The Rolling Stones

MuscleShoals_still2_ArethaFranklin

Editor’s note: With Muscle Shoals opening in limited release, please enjoy the sweet sounds of our Sundance review, originally published on January 26. Rick Hall grew up in rural Alabama, but despite these simple roots, Hall always wanted to be somebody. Muscle Shoals tells the story of how he did become somebody when he founded FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, and in doing so created a deep Southern sound that permeated the music industry, and still exists today. While many accredit this to the “magic” of the Tennessee River, it was the rhythm section Hall put together, called “The Swampers,” that created this unique sound in this unexpected place. When you think of the locations of famous recording studios, you usually think of Los Angeles, New York City or London, but artists started flocking down south to FAME Studios thanks to The Swampers and Hall’s ability to recognize a hit song. The Swampers were a group of white musicians made up of David Hood (bass), Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), and Jimmy Johnson (guitar), who ended up creating the roots of this “funkier” style of music — which they claim only came about because they didn’t know how to “make it smooth.”

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Criterion Files

Tune into VH1 Classics on any given day, and this is something you’re likely to see: a rock video of a mid-80s hair band playing on a giant stage, complete with sleek cinematography, wide camera angles, and a stadium-sized audience packed to the brim. At first you might be confused, thinking that this is possibly some Whitesnake or Guns N’ Roses song that somehow escaped your memory. But then the music video ends and in the bottom left corner the band’s name comes up. You’ve never heard of them before, and you’ve definitely never heard this song before. Yet this video depicts monstrous popularity that suggests nothing less than massive cultural phenomenon. While it’s possible for a one-hit wonder to develop this degree of renown for a certain frame of time, it becomes something of a schizophrenic moment when you consider that this hit single both inaugurated the now-forgotten band’s moment of popularity and depicted it simultaneously. With so many hair bands, how is it possible that every single one of them sells out stadium-size crowds? The answer, of course, can only be one thing: an association with mass popularity is, for hair bands, only a reality for the privileged few, but for the rest it’s a fabrication that’s all part of the musical aesthetic – it’s what makes this subgenre of rock that’s reliant on spectacle so spectacular. It’s fitting, then, that one of the landmark mockumentaries of American filmmaking chose as its subject a genre that itself relies […]

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Dawning a huge Uncle Sam top hat, Mick Jagger welcomes everyone to the breakfast show and sets into the vocals of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” Thus starts an insane journey into the free concert the band gave for 300,000 people in which mayhem ruled, people were born, and people died. It’s a brilliant documentary that goes beyond the usual concert film, and the trailer gives hints to how chilling and exciting the movie really is. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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The Rolling Stones in Shine a Light

I am at least one generation too late to be way into Mick and the rest of the guys, but I will admit that The Rolling Stones are good stuff. As well, I am certainly not too young to know that Martin Scorsese is also a man among boys when it comes to directing just about anything. So when you combine the two for the upcoming IMAX documentary Shine a Light, that’s a pretty enticing proposition.

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The Rolling Stones in Shine a Light

Despite Mick Jagger’s lively prancing—his energetic frontmannery—a Rolling Stones concert is above all a sonic affair, rather than a visual event. A concert film, then, would seem pretty straightforward, at best: something to hear, but not much to look at—the sort of thing that goes straight to DVD or PBS. Martin Scorsese, however, through his ever-moving concert cam, manages to make Shine a Light both.

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The Rolling Stones in Shine a Light

Since there is absolutely nothing more that you could possibly want out of life then to see The Rolling Stones on the massive screen that is IMAX — and we know this because their DVDs, CDs and documentaries still sell like crazy — we thought we would get with the fine folks at Paramount and arrange for some of our awesome readers to see it all for free.

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