Books and Movies Featuring the Rolling Stones

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Here's a look at some of the best books and movies about the Rolling Stones.

Gimme Shelter Movie Poster

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Well known for blistering live performances, it's not surprising that many of the best films and books on the Rolling Stones revolve around their live concerts and tours. Here are five of the most popular, respected books and five of the best films about one of the most influential bands in the history or rock and roll.

Life is the highly anticipated memoir from the Rolling Stones founding member, guitarist Keith Richards. Written with James Fox who has known Richard's since the early 1970s when Fox worked as a journalist in London. My Life takes the reader from Richards' boyhood in England to how the Stones formed and went on to conquer the world. Throughout the book, Richards keeps it personal and sticks to his trademark honesty. He openly regrets any part he played in the heroin addictions of friends and associates. He addresses his own drug consumption as well as his relationships with Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Chuck Berry and many more. Richard's candid and thorough autobiography is a must read for any Stones fan.
The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones
First published in 1985 and out of print for a while, The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones by Stanley Booth has been back in print since 2000. It remains one of the most popular and best reviewed of all Stones biographies. Booth met the Stones in 1968, just a few months before Brian Jones died, and he is considered to be a member of the band's inner circle. The book covers the history of the band from its beginnings and spends a lot of time on the death of Jones. Booth toured with the band in 1969 and the book includes many stories of parties, drugs and groupies from that tour as well as its tragic ending at the Altamont Free Concert when Meredith Hunter was stabbed to death by a Hells Angel during the Stone's set. Considered by many to be much more than a book about a rock band, The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones has been called the best book ever written about the sixties by Harold Brodkey, Robert Stone and more.
This beautiful leather-bound book is a collection of some of the most intimate and revealing photos ever taken of the Rolling Stones. Exile is packed with the work by French photographer Dominique Tarlé. The 280 images are from his stay at Villa Nellcôte with Keith Richards during the summer of 1971. Currently out of print and a rare find used, this book is highly sought after all over the globe.
Nankering with the Rolling Stones: The Untold Story of the Early Days
As the title suggests, Nankering with the Rolling Stones: The Untold Story of the Early Days, focuses on the band's beginning. It's a close look at a band struggling to make it big in the sixties. Obviously, the reader knows how the story turns out, but that doesn't take away from the grittiness of the story. If anything, knowing that the band overcomes the obstacles only adds to the story. Author James Phelge lived with Jagger, Richards and Jones in their famous Edith Grove flat so the account is first hand and considered a must have for any Stones fan.
Stones Touring Party: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones
Stones Touring Party: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones is a book by Robert Greenfield that documents the Rolling Stones' 1972 tour of the United States, a tour that is considered by many to be their best ever. Having just recorded Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street, two of their finest records, the Stones had hit their musical stride. The band's last visit to the United States had ended with the tragedy at Altamont, so they wanted to make the 1972 tour memorable for the right reasons and all of the great moments are covered in Greenfield's book. Famous names such as Truman Capote and Annie Leibovitz are present for this tour and appear in the book. Stones Touring Party: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones is considered an all-time classic book, capturing the essence of a rock band. It makes a great companion to The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones, picking up where that book leaves off.
Gimme Shelter
Not only is Gimme Shelter a great Stones documentary; it is considered one of the greatest rock and roll movies of all time. Directed by Albert and David Maysles, the documentary covers the band's 1969 tour which concludes with the tragic Altamont Free Concert. The movie alternates between intense live performances and behind the scenes clips. The footage includes the band recording and planning out their performance at Altamont, not knowing that the Hells Angels hired to do security for the free concert would be involved in an incident that would end in violence during their performance.
Shine a Light
Directed by Martin Scorsese, Shine a Light captures the Rolling Stones preforming at the historic Beacon Theater in New York City. The movie also features Jack White of The White Stripes and Christina Aguilera performing with the Stones. This movie is considered the definitive concert film for the band's later years.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones
Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones covers the band's Exile On Main St. tour. The live footage captures the band at its peak in the early 70s, right after the release of their landmark album. Another highlight of this film is seeing footage of Mick Taylor just before he leaves the band. Here he can be seen in all his virtuoso guitar glory.
Let's Spend the Night Together
Let's Spend the Night Together is a live concert film directed by Hal Ashby. What sets this one apart is how it captures the band's evolution to arena rock during the Stones' 1981 tour of North America. The band performs its biggest hits in front of lavish stage sets and hydraulics. The movie shows clips from performances at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey and the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, both giant football stadiums.
Charlie Is My Darling
The first documentary film about the Rolling Stones, Charlie Is My Darling is directed by Peter Whitehead and produced by the band's manager, Andrew Loog Oldham. Although shorter versions had been released over the years, an extended and restored version isn't released until 2012, due to a lengthy legal battle between the band and their former manager Allen Klein. The film follows the band from London to Heathrow airport for two concerts in Dublin. The movie continues to follow the band via train to Belfast for two more concerts and, finally, their return to London. The movie includes stage footage and hotel room scenes which feature Mick and Keith doing some Beatles covers just for fun. One memorable moment from the film catches Mick doing an impersonation of Elvis Presley.
by Jennie Wood

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