I Was Born in a Crossfire Hurricane

I just noticed that the new Classic Rock magazine is releasing their "greatest rock movies of all time" issue. Seems like every magazine has to unveil some silly list every other month. Well, I'm pretty sure the Rolling Stones film, Cocksucker Blues, probably didn't make their list.

If the Rolling Stones had their way, this 1972 documentary of a debauchery-filled tour would never have seen the light of day. As it stands, it can only be seen via bootleg copies and YouTube (here). This quote from Film Threat:

Because of a bizarre court order, Robert Frank’s legendary Rolling Stones documentary is the most underground of all underground films: it literally can’t be shown unless the director is present at the screening, and even then with much legal difficulty. This makes such screenings more precious than a layman’s chance to see the insides of a Mormon church.

... and this quote from director Robert Frank:

Jagger, I suspect, wasn't so much afraid of the film's lurid and potentially incriminating images -- the heroin use, Jagger masturbating, or even the extended sequence of questionably consensual group sex with a reluctant groupie at 30,000 feet (after all, this was rock and roll) -- what Mick probably found most disturbing was the bleak and accurate portrait of the obvious despair and loneliness of life on the road. Frank's obsession with pursuing truth destroyed the illusion of glamour for the world's most famous rock and roll band. (source here)

A few good places to read about it are: a TIME magazine article called "The Best Stones Film You've Never Seen" and here at the culture court.

Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, commenting on Cocksucker Blues, called it "definitely one of the best movies about rock and roll I've ever seen. . . . It makes you think being a rock and roll star is one of the last things you'd ever want to do."

... and speaking of the Rolling Stones: Rock and Roll Circus is another good rock flick to check out. The funny thing about this one is that the Stones are the least interesting musicians in it. The Who put on an absolutely unbelievable performance, totally upstaging the Stones in their own movie! That's why it took so long to get released, and that's why you should watch it.


  1. I had heard of this film, but never seen it before. Great write-up. I do think many people have illusions of what life on the road is like. While there might be many perks, I think it also had its dark side. You do hear singers who talk about how the road really saps the life out of you. It can be so draining and demanding. That's also when you seem to get in the most trouble as you go from city to city.

  2. I have seen this movie and always wanted and am going on a search right now to find it. I always liked the stuff the stones did from this period music wise

  3. I can't help but think that director Robert Frank should have known what he was getting into with the Rolling Stones.

    A Wang Chung tour documentary would have involved much less group sex and intravenous drug use.