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  • Writer's pictureMatt Fogelson

How The Rolling Stones Almost Killed Fine Tuning

When I conceived of this blog, I didn't anticipate an unfortunate side effect: I listen to a lot of bad music almost every day. I often hear about an interesting band, write down the name in a notebook, and then excitedly check them out as time permits only to find them un-listenable. My notebook is rapidly filling with crossed-out bands.

The other day I was streaming a “recommended” station which I'd set to hear only new music when somehow the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” slipped through the firewall. Immediately my eyes closed, my

head bobbed and my soul lifted.

But then my heart sank as a flood of questions came swiftly into my consciousness: Couldn’t I live a happy life--in fact, a much happier life--only listening to the Rolling Stones? (Probably). Do I really think there's some new band out there half as good as the Stones? (No chance). So then is this blog just wasted energy? (Probably).

A foundational principle of Fine Tuning was the conviction that one can listen to songs like “Gimme Shelter” only so many times. That's clearly not the case. And I think I've always known that but had convinced myself otherwise — or had tried to. Hearing “Gimme Shelter” again the other day shattered that illusion.

And then like a slap in the face, “Hold On” by the Alabama Shakes (below) exploded through the earbuds. Its perfect backbone riff and soulful shuffle instantly rescued me from my self-doubt.

Yes, there will never be another band like the Rolling Stones. But there are still a lot of great bands worth listening to. And the ugly truth is that the not-so-great bands make the experience of hearing “Gimme Shelter” that much more euphoric.


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