asked each of the Stones to pick one song from their extensive catalog to discuss. It's an interesting series of conversations, and you can hear each one by following these links:
- Keith Richards: 'These Riffs Were Built to Last a Lifetime'
- Charlie Watts on What Makes 'Satisfaction' So Satisfying
- Ronnie Wood's Funky Contribution to the Stones' Canon
- Mick Jagger on the Apocalyptic 'Gimme Shelter'
Along with the expected classics, GRRR! includes two new songs, including the first single released by the Stones in six years, "Doom and Gloom." (See the video below.) It's a blustery tune, lacking the rhythmic sophistication and inventiveness of the band's earlier work, but it amply demonstrates that even after 50 years, the Stones still know how to rock.