It’s A Gas, Gas, Gas
And now we can see that natural Gas because ABCKO Music & Records Inc have joined forces with the Rolling Stones to show us the video for ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, with and without makeup and restored to 4K resolution.
Is this important? Oh it is. For heritage, for music, for fans.
‘I was born in a cross-fire hurricane…’
Don’t bother looking for the album this is on, it ain’t. It’s a non-album single and that makes it a bit special. That it came after ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’, the album which had a Psychedelic feel and didn’t make the splash the Stones would have liked.
And so ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, which was seen to be a return to their earlier Blues sound, was also perhaps a presage of the sound of the next album.
That album? ‘Beggars Banquet’, which did have a simpler sound but an inordinately bigger feel – tracks like ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ mixed character sweep with percussive ragedness, whilst ‘No Expectations’ had a gentle anguish and ‘Street Fighting Man’ was a pushy, flowing feel but sounded also as if it was put together on the spot.
Even the cover made a point, whilst ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’ was full of colourful satin, the cover of ‘Beggars Banquet’ was a toilet with a graffiti-covered wall.
As Farout Magazine encapsulated;
‘The song remains one of the most crucial in their wild and vast career, marking The Rolling Stones returning to their home of the rhythm and blues after making a diversion to psychedelia.’
That magazine also reported that Jagger said;
‘It’s about having a hard time and getting out. Just a metaphor for getting out of all the acid things.’
and this song, although it has a sass, it has a sharpness and simplicity that sets it apart. That choppy, almost questing, brittle-toned riff and the anger, leading to an almost leer of the swaggering middle – it’s not just alright, it’s a gas – that attitude is strong, dangerous.
The Promotional Film
Not a video, they weren’t around then. But this visual document, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who directed the rather derided at the time ‘The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus’, a film which is now constantly being reappraised upwards.
Lindsay-Hogg was well-known for working with bands; Wings, Elton John, a lot with the Rolling Stones and a little known North West band called the Beatles. He’s worked a lot on TV movies but worked a lot generally, it’s been rather a storied career.
He said in the email to accompany the videos;
‘They were great. As we were doing it, I felt there was an ingredient missing, although at that point I didn’t know what it was. We had a small meal break and I saw Brian Jones sitting by the makeup table and sort of playing with the colors—putting it on his face and then wiping it off—and I thought, ‘Huh. That’s a real interesting look.’
And so they worked with makeup artist Linda Devetta to find their look, which changed when they found a pair of space-scifi glasses. The lighting changed between the two films too, the first had performance-style lighting, whereas Lindsay-Hogg filmed the Stones with more shadow in the second;
‘It was much more to do with shadows, and Mick coming in and out of light, and that whole little walk he does at the beginning. We put that together, and that’s the one they liked best because it had a slightly decadent feel to it.’
Will It Have Interest?
Come on, this is the Stones. The band are inconic, straddling the past and present. They fill stadia and lift hearts. For 6 decades.
And here they have some very interesting wrinkles; of the two videos, both shot on one day in Spring 1968, there are real differences – see if you can detect what they are…