Wednesday, June 6, 2007

video #10: The Rolling Stones - Harlem Shuffle

One of the last big hits for The Rolling Stones, their cover of "The Harlem Shuffle" is still a classic rock radio standard today. I know that WXRT plays it no less than 3 or 4 times a day, even though it was recorded well after most of their original fans had stopped listening to them (long before they all went out and bought Forty Licks and started listening to them again, I mean).

To their credit, they brought in Ralph Bakshi and John Kricfalusi for video duties. Surely no one expected an animated video from The Rolling Stones, but that's just what they did. Sort of. This was John K's first video, more than ten years before working with Bjork on "I Miss You," and still several years before finding success with Ren & Stimpy. His trademark animation takes up the first 40 seconds of the video, after which there's a jarring jump cut to a shot of the band. They dutifully play through the motions of the song, with animation only intermittently spliced in from then on, somewhat randomly and often for less than a second. There is a plot, I guess, but it took me a few viewings to even catch onto. Maybe to compensate, designers give Mick Jagger a ridiculous purple suit to strut around in while the rest of the band looks terribly bored. Mick does his best but fails to top his amazing appearance with David Bowie in "Dancing in the Street," assuming that's even possible.

If nothing else, this video made me read up on Kricfalusi's co-director, Ralph Bakshi, creator of Fritz the Cat. I'd never been more than mildly curious about the film before this, just assuming that it was a some badly-animated joke without a plot, but the few clips I've seen of it (all R-rated, nothing rated X so far) look really great, and I was surprised to find out that there's an actual story in it. Odds are slim that I'll be able to rent it anywhere around here, not without signing up for Netflix, at least.

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