| Books |

Groundbreaking Stones Book Delivers Hard Truths of 1969 Tour

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones By Stanley Booth Chicago Review Press, 416 pp., $18.95

Reissued for its 30th anniversary -- though it chronicled events that took place 15 years before that -- The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones is, simply put, one of those essential texts of music journalism.

Groundbreaking, insightful, funny and tragic, it's a piece of reporting that could never take place today. And from a journalist whose level of access to the band seems shocking in a time when the norm today to interview rock stars is a 15-minute phoner, scrunched in among a dozen other journo talks and with a publicist listening in on the other end of the line.

Georgia-bred music scribe Booth first met and talked to the Stones in 1968 while on assignment, some months before the death of founding member Brian Jones.

But a seat-of-his-pants pitch for a book (and the subsequent convincing to the band's various factions and potential publisher) would lead to Booth's traveling across the U.S. for the bulk of the Stones' 1969 tour. He spent time with the band and its extended entourage on stage, backstage, in the recording studio, on airplanes, and many, many hotels.

And Booth is there with scattered notepads offering his reportage (and opinions) about the music, the band's interaction with each other and those around them -- his snippets on dry, wry drummer Charlie Watts are particularly amusing -- and the fans who come to the shows.

However, Booth makes no bones about offering a straight, objective eye for the at-times decadent behavior. Though, given the fact that this is the Rolling Stones in 1969, "decadent" is a relative term...

Over the course of the tour, he also forms an especially close relationship with Keith Richards to the point that they do heroin together while contemplating old blues musicians. Booth would go on to write a couple of books on Richards later.

Story continues on the next page.

Booth also adds snapshots of his own life, and the Stones place in the wider scope of the '60s and changes in the culture and the music to round out a portrait.

And when the tour ends with the disaster that was Altamont, it provides an unexpected -- but rich -- context. Booth was in the copter that whisked the Stones away after their set which, of course, saw a man stabbed to death in the audience.

Ultimately, it took Booth 15 years to produce the book and for it to come out, far longer than anyone originally thought. Booth explains about the gap, placing much of the blame squarely on him and his life and actions since the tour.

By the time it appeared, the Rolling Stones of the mid-1980s were a far different band than lives in these pages musically, image-wise, and status in the greater rock world.

The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones works on so many different levels with its music reportage, character snapshots, novelistic approach, and fly-on-the-wall insight.

And, as the Rolling Stones now enter their sixth decade as a performing unit, a reminder of the good (and bad) old days for the old boys...


The Ask Willie D Archives Houston's Top 10 Day-Drinking Bars Hardcore's Five MVPs Right Now 10 More Houston Acts You Should Be Listening To Houston's Top 10 Hip-Hop Clubs

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.