Surprisingly ‘Paint it Black’ wouldn’t make my Top 10

I was a latecomer to the majesty and wonder of The Rolling Stones. A really, really late so late it’s inexcusable for anyone who claims to love Rock & Roll in general, and The Replacements in particular kind of comer. In fact, I was well into my thirties (or maybe just into my thirties) when I really discovered The Rolling Stones.

Until the turn of the century, my biggest memory of The Rolling Stones happened in fourth grade when Mrs. Miller wouldn’t play “Start Me Up” during the portion of music class reserved for playing the records we brought from home. Instead of The Stones, she played Kenny Thompson’s Eddie Rabbit record for the 371st time. We, the fourth graders of University Avenue Elementary, loved a rainy night like you wouldn’t believe.

“Start Me Up” wasn’t the first song Mrs. Miller vetoed. She also put the kibosh on “Centerfold” by the J. Geils Band. This totally made sense to my nine-year-old brain. Centerfolds were dirty, Jenni and I had snuck a look at her dad’s Playboys, I knew.

But “Start Me Up?” That I didn’t understand. After Mrs. Miller laid down the proclamation and before she dropped the needle on Eddie, Donnie Judge leaned over to me.

“Of course she won’t play it,” he said. Donnie was supposedly older than the rest of us, because he was allegedly held back a year. “You make a dead man come,” he said and wiggled his eyebrows in what was probably supposed to be a suggestive or knowing way.

I just nodded my head and smiled like I knew what the hell he was talking about. I, of course, had no idea.

This is, of course, is no reason to eschew The Rolling Stones for most of your life. No, I had a much better reason for ignoring them. . . I had firmly placed The Stones in the ‘Classic Rock’ ghetto of my mind. I do not like classic rock. Anything with a guitar solo that lasts more than 15 seconds bores the daylights out of me. I do not like Led Zepplin or The Doors or Pink Floyd or most anything they ever played on KQRS in the eighties and early-ninties. It’s why I have a stunning lack of knowledge where Yes and Rush are concerned and practically break out in hives whenever I hear the song “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” or it’s oft-confused with in my head twin “Stairway to Heaven.”

Until about 2005 or so, when asked about my position on The Beatles vs. Stones debate I would have been firmly in The Beatles camp. That, of course, has changed thanks to my Westernerd pals who really influenced and guided my Stones education.

When I finally fell, it was hard and fast.

Now, I have great gobs of Rolling Stones memories. Like that time FFJ sang “Beast of Burden” at karaoke on her birthday and changed the lyrics to be about me and how I put out. Or that time Westerberg said said “Tumblin’ Dice” was one of the best songs ever. Or that time my friend, the Alaskan Poet, did “Faraway Eyes” at my first ever poetry slam. Or how my Westernerd friends still call me Queen of the Underground because of my love for the song “Dead Flowers.”

My initial intention here was to list my Ten Favorite Rolling Stones songs in honor of their 50th Anniversary. I made a quicky playlist called “Best Stones” and just put my very favorites on there. It’s 21-songs long and that took much hand-wringing. To winnow that list down even more? Unpossible.

Instead, I will leave you with this, a song that makes me ridiculously happy because it involves so much I love: cover songs, Liz Phair, and The Rolling Stones.

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  1. Barrett Chase 14.Jul.12 at 9:23 am

    My third-grade teacher would play any record we brought in, but one day when there was a substitute, she wouldn’t play “Bette Davis Eyes.” She did, however, get very enthusiastic about “The Gambler.” I told my mom about it and she said, “Well there’s a big difference between Bette Davis Eyes and the Gambler.” Now as an adult, though, I can’t for the life of me figure out what that difference is.

    1. Jodi 14.Jul.12 at 9:37 am

      If anything, and I’m just going on “Bette Davis Eyes” lyrics from memory, I’d say “The Gambler” is probably the more adult-themed song — drinking, gambling, dying on a train on a warm summer’s evening.

      Maybe she just didn’t like the song. Also, I wonder if teachers still let kids bring in records/music/CDs to listen to or was that an 80s phenomenon?

      1. Barrett Chase 14.Jul.12 at 10:53 am

        She did say she hated the song, so that probably was it. She also said the Gambler was a better song because it told a story.

        As for my mom’s comment, the only thing I can think is that the Gambler is a country song and Bette Davis Eyes is sort of a rock song, even though when you listen to them back to back there’s very little difference in style.

  2. Laurensbca 14.Jul.12 at 9:58 am

    I drove a school bus in the early 80s, and one of the few tools available to influence the kids behavior was the music I played. Whips had recently been prohibited. The kid’s infatuation with certain tunes being played over and over and over…omg. To this day I still flinch when I hear Hall & Oates. Bette Davis Eyes was on my playlist, as was Centerfold (I drove in J. Geils’ neighborhood so it was more of a loyalty factor). Using the volume or off button on the music directly controlled the mayhem, worked wonderfully! The only downside was a gap in my love of music starting from disco and lasting all the way through until Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

  3. hotrod 17.Jul.12 at 8:33 am

    So what’s your top ten? I didn’t see the list in there. You need to post it so I can inform you how wrong you are.

    1. Jodi 17.Jul.12 at 9:04 am

      Did you miss the part where I said it was too hard? Reading has never been your strong suit. However, since I’m in the mood to put you in your place I will post it this afternoon.


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