Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 239
Sat. Sept 8, 2012
The first time I ever heard the Rolling Stones was watching Frances Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. You remember the scene where Laurence Fishburne is dancing on the army boat while listening to “[I Can’t Get No] Satisfaction. It’s a joy watching Fishburne’s “Mr. Clean” and his unbridled enthusiasm while grooving to the Stones. It’s all natural, we’ve all been there in that moment connecting with a song. We all can feel it, Jagger and Richards’ first number one song had soul. “Satisfaction” had so much soul, Otis Redding covered this Mick and Keef original.
Keith Richards discussed the trouble The Rolling Stones had playing “Satisfaction” live in his book Life when he wrote, “What made us like [“Satisfaction” again] was when Otis Redding covered it. With that and Aretha Franklin’s version, which Jerry Wexler produced, we heard what we’d tried to write in the first place. We liked it and started playing it because the very best soul music was singing our song.”
I never really thought of “Satisfaction” as a soul song until today. Because of Apocalypse Now, I always thought of “Satisfaction” a soundtrack snapshot of the “Rock & Roll War” that was Vietnam. Listening to “Satisfaction” again today, I felt the R& B inspiration which is something that singer Mick Jagger channeled, feeding off that funky back beat groove, when he wrote the lyrics of Satisfaction. Mick Jagger talked about the importance of “Satisfaction” when he said, ““It was the song that really made the Rolling Stones, changed us from just another band into a huge, monster band. You always need one song. It’s a signature tune, really, rather than a great, classic painting, ’cause it’s only like one thing – a kind of signature that everyone knows. And it captures a spirit of the times, which is very important in those kinds of songs… Which was alienation.”
The “Satisfaction” scene from Apocalypse Now definitely inspired today’s song selection because of something Laurence Fishburne said about working with Frances Ford Coppola as he explained, “But things crystallized on ‘Apocalypse Now,’ working with [director of photography Vittorio] Storaro, Coppola and [production designer] Dean Tavoularis and that entire team. And listening to them sit around talking about Orson Welles attempting to make the movie 30 years prior, what a huge undertaking it was, how they were attempting to leave something behind them that would live well after they were gone. That that was consciously what they were attempting to do. And that that was the power of art. I thought, ‘Wow, you can do that?! I wanna do that!‘”
This is what Fishburne, Coppola and the Stones do and that’s my goal as a writer to leave a legacy of prose reflecting my voice on the page. When I see Fishburne and Coppola’s Apocalypse Now with The Rolling Stones on the screen, I now think to myself, I can do and what do that. And I will follow in my heroes’ artistic film prints, lyrical or otherwise. What do you want to be your creative legacy? With my headphones on and nature surrounding me, this the perfect place to ponder my artistic footprint. As memories of Apocalypse Now like the sunset fades to black, I’ll unwind by tossing another long on my metaphorical fire. Malibu maybe far away from the real jungle but I love the smell of campfire and the sound of Satisfaction in the morning.