14 July 2010

"Memo from Turner"

This clip from the 1970 film Performance foreshadows the music video format to come years later. And the music here is raw rock 'n' roll at its finest.

In the clip Mick Jagger acts out the second of the two dramatic personae of his film character Turner. Earlier in the film he establishes Turner as a petulant, reclusive but seemingly harmless rock star. Here we see Turner shifting identities, now a rock-star-as-psychedelic-gangster personifying corruption and decadence.

The song would have disappeared into the void of Stones-related cult material but for Martin Scorsese placing a slice of Memo from Turner right in the heart of a cocaine binge sequence in his acclaimed film Goodfellas (1990). While very few people will ever see Performance, Scorsese brings Ry Cooder's searing slide guitar work on Memo to a wider audience. My hat's off to Mick, Ry, and Marty.

(A version of Memo from Turner with better audio quality is near the top of the red jukebox at left.)

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