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All the info on all the gear used by The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band

By Phil O'Keefe



The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band. It's quite a title, and one that immediately brings to mind only one band - The Rolling Stones. In a career that has spanned over 50 years, they've seen and done it all, creating timeless music on mega-selling classic albums and headlining some of the most successful stadium tours in history. No other band has been as successful for as long as the Stones have, and they've used a staggering amount of equipment in the studio and on stage over the past 50 years. Documenting and displaying it all is no small task, but that's exactly what Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost, the authors of Rolling Stones Gear, attempt to do in their book. 


What You Need To Know

  • Andy Babiuk also wrote Beatles Gear: All the Fab Four's Instruments from Stage to Studio, and for those familiar with that earlier book, Rolling Stones Gear takes a similar approach, covering the band's formation, early years and first musical instruments, and then proceeding on to document all of the instruments used by each member of the group on each recording session and tour from the band's formation in 1962 right up until today while telling the story of their lives and careers. However, this is a considerably larger book in terms of the time period it covers (1950s to the present vs 1950s to 1970 for Beatles Gear) and the number of instruments, as well as page count (672 vs 258 pages).
  • After a brief introduction describing the conditions in post-war Great Britain and the influence of early American Rock and Roll to set the stage, the book describes the first meetings of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and their earliest musical influences, the records they listened to, and early instruments, how they met Brian Jones, and how the Stones were formed.
  • Moving on from there chronologically, and covering every instrument used by the band, from Keith's first £7 Rosetti acoustic that he talked his mother into purchasing for him when he was fifteen all the way up to the gear used on their most recent "50 & Counting…" tour in 2013, the book is packed with comments and quotes from the band themselves about the gear they used, as well as many insights and information about their lives and careers, some of which you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else, although the emphasis is definitely gear-centric.
  • Amplifiers, basses, guitars, keyboards, drums and effects are all covered in great depth, as are the more specialized and unusual instruments such as dulcimers, harmonicas, electric sitars and more that were used on various albums and tours.
  • Since the book covers the subject matter in chronological order, it's easy to locate information about specific gear that the band members used during various years, albums, tours or eras, making it an excellent research tool. It also includes a comprehensive and helpful index.
  • Nine years in the making, this masterfully researched and lavishly illustrated 672 page book is the definitive work on the subject of the instruments used by the Rolling Stones over the course of the band's history.


Limitations

  • The book does a great job at covering "all the Stones instruments from stage to studio", but while there are many incredible studio shots of the band that a sharp-eyed recording fan can glean a lot of technical information from, and many detailed descriptions of their recording sessions and the instruments the band used, there isn't nearly as much coverage of the recording equipment used at the various studios to record the band. Admittedly, the authors never set out to cover that, and covering all of the band's instruments is a gigantic task to begin with, but it does leave room for another possible book in the future that many Stones fans and recording aficionados would bound to be interested in.

 

Conclusions

Well written, and with loads of photos, this is a fantastic book. A must-have not only for fans of the Rolling Stones, but for history buffs, classic rock fans, musicians, and gear lovers everywhere. This would make a terrific coffee table book - assuming you have a large and sturdy table. At 12.75" x 10", it's a big book, and fairly heavy too due to the heavy stock it's printed on. It is obvious that a tremendous amount of research went into this, and it couldn't have been done without contributions and input from people within the Rolling Stones' organization. Informative and entertaining, and with a impressive amount of photos of rare instruments - including many shots of the actual instruments used by the band (including many that have never been published before), it's a visual delight too. Whether you read it cover to cover, or browse through the various chapters randomly, or use it as a research tool, it's bound to entertain, elucidate, and delight. It really is the definitive volume on all the gear used by the wold's greatest rock and roll band.  


Resources

The publisher's web page for Rolling Stones Gear: All the Stones' Instruments from Stage to Studio. ($60.00 MSRP - Published by Backbeat Books / Hal Leonard Books.)


Co-author Andy Babiuk's website




Inventory #HL 00333181


ISBN: 9781617130922


UPC: 884088554453


Width: 10.0"
Length: 12.75"


672 pages


Sample Page Layouts (from the book):

 

 

 

 

 

Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines. 

 

 

 

 

 

1 comment
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Music Marcom  |  September 10, 2014 at 11:13 pm
Phil, this is a great review - thanks!
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