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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Weekend Road Trips

Robert Manni - Monday, June 29, 2015


There's nothing like getting out of town for a long weekend. And it’s even better when you travel to another city.

Guy’s Guys maintain wanderlust for travel and adventure. And although I’ve had the good fortune to visit exotic locales like Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, and Hong Kong for business, I still look forward to a stateside weekend getaway in the company of a Guy’s Guys crew. In fact, I recently returned from a quick jaunt to Pittsburgh where I met up with three old friends and one of my college roommates who hails from the Steel City. Why Pittsburgh? First of all, Pittsburgh is only an hour and change flight from NYC. It’s also an overlooked little city with a great layout, rocking bars, and wonderfully real people who work hard and show authentic pride in their hometown.

The focus of this past weekend was a Rolling Stones concert at Heinz Field, the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I’ve been doing the daddy thing with my young son 24/7 for the past two years, so when the invitation hit my email, my wife urged me to get out of town. She knew how restless I’d been, and I’m thankful for having someone as thoughtful as her. It also gave my son a break for a few days as he wondered why his “Da-Da” had disappeared. The weekend went by in a flash, and like any worthwhile road trip with your buds, it left me with what are now memories of a good time with old friends and a classic, riveting performance by the ageless Stones under threatening gray skies. The weekend prompted the notion of what makes a good road trip and how to make the most of a few precious days off from our ultra-busy lives. So, here is my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Weekend Road Trips, with a nod to the Rolling Stones for their rocking’ vibe.

1. START ME UP - Book your flight and lodging accommodations early, especially if you are attending a big event. To a certain extent, dealing with airlines and hotels is a crapshoot. That said, it’s always advisable to set up your trip as far in advance as possible. Since this last minute road trip was built around a rare Stones appearance in the Steel City, finding non-stop flights and a room within proximity of the concert venue was tricky. I tracked flights and prices for a few days using the usual digital apps, but ultimately found the fastest, cheapest and most accessible methodology by simply booking directly with an airline. The hotel was a different story. Even three weeks prior to the show, almost every room in town was booked. Fortunately, my friend who hatched the road trip plan and bought tickets on Stub Hub at retail prices, managed to use his elite status with a leading hotel chain to score us the last room within walking distance of the venue. Two of us needed to share a room, but we scored two queen beds so it was kind of fun to bunk up with an old buddy for two nights. Beyond sleeping, we didn't spend any time in the room, so it turned out fine, even with some snoring involved. That said, from Friday to Saturday night, the room rate was jacked up fifty percent due to the concert.

During my career in business, I’ve made it a goal to get my packing down to a perfect science. Now I travel almost anywhere with the minimum amount of clothes and sundry items in tow. I have little tricks for saving space by wear running shoes on the plane (which I can use for walking around or working out) and packing a second pair of lightweight shoes, sneakers or sandals in my overnight bag, which I carry on. I pack sparsely with a minimum of clothes. You can always buy a shirt or pants if you need them when traveling anywhere in the US and most overseas destinations. And, I always leave room in my bag for a keepsake t-shirt, hat, or whatever.

2. WAITING ON A FRIEND – Make a flexible plan for your time during your short trip. I’m not suggesting you become a slave to a schedule, but it’s always nice to have a blueprint to work from. In this case, one of my college roommates hails from Pittsburgh, so of course I made sure I connected with him in advance of our arrival. He met us on Friday night and acted as our tour guide. We hit a few bars near our hotel and eventually had dinner and drinks at the Jerome Bettis Bar 36 (his number as a Steeler). The food was good and the drinks were cheaper than NYC, which was no surprise. And, being a gracious host, my old roomie paid the check without our knowing before heading home for the evening. That’s class. During our dinner, my roomie gave us the names of other restaurants, bars and cultural things to consider for Saturday. The next day we walked from our hotel to the Strip District, which is known for its farmer’s market, seafood shops, team merchandise kiosks, and bars. It was off the beaten path and an area most visitors would never know existed. The walk was great for getting our bearings and a feel for the city. We eventually found a bar that served the best Bloody Mary and lobster nachos that I’ve ever tasted.

3. SALT OF THE EARTH – Make friends with the locals. One of the best things about Pittsburgh is the people. I first met folks from Pittsburgh during my years at Villanova University, on the Main Line near Philadelphia. For some reason, a lot of kids from Pittsburgh attended the school and I became friends with a lot of them. To a person, well almost, they are down to earth, straight-talking, real folks and a lot of fun. I immediately noticed the similarities even during the cab ride from the airport. Our driver was friendly and proud of his city. He pointed out where many NFL quarterback legends from the Pittsburgh area lived and he even offered to give us a ride back to the airport on Sunday. I took his number because my roomie told me that unlike NYC, cabs are hard to find in downtown Pittsburgh. There was a shortage of cabs so we ended up using his service again on Sunday.

During our stay, the locals at the bars, concert, and even the people working in the shops and restaurants were friendly and real. We got tips for where to go and what to eat, where the Stones were staying, etc. It was a pleasure interacting with everyone.

4. GIMME SHELTER – Checking out the weather forecast in advance can be helpful. With the risk of sounding like grandma, I suggest checking a weather app before packing for your trip. In this case, the forecast called for intermittent rain for three days. I wisely packed a water-resistant windbreaker and bought a Pittsburgh Pirates cap at one of the many team merchandise shops. A few hours before the concert it was raining heavily and all the bars along the river walk were jammed. Fortunately, the people were cool and super-friendly. One guy even bought us a round of beers for simple letting him get to the bar to order drinks. It was that kind of crowd. Coming from Manhattan, this was a nice reminder of how chill people can be given the right circumstances. About thirty minutes before show time, the rain stopped. The skies cleared as the Rolling Stones took the stage. We had stopped by Heinz Field that afternoon to pick up our souvenirs, so we did not have to deal with a crowd that was fifty deep waiting to buy $40 t-shirts, so we had time to enjoy a cold brew while watching the crowd pour in.

5. SATISFACTION – There’s nothing like a quick road trip getaway to reinvigorate your spirits and remind you of the importance of good friends.

The four of us (my buddy from Pittsburgh did not attend the show) took our seats a few minutes before show time and with beers in hand stood together for the next two and one half hours of razor-sharp rock n’ roll. The show was electric, sensational, riveting. We had perfect seats at the end of the catwalk. And unlike most of his rock band brethren of the same age, Mick Jagger can bring it. His voice still fills up a venue, and in this case a stadium with 55,000 seats. The guitars were loud, almost to the point of distortion. The beers were cheap (Yuengling 24 oz cans for $12) and unlike the stadiums and arenas in NYC, you could cruise around holding toting the can.

After the show, the four of us had a few final drinks at a nearby steak house before calling it a night and saying our goodbyes. The next morning our cab showed up on time and we were back in NYC a few short hours later.

Every road trip is different and each one has its own special flavor and surprises. That’s one of the joys of getting out of Dodge for a long weekend.

Safe travels and happy trials to you, amigos.

This week’s Guy’s Guys of the Week are the Rolling Stones. Twenty-five years ago they seemed old for the rock n’ roll game, and we all had a few laughs at their expense. Today, it feels like they’ve stopped aging. Could it be that they are now in better shape than most of their boomer audience? Rock on, Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie. You are all Guy’s Guys.

Why The Rolling Stones Matter to Guy's Guys

Robert Manni - Thursday, December 19, 2013


In honor of guitarist Keith Richards' 70th birthday, we're reblogging a classic Guy's Guy post about an iconic Guy's Guy band.

Guys’ Guys need good music and for the past fifty years, the Stones have spun a wicked soundtrack. Like them or not, you have to admit the Stones have withstood time. Despite the arrival of disco, rap, hip hop, electronica, house, world, and competitors as talented as Nirvana, Guns and Roses, and Led Zeppelin, only the Stones have kept it together and rolled for five decades. And while in six short years the Beatles songs lifted us to ethereal heights that will never be matched, the Stones grounded us in the real world. No yellow submarines or Bungalow Bills here. The Stones wrote classic rock songs about the challenges we face every day, and that’s why they matter - especially to Guys’ Guys.  In this rapidly changing world and a music industry that breeds acts as disposable as a soiled pair of Depends, the Stones have time and gravitas on their side.   But can they still roll or are their steel wheels too creaky?   Their golden anniversary tour has been pushed back a bit because “they are not ready” and with no new music for the past seven years, this seems strange. But, the last standing vestiges of the classic rock era get a well-deserved pass. As quick as you can say “Start Me Up”, Mick will once again move like Jagger. Okay, you have probably figured out that I really like the Rolling Stones. The main reason is that in a strange way, their music helped me develop from angry young man to my hopefully mellower current persona. Here are a few songs that were guideposts for my evolution as a Guy’s Guy.

Brown Sugar.

Every few months, my mom would drive to the retail district of Hackensack, NJ to shop. There was a record store near the Fox movie theater that carried the latest records. I was in school so I’d write her a list. I’d give mom the money and she’d buy me one or two albums. On one particular trip she returned wielding copies of, The Monkees, “Headquarters” and the Stones epic “Sticky Fingers” albums. Needless to say she frowned when she handed over the Stones album with Andy Warhol’s black and white photo of a guy’s bulging package and the silver zipper on the cover. Hilarious. The moment I heard the song’s opening riff of Brown Sugar that sounded like the gears of a high-octane V-8 engine kicking in, everything changed. I was alive. Since my family lived only minutes from my school, I listened to that song and album every day for the next year when I’d stop home at lunchtime and have a sandwich and a dish of Jell-O with my Mom. I applaud her for never complaining as she was subjected to songs like  “Bitch” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?” as we ate. It was a great time in my life-bonding with mom while listening to the Stones. Although I was now bursting with testosterone, I realized that my mom was also my friend. Cool.

Shattered.

“Some Girls” was all about New York City. It was raw and insidious in its charm.  The final song, “Shattered” featured lyrics like, “Love and hope and sex and dreams and still surviving on the street” and “Rats on the West Side, bed bugs uptown”. It painted the Manhattan of that time with a brazenly accurate brush. I was still living in Jersey in those days, but I’d drive across the bridge to visit my friends in the city. We partied like wild boys until five in the morning and crash wherever. I remember walking up after an all-nighter on the closet floor of a woman’s apartment with my body entwined with one of her girlfriends.  Those were fun, innocent times and compared to today’s hard-edged nightlife. I found my drug and it was New York City.

Start Me Up.

Probably one of the most overplayed radio songs of all time, but infectious just the same. Who could shy away from Keith’s opening riff and Mick’s declaration that the girl he sang about could make a dead man come? That’s some woman. I heard the song for the first time while partying in the back of a car cruising up Wilshire in LA while with a buddy from college and his friends. It was the eighties now and things were changing. I was too. At the time, it was all about heading west and discovering America.

Anybody Seen My Baby?

The underrated “Bridges to Babylon” album featured a single with Mick sing-speaking his lament about a great girl that had disappeared into thin air. At the time, like my character Max Hallyday, the protagonist in my novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE, I had just left a job I really loved for the promise of money and power. I got some of that, but I also got a wake up call about what really matters in life and it really stuck in my brain. I learned that you could never go back.

A Bigger Bang.

When the Stones last release came out a few years ago, everything in my life had been blown up in some way. I was completely on my own. It was a very free feeling so I decided that I’d take a risk and write a kick-ass novel that would make people feel good. The CD sounded like the Stones were playing in my living room and the songs were relatively light versus their former harder edge. The digital download provided a great soundtrack for my long runs in Central Park and at the shore and the more circumspect songs helped me work out the novel’s plot twists and turns as I loped along. The music was transformative and the collection of songs provided an ongoing narrative and tone for my protagonist, Max Hallyday.

For most of us music plays a part in modern life. The Rolling Stones have grown up with me and for that I will always be grateful. While they pull themselves together for their final tour, I’m working on my next book and waiting on my lifelong musical friends.

So which songs have inspired you? Maybe it's time to listen to them again.

Our Guy's Guy of the Week is Keith Richards. Need I say more?

Beatles or Stones—The Guys' Guy's Perspective on a Classic Rock Debate

Robert Manni - Friday, July 12, 2013


Was Nolan Ryan a better pitcher than Sandy Koufax?

Okay, I’m dating myself, but Ryan’s twenty-year body of work on the Mets, Astros and Rangers dwarfed Koufax’s brief, unforgettable stint with the Dodgers. But Koufax left an indelible impression on any fan that had the opportunity to watch him pitch. He was an artist. That’s what we’re dealing with here. Debating The Beatles and The Rolling Stones is like comparing the beauty of a shooting star with a massive constellation. It’s subjective, but as a Guy’s Guy, I will do my best to be objective while taking on this thorny topic where everyone who loves music wins. Let’s break this down to its basic components.

Songwriting – John and Paul versus Mick and Keith. On sheer volume, The Stones clobber the Fab Four. That said, McCartney is our generation’s Cole Porter. He is the singular songwriting talent of our lifetime. Yesterday, Hey Jude, Blackbird, Let It Be, The Long and Winding Road, Eleanor Rigby, Michelle and And I Love Her, to name a few, are classic ballads frequently covered by other artists. Add John Lennon’s global vision and impetus with George Harrison’s spirituality and musical chops to the team and you’ve got a winning combination. For the most part, The Stones have relied on Keith’s riffs and Mick’s underrated and often ironic lyricsGimme Shelter, Angie (surprisingly their top selling song), Brown Sugar, Ruby Tuesday, Sympathy for the Devil, Paint It Blackthe list goes on and on and on.

Innovation - The Stones excel in blues, rock, country and reggae. In six years, The Beatles broke new ground with every album released. They did what Miles Davis did for jazz in terms of pushing boundaries and creating new genres and sounds. Their producer, George Martin, is underappreciated. He was invaluable. That said, for the most part Mick and Keith, aka the Glimmer Twins, are responsible for the Stones’ production. They’ve had help, but they’ve driven the train for five decades. They have that unmistakable vibe driven by Keith’s crunching riffs and Jagger’s growl.

Live Act – The Beatles were a short-lived phenomena. A few appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium, and the Apple rooftop jam are all we have. The Stones are grounded in the blues and have been touring for fifty years and counting. They continue to rule the roost as the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band” for good reason.  Their shows draw from close to five hundred songs, feature the greatest guitar riffs in rock history and are backed by an amazing rhythm section led by a jazz drummer. And their lead singer is Mick Jagger, rock’s greatest front man, and at seventy, a consummate professional and uniquely talented performer that you cannot take your eyes off of.  Stones shows are visual spectacles that are not to be missed.

Cultural Impact – I’ll take the contrarian position here and give it to The Stones. Here’s whyThe Beatles music is harmonious and ethereal with a sound that feels like it has been channeled from above. People of all ages all over the world love their music. That said, the Stones’ sound and message is more grounded and representative of how we live. The Stones spit their grit, gravitas and swagger at modern life. Shattered, Beast of Burden, Under My Thumb, Start Me Up, and Get Off of My Cloud tap into the everyday trials, tribulations and tumultuousness of our crazy world. And, over the past week they played in front of a half million fans at Glastonbury and Hyde Park.

The Verdict – Let’s call it a draw. The Beatles are like Mozartmusical, magical, and even mystical in their infectious allure. They are more popular and less polarizing than The Stones. But five decades later, The Rolling Stones are still touring to great reviews. After six years, The Beatles called it a day. The Stones took on punk, disco, glitter, grunge, boy bands, hip-hop, and whatever you'd call Mumford and Sons and withstood them all. Let’s raise both their hands in victory and keep both bands in heavy rotation on any Guys’ Guy playlist.

So which camp do you fall into—Beatles, Stones or none of the above?

This week's Guy's Guys of the Week are the surviving members of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Thanks for bringing us the soundtrack to our lives.

Why The Rolling Stones Matter To Guy's Guys

Robert Manni - Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Guys’ Guys need good music and for the past fifty years, the Stones have spun a wicked soundtrack. Like them or not, you have to admit the Stones have withstood time. Despite the arrival of disco, rap, hip hop, electronica, house, world, and competitors as talented as Nirvana, Guns and Roses and Led Zeppelin, only the Stones have kept it together and rolled for the past five decades. And while in six short years the Beatles songs lifted us to ethereal heights that will never be matched, the Stones grounded us in the real world. No yellow submarines or Bungalow Bills here. The Stones wrote classic rock songs about the challenges we face every day, and that’s why they matter - especially to Guys’ Guys.  In this rapidly changing world and a music industry that breeds acts that are as disposable as a soiled pair of Depends, the Stones have time and gravitas on their side.   But can they still roll or are their steel wheels too creaky?   Despite some tour dates being pushed back a bit because “they weren't ready” and with little new music to speak of for the past seven years, The Rolling Stones still rocked the house at the Barclay Center this past Saturday. As quick as you can say “Start Me Up”, Mick will once again move like Jagger. Okay, you have probably figured out that I really like the Rolling Stones. The main reason is that in a strange way, their music helped me develop from angry young man to my hopefully mellower current persona. Here are a few songs that were guideposts for my evolution as a Guy’s Guy.

1- Brown Sugar - Every few months, my mom would drive to the retail district of Hackensack, NJ to shop. There was a record store near the Fox movie theater that carried the latest records. I was in school so I’d write her a list. I’d give mom the money and she’d buy me one or two albums. On one particular trip she returned wielding copies of, The Monkees, “Headquarters” and the Stones epic “Sticky Fingers” albums. Needless to say she frowned when she handed over the Stones album with Andy Warhol’s black and white photo of a guy’s bulging package and the silver zipper on the cover. Hilarious. The moment I heard the song’s opening riff of Brown Sugar that sounded like the gears of a high-octane V-8 engine kicking in, everything changed. I was alive. Since my family lived only minutes from my school, I listened to that song and album every day for the next year when I’d stop home at lunchtime and have a sandwich and a dish of Jell-O with my Mom. I applaud her for never complaining as she was subjected to songs like  “Bitch” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?” as we ate. It was a great time in my life-bonding with mom while listening to the Stones. Although I was now bursting with testosterone, I realized that my mom was also my friend. Cool.

2- Shattered - “Some Girls” was all about New York City. It was raw and insidious in its charm.  The final song, “Shattered” featured lyrics like, “Love and hope and sex and dreams and still surviving on the street” and “Rats on the West Side, bed bugs uptown”. It painted the Manhattan of that time with a brazenly accurate brush. I was still living in Jersey in those days, but I’d drive across the bridge to visit my friends in the city. We partied like wild boys until five in the morning and crash wherever. I remember walking up after an all-nighter on the closet floor of a woman’s apartment with my body entwined with one of her girlfriends.  Those were fun, innocent times and compared to today’s hard-edged nightlife. I found my drug and it was New York City.

3- Start Me Up - Probably one of the most overplayed radio songs of all time, but infectious just the same. Who could shy away from Keith’s opening riff and Mick’s declaration that the girl he sang about could make a dead man come? That’s some woman. I heard the song for the first time while partying in the back of a car cruising up Wilshire in LA while with a buddy from college and his friends. It was the eighties now and things were changing. I was too. At the time, it was all about heading west and discovering America.

4- Anybody Seen My Baby? - The underrated “Bridges to Babylon” album featured a single with Mick sing-speaking his lament about a great girl that had disappeared into thin air. At the time, like my character Max Hallyday, the protagonist in my novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE, I had just left a job I really loved for the promise of money and power. I got some of that, but I also got a wake up call about what really matters in life and it really stuck in my brain. I learned that you could never go back.

5- A Bigger Bang - When the Stones last release came out a few years ago, everything in my life had been blown up in some way. I was completely on my own. It was a very free feeling so I decided that I’d take a risk and write a kick-ass novel that would make people feel good. The CD sounded like the Stones were playing in my living room and the songs were relatively light versus their former harder edge. The digital download provided a great soundtrack for my long runs in Central Park and at the shore and the more circumspect songs helped me work out the novel’s plot twists and turns as I loped along. The music was transformative and the collection of songs provided an ongoing narrative and tone for my protagonist, Max Hallyday.

For most of us music plays a part in modern life. The Rolling Stones have grown up with me and for that I will always be grateful. While they pull themselves together for their final tour, I’m working on my next book and waiting on my lifelong musical friends.

Our Guy's Guy of the Week is none other than Mick Jagger, one of the original Guy's Guys in rock & roll.

So which songs have inspired you? Maybe it's time to listen to them again.

Why The Rolling Stones Matter To Guys' Guys

Robert Manni - Wednesday, April 04, 2012


Image courtesy of thenjunderground.com

Guys’ Guys need good music and for the past fifty years, the Stones have spun a wicked soundtrack. Like them or not, you have to admit the Stones have withstood time. Despite the arrival of disco, rap, hip hop, electronica, house, world, and competitors as talented as Nirvana, Guns and Roses, and Led Zeppelin, only the Stones have kept it together and rolled for five decades. And while in six short years the Beatles songs lifted us to ethereal heights that will never be matched, the Stones grounded us in the real world. No yellow submarines or Bungalow Bills here. The Stones wrote classic rock songs about the challenges we face every day, and that’s why they matter - especially to Guys’ Guys.  In this rapidly changing world and a music industry that breeds acts as disposable as a soiled pair of Depends, the Stones have time and gravitas on their side.   But can they still roll or are their steel wheels too creaky?   Their golden anniversary tour has been pushed back a bit because “they are not ready” and with no new music for the past seven years, this seems strange. But, the last standing vestiges of the classic rock era get a well-deserved pass. As quick as you can say “Start Me Up”, Mick will once again move like Jagger. Okay, you have probably figured out that I really like the Rolling Stones. The main reason is that in a strange way, their music helped me develop from angry young man to my hopefully mellower current persona. Here are a few songs that were guideposts for my evolution as a Guy’s Guy.

1- Brown Sugar - Every few months, my mom would drive to the retail district of Hackensack, NJ to shop. There was a record store near the Fox movie theater that carried the latest records. I was in school so I’d write her a list. I’d give mom the money and she’d buy me one or two albums. On one particular trip she returned wielding copies of, The Monkees, “Headquarters” and the Stones epic “Sticky Fingers” albums. Needless to say she frowned when she handed over the Stones album with Andy Warhol’s black and white photo of a guy’s bulging package and the silver zipper on the cover. Hilarious. The moment I heard the song’s opening riff of Brown Sugar that sounded like the gears of a high-octane V-8 engine kicking in, everything changed. I was alive. Since my family lived only minutes from my school, I listened to that song and album every day for the next year when I’d stop home at lunchtime and have a sandwich and a dish of Jell-O with my Mom. I applaud her for never complaining as she was subjected to songs like  “Bitch” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?” as we ate. It was a great time in my life-bonding with mom while listening to the Stones. Although I was now bursting with testosterone, I realized that my mom was also my friend. Cool.

2- Shattered - “Some Girls” was all about New York City. It was raw and insidious in its charm.  The final song, “Shattered” featured lyrics like, “Love and hope and sex and dreams and still surviving on the street” and “Rats on the West Side, bed bugs uptown”. It painted the Manhattan of that time with a brazenly accurate brush. I was still living in Jersey in those days, but I’d drive across the bridge to visit my friends in the city. We partied like wild boys until five in the morning and crash wherever. I remember walking up after an all-nighter on the closet floor of a woman’s apartment with my body entwined with one of her girlfriends.  Those were fun, innocent times and compared to today’s hard-edged nightlife. I found my drug and it was New York City.

3- Start Me Up - Probably one of the most overplayed radio songs of all time, but infectious just the same. Who could shy away from Keith’s opening riff and Mick’s declaration that the girl he sang about could make a dead man come? That’s some woman. I heard the song for the first time while partying in the back of a car cruising up Wilshire in LA while with a buddy from college and his friends. It was the eighties now and things were changing. I was too. At the time, it was all about heading west and discovering America.

4- Anybody Seen My Baby? - The underrated “Bridges to Babylon” album featured a single with Mick sing-speaking his lament about a great girl that had disappeared into thin air. At the time, like my character Max Hallyday, the protagonist in my novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE, I had just left a job I really loved for the promise of money and power. I got some of that, but I also got a wake up call about what really matters in life and it really stuck in my brain. I learned that you could never go back.

5- A Bigger Bang - When the Stones last release came out a few years ago, everything in my life had been blown up in some way. I was completely on my own. It was a very free feeling so I decided that I’d take a risk and write a kick-ass novel that would make people feel good. The CD sounded like the Stones were playing in my living room and the songs were relatively light versus their former harder edge. The digital download provided a great soundtrack for my long runs in Central Park and at the shore and the more circumspect songs helped me work out the novel’s plot twists and turns as I loped along. The music was transformative and the collection of songs provided an ongoing narrative and tone for my protagonist, Max Hallyday.

For most of us music plays a part in modern life. The Rolling Stones have grown up with me and for that I will always be grateful. While they pull themselves together for their final tour, I’m working on my next book and waiting on my lifelong musical friends.

So which songs have inspired you? Maybe it's time to listen to them again.


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