Stanley Booth

By: Anthony Miller
January 5, 2016


Less than two months after being granted “full and exclusive cooperation” to write a book about the Rolling Stones, STANLEY BOOTH (born 1942) found himself with the band at Altamont, the cataclysmic end-of-an-era concert where 18-year-old Meredith Hunter met his end at the hands of a Hells Angel. Fifteen years later (the Stones recently having gone Undercover), Booth emerged with Dance with the Devil: The Rolling Stones and Their Times, later retitled The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones. More than the essential book on the Stones, True Adventures is an unerring and unsparing account of the Sixties. Booth’s powers of description are supernaturally tactile. His descent into the rock and roll maelstrom would lead him to hole up in an Ozark Mountain cabin, engulfed in depression and a drug habit he acquired in the company of Keith Richards. The book has been compared to Michael Herr’s Dispatches and, like that book, it is a story that took many years for playback onto the printed page and is worth all the time spent and whatever toll it exacted on its author. Before embarking on tour as “writer in residence” with the Stones not long after the death of Brian Jones, the Waycross, Georgia-born writer had covered the Memphis music scene, befriended B.B. King, profiled bluesman Furry Lewis (in the captivating 1970 Playboy article “Furry’s Blues”), and sat beside Otis Redding and Steve Cropper as they came up with “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” He is working on a follow-up to his insightful, aberrantly titled collection Rythm Oil and a memoir of family insanity called Tree Full of Owls. Whether chronicling the death-defying Richards or photographer and friend William Eggleston, Booth is a writer who relishes stories of sin and redemption.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Michael O’Donoghue, Umberto Eco.

READ MORE about members of the Anti-Anti-Utopian Generation (1934-43).


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