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An English Rose in Georgia: Stones members, music standing test of time
Lesley Francis - 2016
Lesley Francis grew up in London, England, and made Georgia her home in 2009. - photo by File photo

There is much excitement in the land of my birth about the Rolling Stones touring the U.K. this month for the first time in five years.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards will both be 75 later this year, drummer Charlie Watts is 77, and even the baby of the group Ronnie Woods is 71.

As a teenager, I believed that I was a bit young for the Rolling Stones because they are the same age as my parents and many of their big hits were in the 1960s and 1970s.

I did change my tune in my 20s and 30s, when I discovered the depth and variety of their music, such as the beauty of “Wild Horses” and energy of “Satisfaction.” These two songs are in my personal top ten alltime favorites.

On the other side of the Atlantic, my husband, who is a few years older than me, became a big fan earlier than I did. He says the Rolling Stones have provided the soundtrack to most of his life, and I can see his point.

So imagine my excitement when he surprised me last year with VIP tickets to a Rolling Stones show in Paris as part of their No Filter tour. We tied in some business for him and a family visit for me, and the trip was magical.

The Rolling Stones formed as a blues band in 1962. While the clean-cut Beatles were seen as fresh, wholesome and romantic, the Stones were the troublesome bad boys of the 1960s British music scene.

Almost six decades later, the original line-up is still together, except for the 1974 addition of newcomer Ronnie Woods who replaced Mick Taylor, who in turn had replaced founding member Brian Jones in 1969. Jones had been asked to leave the band as his drug addiction had spiraled out of control, and he died a few weeks later.

Bass guitarist Bill Wyman, 81, was the only member not there for our Paris show as he has been battling prostate cancer in recent years. But the Rolling Stones are known to pick quality musicians to play with the band as needed.

Especially since the band’s lifestyle choices over the years have often been far from healthy and wholesome, it is remarkable that they can still perform with such passion, vigor and energy.

Mick was strutting, running and dancing for the whole 2.5 hours, and Ronnie played non-stop and never missed a note. Charlie played drums with the same poise and energy of a man a third his age, and Keith was his wonderful, irreverent self. He came out to play a solo smoking a cigarette. “No smoking? Call a cop,” he told the cheering French audience.

When the cameras went in for close ups for the huge stage screens, we did comment that Botox and facelifts re obviously not high on the band’s priority list – but why should they be? For more information on this iconic band, visit One of the highlights of that evening was seeing Mick Jagger up close and “strutting his stuff,” belting out hit after hit with the audience singing along. It is easy to understand how his charisma has led him to be irresistible to women over the years.

Jagger has eight children by five different women. His current girlfriend is 45 years younger than him and mother to his youngest child born in December 2016. Jagger also has five grandchildren and one great-grandchild but does not fit any conventional description of a grandfather.

The Rolling Stones have outlasted nearly all of their 1960s contemporaries, and the British media is speculating – once again – that this could be their last year of touring. Mick Jagger is famously quoted as saying “I have never wanted to give up performing on stage, but one day the tours will be over.”

Not yet Mick, please, not yet.

God bless America and this British legend!

Lesley grew up in London, England, and made Georgia her home in 2009. She can be contacted at or at

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