June 1, 2024

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”

– Abraham Lincoln

I attended my fifth Rolling Stones concert last week…yes, those Rolling Stones…better known as the “lucky genes club.”

Two of the original members (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) are still rocking at 80 years old…while Ronnie Wood (who joined the group in 1975, almost 15 years after Mick and Keith began the journey) is the surviving “youngster” at 77.

Five years ago, was the last time I saw them and wrote about them.

Time for an update.

That performance included their original drummer Charlie Watts, who didn’t make it to last week’s show (he passed away in 2021).

But he was there in spirit…the songs remained the same…maybe with some additional riffs and solos…and there were some new members including amazing background singers (more on that in a minute)…with some new songs sprinkled in too.

They actually released a new album, “Hackneyed Diamonds,” last year…proficiency and excellence is a good thing at any age. 🙂

It’s a damn good album.

Also remaining the same was their showmanship…and their voices were not indicative of their age…these guys just defy what it means to be “old.”

And when they played the song Paint It Black (released in 1966, probably the oldest song they performed at this show) it stood the test of time.

Maybe I’m just too much of a fanboy…but the words, the music (and the dancing and prancing by Jagger) all seemed timeless.

This is from the Urban Dictionary which proves “Jaggering” is a verb:

“When you’re pissed in the boozer, and you can’t resist Keif’s guitar licks. Generally swinging wildly while listening to the Stones.”

I bought this mug to remind me

I couldn’t help wondering if the group, while performing Paint It Black, which was written so long ago—along with more “recent” hits like Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1968) and Gimme Shelter (1970)—felt like it was just another performance…or if they felt the magnitude of what they were doing.

That is, songs that have spanned decades with the same impact as when they were recorded.

At a minimum, I hope they are proud of what they have accomplished.

(NOTE: I chose links for those three songs/performances above from the current “Mick at 80 Tour.” Mick runs a lot less on stage than in his younger years—but he’s still non-stop movement throughout. And on Gimme Shelter, note how Mick yields the stage to a newcomer, a background singer who steals the show, Chanel Haynes, which is also a sign of greatness…more on that below. If that song doesn’t get YOU Jaggering, please check if you have a pulse) 🙂

Maybe I’m making too big a deal of this…but I’m not just talking about the Stones’ longevity…it’s about relevance with longevity…and how many generations they have delighted (and surprised) during their 6-decade run through rock-and-roll history.

No false lifetime achievement award for these guys.

That’s 60 years of cumulative experience…which beats one year’s experience for 60 years every time.

It takes a lot to do anything “average” for a long time…but to do something extraordinary for a long time needs to be acknowledged…and revered.

Even if you don’t like their new album (recorded in 2023–with contributions from fellow rockers, old and new, such as Elton John, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder) when they have nothing to prove– is also a mark of excellence.

Think about how much Mick and the boys have had to evolve to stay relevant for over 6 decades—how many people, bands, friends and relatives have participated in their initial rise and ongoing relevance–and they are far from a band slowing down or just going through the motions–—they are still doing it at a peak performance level.

All I know is that they didn’t play, (This Could Be) The Last Time (which I saw as good news)…although click on that link to watch one of the first times they played that song in public (1965).

On the other end of the spectrum (in terms of longevity) is Ed Sheeran…who has been touring for closer to 6 years than 60…but in that short time he has garnered a following which has enabled him to fill up the same 50,000+ capacity stadium that the Stones did (and I saw him from approximately the same seats 6 years ago).

Here they are, a little blurry, on the same stage, a year apart–but there was nothing blurry about their performances:

I know how The Rolling Stones filled that stadium…but how did Ed Sheeran do it in such a short time?

I wrote a post about my experience at the Sheeran concert at the time titled, “Being young has nothing to do with it” …and retitled it after seeing the Stones as, “Thinking Out Loud in Diapers.”

I won’t repeat that post here…but I encourage you to read it in the context of what I’ve said about The Rolling Stones today.

You can do that here.

In short, I was able to see firsthand Ed Sheeran’s origin story playing out in front of me—and I can only imagine it was the same for The Rolling Stones all those years ago.

I don’t know about you, but I hear too often people making excuses for young entrepreneurs (and less experienced business leaders) not “getting it” as it pertains to acknowledging and compensating people properly who have helped them achieve great success, often in a very short period.

I learned at both concerts that age has nothing to do with “getting it.”

The Rolling Stones obviously get it…you don’t perform for 60 years, selling out every concert, all over the globe, on good looks alone.

Mick Jagger (and the band) gave me one perspective at 80; Ed Sheeran gave me another at 27.

Please read my reflections about Ed here if you haven’t read that post in the past.

All truly successful rock stars (and entrepreneurs) know how to be humble despite phenomenal success…and that standing on the shoulders of giants comes with the territory.

And there are countless ways to reciprocate and acknowledge along the way.

I don’t know if the Stones are great guys or not but the gratitude in Mick Jagger’s voice for being able to play the New York area for his entire career and through some health scares was obvious; and I don’t know if Ed Sheeran is a great guy or not but what he showed with his actions on stage said something that could never be expressed with words…and he’s got 50+ years to continue to show it.

Hint: He acknowledged his warm up band who he warmed up for when he was a nobody. Kind of like when Mick acknowledged Chanel Haynes who reinvented Gimme Shelter.

Through Ed’s behavior it was clear how much he understood gratitude and appreciation…and that acknowledgement of others is part of the success formula…and that formula is not just for rock stars.

Mick and the Stones task is near completion, while Ed’s is still in its infancy—i.e. they are much closer to the end than the beginning–but acknowledgements need to be handed out in whatever time they both have left.

I felt this numerous times during their shows.

I wish them both well and will follow them for so many reasons…but two in particular:

  1. I want them to keep making great music that I know millions will enjoy
  2. I want to see how they keep paying it forward

Thanks for allowing me to do some “thinking out loud” on my latest experiences in the dueling worlds of geriatric and next-generation rock-and-roll.

And as an additional nod to The Rolling Stones:

I believe you CAN always get what you want. 🙂

After all, how else can you be introduced as “the world’s greatest rock-and-roll band” in 1969…and still hold the title in 2024?



PS Hopefully I didn’t disturb your Sunday too much with all the rock and roll music videos.

I know I may have sent you down some old and new YouTube rabbit holes.

You’re welcome. 🙂

The line early in this post, “60 years of cumulative experience beats one year’s experience for 60 years every time,” needs a little more illumination.

It means:

Knowledge and wisdom are cumulative assuming you are a lifelong learner.

Kind of like compound interest on a savings account.

Marty Edelston, my ultimate mentor, was a lifelong learner and he taught me to be that way too…which at its core means always having insatiable curiosity, always hanging out with people smarter (and often older) than yourself…and never letting your ego get in the way of learning.

Also, keep in mind that the older folks in the business have all the wisdom…get some before it’s too late.

But of course it’s OK (encouraged!) to gain wisdom from those who are younger than you too.

While there are prodigies who can make huge differences for thousands by the time they attend their first prom (like Ed Sherran), most mortals like you and I need some age (and wisdom) to get there…and not just doing the same thing year after year.

I am often the oldest person (by chronological age) in many of the rooms I hang out in these days (and even sometimes in a large football stadium, like at an Ed Sheeran concert).

Not at the Rolling Stones concert, however…many beat me to the punch there. 🙂

However, in the rooms where I am the oldest, I am usually hanging out with some of the most phenomenal marketers in the world—which is something I am proud of, and I no longer make jokes about everyone in the room being young enough to be one of my kids.

A better perspective:

I am getting my Ph.D. in areas of marketing from others who may not have put in the hours or years (yet)… but they have achieved expertise way beyond what I know in their short time on earth about one thing (or many things).

P.P.S. Speaking of studying towards your Ph. D in marketing, do you own a copy of the greatest book on copywriting, marketing and human behavior ever written, Gene Schwartz’s, Breakthrough Advertising?

Titans Marketing offers the lowest price and it’s the only authorized edition…I have the exclusive rights with Gene’s wife Barbara.

The main text is 100% of what Gene Schwartz perfectly penned in 1966…plus we added a mini-swipe file as an appendix in the Titans edition.

Other amazing things were created in 1966 in addition to classic songs from The Rolling Stones.

Gene Schwartz was a rock star for the ages and the Mick Jagger of copywriting…without the Jaggering. 🙂

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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