Rocks Off by Bill Janovitz
50 Tracks That Tell the Story of the Rolling Stones

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"Rocks Off" is an intense pleasure—a series of love letters plus a few notes of despair—and almost as good as the music it celebrates. Mr. Janovitz starts with a short reprise of how Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, schoolboy friends, bumped into each other at a train station in 1961.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

December 3-4, 1969. Keith and Mick stood at the same microphone at Muscle Shoals, lights dimmed, splitting a fifth of bourbon, and simultaneously sang the melodies and harmonies on the three songs that they had recorded over three days: "Brown Sugar," "You Got to Move," and "Wild Horses." That's your rock ‘n' roll fantasy right there, pal. A six-piece band working in a tiny converted coffin factory across from an Alabama graveyard, on an eight-track recorder, with no computer editing or Autotune, recorded three songs, representing 30 percent of one of the greatest rock ‘n' roll records of all time.

So tells Bill Janovitz of the making of the inimitable triple-platinum album, Sticky Fingers, which hit number one in the US and the UK in 1971, skyrocketing the band to superstardom.

To Bill, all artists reveal themselves through their work and the Rolling Stones are no different: Each song exposes a little more of their soul. In Rocks Off, Janovitz reveals the forces at work behind the band's music by deconstructing their most representative tunes from their incredible fifty years of record making. Written by a Stones fanatic, this is a song-by-song chronicle that maps the landmarks of the band's career while expanding on their recording and personal history. Much like friends pouring over old records or having a barroom argument over the merits of certain songs, the book presents the musical leaps taken by the band and discusses how the lyrical content both reflected and influenced popular culture. The song choices are chronological and subjective; many of them are the classic hits; however, the book digs deeper into beloved album tracks and songs with unique stories behind them.

Rocks Off is the ultimate listening guide and thinking man's companion that will spur you to dust off those old albums and listen in with a newfound perspective on one of the most famous and acclaimed rock 'n' roll bands of all time.

 

About Bill Janovitz

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BILL JANOVITZ is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter in the band Buffalo Tom. He's also released three solo albums. He wrote Exile on Main Street about the iconic Stones album in the critically acclaimed 33 1/3 series. He has written extensively for the All Music Guide online site and has also contributed to BostonMagazine.com, the Boston Phoenix, and Post Road magazine. He lives in Massachusetts with his family.
 
Published July 23, 2013 by St. Martin's Press. 417 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Arts & Photography, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Rocks Off
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Ken Kurson on Sep 13 2013

"Rocks Off" is an intense pleasure—a series of love letters plus a few notes of despair—and almost as good as the music it celebrates. Mr. Janovitz starts with a short reprise of how Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, schoolboy friends, bumped into each other at a train station in 1961.

Read Full Review of Rocks Off: 50 Tracks That Tel... | See more reviews from WSJ online

Kirkus

Good
on Jun 08 2013

...his insights are shrewd and should inspire listeners to return to the recordings with fresh ears, recognizing that the Stones are more than Mick and Keith. Even fanatics will learn something here.

Read Full Review of Rocks Off: 50 Tracks That Tel... | See more reviews from Kirkus

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