Rock of Ages: An Unauthorized Story on the Rolling Stones is the “Ripped from the pages of The National Enquirer” version of the history of the Rolling Stones. If you’re looking for the dirt on the Stones, and there’s certainly enough of it, this video brings much of it to the screen, but most people who read even everyday newspapers won’t be surprised by anything in it. There is also a little comedy and some patronizing, as well as some of their less unsavory accomplishments, but overall Rock of Ages dishes dirt on the Stones throughout their nearly 50 years of rock ‘n’ roll history.
And plenty of dirt there is, too, from their beginnings in 1962, all the way up to the present. Headline items include their multiple drug busts; their marriages and divorces; the death of original member Brian Jones; their children (mostly about those born out from under the respectable umbrella of marriage); Jagger’s dalliances with Marianne Faithfull, Carly Simon, and several others; along with his lookalike marriage to Bianca; Brian Jones’s five children by five different women, none his wife; Jagger’s lackluster solo career. Most of it is here, although I’m surprised there was no mention made of Jagger’s supposed homosexual dalliance with David Bowie (although that was much bigger news when it happened, rather than in today’s relaxed sexual politics), or his “scandalous” movie appearance in Performance, and the Altamont debacle rated barely a mention. There may have been some others that I missed, but overall the film seemed to hit most of the bases.
[The film Performance was in its release and remains still a divisive issue among film critics. The film was called "the most completely worthless film I have seen since I began reviewing," and was also ranked 188th in the 1,000 Greatest Films of All Time.]
Even the tabloids get a couple mentions in this film, which called the Stones in a live early performance a “menace to law and order,” and their singing “vocal laryngitis.” Another news item asked the question, “Would you let your sister go with a Rolling Stone?”
And how can we forget a more recent critical comment: “In case of nuclear holocaust, only two things will survive: cockroaches & Keith Richards.”
There’s quite a bit of bonus material with this 76-minute DVD, the titles of which include “Bill Wyman Photography Exhibition,” “Mick Pieces His Life Back Together,” ‘Mick Jagger Writes for the Movie Alfie,” “Rolling Stones Play in Germany ’40 Licks Tour,” “Keith Richards Profile,” and “Shine a Light Documentary.”