It should come as no surprise that I’m on a major Stones kick at the moment (get used to it...it’s going to be going on for over a month), so I’ve been posting a Stones song on Facebook once in a while. The other day, I posted “Paint It, Black,” and said that was my second favorite Stones song. My friend Holly said that her favorite is “Shattered” (that is my third favorite Stones song, for the record) and it brings out her “inner lizard.”
That phrase spoke to me. It somehow perfectly describes that sort of down and dirty, raunchy, hip-swivelin’ Stones style. When the Inner Lizard comes out, shit gets real.
You know those ‘would you rather’ questions? Like “Ginger or Mary Ann?” One of the classics is “Beatles or Stones?” Of course I love the Beatles. Who doesn’t? They were my first taste of pop music, when I was maybe 5 or 6, and my Beatlemaniac sister played her records for me. But for me, it was always about the Stones. They always had a darker edge, a more dangerous, bad boy sex appeal. I was listening to their latest greatest hits CD, “Grrr!” while I was working out today, and it struck me just how many of their songs unleash my inner lizard. There is something about Mick’s voice that reaches right into the dark corners of my psyche. It ranges from a deep baritone to a raspy growl to a bedroom whisper that “it’s only rock and roll but I liiiiike it.” He’s really not even subtle about it. What part of “Let’s spend the night together” needs clarification?
Anyway, make all the jokes you want about the Stones being older than dirt, but these songs still totally trip my trigger. Young Mick Jagger was a beautiful, angelic devil (Anne Rice’s phrase for Lestat springs to mind: Brat Prince.), one who could seduce, incite, and inflame. The songs will continue to do that long after he is gone.
Of course, the Stones don’t have the market cornered on rock and roll sexyfuntimes. Remember how John Lithgow told his town that there would be no dancing because it would lead to sexyfuntimes, and Kevin Bacon was all like “Yo, dick move, bro, and I’m bangin’ your daughter” and danced all crazy around a barn and rode a tractor and then everyone made up and wore ugly tuxedos and danced all crazy some more? Anyway, John Lithgow and all those other preachermen who said that rock and roll led to “other things” weren’t so far off the mark.
Because the lyrics make you think about a lot of things. Not just sexyfuntimes, but things like inequality and revolution. Deeper concepts of the human condition. Life outside your small town. “Imagine no religion.” Experimentation, broadening your horizons, walking a mile in someone’s shoes, seeing beyond the narrow borders of your early existence. There are some people who don’t want these questions asked, and they certainly don’t want to have to answer them. How you gonna keep ‘em down on the farm, right?
Rock and roll IS dangerous. Dangerous to the status quo, dangerous to those who have a vested interest in keeping you in line, dangerous to the powers-that-be.
Once that Inner Lizard is unleashed, it’s hard to get it back under control.