Cocksucker Blues  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Cocksucker Blues is an unreleased documentary film directed by the still photographer Robert Frank chronicling The Rolling Stones' North American tour in 1972 in support of their album Exile on Main St.

Contents

Production

There was much anticipation for the band's arrival in the United States, since they had not visited there since the 1969 disaster at the Altamont Free Concert, in which a fan was stabbed and beaten to death by Hells Angels, with the incident being caught on camera. Behind the scenes, the tour embodied debauchery, lewdness and hedonism.

The film was shot cinéma vérité, with several cameras available for anyone in the entourage to pick up and start shooting. This allowed the film's audience to witness backstage parties, drug use (Mick Jagger is seen snorting cocaine backstage), roadie and groupie antics, and the Stones with their defenses down. One scene includes a groupie in a hotel room injecting heroin.

Fate

The film came under a court order which forbade it from being shown unless the director Robert Frank was physically present. This ruling stemmed from the conflict that arose when the band, who had commissioned the film, decided that its content was embarrassing and potentially incriminating, and did not want it shown. Frank felt otherwise — hence the ruling.

The provocative title notwithstanding, its nudity, needles and hedonism was enough to get the picture shelved, and this was during a liberal climate that saw the likes of Chafed Elbows, Deep Throat, and Cry Uncle! playing in neighborhood theaters. A generic performance film, Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones, was released instead, and Cocksucker Blues was indefinitely shelved.

The court order in question also enjoined Frank against exhibiting Cocksucker Blues more frequently than four times per year in an 'archival setting' with Frank being present. The film was screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in November 2012 as part of a two-week festival, ‘The Rolling Stones: 50 Years on Film’.

Song

For the song "Cocksucker Blues" see "Schoolboy Blues".

Cultural references

The fourth section of Don DeLillo's magnum opus, Underworld, is titled Cocksucker Blues. The Stones' song/film is referred to in the narrative of that section.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cocksucker Blues" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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