Unzipping ‘the world’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band’

Our childhood belonged to The Beatles. But our teen years definitely belonged to The Rolling Stones, the rebel yin to The Beatles’ initially more clean-cut yang. So we couldn’t be more delighted to receive an advance copy of “The Rolling Stones: Unzipped” ($50, 288 pages, 400 illustrations), which Thames & Hudson will publish Oct. 12 amid the band’s “No Filter” tour and in anticipation of a blockbuster exhibit opening outside Toronto in late November.

For all their branding as “the world’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band,” The Stones – coming right after The Beatles, with whom they had a friendly rivalry – have actually been underrated. Lead singer Mick Jagger has been a performer on the plateau of an Elvis, a Sinatra  or a Garland. He and Connecticut resident Keith Richard have created some of the finest songs in musical history. (“Moonlight Mile,” heard here, is the equal of any art song.) Guitarists Brian Jones, Mick Taylor, Bill Wyman and Ronnie Wood contributed significant vocals, instrumentals and, in some cases, compositions, while drummer Charlie Watts — who died Tuesday, Aug. 24, at age 80 — gave the band its elegant, idiosyncratic backbone. Equally important, The Stones have used brilliant orchestrations that they and sessions men like Billy Preston and Nicky Hopkins brilliantly executed. This, along with Watts’ playing, has made the band hard to imitate.

This book, however, explores the visual aspect of The Stones’ almost 60-year history – costumes; set designs by people like Watts, who was initially a graphics designer; pictures of guitars; and notebooks that offer insight into their creative process.

With new commentary by Jagger, Richards, Watts and Wood, an introduction by music critic Anthony De Curtis and interviews with Buddy Guy, Don Was, Anna Sui, John Varvatos, Martin Scorsese, Shephard Fairey, Patrick Woodroffe and Willie Williams, this is a must for Stones’ fans and really anyone who loves rock ’n’ roll.

For more, visit thamesandhudsonusa.com.

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