crossfire hurricane … the Stones

“You’re launched into the limelight in a youth-orientated thing … it’s not about growing up. It’s about not growing up. Then it’s about bad behavior. … you start behaving badly.” – Mick Jagger


I am not a huge Rolling Stones fan but I just caught the new Stones documentary ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ and … I admit … I was hooked for the entire show.

The film has a candid feel to it. It slightly disarms the Stones and is actually a nice refreshing glimpse into some extremely talented musicians’ minds … now that they have matured <or been pickled in Keith’s case>… and are looking back to the beginnings of the Stones.

The show does an incredible back & forth between the present reflective Stones and the past young brash, but more thoughtful than maybe you remembered, Stones.

When an interviewer asks The Rolling Stones why they think things “started happening” for them several Stones shrug off the question but they skip to a 20something Mick Jagger clip saying … “A chemical reaction seems to have happened.”

Then later in the film the 60something Keith Richard says <mumbles> …“Talk about rolling stones, eh? It was an unstoppable momentum going on, and in a way, we were swept away with it.”

Throughout they are refreshingly candid about the fact it seemed like they had no control over anything other than the music they composed and performed. And I think <sense> they know they are a good band … but they also seem a little surprised by how big they became.

The film draws from over 500 hours of audio and more than 1,000 hours of film.

It includes never-seen outtakes from the Stones’ documentary films, such as “Gimme Shelter,” as well as nearly 80 hours of fresh interviews with Jagger and Richards, band mates Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood and former Stones Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor.

The new footage is exceptional. There are some stunning clips and the new look at the filming of ‘Sympathy for a Devil’ is jaw dropping.  In my opinion that performance piece alone makes the documentary worth watching. It is excellent.

And everyone who cares about this shit has seen all the Altamont concert footage … but I do not believe you have ever heard Jagger talk about how scared he was and what they went through.

And, of course, for me … to get a glimpse into the music is outstanding.

Because, while not a Stones fan, their best songs are frickin’ brilliant … and I have always liked the slightly ragged edge of their best songs.

Simple but ragged. And I could never understand how they did it … until Bill Wyman tries to explain their sound in the documentary …  ‘citing the fact that while most bands follow the drummer, Charlie Watts follows Keith, and his bass playing is slightly ahead of the beat, which results in a sound ‘on the verge of falling apart.’


If that doesn’t summarize the Stones music <’on the verge of falling apart’> I am not sure anything ever will.

If you have some time, watch it. It was a pretty exciting time in music and the combination of a reflective 60something group of musicians and their 20something counterparts being more thoughtful than you remember is pretty impactful.

And just because this is my site and I can create whatever list that I want … here are my top 5 Stones songs. By the way … I don’t really believe in all those “top 100 songs of all time” lists because it seems crazy to me to try and choose among all your beautiful smart children … but the Stones best always should be somewhere on any best list.

  1. Sympathy for a Devil. I struggle to think of a better crafted song … lyrics and music combined.
  2. Gimme Shelter. Musically this is perfection. Yes. If you ever want to hear perfection this is it.
  3. Wild Horses. This may seem an odd one for me to put at #3 because I really don’t like the Stones singing Wild Horses … it is actually a beautiful song … beautiful words tied to a simple musical bed … but I believe its greatness resides in the fact that other singers have covered this song time & time again and time & time again you think it is a great song.
  4. Jumpin’ Jack Flash. If you ever want to hear how great this song can be … go listen to the concert for Bangladesh … Leon Russell & Billy Preston give you a version that showcases the brilliance of the song.
  5. Angie <although I was tempted to put Ruby Tuesday here>. Probably the best ballad the Stones ever did.


Written by Bruce