As the legendary rock band turns 50 this summer, we celebrate their
By Entertainment Weekly
he traditional gift for a 50th anniversary? Gold, of course. But Jagger & Co., whose 29 studio albums and countless songs have earned them platinum status dozens of times over, are hardly traditionalists -- even will into their 60s (and, in drummer Charlie Watts' case, 70s). To a victory lap that includes a slew of new books, a freshened-up logo, and a slated 2013 tour, we add our own highly subjective tribute.
"THAT'S HOW STRONG MY LOVE IS" (1965) It's hard to mess up Tennessee soul singer O.V. Wright's classic plea (Otis Redding certainly didn't). Still, the Stones bring their own organ-drenched fire to it; lest tender than Otis, Mick just burns.
"HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR MOTHER, BABY, STANDING IN THE SHADOW?" (1966) Bill Wyman's bass, coupled with the bright brass of an added horn section, takes the melodic lead on this fuzzy and rollicking toe-tapper.
"I AM WAITING" (1966) A foreboding jangler that hinges on Mick's hauntingly opaque lyrics and Brian Jones' Appalachian dulcimer, it's a veritable Waiting for Godot campfire jamboree.
"BACKSTREET GIRL" (1967) Mick murmurs to his mistress so sweetly in this delicate, seesawing lullaby, she probably doesn't even notice that he's basically telling her to stay away from his wife and his life.
"SHE'S A RAINBOW" (1967) The Stones' stab at psychedelia, Their Satanic Majesties Request, is often dismissed as a lame Sgt. Pepper knockoff (Keith Richards called it "a load of crap"). But this exuberant strings-drenched ode to a girl who "comes in colors everywhere" is the band's rare purely joyful love song, with barely a trace of irony or snark.
"JIGSAW PUZZLE" (1968) Jagger rarely got as surreal as he did on "Jigsaw," his street-level chronicle of a colorful freak parade -- tramps, gangsters, an "outcast" bishop's daughter -- draped in shock waves of rubbery guitar.
"STRAY CAT BLUES" (1968) Spiky guitar licks and Charlie's up-in-the-mix hi-hat propel Beggars Banquet's evilly rocking (and arguably just plain evil) tale of sex with a 15-year-old girl. "No hanging matter"? Save it for the judge, Mick!
"NO EXPECTATIONS" (1968) Though no one knew that this quietly devastating ballad would be Brian Jones' last significant contribution to the band before his death (that's his mournful, shimmering slide guitar), Jagger's words were a fitting accidental epitaph: "Our love was like the water/That splashes on a stone/Our love is like our music/It's here, and then it's gone."
"COUNTRY HONK" (1969) We could spend all day discussing whether this countrified version of "Honky Tonk Women" is actually better than its classic hit-single sibling. How does next Wednesday work for you?
"YOU GOT THE SILVER" (1969) Keith saunters through this slide-guitar tornado like the world's drunkest tumbleweed, channeling his future self with the cocksure rasp of a dangerously lovable rapscallion.
"MONKEY MAN" (1969) There's debate over what this ferocious Let It Bleed track is about: sex, junkies, or actual monkeys? Since it's the Stones, the answer's probably all of the above. Nicky Hopkins' opening piano notes lead into one of Keith's most savage guitar riffs. No wonder Scorsese chose it to soundtrack Ray Liotta's coke-fueled freak-out GoodFellas.
"CAN'T YOUR HEAR ME KNOCKING" (1971) The first half is pure decadence: Mick singing about satin shoes and cocaine eyes while Keith skins his knuckles on filthy staccato riffs. The second is a rarer side of the Stones -- a sax-and-congas instrumental jam that tries to out-Santana Santana.
"MOONLIGHT MILE" (1971) One of their most incredible ballads, this spare Sticky Fingers closer (working title "Japanese Thing") dives beneath the surface glamour of the rock & roll life, with Jagger wearily singing, "The sound of strangers sending nothing to my mind/Just another mad, mad day on the road."
"TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE" (1974) Here the Stones set the metronome to "Latin jazz," and Mick Taylor switches up his customary blues licks, delivering a soaring salsa-filed solo -- before delivering his letter of resignation to the Glimmer Twins.
"WHEN THE WHIP COMES DOWN" (1978) With a shift in both personnel (Ronnie Wood now a full-time member) and cultural perspective (punk and disco filling the airwaves), the Stones embrace both, offering a hefty rocker from the point of view of a gay New York City transplant who trades in garbage or sex -- or both!
"LITTLE T&A" (1981) From the opening riff that plays like the bastard child of a boozy one-night stand between "Satisfaction" and "Start Me Up" -- and going by the lyrics, it may well be -- to the last scraggly vocal, this 4 a.m. rocker is Keith at his debauched best. Which, of course, means his very, very worst.
"YOU DON'T HAVE TO MEAN IT" (1997) Leave it to Keith (again) to provide one of Bridges to Babylon's few highlights -- and offer a peek at the island-rogue persona Johnny Depp would go on to swipe for the soul of Jack Sparrow.
Thanks to a stunning Blu-ray restoration, Steven
by Chris Nashawaty in Entertainment Weekly
y parents took me to some pretty inappropriate moves when I was a kid: twisted tales about haunted houses and satanic rites, featuring unambiguous titles like Burnt Offerings, The Omen, and Race With the Devil. But the one that scarred me the deepest didn't need any demons or curses to do it. I was 6 years old when I saw Jaws (1975, PG, 2 hrs., 4 mins.) in the summer of '75, and I can still vividly recall watching Steven Spielberg's maritime munchfest through my trembling fingers, corkscrewing myself deeper and deeper into my seat with each feeding frenzy. By the time Roy Scheider realized he was gonna need a bigger boat, it was clear that one day I would need a better shrink. John Williams' harrowing duh-duh, duh-duh score became the soundtrack to my nightmares. And after seeing "the little Kinter boy" get turned into bloody chum, not only did I refuse to dip my pinkie toe in the ocean for the remainder of that summer, I was convinced that a great white was going to burst out of the drain of our bathtub -- or against all laws of physics -- squeeze through the showerhead and attack me while I had shampoo in my eyes. Needless to say, I didn't bathe much that year.
Since then, I've seen Jaws dozens of times. You probably have too. But you've never seen it look as good as it does on Blu-ray. As part of Universal's 100th anniversary, the studio had its crack team of preservation nerds go back into the vaults, dig out the original negative of the film, and remove all of the scratches and celluloid crow's-feet.
The digital makeover, which is detailed in one of the disc's new extras, is nothing short of a miracle. This isn't just another old film being slightly tarted up and slapped onto Blu-ray for the purpose of making a few extra bucks. This is a head-to-toe restoration -- and it's a revelation. From the famous opening scene, where a skinny-dipping girl becomes Amity Island's first thrashing victim, you'll see the film with a clarity and crispness it hasn't had since the summer of '75. Scenes that you thought you knew by heart feel like you're watching them for the first time. When Scheider's phobic Chief Brody, Richard Dreyfuss' four-eyed ichthyologist Hooper, and Robert Shaw's barking old salt Quint head out to sea on the Orca to face the three-ton beast, you can actually see stars shoot across the moonlit sky. Who even knew they were there? The underwater sequences are now less muddy. And yes, even the blood looks redder.
Over the past 37 years, Spielberg has taken a lot of heat for Jaws. Highbrow cineasts like to bellyache that, as the first modern blockbuster, the film single-handedly killed off the thoughtful, noncommercial films of the early '70s and ushered in the Age of the Tentpole. That's half true and half baloney. After all, Jaws is a smarter, more complex film than its high-concept premise and gaudy box office receipts would have you believe. Just go back and watch Shaw's powerhouse USS Indianapolis speech again. After swapping macho, top-this stories with Hooper about their scars, Quint explains the significance behind the faded tattoo on his arm -- how the ship he was on during WWII was torpedoed and the crew was left adrift for days, fighting off man-eaters. It knocks the wind out of your gut. And his haunting delivery reveals everything you need to know about this Ahab-with-a-death-wish character. It's one of the all-time great movie monologues.
Problem is, if you're used to seeing Jaws on TV, you've missed half of what makes it so chilling. Shown in wide-screen, as it is on this disc, the scene gets an emotional boost as Dreyfuss listens in awe next to Shaw instead of being cropped out of the frame entirely. It's a small, subtle improvement, but it's the kind of tiny detail that fans will eat up. It may only be August as I write this, but this is the Blu-ray to beat for the year's best. A
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