The Rolling Stones are today, after being in business for fifty years, basically their own corporation. You could say they’ve sold out, if that was still a valid idea, which it is not. You can praise them for their endless longevity or blame them for turning into a greedy, for-profit business outfit more than a real musical group. Either way, they’re here to stay, until every last one of them drops dead. With them being how they are, and us being used to them being that way, it’s easy to forget how much they shattered convention and changed society itself in just a few short years of being a thing. They pretty much germinated and perfected our collective image of what it means to be a rock’n'roll band. The looks, the attitude, the lifestyle, the licks, the drugs, the jets, the beautiful women, the bizarre deaths – every single band that has ever adopted any of those things took it from the Rolling Stones. From his hair to the tips of his boots, every guitarist wants to be Keith, and every frontman copies Mick from his eyeliner to his bulging pants. Yes, the Stones came to define many things in their time, and in 1967, with Their Satanic Majesties Request, they defined what it meant to fill an album with pure filler. At that time, with the three principles being very busy flouncing in and out of glamorous jails and courtrooms, The Stones had so little material prepared that they literally resorted to inserting found noises, such as prolonged snoring, in between tracks. Which was quite avant-garde of them, and would deserve praise if it hadn’t been so annoying. What could potentially have been a magnificent answer to Sgt Pepper sank under the weight of indifference. If every song had been a She’s A Rainbow or 200 Light Years, they would have shone those uppity Beatles what was what. As it were, those two songs were brilliant, a few others weirdly intersting, some where novelties, and one was written and performed by Bill Wyman. I happen to own a Bill Wyman solo album, which I have never listened to, purely for the collector’s satisfaction of it. I don’t know if aynone else who owns a Bill Wyman solo album has ever listened to it either. Wyman is, in his unassuming way, a quite weird and slightly creepy character, a compulsive womanizer who keeps files on his thousands of conquests and filled his autobiography with detailed accounts of the contents of his bank account. It’s a sign of the shambolic state of the Rolling Stones that the Glimmer Twins allowed him three minutes at the microphone. Which is not to bash Bill Wyman unduly; he still sends Christmas cards to all his old girlfriends. And his song isn’t bad either. It’s surreal and atmospheric, and fits entirely well into the mixed-up, tripped-out postcard from the dark side that is Satanic Majesties.