‘The Rolling Stones Chronicles’ Online Series Launched By ABKCO FilmsThe collection consists of six documentary shorts, each one taking a different hit song from the band’s 1960s era as its soundtrack.
Published on February 9, 2023
By Paul Sexton
ABKCO Films has today (9) launched its The Rolling Stones Chronicles
series on its Vevo-hosted YouTube channel. The collection, co-produced by BBC Motion Gallery and ABKCO, consists of six documentary shorts, each one taking a different hit song from the band’s 1960s era as its soundtrack.
The music is combined with thematically relevant interview clips with the Stones and other contemporaneous historical figures, interspersed with historical documentary footage of related world events of the era. The episodes will appear every Thursday between today and March 16, with Episode 1 – The Last Time
now available to view.
The film centers on the Stones’ 1965 hit single of that name, released in February in the UK, where it went to No.1, and March in the US, where it made No.9. It explains the deep influence that early rock’n’roll and Chicago blues had on the band, and the irony that the British Invasion effectively sold American culture back to its country of origin.
The episode features footage of B.B. King, Little Richard, and many of the Stones’ other heroes. We also hear Marshall Chess, of the Chess Records family dynasty, recounting the story of meeting the Londoners and inviting them to record in Chicago. Another highlight of Episode 1 is Keith Richards describing the famous day he ran into Mick Jagger on a train, the latter clutching seminal (but largely unknown at the time) R&B and blues records. He recalls thinking: “What you’ve got under your arm is worth robbing.”
Future episodes of The Rolling Stones Chronicles
will be based around the seismic cultural shifts that took place between 1965 and 1969, in which the group were of course central players. Episode 2 – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
, released on February 16, is set to that enduring signature and follows the theme of sexual liberation, with a brief and amusing nod to David Bowie’s (then Jones) Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-haired Men.Episode 3 – She’s A Rainbow
, available from February 23, focuses on the explosion of psychedelics and the infamous “Redlands bust,” at which Jagger, Richards, singer Marianne Faithfull, and other friends were arrested for drug possession at Richards’ home.
Episode 4, on March 2, is set to “Street Fighting Man,” the Stones classic that was inspired in part by the 1968 student upheaval in Paris and elsewhere. It documents the intense social unrest of the day, fueled by the struggle for racial equality, gay rights, the anti-Vietnam War movement, student demonstrations and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Featured audio/visual clips include those with Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali, the latter stating: “My people first deserve freedom, justice, and equality.”Episode 5 – Jumpin’ Jack Flash
(March 9) addresses 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 interwoven with footage of nuclear testing, astronauts, and footage of the Stones recording at Olympic Studios, as featured in Jean-Luc Godard’s film Sympathy for the Devil.
The final installment, Episode 6 – Gimme Shelter
, arrives on March 16, soundtracked by 1969’s haunting opening track on the Let It Bleed
album. That’s the backdrop for the theme of revolution and turmoil that ended the 1960s, depicted in the hippie movement, the funeral for original Stones guitarist Brian Jones and the Hyde Park concert just after his death, and the tragedy of Altamont. “Most young people are dissatisfied with the generation which they think is running their lives,” Jagger explains to an interviewer. Asked “What things are you dissatisfied with?,” he replies “The generation that runs our lives.”
Robin Klein, executive producer of the series, says: “The Rolling Stones Chronicles
puts the band’s music in context with history. 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 adds: “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.”Watch The Rolling Stones Chronicles at the official ABKCO YouTube channel.