"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Birthday Today - Keef!

It's Keith Richards' 69th birthday today.   Who would have thought he'd make it?   Looking back, though, you can make an argument that Richards and Jagger and the Rolling Stones were the greatest artists of the 1960s.   The so-called great novelists -- Mailer, Pynchon, etc. -- are almost unreadable today.   The so-called great artist, Andy Warhol, looks dated and self-parodic.   But, if you get yourself into a quiet place and let the needle drop on the first song of Beggar's Banquet or the first song of Let it Bleed or the first song of Sticky Fingers -- Sympathy for the Devil, Gimme Shelter, Brown Sugar -- you still get an almost diamond-perfect, crystalline sense of the sex and fun and wildness and danger and chaos of the late 1960s.   Great art is the art that lasts longest and speaks across the generations.   Homer.   Virgil.   Dante.   Shakespeare.   Caravaggio.   Michelangelo.   Mozart.   Mozart.   Beethoven.   I'm not putting the Stones in that league.   But they've lasted a lot lot longer than anyone would have thought.

The Regular Son and I have often commented... imagine the Beatles in 1968 getting the latest Stones album -- their main competitors in rock and roll -- and putting the record on the turntable and setting the needle down and then listening as this came out of their speakers:

I suspect they said something like:

Crap.   They're better than us.

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