Book Review: Stoned by Jo Wood captures a unique time and a side to the Stones that’s rarely seen

Stoned, is a collection of images that have never been seen before by the general public. Consisting of over five hundred photographs, notes, artwork, newspaper clippings and other ephemera put together by Jo Wood documenting life behind the scenes of The Rolling Stones.

Photographer and hoarder (thankfully) Jo Wood has kept thousands of polaroids and rolls of film. These, coupled with personal anecdotes, make up the bulk of the book, and show just how much she’s loved her life with husband Ronnie, and life on the road. It makes making life with a rockstar seem almost perfect. 

But Stoned isn’t just about her time touring with her ex-husband’s band. Rather, it takes us through her full-on life from early teens, to meeting Ronnie, as well as the good, bad, and oodles of luggage that comes with touring. Life has definitely been hectic for the Wood family and never appears to be dull. 

The book brings together an amazing collection of photographs detailing life on and off the road. It’s not just photos of the band in action, but also a snapshot of the period. It’s an insight into not only the immediate members of The Stones, but also the girlfriends, children, parents and pets too.

To an extent the book also shows how the industry has changed. Certainly, touring life in the 1970’s and 1980’s was very different from today’s touring. These days the tours are much more organised. By the 1990’s the shows became a production with handbooks given out to all staff.

Each chapter begins with an anecdote or story, followed by the photographs. The main bulk is from the 1980’s. After that there aren’t as many photos or discussion. This is perhaps due to Jo and Ronnie’s separation, which isn’t really mentioned, or perhaps it’s being kept for a follow-up. This means it goes from hedonism and partying practically straight to the end of the book. It’s a bit of an abrupt end. Ultimately though, this book captures a unique time and a side to the Stones that’s rarely seen.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Jo Wood’s Stoned: Photographs & Treasures from life with the Rolling Stones is available now through Hachette Australia.

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