ABKCO + BBC MOTION GALLERY MARRY ROLLING STONES MUSIC WITH ‘60S AUDIO/VISUAL FOOTAGE TO CONVEY AN INNOVATIVE SKETCH OF AN ERA’S FOMENT AND UPHEAVAL
ABKCO Films will launch The Rolling Stones Chronicles series on its ABKCOVEVO 9. Co-produced by BBC Motion Gallery and ABKCO. The series consists of six documentary shorts, each featuring a different ‘60s-era hit song by The Rolling Stones as its soundtrack. The music combines thematically relevant interview clips from the band and contemporary historical figures, interspersed with historical documentary footage of related world events. Each episode will be released one week apart, every Thursday between Feb 9 and March 16, starting with Episode 1 – The Last Time.
Set to The Rolling Stones’ 1965 hit single “The Last Time” (US #9; UK #1), Episode 1 explains the influence of early rock and roll and Chicago blues on the band and the irony of the British Invasion being the selling of American culture back to its country of origin. Featuring footage of B.B. King, Little Richard, and many other heroes of the Stones, as well as audio of Marshall Chess telling the story of meeting the Londoners and inviting them to record in Chicago, one of the highlights of Episode 1 – The Last Time is Keith Richards describing the day he met future musical partner Mick Jagger on a train holding classic-yet-still-obscure R&B and blues records. “What you’ve got under your arm is worth robbing,” Richards gleefully remembers thinking.
Episodes are based around the seismic cultural shifts between 1965 and 1969, of which The Rolling Stones themselves were emblematic. Episode 2 – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (release date: Feb 16), set to the intercontinental #1 hit, follows the theme of sexual liberation, with a brief nod to David Bowie’s (then Jones) Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-haired Men.
The explosion of psychedelics and the infamous “Redlands bust,” wherein Jagger, Richards, singer Marianne Faithfull and other friends were arrested for drug possession at Richards’ home in ’67, is the theme of Episode 3 – She’s A Rainbow, being released Feb 23.
The Rolling Stones Chronicles Episode 4 – Street Fighting Man (release date: March 2), set to the song partially inspired by the 1968 student upheaval in Paris and elsewhere, focuses on the intense social unrest in the latter part of the ‘60s, centered around the struggle for racial equality, gay rights, the movement against the Vietnam War, student demonstrations and the Troubles of Northern Ireland. Among the featured audio/visual clips are Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali, who state, “My people first deserve freedom, justice, and equality.”
The theme for Episode 5 – Jumpin’ Jack Flash (release date: March 9), is the dual nature of technology and its hyper-acceleration during the birth of the computer age. The Cold War, the space race, and innovation in recording techniques are threaded together with footage of nuclear testing, astronauts, and The Rolling Stones recording at Olympic Studios as featured in Jean-Luc Godard’s film Sympathy for the Devil.
The final installment of The Rolling Stones Chronicles (Episode 6 – Gimme Shelter) will be released on March 16. The haunting 1969 track that opens the Let It Bleed album provides a backdrop for the theme of revolution and the turmoil that ended the decade. The hippie movement, the funeral for original guitarist Brian Jones, the Hyde Park tribute concert, and the tragedy of Altamont are all captured. At one point, Jagger explains to an interviewer, “Most young people are dissatisfied with the generation which they think is running their lives.” He is then asked, “What things are you dissatisfied with?” He responds, “The generation that runs our lives.”
“The Rolling Stones Chronicles puts the band’s music in context with history,” said Robin Klein, exec producer of the series. “While they were very much of that time, The Rolling Stones themselves served as a vehicle for and reflected and inspired change.
Samira Choudhury, Producer for BBC Motion Gallery, said: “This project provided a unique opportunity to unearth contemporary and authentic voices from the BBC’s rich archive to give deeper meaning to the Rolling Stones’ most influential records, and show how the cultural and societal shifts of the 60s still resonate today”.
Feb 9:The Rolling Stones Chronicles – The Last Time (EP1)
Feb 16: The Rolling Stones Chronicles – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (EP2)
Feb 23: The Rolling Stones Chronicles – She’s A Rainbow (EP3)
Mar 2: The Rolling Stones Chronicles – Street Fighting Man (EP4)
Mar 9: The Rolling Stones Chronicles – Jumpin’ Jack Flash (EP5)
Mar 16: The Rolling Stones Chronicles – Gimme Shelter (EP6)