In yet another shallow record-industry ploy to sell the same album twice, the Rolling Stones recently asked producer Don Was to dig through their Exile On Main Street archives and produce a remastered version with a few additional tracks. Thinking about Exile reminds me, of course, of Robert Frank's documentary with an unprintable name, a chronicle the Stones' daily lives around the time of Exile. This film presented in very raw form (in the words of one reviewer) "massive, almost unthinkable amounts of ego-gratification, and routine, torpid, everyday boredom," and it was essentially unreleasable, shown only in art houses and pirated VHS. It's safe to say that no massively successful band has ever, or will ever, give the kind of access that the Stones gave to Frank. (The sex and the drugs, they are everywhere amidst the rock 'n roll). The above video is some of the cleaner stuff culled from Frank's footage. Needless to say, the whole thing is worth seeing, even if you have to cover your eyes every once in a while. Additional reading: A nice little NPR interview with Mick and Keef.
Saul Steinberg's cover for the first edition The Americans by Robert Frank. Publisher Robert Delpire: "The only point of disagreement was the cover. I insisted right away on using a drawing by Saul Steinberg, whom I had met and whose work I liked. Frank said, 'It's a book of photos, we could use a photo.' I told him, 'You can use a photo for the American edition, but let me use a Steinberg drawing.' But when I reprinted the book in 1986, I used a photograph because I had discovered, basically, that he was right."