Music DVD Reviews: Review of Rolling Stones Under Review

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Buy your copy from Rolling Stones: Under Review (1962-1966) starstarstarstarstarLabel: Sexy Intellectual
Released: 2006

When you have been around forever, documentarians have to break down your history in short increments to cover the necessary terrain. Trying to put the entire history of the Rolling Stones in a 90-minute film, no matter how well done, would be inadequate. So the Critical Analysis folks put the first four years of the Stones’ history under the microscope and deliver a pretty informative picture of what the band was like during that critical phase. The story is revealed in interviews with critics, biographers and other folks connected with the band.

The most fascinating part of the film is the transition of Brian Jones from co-leader of the group to the background as Jagger and Richards emerge as the creative and driving force of the band. There is an interesting film clip of Jones and Jagger introducing Howling Wolf on American Television. The experts agree that Jones’ shining moment was his slide guitar work on “Little Red Rooster.” Jones’ role changes significantly as the band moved from recording covers for their records to writing their own material, which was almost exclusively done by Jagger/Richards. Group compositions were credited to the bizarre pseudonym Nanker Phelge (which was not covered in this film).

Anecdotes and stories about the band really make this worthwhile. The myth that the Beatles were their intense rival is deflated a bit. It is acknowledged that the Beatles were the commercial kings that the Stones were aiming to be, but Lennon and McCartney gave the Stones “I Wanna Be Your Man” which was the Stones’ first hit. Andrew Loog Oldham, their first manager, encouraged the band’s outrageous and crude behavior to get them attention. He also encouraged Jagger and Richards to write their own material. Oldham’s importance in these early years can not be underestimated. Eventually Jagger and the boys let him go, but he clearly his work helped establish the path that led them to their iconic status.

The extras are fair at best. They include a very difficult quiz about the band, biographies of the folks interviewed for the project and some additional interview footage. This is a good starter for those not all that familiar with the history of the band and those that might think Ron Wood is an original member.

~R. David Smola