Rock On: Ronnie Wood

7:00 AM

Ronnie Wood, Beggars Banquet, 1989
Rock On
By ETHAN DOSKEY

Ronnie Wood, the second most underrated Rolling Stones member, has taken up painting as he’s grown older and settled down from a rigorous touring schedule. His work often reflects his time on stage, his friends, and his life as a rock and roller. This painting is a visual representation of the Stones’ album, Beggars Banquet. Surprisingly, Wood does not appear on this album, as he later replaced Brian Jones after his death. In fact, this was Jones’ last album before he drowned.

Beggars Banquet was regarded by critics and fans as a mature revival of the Rolling Stones’ country, folk, and rock roots after their lowly rated psychedelic period. The album contains acoustic and vocal-focused tracks that are technically impressive and musically resonant. Of the ten tracks, “No Expectations” is particularly notable as it was Jones’ last musical performance. While Brian Jones had struggled with addiction, lead members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had difficulty finding a place for the unreliable, yet undoubtedly talented, musician in the band and were contemplating scratching him out of the band completely. When Jones showed up to the studio on the day they were to record “No Expectations,” Keith asked Brian to add something to the piece which resulted in the most beautiful slide guitar fills ever improvised.

This painting in my eyes acts as a sentiment to Brian Jones’ life and his work on Beggars Banquet. Within this composition, members of the Rolling Stones are seen strewn across a red and brown dining room holding glasses and making a toast. I also want to point out how clever the oxymoron of Beggars Banquet is and what that possibly says about the band. Perhaps it speaks to making the best of what you have. The last song in the album, “Salt of the Earth,” asks the listener to “raise a glass to the hard working people,” thank, and recognize the people that are struggling on this planet for all that they do for the rest of us and for the hard times that they pull through. This painting and the album of the same name salute Brian Jones, all of those who experience hardships, and those who do the thankless jobs.

This series of blogs aims to discuss various paintings by or of famous classic rock musicians and inspect the correlation between the figures and the art involving them.

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