Although they did not know it then, when the Rolling Stones embarked on their farewell tour of Great Britain in March 1971 after having announced they were about to go into tax exile in the south of France, it was the end of an era. For the Stones, nothing would ever be the same again.
For ten days on that tour, the Rolling Stones traveled by train and bus to play two shows a night in many of the same small town halls and theaters where they had begun their career. Performing brand new songs like "Bitch," "Brown Sugar," "Wild Horses," and "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'" from their as-yet-unreleased album Sticky Fingers live on stage for the very first time, they also played classics like "Midnight Rambler," "Honky Tonk Women," "Satisfaction," "Street Fighting Man," and Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie" and "Let It Rock."
Because only one journalist—Robert Greenfield—was allowed to accompany the Stones on this tour, there has never before been a full-length account of the landmark event that marked the end of the first chapter of the Rolling Stones' extraordinary career.
In a larger sense, Ain't It Time We Said Goodbye is the story of two artists on the precipice. For Mick Jagger and Ketih Richards, as well as those who traveled with them, the Rolling Stones' farewell tour of England was the end of the innocence. No laminates. No backstage passes. No security. No sound checks and no rehearsals. Just the Rolling Stones on the road playing rock 'n' roll the way it was truly meant to be seen and heard.
Based on Greenfield's first-hand account as well as new interviews with many of the key players, Ain't It Time We Said Goodbye is a vibrant and thrilling look at the way it once was and would never be again in the world according to the Rolling Stones.
ABOUT ROBERT GREENFIELD
Robert Greenfield, a former Associate Editor of the London bureau of Rolling Stone magazine, is the author of many classic rock books, including <i<>STP: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones and Exile on Main St.: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones, as well as the definitive biographies of Timothy Leary and Ahmet Ertegun. He is the coauthor, with Bill Graham, of Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out, which won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. An award-winning playwright and novelist, his short fiction has appeared in Esquire, GQ, and Playboy magazines. He lives in California.