Call me disputatious—or not, it’s entirely up to you—my favorite Stones album is Their Satanic Majesties Request. It’s the only one I play all the way through anymore. It sounds great as one great big, trippy chunk. It’s a great headphones album, too. Most Stones fans hate it and see it as a weak attempt to out weird the Beatles after they’d unleashed Sgt Pepper on the world, but to me, it’s just a thing of beauty, with the normal Blues-based Stones sound thrown out the door, and replaced with a colorful sonic palette the likes of which they would never return to. I’m not saying that it IS the best Stones album, I’m just saying it’s MY favorite. (My favorite Stones song, is Monkey Man, followed by Stray Cat Blues, then (Doo Doo Doo Doo) Heartbreaker, dark horses, all, I grant you. I’m also partial to Don’t Know Why I Love You, but the Glimmer Twins didn’t write that one, so it doesn’t count).
If you ask me, the Stones “demonic” phase, inaugurated, if you will, by their association with the Magus of Cinema, Kenneth Anger, was when the Stones were truly on fire. Mick was still quite into his Satan/Lucifer thing well into the Let It Bleed/Gimme Shelter era, but after Altamont, Jagger was often seen wearing a crucifix around his neck, perhaps seeking to put down all the hoodoo Age of Horus energy he’d raised? Have sympathy for the poor devil. Jagger had a current running through his body during the Sixties that killed quite a few of his contemporaries. Today, like a rock and roll Dorian Gray, he hardly looks any worse for the wear.
Here is a seldom seen pop video for 2000 Light Years From Home. It seems so heavily influenced by Kenneth Anger that I always assumed that he’d directed it, but it seems more likely to be the work of photographer Michael Cooper, who not only shot the cover for the Satanic Majesties album jacket (which was originally issued with a fantastic 3-D lenticular cover (I have one!), but Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising film as well. I had a copy of this on a Japanese laser disc, comically followed by a clip of Pete Townsend in full Mod drag sternly criticizing the Stones for their then recent marijuana busts. (It’s always the bluenoses who have the really outrageous vices, isn’ it?). Other than that, I’d never seen it anywhere, but here in the YouTube era (we’re living in the YouTube era, didn’t anyone tell you this?) some kind soul has liberated it for our viewing pleasure. Take a look, it’s great: