This DVD came into our office in early June. It sat around for awhile, then I finally grabbed it to watch. It contains a mix of archival footage and contemporary interviews with members of the Rolling Stones and other music insiders, and describes how, after being forced to flee Britain because of onerous tax rates that, in the DVD, were pegged at 93 per cent, the Stones settled in the south of France and proceeded to make the double album Exile on Main Street.
It was released to lukewarm reviews in 1972. If you check the track listing, for a casual Stones’ fan anyway, not too many songs leap out. “Tumbling Dice” certainly does, and “Happy” too. So as far as hits go, it wasn’t one of their biggest sellers. That likely contributed to the initial ambivalence of reviewers.
In the documentary, we learn more about the unique circumstances in which the album was recorded (at Keith Richards’ villa at Nellcote), and the psychological impact on the band of living away from their home country of England.
Included are interviews with producer Don Was, filmmaker Martin Scorsese, and musicians Jack White, Sheryl Crow, Will i Am (Black Eyed Peas) and Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon), where they talk about the record and its innovative melange of blues, soul and country influences that critics now hail as a masterpiece.
For anyone interested in the Stones in particular, and contemporary rock history in general, the DVD is definitely worth a look. Here’s the trailer.