If you lived through the sixties, chances are you were either a Beatle or a Stone. If rock 'n' roll wasn't your thing then you would have been forced to choose between Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. Either way, the music of this time represented a fundamental change in society; a revolt against the norm. Whether you preferred to soak up the lyrics of The Beach Boys or drown in the blues of Chuck Berry, every artist living through the period had a statement to make and a voice that had the potential to capture imaginations across the globe.
If The Beatles represented the uniformed politeness that mothers adored, then The Rolling Stones portrayed the opposite. Their bad-boy image along with the ensuing slogan "Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?" wasn't just a terrific PR stunt done on behalf of the Stones' record label, the band were actively making a statement through music to express their discontent with aspects of the British establishment, and they gave off a sense of freedom and release which coincided with the revolutionary fervor happening at the time. Similarly, Dylan also recognised that times really were 'a-changing'. Songs entitled Forever Young, Things Have Changed and Shelter From The Storm, connected with people who were living during a time of dramatic socio-political uproar, and who personally witnessed a counterculture that has perhaps had the greatest impact on our society to date. But if such musicality was born from a bygone era, why is it in such demand today? Somehow, and for a hugely significant reason, the music of this time has infected future generations on an international scale. Whether through parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters or even teachers, the culture of the sixties is still alive today and well known by all to be a time of momentous change, a period that rebelled against the status quo, producing some of the best music the world has ever seen. It's hardly surprising then that even in 2014, tickets to see The Rolling Stones are off the scale in price and still sell out in minutes. Clearly, demand breeds demand. Whether it's the desire to relive the euphoria once again or the inclination to inspire a younger generation who were not around to live it out the first time around, fans still long to see them back on stage and there is no reason to suggest why they should stop. What they did back then they continue to do now, and it still sells.
Back in the sixties, many would have thought it impossible that all the Stones would still be standing today, let alone have the energy to rock sell-out tours. Both Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards, the band's legendary guitarists, have openly revealed in their memoirs what life was really like back in the day. Some of their best material was recorded in a basement in France where the drinks flowed, the groupies came and went and midnight seemingly went on forever. Yet, despite their lifestyle, in many ways the Stones today look better than they did 30 years ago, thus they are still performing. Why the demand, though? Richards puts this down to the music. Good music is timeless and so if you can produce it, you will relate to a mass audience. It's not only the Stones, however, who are still in vogue today. Eric Clapton recently announced a string of dates at the Royal Albert Hall next year, which went on sale at 9am on Monday this week. If you logged on to bag a ticket at 8:50am, you were number 4000 in the queue. Within two hours more dates were added to the list. A few months ago Dylan was on the bill too but despite demand, only two nights were available. If you missed the release date you had no hope of even making it to the standing gallery.
As the Stones continue their On Fire tour of Australia, who knows when the curtain will finally fall for the band. "Stones tours tend to get extended," Richards recently commented, before revealing that South America could be their next stop in early 2015. Pressure will then fall on the group to add dates in the UK, despite it only being a year since they were in the capital celebrating their 50th anniversary. If they do make it back to Hyde Park, I have promised a friend that she will be the first to know if and when whispers begin to circulate and if not, I know another who would be prepared to fly abroad to watch the band instead. I cannot see the day that I will stop listening to Angie and I wouldn't be surprised if my father still has his Sticky Fingers vinyl in safe keeping. But as Richards said, good music is timeless so if the Stones ever do decide to call it a day, the music will live on.