Granta 12: The Rolling Stones
Stanely Booth was meant to be the authorised biographer of the Rolling Stones, but, shortly after he began writing in 1968, things started to go wrong. The American concert tour that he joined ended in murder at a race track in the Californian desert, and the time that followed – in which Booth was assaulted by Hell’s Angels, beaten up by American soldiers, run over by a lorry, imprisoned, and subjected to epileptic fits while trying to withdraw from drugs – was characterised only be confusion, loss and disillusionment. Completed fifteen years after it was begun, ‘The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones’ is only in part about the group of musicians it depicts. It is also a social history and a confession – a chronicle, in the tradition of Michael Herr’s Dispatches, of people united in a curious commitment to their own destruction.