Mick Jagger Scores Playboy's Dead Art
NEW YORK--What do music superstars Annie Lennox, Eminem, and Bob Dylan have in common? They're the three latest winners of the Academy Award for best song. Lennox won last year for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; Eminem won the 2002 Oscar for 8 Mile, and Dylan took home the 2001 prize for Wonder Boys.
Dave Stewart, Lennox's former Eurythmics partner, could soon be taking home his own statuette. He recently partnered with rock icon Mick Jagger on the score and songs for Alfie, the remake of the 1966 Michael Caine film about a playboy who can get everything he wants but love. The new version, which stars Jude Law in the title role, opens in Vancouver next Friday (November 5).At a press conference at a New York hotel, Jagger says this wasn't the first time the pair collaborated. "The first thing we wrote together was a song for [1986's] Ruthless People, and we got paid lots of money, which we then spent on worthless consumer items."
When Jagger and Stewart wrote for Ruthless People, it was odd to see rock stars penning original movie songs. Elton John won three nominations and an Oscar for 1994's The Lion King and appears to have started a trend. Since then, Phil Collins has won, and Sting has had three nominations in the past four years. Jagger says that Hollywood has stopped buying hits from rockers and started asking them to write original music.
"In the old days, Hollywood had a diffident stance toward rock music, although it continued to take famous rock tunes and put them in movies. That started about 20 years ago, and the surprise is that it still goes on now, and they come from all periods of music. But now we [rock stars] are writing soundtracks, and they aren't easy. You have to write a specific song around a specific character or a specific scene, so it is much more disciplined than it would be just doing your own music. On top of that, there is a lot of craft, because you have to look at other scenes and make the themes for the characters work in those scenes as well.
"We have this song called 'Old Habits Die Hard', and the first time you hear it, it is rather happy-go-lucky, but when we put in this other scene and slow it down and take out some of the instrumentation, it becomes a much more romantic or sadder tune than it first appears."
Asked if it was easier to write for a movie whose theme he could relate to, Jagger said that he didn't understand the character [of Alfie] because he doesn't believe that such players exist in today's world. "There aren't any playboys anymore. It is rather sad, actually. They all wrapped themselves around trees in badly driven sports cars many years ago. I have always been a rather career-minded person, so any vague resemblance to my life and that of a playboy is purely coincidental."