As the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts more members with each passing year, young music enthusiasts continually question the extended relevance and value of some of the biggest names in rock. In a cultural atmosphere where people are increasingly flocking to artists who make a name for themselves based on Youtube videos and digital manipulation rather than musical ingenuity and decades of touring, the true impact of music can be difficult to assess in the moment. However, as is true in most art forms, the true value and contributions of an artist can be accurately assessed through the impact that they have made on future artists in addition to looking at the catalog of their work. One legendary name in rock to come under the microscope many times under these terms is The Rolling Stones. While they may not be topping the charts or leading the online world in terms of downloads and views, their impact on the world of music is more than palpable. In fact, they are still touring, and one does not have to look far in order to get their hands on Rolling Stones tickets. When given a fair assessment, the relevance of their music is alive and vibrant despite the ages or condition of the musicians themselves.
It has been nearly 50 years since the group made their debut at the Marquee Club in London. Basing their music largely on the influence and development of early blues musicians, their thrust into stardom made them the alt and indierock music of their day that offered a refreshing alternative to the Beatles for young listeners. Unlike many of the legendary rock groups with whom they are associated, the actual lineup of the group has remain virtually unchanged over the years. The same core creative energy that has driven the band is still intact today. There is little backlash to be found when making the argument that their golden years were between 1964 and 1972. This period marked the release of the most solid parts of their catalog of music. The fact that today's fans do not even want to hear newer music from the group is a testament to the indelible impact and value of the contributions that they made to music during this time period. As for the relevance of this music today, one only needs to quickly survey today's rock landscape in order to find names for whom they paved a golden road.
The Black Crows, Jack White, and The Black Keys owe these pioneers a debt of gratitude when it came to expanding the musical horizons of the masses over the past few decades. While they are not explicitly cited as musical influences much these days during interviews, the spirit of rock and roll that The Rolling Stones stand for is virtually unshakeable. Their continued popularity and solidarity as a group of musicians only serves to strengthen this stand. The fact that they will likely continue to tour until it is just not physically possible for them to continue also contributes to the rebel image and creative energy that their kind of music has always attempted to embody. In terms of blending genres as is extremely popular in the contemporary milieu of music, The Rollings Stones were pioneers in this respect as well. They brought the blues to a different and distinct level of appreciation for most music lovers. However, they moved rock and roll into new places by infusing it with more than innovations in the musical trends of the blues. They successfully incorporated gospel, R&B, country, and other musical forms into their compositions, crossing and merging genres. Many people would also credit them with being an integral part of the British Invasion of music that set the stage for the punk rock scene to come. Although “relevance” may be a word tossed around a good bit while also changing in definition depending on the source, the importance of the music produced by The Rolling Stones seems unassailable.