A funny thing happened to the Rolling Stones when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards started collecting their pensions: their stock began to rise. They had a number-one album in Britain and America with the reissued “Exile on Main Street”. Richards (above) somehow located enough surviving brain cells to publish a successful memoir. Jagger had a fling with a supergroup, SuperHeavy—already forgotten, but canny in terms of making Richards want him back. And the Stones’ absence from the stage since 2007 has only whetted appetites. Now they have a golden jubilee to celebrate. The party starts with “Crossfire Hurricane”, another documentary film, not made by Martin Scorsese this time; and “Grrr!”, a 50-track compilation featuring two new songs. The first of them, “Doom and Gloom”, is punchy, likeable, a little silly, but streets better than the Stones’ last new material, the 2005 album “A Bigger Bang”, now widely seen as a whimper. But then they haven't released a classic song since 1981 (“Start Me Up”). Their greatness lies on the stage, and they surely know it—which is why they are finally getting their rocks on for one last tour. ~ Tim de Lisle
The Rolling Stones The O2, London, Nov 25th and 29th; Prudential Center, New Jersey, Dec 13th and 15th. Grrr! released in Britain Nov 12th, North America Nov 13th Crossfire Hurricane showing in British cinemas Oct 18th
ROCK AT A GLANCE
Robyn (European tour, Oct 29th to Nov 3rd). Madonna and Lady Gaga may grab all the headlines, but this quirky Swede makes better music in the same vein—sparky dance-pop, served up with charm, not desperation.
Civil Wars (European tour, Oct 28th to Dec 12th). Separately, John Paul White and Joy Williams were little-known American singer-songwriters. Together, they win Grammys by turning folk and country songs into telepathic duets. Their cover of "Billie Jean", slow and ghostly, is a real thriller.
Kris Kristofferson (European tour, Nov 7th to Dec 12th). The Rhodes scholar who became a soldier, pilot and film star is also a good enough songwriter to have written "Help Me Make It Through the Night". ~ TDL