Archives for posts with tag: blues music


The Rolling Stones kick off their “50 & Counting…” tour tonight (May 3, 2013) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. After gigs in Anaheim and Northern California, they’ll be back on May 20. There’s been a lot of buzz and excitement in L.A. over the Stones’ tour — especially after they played a last-minute gig on April 27 at a small venue in Echo Park.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards both turn 70 this year, Charlie Watts turns 72 in June, and youngster Ronnie Wood is 65. These rockers continue to inspire with their creativity, passion, and stamina.

As writers, Jagger and Richards are geniuses — how else to explain their endless stream of remarkable compositions?

Richards talks about songwriting in his autobiography LIFE (Little, Brown, 2010). Here’s a quote:

What is it that makes you want to write songs? In a way you want to stretch yourself into other people’s hearts. You want to plant yourself there, or at least get a resonance, where other people become a bigger instrument than the one you’re playing. It becomes almost an obsession to touch other people. To write a song that is remembered and taken to heart is a connection, a touching of bases. A thread that runs through all of us. A stab to the heart. Sometimes I think songwriting is about tightening the heartstrings as much as possible without bringing on a heart attack.” 

I was lucky enough to attend Stones’ concerts in Chicago a couple of times, but for the “50 & Counting…” appearances at the Staples Center the “cheapest” seat price, with limited availability, is $85. No matter. I won’t complain about the prices — because the Stones are worth every penny. If you can afford it (and even if you can’t) — go!  This is a once in a lifetime chance to see the greatest band in the world on what may be its final tour.

For ticket information and tour dates, visit


“When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you.” KEITH RICHARDS 

Many of you have heard the story of how Keith Richards was injured a few years ago when he reached for a book about Leonardo da Vinci in his home library and the bookcase fell on him. What many people don’t know is that Richards is a bibliophile and his first career choice was to become a librarian — according to his his memoir Life (2011), available at

Full Disclosure: I am a dedicated Rolling Stones fan…

Photo: Keith Richards relaxing in his home library  (they’re his books, so it’s his business if he smokes).


Born on January 19, 1943, Janis Joplin left us in 1970, but continues to lift our spirits and bring us joy through her music. Yes, Janis (“Pearl”) Joplin would have turned 70 today! Ms. Joplin was an inspiration to many — especially women — showing that a female could front a rock band. To me, she was the female equivalent of Jim Morrison — a gifted, charismatic, one-of-a-kind artist that no one before or since has come close to matching.


My favorite Janis Joplin tune is one she penned herself called “Kozmic Blues.” Listen to this brilliant song in a brilliant 1970 performance here.

Joan Jobe Smith named her literary journal Pearl in co-honor of Janis Joplin (the other honoree was Smith’s mother, Margaret — a name that means “Pearl”). Visit Pearl Magazine online at this link. Founded in 1974, Pearl Magazine will celebrate its 50th edition in 2013.

Photo at top: Janis Joplin, New York City, late 1960s — all goodwill and benevolence.