Ain't It Time We Said Goodbye: The Rolling Stones on the Road to Exile

Ain't It Time We Said Goodbye: The Rolling Stones on the Road to Exile

by Robert Greenfield

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For ten days in March 1971, the Rolling Stones traveled by train and bus to play two shows a night in many of the small theaters and town halls where their careers began. No backstage passes. No security. No sound checks or rehearsals. And only one journalist allowed. That journalist now delivers a full-length account of this landmark event, which marked the end of


For ten days in March 1971, the Rolling Stones traveled by train and bus to play two shows a night in many of the small theaters and town halls where their careers began. No backstage passes. No security. No sound checks or rehearsals. And only one journalist allowed. That journalist now delivers a full-length account of this landmark event, which marked the end of the first chapter of the Stones’ extraordinary career.

Ain’t It Time We Said Goodbye is also the story of two artists on the precipice of mega stardom, power, and destruction. For Mick and Keith, and all those who traveled with them, the farewell tour of England was the end of the innocence.

Based on Robert Greenfield’s first-hand account and new interviews with many of the key players, this is a vibrant, thrilling look at the way it once was for the Rolling Stones and their fans—and the way it would never be again.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Kirkus Reviews, 4/15/14
“A book about one of the most interesting eras in the band’s history.”

Folkrocks blog, 4/7/2014
“If you want some he-was-there insights into the band’s quirky and changing dynamic, you’ll get those.”

Macomb Daily, 4/13/14
“The all-access travelogue takes us inside Stonesworld at a time of shifting inner-band dynamics and in the midst of what was arguably the Stones’ creative high point.”, 5/19/14
“Insightful and informative…Anecdotes around.” (North Hollywood), 5/21/14
“[An] engaging book…Charming anecdotes of the comparatively ordinary life led by the Stones on what was announced at the time as well as their farewell tour of Great Britain.”

Milwaukee Shepherd Express, 6/3/14
“A breezy, enjoyable look back at a brief tour of smaller British venues by the Stones in early 1971, in between Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street.

Curled Up with a Good Book, 6/5/14
“Provides a rare glimpse behind the curtain where all the magic and madness always happens on the road…[A] wonderful rock and roll travelogue…What we have is virtually an unobstructed view of the Rolling Stones in all their glorious decadence…An honest and eye-opening journal of life on the road with the world's greatest rock band.”

Curled Up with a Good Book, 6/5/14
“If anyone has the experience to write this book, it’s him. Greenfield combines his observations at the time of the ten-day tour while also adding insights from 40 years of looking back on the events and the behind-the-scenes with the unique cast of characters…It’s a fine, short snapshot of the Rolling Stones.”

Library Journal, 6/12/14
“Greenfield’s narrative has a breathless, immediate tone that places readers in the middle of the action…This is a visceral and well-crafted portrait of the Stones at a crucial time in their career…An enjoyable look at the group that’s likely to appeal to both Rolling Stones followers as well as fans of music journalism in general.”

Roanoke Times, 6/15/14
“Greenfield's engaging style pulls the reader into this Britain of the past. He writes in present tense, which makes the reader feel as if she is hanging out backstage with Mick and Keith, and not merely reading tales of the long ago youth of these now aging rock stars…Although all of the sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll one would expect in a Stones bio is here, Greenfield also highlights the band members' humanity.”

Hudson Valley News, 7/2/14
“If you loved the Stones, and want a trip down memory lane, pick up this book and remember.”

Portland Book Review, 7/9/14
“Easy to read.”

Houston Press, 7/1/14
“[Greenfield] has a keen literary take on super-strong personalities. And Ain't It Time We Said Goodbye…brings those personalities to life.”

Waterbury Sunday Republican, 6/29/14
“This book has it appeals, particularly in the portraits Greenfield provides of peripheral players in the Stones’ orbit…The book also captures an England and Scotland that would be hard to find now…Some surprises await even those Stones fans who think they’ve heard it all.”,7/3/14
“The chronicle of the end of an era as well as the beginning of a new one…Those of Greenfield’s fellow aging baby boomers who were once deeply devoted to the Rolling Stones, and perhaps still are, will enjoy this foray into a dim past age by someone who…was certainly present while some portions of it were made.”

Campus Circle,7/31/14
“An incredibly intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the Rolling Stones. Robert Greenfield followed the band at the tender age of 25 with stunning results.”

Manhattan Mercury,7/20/14
“If you want to know more about secrets, truths and lies, pick up a copy…[An] excellent new read…[Greenfield] is one out of hundreds of Stones’ biographers who captures the moods and climates of the group…You’ll feel as if you are standing where he stands.”

The Weeklings,8/25/14
“Offers page after page of awesome backstage revelations.”

Bookviews,September 2014
“Greenfield chronicles the group during the ten days before their leave England in tax exile. The story is punctuated by Greenfield’s analysis of the seething tensions between Mick and Keith on the cusp of their heyday.”, 9/5/14
“I’ve been collecting Stones books since that first one in 1964 and, much as I love the huge coffee table jobs, you can’t beat up close and personal eye witness accounts from back in the day. Plus he’s cleverly added his 2014 insights and clarifications.”---NOT SURE, ANOTHER PERSON MENTIONED HIM IN THEIR INTERVIEW

Midwest Book Review, September 2014
“Offers an insider's survey of life backstage and the different personalities and encounters of each Stones member…An outstanding recommendation for any rock music history collection!”, 10/1/14
“Entertaining enough, not surprising given its characters—for whom ‘colorful’ hardly covers it—and its evocation of a time when rock still had some countercultural edge and ‘the greatest rock ‘n roll band in the world’ hadn’t yet become a multimillion dollar corporation…Greenfield serves up some new stuff, including tasty gossip, to keep longtime Stones fans (like this reviewer) interested.”

Glide, 10/8/14
“Sitting down with this book makes for a perfect way to spend a lazy weekend.”

New York Waste, Halloween Issue 2014
“A diary of the Rolling Stones up close and personal.”

Aquarian Weekly, 12/17/14
“Engrossing…Greenfield [is] a master storyteller…Ain’t It Time We Said Goodbye sets the record straight. This book is a must for Stones freaks.”

Stuff I Like, “Six Great Music Books,” 4/6/15
“Greenfield was right in the middle, nothing was hidden from him, and once again he brings the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world to life, warts and all.”

Kirkus Reviews
A rock journalist mines the same vein for the third time, parlaying his brief access to the Rolling Stones into a short book that reads more like an annotated magazine article. Based in the London bureau of Rolling Stone, American journalist Greenfield (A Day in the Life: One Family, the Beautiful People, and the End of the Sixties, 2009, etc.) enjoyed exclusive access to the Stones' farewell tour of Britain, before tax issues (and drug laws) sent the band on self-imposed exile. Such access would be impossible to imagine today, and perhaps the main value of this book, written 40 years after the fact but expanding on a feature that he filed for the magazine at the time, is the difference between the rock life then and now. The Stones could actually move about without causing riots when they were recognized, and a journalist could just hang around without anyone questioning his presence. The author had never seen the Stones perform before 1970 and has never seen them again in concert since 1972, so his window of experience is narrow, though his insights into the relationship between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards remain valid (if familiar). That 1971 tour found Jagger courting his future wife, Bianca, (a marriage that the author asserts "put the final nail in the coffin of the personal relationship between Mick and Keith") and Richards out of control (and rarely on time) with heroin. The account provides a short companion piece to the book Greenfield wrote with greater detail, but less exclusivity, on the Stones' subsequent tour of the United States (S. T. P., 1974). A book about one of the most interesting eras in the band's history, for those who have never read anything about the Rolling Stones or who need to read everything.

Product Details

Da Capo Press
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Hachette Digital, Inc.
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2 MB

Meet the Author

Robert Greenfield, a former Associate Editor of the London bureau of Rolling Stone magazine, has been published in eight different anthologies. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire, GQ, and Playboy magazines. STP: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones has been re-published three times in England as well as in America by Da Capo Press in a thirtieth anniversary edition.

A long time member of the Writer's Guild, Greenfield has taught English at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California; film at Chapman College in Monterey, California; and served as an Adjunct Professor of Composition and Literature at the University of San Francisco. He lives in California.

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