Now that we’ve gotten past the massive Beatles reissue, it’s time for the Rolling Stones.
In late November, ABKCO–keeper of all the original Stones archives–is going to release a 40th-anniversary box set of the Stones’ seminal, classic, legendary, famous live album, “Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out.”
Yes, the music is amazing. The remastered sound, created at ABKCO’s new downtown recording studio, will just blow your socks off. Not only does it include the original album, recorded at Madison Square Garden in November 1969, but it also includes the opening acts– B.B. King and Ike and Tina Turner. The latter material has never before been available.
The Stones’ portion is the original 10 tracks plus five that were never released. The latter includes a version of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” that elevates this well worn Stones classic from pop hit to fundamental part of rock history. It’s absolutely stunning.
But–and this is a big but–the highlight of the “Ya Ya”’s package is a 28-minute film put together from material shot by Albert Maysles and his late brother David. The film is going to blow fan’s minds, especially when it’s shown in some movie theaters during its week of release.
The Maysles, of course, also shot the Stones’ infamous free concert at Altamont, the one that became “Gimme Shelter.” So this 28-minute film ends with never been seen footage of the Stones and the Grateful Dead waiting on a rooftop for the helicopter that’s supposed to bring them to Altamont.
You must see Mick Jagger literally snubbing Jerry Garcia, and the Stones barely speaking to the Dead as they all wait for their ride. The irony, of course, is that the Dead organized the Altamont show but never played. The violence was already out of control. And, quite notoriously and tragically, a man was killed during the Stones’ set.
Otherwise, the footage of the Stones in this short film is nothing less than remarkable. First there’s the photo shoot for the cover of “Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out.” This includes a donkey and Charlie Watts, as well as the rest of the band on a shut down stretch of London highway overpass. It’s five years into their celebrated careers. Interestingly, Jagger takes over direction of the shoot. You can see his micromanaging and also his artistic eye at work.
What also makes the 28-minute film so extraordinary is the camera work by the Maysles and their crew. Somehow one of the camera man got behind Mick on the Garden stage. More than ever, and very organically, you feel like you’re on stage with the Stones, in the middle of the action. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
There’s also stunning footage of Mick and Keith performing as a duo in a blues number. It’s such a beautiful segment that it simultaneously speaks to their own artistry and to the death of music in the contemporary generation. Nothing and no one like this exists anymore. It’s all gone, replaced by machines, tattoos, and coked-out ingenues. You can see why Beatles reissues are holding down ten spots on the album charts now.