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  • Richard Conniff writes about behavior, in humans and other animals, on two, four, six, and eight legs, plus the occasional slither.

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Animal Music Monday: “Monkey Man”

Posted by Richard Conniff on May 23, 2016

I’ve always loved “Monkey Man,” from the Rolling Stones “Let It Bleed,” mostly for the great intro by Bill Wyman, on vibraphone and bass, and then for Keith Richards’ guitar.  Oh, hell, I should say I also love it because I identify so strongly with the words, “I am just a monkey man.” Old childhood nickname.

What puzzles me is that the song was inspired by Italian pop artist Mario Schifano, after Mick Jagger and Keith Richards made cameo appearances in the Schifano film “Umano non Umano” (“Human not Human”), produced by Richards’ girlfriend Anita Pallenberg, in April 1969.  Schifano was an interesting artist, but it’s a crap film.

See for yourself. Here’s Jagger in “Umano non Umano”:

And here are some critically insightful comments on Jagger’s performance, via YouTube:

“Jagger is acting here like he needs to pee urgently. Hard to believe the singer of this legendary incendiary song and this clown are one and the same.”

And: “Why does Mick look like he’s all dressed up to go to the prom here?”

2 Responses to “Animal Music Monday: “Monkey Man””

  1. Nic said

    I hadn’t actually heard this before, so thanks for that. It must be a generational thing though, because when I hear “Monkey Man” my first thoughts are The Specials or Toots and the Maytals.

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