Rolling Stones Crossfire Hurricane Logo Wasn't 1962 a very difficult year to live through? The Beatles failed their audition at Decca Records. A military coup arose in the Dominican Republic. The United States of America placed an embargo on Cuba. Plus a couple of scruffy looking layabouts decided to get together and form a band. Yeah. This band. Seen in this 60-minute documentary made in 2012.

Crossfire Hurricane

Just like in the last instalment of this very musical documentary (click here for that), Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman, talk about what it was like being in the rock group known as, 'The Rolling Stones'. Moreover, just like before, you don't actually get to see their faces during this interview. Oh no! Instead, we are presented with stock photography and archival footage, illustrating their early years as a group.

What now follows is a basic break down of how this narration plays out:

  • Who joined the group once Brian Jones died?   Mick Taylor. Mick Jagger called him up on the phone, and he was primed and ready to rock and roll -- big time.
  • What was their experience like at the Altamont Free Concert in San Francisco?   According to Jagger, it was 'out of control'. When a riot suddenly broke-out between the 'Hell's Angels' and the baying crowd, it resulted in the death of an armed-fan called Meredith Hunter.
  • Why did the band leave the UK in 1971? Tax reasons. It was too high at the time.
  • So what did they do next?   Many things really. Make music in France. Take drugs. Perform another concert in America. Take more drugs. And all in all, they were like a law onto themselves.
  • Did they continue writing their own songs?   Yeah. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards evolved their music whilst on the road. Constantly piecing together their collaboration's like different segments of a jigsaw puzzle.
  • How did the band cope with their perpetual media intrusion?  Charlie and Bill avoided it whenever possible. Jagger was coy at answering questions posed to him during interviews. Keith took drugs. And Mick Taylor packed his bags and left the group.
  • Oh, dear! So who replaced Mick then?   Ron Wood. He overheard Mick's resignation, and quickly put himself forward for this post. Thankfully, Jagger agreed, and he fit in quite nicely. Balancing out all the different egos in toe.
  • Why did Keith Richards stop taking drugs?    He was busted by the police too many times for possession; and thought that by 'going clean' he could only improve the band, their songs, and their performances.

And with that, dear reader, 'The Rolling Stones' went from being the most hated band in the world, to the most loved band in the world.

The rest is now history.

Whilst watching this final chapter of 'Rolling Stones - Crossfire Hurricane', I couldn't help but ponder why this group has grown from strength to strength over time, whilst the Beatles packed it in, in the early seventies. And do you do know what I come up with, dear reader? Well: (1) Unlike the fab-four, 'The Stones' never allowed their roster to take precedence from the music they were producing. If one member left, they quickly replaced this musician with someone else. Simple as that really. (2) Lennon and McCartney started writing music together when they were kids, so by the time they became established musicians in their own right, this partnership began to drag them down quite a bit. However, in Jagger and Richard's case, they started writing music when they were in their early twenties; which is a much more mature age for collaboration and evolution. (3) Collectively, 'The Beatles' grew apart the more the band evolved as an entity -- changing artistic styles and appearance, as quickly as they changed their musical tastes. Where as 'The Stones', on the other hand, all appear quite similar where their tastes are concerned -- and do come across very happy with the roles given to them in the group. (4) Women. Say no more. Unless you want to hear what Mick says in this 'Rutles' mock-documentary?

Rolling Stones Crossfire Hurricane Picture
Alright, that's enough comparisons for the moment. Let's have some musical trivia next, shall we? (1) Did you know that Billy Preston worked with 'The Stones' and 'The Beatles' on a number of different occasions'? He worked with Mick and company on their song 'Can't You Hear Me Knockin'. And he worked with Lennon and company on their 'Abbey Road' album. (2) Believe it or not, Mick Jagger envisioned himself as if he were a serial-killer -- similar to 'The Boston Strangler' -- whilst devising the song 'Midnight Rambler'. (3) Can you guess what the songs, 'Wild Horses', 'Gimme Shelter', and 'Ruby Tuesday', all have in common? Musical credit was given to both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for composing these songs, although they were only composed by Keith on his own. (4) In the early eighties, Keith Richards was inspired to write the song, 'Little T&A', because he was recovering from drug addiction at the time, plus found love in his wife to be, Patti Hansen. (5) The popular guitar riff heard in the mega-anthem, '(I can't get no) Satisfaction', was dreamt up one night whilst Keith Richards was dreaming. Since then though, he has started to hate this signature theme, because it has been played so many-many times. (6) Mick was inspired by the musician, Bob Dylan, and the Mikhail Bulgakov novel, 'The Master and the Margarita', to create 'Sympathy for The Devil'.

Young Rolling Stones

Now can you hazard as guess as to why I chose trivia relating to what inspired Mike and Keith to create their songs? Well, this point was never mentioned in 'Rolling Stones - Crossfire Hurricane'. It was glossed over with stock-footage and pithy commentary; without giving this documentary any 'die-hard' data for the 'die-hard' fans. Also, I would have liked some more 'personal trivia' too; just to ascertain what the different members of the group were like at different stages of their lives.

Rolling Stones Down
Still, as Charlie said at the start of this piece, 'It's supposed to be fun. Just like the band is'. Plus Keith did additionally state, 'Never let the truth spoil a good story'. And it is. It is a very good story. Told in a very innovative way, with the guys talking about different parts of their collective existence, complement with archival footage illustrating this journey.

Honestly, to me, personally, this film is right up there with 'George Harrison - Living in A Material World', just less centred, and more jovial in tone. Moreover, I did get a kick out of the way it delved into the evolutionary aspects without making it seem too obvious. And let's not forget the music, huh? Music in the same vein as...

Ha! Say no more, dear reader. Say more.


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