boston.com Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe
DAN SHAUGHNESSY

At Fenway sticks, Stones

"Let It Bleed" was about Curt Schilling. "Sympathy for the Devil" was about the Yankees. And after 86 years of not getting any Satisfaction, the Red Sox and Rolling Stones finally will share the same workplace in August.

The Stones made it official yesterday. They will kick off their 2005-06 World Tour Aug. 21 at Fenway Park, which is rapidly emerging as the stateside answer to London's Prince Albert Hall. Fenway gets Springsteen-to-Buffett-to-Jagger. Sort of like Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance with monster woofers.

The other Hall of Fame Mick always liked playing Fenway. Boston's ballpark was a great stage for Mickey Mantle's tape-measure homers when the Yankees killed the Red Sox in the '50s and '60s. Now we get Mr. Mick Jagger, who has a plaque in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. That Mick is a tireless performer who has kept himself in playing condition much longer than the Commerce Comet.

It'll be quite a thrill to have the Olde Stones at Olde Fenway. The show is just a few weeks before the final visit by the Baltimore Orioles -- the only traveling troupe actually older than the members of the band.

The Red Sox have been careful in their selection of acts to play Fenway. Running for reelection in 1944, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was allowed to stump on the infield grass, just six months before he died. The late Ray Charles was hired to sing the anthem two years ago, and Dr. Charles Steinberg summoned The Kingston Trio and the Cowsills for last year's postseason. James Taylor crooned before the ring ceremony in April.

But only Springsteen, Buffett, and now, the Stones, have been allowed to perform full-blown concerts at the ancient yard. Clearly, it has something to do with charisma and song catalogue. Springsteen made his baseball bones with "Glory Days" back when the not-born-to-run Red Sox were broken heroes on a last-chance power drive. Aramark officials OK'd Buffett only when he told them that they were the inspiration for "Cheeseburger in Paradise."

And the Stones? Well, it's clear that they have been writing about the Red Sox for more than 40 years.

We know now that "Let It Bleed" was Mick and Keith's LP time-travel tribute to Schilling and the infamous red sock.

"Sympathy for the Devil" is the band at its finest, singing about You Know Who and his Evil Empire. Just visit the lyrics: "I'm a man of wealth and taste/I've been around for a long long year/ Stole many a man's soul and faith." Who could that be other than George Steinbrenner? Good thing the Sox finally have come out from under the Yankees' thumb. The Yanks certainly have been New England's Beasts of Burden.

It goes on and on. The band no doubt will dedicate ''Jumpin' Jack Flash" to batting coach Ron "Papa Jack" Jackson. "19th Nervous Breakdown" will be performed in honor of Angry Bill and the rest of the bloodthirsty shut-ins who live for The Whiner Line. And "Emotional Rescue" could have been the title of any of the 400 books about the 2004 Red Sox season.

Too bad the Sox are going to be in Anaheim when the Stones take the field at Fenway. Johnny Damon would have been a natural on stage with Mick, Keith, Charlie, and Ron. And they would have assured him that "Bye Bye Johnny" has nothing to do with the rock star center fielder. It's about Johnny Mac, the man who pulled Roger out of Game 6 and left Billy Buck in.

McNamara isn't the only former Sox manager on the Stones' playlist. "Salt of the Earth" goes out to Joe Morgan, "Shattered" is the story of Grady Little, and "Fool to Cry" will be dedicated to the late Pinky Higgins.

David Wells certainly wishes he could be around for the show. Boomer was raised by some of the guys who guarded the stage at the tragic free concert at the Altamont Raceway when cameras rolled for "Gimme Shelter." Manny Ramirez's favorite Stones album is "Tattoo You," which is what he does nightly to the left-field wall. And let's not forget that moment last year when Pedro Martinez pledged, "Wild Horses couldn't drag me to Shea."

Speaking of former Sox aces, "Voodoo Lounge" is believed to have been inspired by the Velvet Elvis, where Roger Clemens hung out when he was AWOL during the Butch Hobson era. The Rocket always could Paint it Black when he was aiming for the outside corner.

Anyway, that's it. No more bad puns twinning the Rolling Stones and the Sox. It's over now. After all, it's not as if Sox fans need to be reminded that you can't always get what you want.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist.

red sox extras
SEARCH THE ARCHIVES
 
Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives