follow us in feedly
Mick Jagger, James Fox, Anita Pallenberg, Nic Roeg, Donald Cammell filming ‘Performance’ in 1968

The stories about the making of Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg’s Performance are almost as infamous as the movie itself. Some are true, some are not. But even the most excessive tales of sex and drugs and, well you know, rock ‘n’ roll during its making have never eclipsed the visceral power of the film itself.

Performance was written by Cammell. He had Marlon Brando teed-up to star as Chas—an American gangster in London who holes-up with a reclusive pop star. As Cammell worked on the script, he became more obsessed with identity, sexuality and violence. It made the script a far darker thing. When Brando dropped out, James Fox moved in.

Fox was best known for a certain kind of upper class character—either being exploited as in Joseph Losey’s The Servant, or being comically stiff upper lip as can be seen in Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, or just being the right honorable eye-candy in Throughly Modern Millie. Fox took his role as Chas very, very seriously. He spent (according to some reports) six months “going native” with a few of London’s most notorious East End gangsters.

The casting of Mick Jagger as the androgynous, bisexual, drug-addled rock star recluse Turner was a touch of genius. At that time, no one could have played the part with Jagger’s ethereal, fey menace. As a side note: Jagger and the rest of The Rolling Stones thought they were going to star in a swinging sixties Beatlesque romp with lots of musical numbers and Dick Lester antics.

Roeg was originally only hired as the cameraman. When filming began in a house on Powis Square, London, Cammell became all too aware that he did not know what he was doing behind the camera, and needed someone else to be the eyes while he created the mood, tension and magic in front of the lens.

This magic included consuming large quantities of drugs and some full on sex between Jagger and co-stars Anita Pallenberg and Michèle Breton. Pallenberg was, of course, Keith Richards’ girlfriend. As Jagger and Pallenberg performed in front of the camera, Richards sat outside the location chain smoking, drinking and fuming over what his fellow Stone and woman were getting up to. The footage of Jagger’s sexual hi-jinks with his co-stars nearly had the film prosecuted and shut down. When the rushes were sent out, the lab refused to process the footage as it was considered pornographic. The footage was destroyed. But some of—or so it has long been rumored—survived and was edited together (allegedly by Cammell himself) into a short porn movie which won first prize at some underground porn festival in Amsterdam.

If it wasn’t the sex, then it was the violence that caused the outrage. Roeg and Cammell presented violence as realistically as possible. No John Wayne slugging it out without so much as a chipped tooth. Instead, this violence was brutal, bloody, arousing and horrific. The British Board of Film Classification objected to the editing together of scenes of a sexual nature with those of excessive and disturbing violence. In particular they wanted the head shaving scene cut as “forcible shaving is something that could be imitated by young people.”

The film studios hated Performance. At an in-house screening, the wife of one producer hurled chunks. A recut was demanded. While Roeg was off in Australia directing Walkabout, Cammell weaved some of his “alchemical magic” in the cutting room.

When it was eventually released in 1970, Performance was met with overwhelmingly negative reviews. The critic for LIFE magazine described Performance as “the most completely worthless film I have ever seen since I began reviewing.” This is still one of the very few reviews Roeg has ever kept. Warner Brothers threatened to sue both directors on the grounds they had failed to deliver the Beatlesque Stones’ movie they had “expected.”

Thankfully, Cammell and Roeg had chosen their own course and stuck to it. Today, Performance is considered one of the most original and influential movies made during the 1960s. Fox is unforgettable. Jagger has never been better onscreen. While Roeg went on to greater success, Cammell was never to be allowed to express such completeness of his vision again.
James Fox as East End gangster Chas.
Much more behind the scenes of ‘Performance’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
A groupie’s tales: Pamela Des Barres’ sexy stories of Morrison, Jagger & Waylon, now animated!

Pamela Des Barres was the original rock and roll groupie, a founding member of the GTOs (which, as Stanley Booth wrote, could stand for “Girls Together Outrageously or Orally or anything else starting with O”), and lover to Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, Gram Parsons, Waylon Jennings, and many others.

The woman can obviously spin a tale, what with several books to her name; her 1987 memoir I’m with the Band is essential reading for anyone interested in the sex lives of major 1960s and 1970s rock stars. (Kirkus called it “a classic account of rampant narcissism among guitar egomaniacs,” which seems about right.)

In this amusing short animated by Evan York, Des Barres tells stories of her sexual adventures as a groupie, including encountering a naked Mick Jagger (she was still a virgin at the time), coaxing Waylon Jennings into his long-haired outlaw phase, and watching as Keith Moon perpetrated an epic prank on a major hotel.


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Stones & Alice Cooper add zest to vintage documentary on Canadian music scene from 1973

During the opening sequence of this documentary on the Canadian music industry from 1973, The Rolling Stones rip through “Jumping Jack Flash” as the crowd at the Montreal Forum go wild. Mick Jagger struts across the stage, before dousing the audience with a bucket of water and handfuls of rose petals—why? I dunno, each to their own, I suppose…

Not to be outdone, Keith Richards plays his guitar as if each chord struck will bring pestilence, plague, death and disaster down on some faraway land. Richards plucks at his guitar with great gothic dramatic posturing—while in the background Mick Taylor plays the tune.

By 1973, the rock ‘n’ rollers of the early 1950s were middle-aged, mostly married with kids. The new generation of youth who filled their place were long-haired, turned on, tuned in, many believing that music could change the world. Where once rock had been about having a good time, now the feelings it engendered were the driving force for political change. Pop music made the kids feel good—and that feeling was how many thought the world should be.
Well, it never happened, as music—no matter how radical—is in the end… entertainment. Those who took their political education from twelve-inch vinyl platters were quickly disappointed and soon awakened by pop’s utter failure to liberate the world, bring peace and harmony and all that. Nice though this idea certainly was, it was all just a pantomime—like Keef having fun hamming up his guitar playing.

Of course, the music industry is a far more sinister business than this—as this documentary Rock-a-Bye inadvertently points out. From the start, our choice of music was manipulated by long hairs with no taste in fashion as shown by their suits and ties and ill-fitting tank tops. These men picked the records that received the necessary air time to guarantee their success—thus making billions for the music industry. As Douglas Rain quotes one cynical record plugger in his commentary, who claimed if he played the British national anthem “God Save the Queen” on the radio often enough it would be a hit. The youth were only there to be manipulated and sold product—plus ça change….

This is a good illuminating documentary and apart from The Stones, there are performances from Ronnie Hawkins (plus interview), Muddy Waters and Alice Cooper. There’s also an interview with Zal Yanovsky of the Lovin’ Spoonful who lets rip a four-letter word (mostly bleeped out) tirade on the state of music in the 1970s. What Yanovsky forgets is that music is a business and only the amateurs and the rich will play for free.
Watch the entire documentary, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Brown Sugar: Marsha Hunt, beautiful muse of Mick Jagger and Marc Bolan
05:07 pm


Mick Jagger
Marc Bolan
Marsha Hunt

Although a famous Vogue magazine cover shot by Patrick Lichfield of Marsha Hunt, naked, with a huge Afro, as a London cast member of Hair is an indisputably and quintessentially iconic image of the 1960s, Hunt remains under the radar of most music fans. For one (quite good) reason, there are exactly zero CDs of her music on the market currently and there is nothing on iTunes or Spotify either. This is too bad, because she made some worthwhile music during her career. However, some pretty great clips of her live on European TV have been popping up on YouTube and many of her better known singles have made it to some audio blogs as well, so there’s plenty for me to illustrate here what still makes Hunt the object of cult fascination. Eventually, I have no doubt, she’ll be rediscovered by music nerds. It’s about time…

Hunt, an insanely gorgeous, highly-intellectual 19-year-old model, originally from Philly, went to UC Berkeley, smoked pot, dropped acid and marched alongside Jerry Rubin protesting the Vietnam war. She moved to swinging London in 1966 and married Mike Ratledge of the Soft Machine so she could stay in the country (and is still married to him to this day, although they have not been together for decades). She sang backup vocals for blues great Alexis Korner and became a cast member of Hair, playing “Dionne” in the West End production. A photo of Hunt by Justin de Villeneuve was used on the poster and Playbill of the London production.

There’s very, very little surviving footage of the London production of Hair—which opened on September 27, 1968, one day after the abolition of theatre censorship, allowing for nudity and profanity onstage—but I did find this amazing clip of “Black Boys/White Boys.” Marsha Hunt, looking stunning, comes into view at about one minute in:

More Marsha, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
See if you can figure out what LANGUAGE Mick Jagger is singing in here
02:25 pm


Mick Jagger

A YouTuber saw fit to offer a transcript of this amusingly incoherent live Rolling Stones performance from 1976 where Mick Jagger simply refuses to form real words with his mouth.

Name that tune:

“Yah Awa bo anna craw fah huh cay Anna ho alamo in a try ray Buh ah ray ah now yeah and fad is a gay Oh ray now, a jumpin jay flay sa gas gas gah. Ah wa lay bah a toodleh beedeh hay. Ah wa sko wid a strap rahda craws ma bah. Bahda oh ray now en fad is a gay. Buh oh ray now jumpin jah flah sa da ga ga geh”

What freaking made-up slurry LANGUAGE is he singing in, anyway? What drugs was he on? I want some!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Chuck Berry and Little Richard headline the London Rock & Roll Show 1972

The London Rock and Roll Show was the first major pop concert to be held at Wembley Stadium, the sports arena later famed for LiveAid and the Freddie Mercury tribute concert.

Headlining the show that day on August 5, 1972 were the undisputed Kings of Rock ‘n’ Roll Chuck Berry and Little Richard. These gods were ably supported by Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Screaming Lord Sutch and Billy Fury. Some of the booked acts couldn’t make the concert due to visa issues, but those who did turn up delivered a blistering set of rock ‘n’ roll classics. The whole event was filmed by Peter Clifton, who later directed Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same, and given a brief cinema release. The performances are interspersed by an interview with Mick Jagger who gives his thoughts about the show—something he claims could never have happened a decade before—and watch out for a young Malcolm McLaren selling T-shirts at his Let It Rock stall.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Mick Jagger and Keith RIchards turn up in pretentious Italian art film, 1972
07:36 pm


Mick Jagger
Keith Richards

Mario Schifano, an Italian pop art painter and collagist who exhibited alongside Warhol and and Roy Lichtenstein, released this unusual art film Umano Non Umano (“Human Not Human”)  in 1972. The plotless Godardian inspired episodic documentary is quite boring (I don’t speak Italian, so it’s quite boring to me) but it is notable for the inclusion of two odd scenes, one with Mick Jagger and another with Keith Richards (Anita Pallenberg, once Schifano’s girlfriend, is also in the film, and there are appearances by Carmelo Bene and Italian existentialist novelist Alberto Moravia.)

At about 36 minutes in, Mick Jagger is seen prancing around like an idiot in a pink suit with a corsage doing a not terribly convincing—and spinning—lip-sync of “Street Fighting Man.” He looks like he has to take a wicked piss the whole time. At the one hour and one minute mark, Keith is seen arsing around making avant-garde electronic music. That part is actually pretty cool, but the rest of it’s pretty awful. Beware of boobies, as this is mildly NSFW.

Although Umano Non Umano came out in 1972, I’d imagine that Mick Jagger’s scene was probably shot sometime prior to when Marianne Faithfull left him for Schifano in 1969. Two pages are devoted to their affair in her 1994 autobiography, Faithfull. According to her Schifano was a massive coke freak.

Maybe that’s why he thought the incessant heartbeat noise going on throughout this film was a good idea?

Thank you, Chris Campion of Hollywood, CA!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Mick Jagger on Monty Python reunion: ‘A bunch of wrinkly old men trying to relive their youth’
09:16 am

Current Events

Mick Jagger
Monty Python

Never one to shy away from publicity, Mick Jagger sends himself up in this latest plug for Monty Python Live (Mostly), screened during today’s Python press conference.

Jagger, who has been touring with The Rolling Stones, gamely pokes fun at himself and his fellow bandmates as he discusses lighting and set lists for with an assistant:

Monty Python—are they still going? I mean, who wants to see that again really? It was really funny in the sixties… Still, a bunch of wrinkly old men trying to relive their youth and make a load of money, I mean, the best one died years ago!

The Pythons will be performing ten gigs this July at the O2 Arena in London. John Cleese has described the event as being more like a rock show than a piece of theater. The first show sold out in 40 seconds, leading to extra dates being added.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Bowie and Jagger are ‘Dancing in the Street’ to silence in this ridiculous ‘musicless’ music video
01:45 pm


David Bowie
Mick Jagger

Here’s what you never asked for, but deserve: A musicless music video of Mick Jagger’s and David Bowie’s “Dancing in the Street” cover. Okay, so the 1985 video was already ridiculous enough with the fucking music, but it’s only 58 seconds long and worth the click for 58 seconds of laughter.

At least I laughed. You maybe not so much.

Via Laughing Squid

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Bring Me the Head of Mick Jagger
03:22 pm


Mick Jagger

Artist Franck Bruneau of the Grévin Wax Museum in Paris prepares Mick Jagger’s head for the opening of a new branch in Prague on Celetná Street.

While the details are impressive, I’m still vaguely horrified by this.




Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
John Lydon reveals Mick Jagger ‘secretly’ paid Sid Vicious’ legal fees
01:15 pm


Mick Jagger
John Lydon
Sid Vicious

John Lydon may have said The Rolling Stones looked “silly” performing at Glastonbury earlier this year, but the former Sex Pistol and PiL frontman has only praise for Mick Jagger.

In an interview with the Daily Record, Lydon has revealed that Jagger ‘secretly’ paid Sid Vicious’ legal fees, after the Pistol’s bass player had been charged with the murder of girlfriend Nancy Spungen. As Lydon told journalist John Dingwall of the Record:

“Nancy Spungen was a hideous, awful person who killed herself because of the lifestyle and led to the destruction and subsequent death of Sid and the whole fiasco. I tried to help Sid through all of that and feel a certain responsibility because I brought him into the Pistols thinking he could handle the pressure. He couldn’t. The reason people take heroin is because they can’t handle pressure. Poor old Sid.

“Her death is all entangled in mystery. It’s no real mystery, though. If you are going to get yourself involved in drugs and narcotics in that way accidents are going to happen. Sid was a lost case. He was wrapped firmly in Malcolm’s shenanigans. It became ludicrous trying to talk to him through the drug haze because all you would hear was, ‘I’m the real star around here’. Great. Carry on. We all know how that’s going to end. Unfortunately, that is where it ended. I miss him very much. He was a great friend but when you are messing with heroin you’re not a human being. You change and you lose respect for yourself and everybody else.

“The only good news is that I heard Mick Jagger got in there and brought lawyers into it on Sid’s behalf because I don’t think Malcolm lifted a finger. He just didn’t know what to do. For that, I have a good liking of Mick Jagger. There was activity behind the scenes from Mick Jagger so I applaud him. He never used it to advance himself publicity-wise.”

Read the whole interview here.

Below, Sid Vicious near last TV appearance on Efrom Allen’s Underground NY Manhattan Cable show from September 18th, 1978. Vicious appeared alongside Nancy Spungen, Stiv Bators and Cynthia Ross (of The B Girls). Spungen was dead less than a month later.

Via the Daily Record

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Famous friends of Mick Jagger thought he should play the lead in ‘A Clockwork Orange’

In early 1968, Hollywood producer Si Litvinoff was trying to find a director for Terry Southern’s screenplay adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novella, A Clockwork Orange. He sent the script around to the likes of John Boorman, Roman Polanski, Tinto Brass, Ken Russell, Nicolas Roeg and John Schlesinger with cover letters suggesting that The Beatles were interested in doing the soundtrack and that Mick Jagger or David Hemmings would be good for the lead Droog “Alex,” the role that went to Malcolm McDowell in Stanley Kubrick’s film.

At one point Jagger actually owned the rights to the Burgess novella—he bought them for about $500 at time when Anthony Burgess was apparently flat broke—and then later sold them at a nice profit to Litvinoff.

When the news reached the Stones camp that Hemmings was the favorite for the role, not Mick, Marianne Faithfull, all of The Beatles, Candy director Christian Marquand, artist Peter Blake and several others sent a note to Terry Southern:


Read the entire story at Letters of Note.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Mick Jagger to Andy Warhol, 1969: ‘Do what ever you want’
05:06 pm


Andy Warhol
Rolling Stones
Mick Jagger

Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers promo shoot
Sticky Fingers: The Stones at the peak of their powers, the catastrophe of Altamont right in their rear-view mirror, “Sister Morphine,” “Wild Horses,” “Brown Sugar,” an attention-getting album cover with a shot of a man’s crotch and an actual zipper—all of that courtesy of Andy Warhol, of course. In its own way Sticky Fingers is as 60s as anything that ever happened, even if it was released in April 1971.

That zipper would bring its own share of headaches—it made the album impossible to stack easily, leading to lots of scratched returns. Oh, and by the way, the album also featured the first-ever use of the Stones’ tongue logo, designed by John Pasche.
Sticky Fingers
If you want to see a megastar with a relaxed sangfroid that even Kanye West would envy, check out this suave letter to Andy Warhol getting him started on the Sticky Fingers project: “Here’s 2 boxes of material you can use, and the record.” Hilariously, Jagger warns him that extra elements in the cover design may lead to problems down the line, but then emphasizes, “I leave it in your capable hands to do what ever you want” before asking him, in so many words, where the truck should deposit the huge heaping mounds of cash. “A Mr.Al Steckler ... will probably look nervous and say ‘Hurry up’ but take little notice.”

In short, everything any designer would want from a client. World fame, money, creative freedom, and heedless to all consequences.
Mick Jagger to Andy Warhol
(via Letters of Note)

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Mick Jagger just oozes sincerity!
09:20 am

Pop Culture

Rolling Stones
Mick Jagger

Well, he’s certainly oozing something, isn’t he?

There was a nearly identical video that Keith made, but they took it down as of last night. He must’ve seen it and thought, “Fuck me, I look like a fucking twat.”

Mick seems, shall we say, somewhat less “reflective” than Keith is. I don’t even think Jagger knew exactly which “Bay Area” he was referring to here, do you? I don’t think he really cares, either.

Via the always interesting Bob Lefsetz

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Don’t Mess With Keith Richards

Don’t mess with Keith Richards: The Stones legendary guitarist doesn’t hesitate or flinch when dealing with a “rogue” fan during a concert. Mick Jagger meanwhile…

With thanks to Carl Hamm

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Page 1 of 3  1 2 3 >