“I’m going to try to be clear,” says Mick Jagger with a rubber smile at the beginning of “My Life As a Rolling Stone.”
How to capture one of the music giants while still being airy is of course a challenge given the band’s rich history. However, the four-part documentaries, which debut on Sunday at Epix (9:00 p.m. EST / EST) offer a comprehensive overview of how the Rolling Stones became ROLLING STONES with classic performance tapes and interview clips, as well as new commentary by Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood.
The series is split into four episodes, with a faded but lively Jagger, 79, as an obvious premiere (Richards, Woods and the late Charlie Watts will appear in the next three weeks). The Jagger installment will air free for 90 days on Epix.com and the app, as well as on Apple TV, Amazon, Roku and most cable outlets.
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While there are a lot of Stones little things to digest, in fact the episode highlights the unique frontman and CEO of the band that Richards says, “He really is an honorary man in all this shit.”
Here are some insights.
Tina Turner didn’t think Mick Jagger would be “sucked”
Soul legend Tina Turner recalls Jagger going to her concerts in London, watching her and Ike Turner perform through the loudspeakers. PP Arnold, one of the notorious Ikettas, says that “sexy” and “cool” Jagger also came backstage to learn dance moves from Turner support performers.
But Turner was not impressed with Jagger’s early performance.
“He was fine, but I didn’t think he could achieve anything,” he says with a hoarse laugh. “Sorry, Mick!”
Later in the documentary, Turner updates his opinion after seeing Jagger again with years of seasoning.
“Mick wasn’t the same person I met in London when he was hiding behind the speakers. He came out of his shell – he says. “Mick became Mick Jagger.”
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The Rolling Stones drug bust in the Redlands became a career impetus
In 1967, the band retired to Redlands, Richards’ estate in Sussex, England, for a “lovely party”. But it quickly turned out to be outrageous: a loud drug bust.
“There were LOTS of drugs in there. LSD, hashish and fuzz came in, ”recalls Jagger. “Being caught on acid is really weird.”
The incident made Richards fear the authority. “I still wear the chip,” Richards says with a guttural cackle. “I could use a twist now!”
But instead of dwelling on the arrests of Jagger and Richards (after much legal drama, Richards’s sentence was overturned and Jagger’s sentence reduced to parole), the script added the Rolling Stones mysticism as a rebellious frustration to their prepared rivals, The Beatles.
“They were cleaned by their manager,” says Richards of the British quartet. “Otherwise, they were exactly like us – dirty pigs!”
Mick Jagger has calculated his moves to look good on TV
When the Rolling Stones were invited to appear on the 1960s TV music show “Ready Steady Go!”, Jagger used the occasion as a way to “work with the medium” and move into people’s homes.
“I saw how important it was,” he says. “You have to figure out how you’re going to make an impression.”
In a recording where the budding Stones perform “Little Red Rooster”, Jagger tells how he made the band look like the perfect rock ‘n’ rollers: he visited the show set to study camera angles, then went home and practiced his Spider movements are best translated on television – a calculated exercise designed to look effortless.
The Rolling Stones logo has nothing to do with Jagger’s lips
While creating the cover of the Sticky Fingers album, Marshall Chess, founding president of Rolling Stones Records, decided it was time for the Stones to become a brand.
Art designer John Pasche was commissioned by the Royal College of Art in London to create a poster for the Rolling Stones European Tour in 1970. During this time, he created the iconic tongue and mouth logo which he claims has nothing to do with the band’s signature cushion features.
“People think the mouth is based on Mick. It’s not true. I saw it as a symbol of protest, like a kid sticking out his tongue, ”says Pasche.
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Keith Richards addresses the elephant in the room – literally
The Stones are credited with inventing the stadium rock show that began in the 1970s, and Jagger was an integral part of the band’s set design because he wanted a “playroom for himself.”
But even one of the most powerful rock players had to say “no” at times, and Richards was left to steer Jagger from one of his greatest ideas: bringing an elephant to the stage at the end of a concert to present him stood up from his trunk.
“A sigh of relief,” Richards recalls with a chuckle, “almost blew the building up.”