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Scorsese and Jagger get into the groove

The premiere of “Vinyl”, a new show about Seventies excess

Tim Martin | January/February 2016

Directed and produced by Martin Scorsese from an idea by Mick Jagger: you could hardly think of a better pitch for a TV series about music-business excess in the Seventies. Add Terence Winter (“The Sopranos”, “Boardwalk Empire”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”) on writing and show-running duties, and “Vinyl” is looking very special indeed. Rock and roll has provided the soundtrack for Scorsese’s drama from the start: think of the scene in “Mean Streets” (1973) where Robert De Niro weaves through a bar in slow motion as “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones strikes up in the background. And Scorsese’s obsession with the bands of the era stretches from “The Last Waltz” (1976) to his documentaries on George Harrison, Bob Dylan and the Stones. He knows its dark side too, having spent much of the decade in the grip of a coke habit that he later described as “wanting to push to the very, very end and see if I could die”.

Jagger’s own CV of overindulgence needs little rehearsal; the real surprise, perhaps, is that it’s taken ten years for the pair to get their project, once known as “History of Music”, to the screen. With Winter on board, “Vinyl” promises to be another “Wolf of Wall Street” with bigger hair, louder suits and better music: expect plenty of the usual Scorsese signatures (voiceover, slow motion, distorted chronology) in its tale of a record-label boss trying to rescue his business, dodge gangsters, balance family obligations and sign a hot new band. ~ Tim Martin

Vinyl HBO and Sky Atlantic, premieres Feb 14th

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