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John Blake acquires Lesley-Ann Jones book on the Rolling Stones

James Hodgkinson, senior editor at Bonnier Books UK, has acquired world rights on a new history of the Rolling Stones from esteemed music journalist Lesley-Ann Jones, in a deal with Clare Hulton Literary Agency.

The Stone Age will publish on the John Blake imprint of Bonnier Books UK in 2022 and will track the band’s legacy – unstoppable as a collective; and fascinating, contradictory and disturbing as individuals – through the glory years, the exile years, the big-machine years, and into the bumpy landing ground of rock music’s ongoing reckoning – where the Stones are more at odds than ever with the times and values they’ve always rebelled against.

Lesley-Ann Jones has met and socialised with all of the Stones (apart from the late Brian Jones), visiting a number of their homes, including Keith’s former mountain hideout in Jamaica, and Mick’s house on Macaroni Beach, Mustique, and the book will feature new and first-hand interviews with those closest to the band. As a friend of bassist Bill Wyman during the 1980s, Lesley-Ann did not realise that she had been selected as part of a mixed-age friendship circle assembled to conceal Wyman’s love affair with teenaged Mandy Smith.

Jones said: ‘The Rolling Stones are the root of all rock bands. Their core founding line-up is still going, 60 years on. They created the soundtrack to millions of lives, but the fall-out from their hedonistic, death-defying lifestyle has been immense. It has damaged and even destroyed many women, children and band associates. The band themselves, meanwhile, have rocked on regardless, and have achieved a curious respectability in old age. Their frontman Mick Jagger, once the most anti-Establishment of them all, is now a knight of the realm. I set out to discover why we still revere the Stones, even though they represent so much that we find unacceptable and even abhorrent today.’

Hodgkinson said: ‘Lesley-Ann combines deft psychological probing with finding new perspectives through the important women in the lives of complex men. The Stones have a long, chequered history ripe for modern exploration. The Stone Age is a book that will balance tying together their epic history with their increasingly uncomfortable legacy. This will be the Stones juggernaut appraised and dissected as never before – the good, the bad, the ugly.”

Publishing on 2 June 2022, The Stone Age will be available in hardback, eBook and audiobook.