Martin Scorsese has never hidden his love for rock music, often embarking on creative projects such as The Last Waltz and No Direction Home which have received universal acclaim. The impeccable use of music in many of Scorsese’s films have also garnered critical attention and admiration from fans, but one of his most iconic and frequent collaborators has been Mick Jagger.
Scorsese has maintained his interest in the concert film genre through the years and has even made one revolving around The Rolling Stones titled Shine a Light which featured their performances at the Beacon Theatre in 2006. However, Scorsese’s relationship with the Stones is much more evident in the omnipresence of their music throughout his filmography.
On multiple occasions, Scorsese has revealed that the music of The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan had a huge influence on his own work since he belonged to a conservative, working-class family where AM radio was the norm. He got into rock and roll when FM radio started highlighting the works of such artists and it has stayed with him since.
Some of the most iconic music moments in Scorsese films happened when a Stones song came on. From the use of Jumpin’ Jack Flash in Mean Streets to the famous scene with Memo From Turner in Goodfellas, Scorsese’s collaboration with The Rolling Stones should be considered as one of the unique elements of his cinematic output.
“Mick is absolutely alone in a very important sense — he’s a consummate artist, performer and businessman,” Scorsese said in an interview. “I have a feeling that nothing escapes his notice. No detail is too small.” The pioneering filmmaker had also worked with Jagger as a co-creator on the TV show Vinyl which was ultimately cancelled by HBO.
Scorsese added: “Here’s a guy who has been at the centre of the music industry for many years, on multiple levels, and he has what appears to be a perfect memory as well as a rich sense of character and of drama, of cinema. … Who could be a better artistic collaborator?”. Even after all this time, Scorsese still dreams of making a definitive documentary about The Rolling Stones which would cover 40 years of history.