Reading Rolling Stone

Somehow, after buying concert tickets earlier in the year, Helaine ended up with a free subscription to Rolling Stone. I was once a subscriber, though at least 30 -35 years ago. I’m not sure whether Rolling Stone has changed or it’s just me. Probably it’s both.

I’ve got a 192 page issue in my hands. This is substantial reading, though the first thing I noticed was the quality and quantity of the ads.

The first two inside pages were a double truck Camels cigarette ad. Does Rolling Stone need the cash that bad? Actually, with the age of their readers, I’m not thrilled about the liquor ads either.

Cigarettes were followed by clothes. Levis, Abercrombie and Fitch (the Abercrombie guy in the ad is a dead ringer for me… if I was sculpted, shaved my chest and dyed my hair – 20 years ago) and K-Mart.

The ads are all slick and young. Everyone is slim. Everyone is pretty – even the boys. Everything is upscale in presentation, even stuff sold at K-Mart.

I am feeling older by the minute. This is depressing.

This issue’s raison d’etre was “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” Number one is Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” Like a Rolling Stone in Rolling Stone Magazine… coincidence? Probably not.

The writing is crisp, to the point and loaded with meat. I just learned three or four things about the Beatles A Day in the Life (#26), that I never knew… and which I’ll now remember.

I wonder how the target audience feels when the ‘chosen song’ for all of rock and roll is 39 years old. Would my 17 year old daughter even listen Dylan? It’s like asking her to watch a black and white movie – possible in theory – impossible in practice.

Once upon a time, dressed so fine. You threw the bums a dime, in your prime, didn’t you?

It will take me a while to get through this issue. Whether I read the contemporary reviews along with the top-500 is another story? Most of the CDs seemed to get 3 and 4 stars out of 5. That’s generous. The only bomb review was 1 star for the new Bridget Jones movie.

I will enjoy thumbing through these 500. The stories and some of the vintage album art are worth the price of admission.

It’s a list that’s age agnostic.


Once upon a time you dressed so fine

You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?

People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”

You thought they were all kiddin you.

You used to laugh about

Everybody that was hanging out.

Now you don’t talk so loud.

Now you don’t seem so proud.

About having to be scrounging for your next meal.

How does it feel.

How does it feel.

To be without a home.

Like a complete unknown.

Like a rolling stone?

You’ve gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely

But you know you only used to get juiced in it.

And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street

And now you find out you’re gonna have to get used to it.

You said you’d never compromise

With the mystery tramp, but now you realize

He’s not selling any alibis

As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes.

And ask him do you want to make a deal?

How does it feel.

How does it feel.

To be on your own.

With no direction home.

Like a complete unknown.

Like a rolling stone?

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns

When they all come down and did tricks for you.

You never understood that it ain’t no good

You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you.

You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat

Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat.

Ain’t it hard when you discover that

He really wasn’t where it’s at

After he took from you everything he could steal.

How does it feel.

How does it feel.

To be on your own.

With no direction home.

Like a complete unknown.

Like a rolling stone?

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people

They’re drinking, thinking that they got it made.

Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things

But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe.

You used to be so amused

At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used.

Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse.

When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.

You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.

How does it feel.

How does it feel.

To be on your own.

With no direction home.

Like a complete unknown.

Like a rolling stone?