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Song of the Day: Mick Jagger, “Memo from Turner” – from Performance (1970)

Featured prominently in the movie Performance, directed by Nicolas Roeg with Donald Cammell and released in 1970, this song remains one of my favorite Mick Jagger/Stones songs—right up there with “Sympathy,” “Satisfaction” and “Monkey Man.” Here it is in a clip from the movie, with what is surely Jagger’s finest performance in any film:

A higher quality clip (and without the subtitles) is available through TCM: Performance (1970) — (Movie Clip) Memo From Turner. (As a Warner film, Performance is part of the TCM archive and you can check their webpage on the movie for any scheduled broadcast times.)

The Song

The song “Memo from Turner” was released as a single in the UK and also appeared as the first track on the second side of the Performance soundtrack—which also features music by Randy Newman and Buffy Sainte-Marie. It features Ry Cooder on slide guitar, and other musicians, rather than the regular Stones line-up. (Keith Richards reportedly balked at playing on the track because of love scenes in the movie between his girlfriend at the time Anita Pallenberg and Jagger, which were rumored to have gone beyond simulation.)

The song is also available on a number of compilation albums, including The Very Best of Mick Jagger, and some Rolling Stones compilations, such as Singles Collection: The London Years.

A second version of the song was released on the Stones album Metamorphosis in 1975. It features a different line-up of musicians—but still not the Stones—possibly including Brian Jones and Stevie Winwood of Traffic, as well as slightly differently lyrics. I think the original is much more powerful and appealing, but you can compare the two for yourself.

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zerode

is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.

 

What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

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