Stones on the road, but The Who still the best

The Rolling Stones Ronnie wood and Keith Richards wow the crowd at The SECC in Glasgow as part of their 40 licks tour.  Photo Robert Perry The Scotsman
The Rolling Stones Ronnie wood and Keith Richards wow the crowd at The SECC in Glasgow as part of their 40 licks tour. Photo Robert Perry The Scotsman

Are they the greatest rock and roll band in the world?

Are they the greatest rock and roll band in the world?

The question is subjective of course but for the thousands of fans eagerly clutching tickets for the Rolling Stones the answer will be a resounding yes and after 50 years of continuously ‘doing it’ by performing live around the globe, who am I to argue?

Ol’ ‘rubber lips’, or thinking about it, ‘rubber hips’ is probably more appropriate, Mick Jagger and the band kicked off their latest tour in London on Tuesday, and from the reaction both on social media and in the press reviews, they gave plenty of satisfaction.

Pushing a good decade past the national retirement age, Mick, Ronnie, Keith and Charlie defy belief as far as their stamina, energy and stage prowess goes, and while they are easy targets for some comedians and commentators, they are banging out two or three hour shows that put bands half their age to shame.

Frankie Boyle might joke his ageist nonsense that “Moves like Jagger is now something a care-worker writes on a physiotherapy report,” while others denounce them as ‘old farts that are too old to tour’, but the crowds made up of every conceivable age group have, and will continue to be, blown away by renditions of Under My Thumb, Lets Spend The Night Together and Brown Sugar, to name just three.

It is, of course, somewhat ironic that my mum, the very same person who questioned my sanity back in 1982 for paying £5 for a ticket to stand with 100,000 other people in a field in Roundhay Park in Leeds to watch the Rolling Stones, a band that was past it because they’d been going nearly 20 years, is going to see them in Manchester next week.

I must give her credit though, she’s entitled to be excited to see her musical heroes 50 odd years after she successfully blagged her way into the studio audience of Top Of The Pops in 1964 to see the Stones perform.

That was back in the days when TOTP was filmed in a disused former church in the suburbs of Manchester.

She’d written to the BBC claiming her American penpal was over to visit and wouldn’t it be great for the pair of them to get to see some of the bands on the show.

The fact that my mum and her pal both lived in Wythenshawe, just three miles from the studio, was never discussed at the time, but has since been retold countless times at family gatherings.

Apparently the only downside was that she was filmed stood swooning at Billy Fury, a singer by 1964 who seemed like a relic to most teenagers by that time and a singer my mum is quite happy to say, even to this day, she can not stand.

Sadly no footage of this historic televisual moment exists. I know as I once wrote to the BBC to check.

Anyhow, for my mum the Rolling Stones will forever be THE greatest. For a work colleague here at the Press, who is currently on a two week, nine concert Rolling Stones road trip, there is also no question that the there is nobody to touch them.

So are the Rolling Stones REALLY the greatest?

Of course not, it’s The Who ... no, honestly, I’m telling you the truth!