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Arise Sir Mick; we (still) love you!


Arise Sir Mick; we (still) love you!

(By Joubert Malherbe - Courtesy The Pretoria News)

As occasional readers of this column will know, I have a penchant for music - of the old rock 'n roll variety. So, it was with some degree of, erm, satisfaction that I read the report about Mick Jagger being awarded a knighthood. If you'll indulge me a bit and allow me to explain myself: I have always regarded the Rolling Stones as probably the greatest rock 'n roll band. I mean, they're still rolling - just; and minus two of the original members - and that is quite a feat.

I say "greatest", as opposed to "best". As far as I'm concerned, the "best" accolade has to go to the Beatles and Led Zeppelin respectively - all relative, I know, but hey I mean, my ears have heard a whole lot of music (as the song by the Who says). Dylan, needless to say, remains a prime favourite, although I think of his contribution to the wonderful animal called rock 'n roll more in terms of words than music. Roy Harper is also tops, of course!

When I was younger I was a bit more into fringe figures. I found the extremely scholarly, if loony pants, output of people like Peter Hammill, Kevin Coyne, Robert Fripp, Syd Barrett etc. both intellectually stimulating and aesthetically pleasing.

But I find that quite a few of these records have probably, nay certainly, now been relegated to that musty container in the corner of the attic and will gather dust for the rest of time - alongside books by Lobsang Rampa and the like. Gentle Giant, anyone? Or Exception? I have yet to sit through all six sides of Tales Of Topographic Oceans. However, most of my Stones records are still on A or at least B-play list shelf. Okay, so they had a few fillers on some, if not all, their albums, but these are well worth sitting through to get to the gems.

I have some favourites among the newer crop of bands as well: like Pearl Jam, Counting Crows, Creed and Toad In Sprocket. Anyway, to get back to the Stones and Mick's knighthood: there are those who take his being awarded a Gong (another good band) as a sure sign that rock 'n roll - in the broadest sense - has lost its teeth. Sellout, these detractors say - rock is supposed to be about rebellion etc. etc. Too true - but I reckon these people miss the point.

I remember the jukebox in the self-service restaurant area in the old OK Bazaars in, I think, Andries Street, in 1970. It featured a song called Child Of The Moon - a little known Stones track which I don't think ever made it on to an album. I was in Matric at the time at a school in the city centre. Myself and other like-minded cohorts would go to the OK Bazaars every Friday afternoon to have a Pepsi and I would play said song at least three times. And yeah, it was a song about rebellion and it stirred the savage beast within - but it was a rebellion with a cause! Anti-war, anti-crass materialism, anti-bigotry, anti-hate and pro-good old peace and love!

The other Stones song on the jukebox was called We Love You and I played that too. And that is precisely the way I still listen to rock 'n roll today. There is obviously an irony in that Mick et al are pretty well-off these days, but I can live with that too. At least they didn't make their millions selling arms!

So arise, Sir Mick; we love you. I must confess, however, that even I baulk somewhat at the idea of Sir Keith Richard (my favourite Stone, by the way).

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