Cocksucker Blues: The Rolling Stones and some notes on Robert Frank

Gaunson, S 2010, 'Cocksucker Blues: The Rolling Stones and some notes on Robert Frank', Senses of Cinema, no. 56, pp. online.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Cocksucker Blues: The Rolling Stones and some notes on Robert Frank
Author(s) Gaunson, S
Year 2010
Journal name Senses of Cinema
Issue number 56
Start page online
Publisher Senses of Cinema Inc.
Abstract Robert Frank's Rolling Stones documentary, Cocksucker Blues (1972), is an awkward addition to his oeuvre that includes twenty-five films and many celebrated photograph collections. Lacking the aesthetic beauty and sensibility of his other works, Cocksucker Blues exposes the debauchery and decadent milieu of the rock world. Filmed in cinéma vérité style, the documentary, which follows the Stones on their notorious 1972 tour of America, features heavy scenes of drug use, group sex, and some occasional segments of rock `n' roll. Not surprisingly, the Stones feared its release could jeopardise future tours to America. Taking the matter to court, Mick Jagger argued that the copyright belonged to him because he commissioned the film. Siding with Jagger, the film was subsequently banned from public screenings, even though it was allowed to screen in Frank's presence, under the condition that it does not play more than five times per year. Indeed, this landmark decision questioned the very notion of copyright and intellectual property regarding `future commissioned' documentaries. Apart from a few VHS bootleg copies circulating in the 1980s and some illegal internet streaming, Cocksucker Blues has all but disappeared from the public sphere, and subsequently become a neglected artefact of both Robert Frank and the Rolling Stones.
Copyright notice © Senses of Cinema 1999-2009
ISSN 1443-4059
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