Some years ago William Tenn wrote a science-fiction short story entitled "The Custodian," in which a man, prior to the earth's destruction, gathered only what could fit into a small spaceship from all earth's cultural and artistic treasure. What to choose? Sometimes I have day-dreamed of myself in a similar role. What would I choose to save, what paintings, sculpture, poetry, music, etc. would I choose to represent each area of human artistry?

To represent Rock Music, I would flip a coin to choose between the Rolling Stones Jumpin Jack Flash and (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.

I have a theory as to why the Stones work so well as a Rock Band. They include both of the basic impulses of human beings, indeed, the two basic contradictory impulses of the world: chaos and order, head and heart. Definitions: Dionysian--(from the god Dionysus (Bacchus)) individualistic, exuberance, chaos, heart/emotions, madness; Apollinian (from the god Apollo) beauty, rationality, order.

Mick Jagger is the Dionysian, chaotic, emotional impulse. Think of his singing--he rarely hits a note straight on, his voice slides around the notes, constantly threatening to go into the wrong key. Think of his dancing--chaotic movement. Think of his persona on stage--a good imitation of the god of wine.
Charlie Watts is the Apollinian, orderly, rational impulse. Think of his drumming--simple and spare, exact as a machine. Think of his movements--nothing wasted or excessive. Think of his stage persona--a good imitation of the god of reason.

The genius of the Stones is that these two contradictory impulses both are harnessed, complimenting each other, demonstrating that each needs the other. Without steady Charlie, Mick's singing would devolve from music into pure chaos. Without exuberant Mick, Charlie's rythmn would lack a heart, would degenerate from music into pure formality.

(Challenge to A Waco Farmer--what song would you choose to represent country music and why?)