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The Stones: A Jaw-dropping Event, Part II

March 08, 2017

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This is Part II of the blog that was posted on Wednesday, March 1st where we described a visit to the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism that is currently in Manhattan until Sunday, March 12th.

This retrospective of the Stones’ remarkable 55-year run began at London’s Saatchi Gallery before it opened here on November 12, 2016 at New York’s Industria studios located at 775 Washington Street. After closing in Manhattan, it is set to open in Chicago in mid-April 2017 and then travel on to nine more cities over the next four years.

Writer Stephen Moollem notes the importance of this exhibit in his article for Harper’s Bazaar titled Mick Talks that appeared in November 2016. He quotes Ileen Gallagher, the show’s curator who says, ”It was really important to cement the Stones in popular culture and capture what a huge impact they’ve had on music – as well as fashion, film and photography”.

Charlie, Keith, Ronnie and Mick – all in fine form and raring to go. (Note that 30 years ago, Charlie smiled once. It’s never happened since.)

The show is organized across nine different thematically arranged rooms. Due to space restraints, I’m only touching on the things in Exhibitionism that I’m particularly interested in, such as fashion.

“YOU HAVE TO BE IN GOOD SHAPE TO WEAR THOSE.”

That’s Mick describing his jumpsuits by Ossie Clark, who made Jagger’s sequined white jumpsuit for the 1972 Exile on Main St. tour. “They were super comfortable to wear,” he says, “but you can’t come out with a bit of a belly.” There are over 70 original stage costumes displayed that go from 1960 to the present and include stellar talents such as: Alexander McQueen, Prada, Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier and John Varvatos.

Jagger’s hand-painted silk coat designed by Marvin Schlichting and worn for his performance of Sympathy for the Devil on the Bridges to Babylon Tour, 1997-98. The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism postcard

As the Stones moved into the seventies, they became even more glam. Or, as Mick says, “When we went on tour, I started to wear lots of makeup, tons of eye paint and shadows. And Keith used to wear all this kohl eyeliner.”

WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THE FAMOUS “HOT LIPS” LOGO?

The Stones’ tongue logo is the most iconic, potent and enduring logo in rock and roll history and there’s an interesting story behind it. In 1969, Mick called on London’s Royal College of Art in search of a student to create some visual assets for his band’s next album.

He liked the work of a 24-year-old named John Pasche and showed him a clipping of Kali, the Hindu goddess of everlasting energy. Mick really liked this image. But, the art student found greater inspiration in Jagger himself. Or, as he has been quoted as saying, “Face-to-face with him, the first thing you were aware of was the size of his lips and mouth.”

Kali, the Indian goddess that inspired the Stones’ iconic logo

The logo first appeared in 1971 on the Stones’ Sticky Fingers album and it’s worked superbly well for over 50 years.

HOW DID THE STONES MOVE FROM BLUES TO ROCK?

And back again. Their latest CD called “Blue and Lonesome” pays homage to their roots. As we all know, “Rock arouses and pumps up; it is intense and rebellious – whereas Blues is more introspective; its lyrics tend toward describing one’s internal state. It came out of a life of struggle.” This is the best description of both that I’ve ever read and it appeared in an article titled Black and Blues by Touré in the Smithsonian magazine, September 2016. The Stones evolved into rock to win a wider audience but they’re still very mindful of how they began.

Exhibitionism ends with a big WOW as one is invited into a screening cinema to view a concert finale of Jagger singing Satisfaction, the 50-year-old classic. The 3D effect – black glasses and all – is so great you feel as if you’re right in the stadium. It’s a super ending to a remarkable exhibit. 

 AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE ROLLING STONES

There’s a terrific 564-page book titled Life by Keith Richards with James Fox, published in 2010 by Little, Brown, that is full of gossipy tidbits and revealing news, e.g., Keith earned many Boy Scout badges. I picked up a hard cover copy of the book at the NYC library, but while in Barnes & Noble yesterday, I noticed they have a paperback version.

Back cover of the book, Life – a great read

Shaun Nelson-Henrick

THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: The Stones have discovered it. Here are their ages as of this year (2017):

Mick Jagger, 74

Keith Richards, 74

Charlie Watts, 72

Ronnie Wood, 70 SaveSaveSaveSave



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