The Musical Wes Anderson: The Rolling Stones – “2000 Man”

We’ve been off for a month, and for The Musical Wes Anderson‘s triumphant return we’re going back all the way to a seminal moment in Wes’ very first feature film.

“2000 Man” was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and featured on The Rolling Stones divisive 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request.

ANDERSON WORK

The song appears near the end of Anderson’s 1996 feature debut Bottle Rocket. In a 2000 Esquire piece, director Martin Scorsese described the moment when the song kicks in.

[I] love the scene in Bottle Rocket when Owen Wilson’s character, Dignan, says, “They’ll never catch me, man, ’cause I’m fuckin’ innocent.” Then he runs off to save one of his partners in crime and gets captured by the police, over “2000 Man” by the Rolling Stones. He–and the music–are proclaiming who he really is: He’s not innocent in the eyes of the law, but he’s truly an innocent. For me, it’s a transcendent moment. And transcendent moments are in short supply these days.

CONTEXT

The song, the first of many Rolling Stones tracks to be used in Anderson’s films, serves as a kind of anthem for Dignan. As Scorsese writes: Dignan is an innocent, he’s romanticized this notion of being a criminal and drawn out a 75-Year Plan for his friends/would-be outlaws. Dignan wants, like so many of Anderson’s characters, a life of adventure. But like the other Anderson characters, he’s a failure. Dignan has no real idea of what it’s like to be a thief, but he likes the notion of it and he wills this notion into being through charm. He builds a world around himself, artificial, but filled with the kind of dream of what his life could be. It’s not surprising Scorsese responded to the scene, as it mimics his own pioneering use of music (often The Stones) in films like Mean Streets, but Anderson’s use of music isn’t a steal. Anderson creates his own blend of absurd character and genuine emotion that place the scenes in his films miles from the serious tone of Scorsese’s. Funnily enough,  Bottle Rocket was originally conceived by Wilson and Anderson as a serious-minded, Mean Streets-esque crime film, but as the writing process continued they realized the film was better funny and weird, closer to the lives they were living, and closer to what they knew. The song, with it’s cries of  “Oh, daddy” and “Oh, mummy” help to evoke Dignan’s childlike worldview that betrays his seemingly nefarious actions.

HISTORY

Their Satanic Majesties Request is one of The Rolling Stones’ most critically divisive albums, with some praising the studio experimentation, and others rejecting the psychedelic leanings of the record, finding it self-indulgent. Though the album as a whole is not one of the more popular albums among the Stones catalogue, “2000 Man” has endured as fan favorite. A version of the song was covered by Kiss, of all bands, and appears on their 1979 album Dynasty.

The Rolling Stones, of course, remain immensely popular and continue to record and perform around the world. An IMAX concert film was released in 2008, directed by none other than Martin Scorsese.

Well, my name is a number
A piece of plastic film
And I’m growin’ funny flowers
In my little window sill

Dont you know I’m a 2,000 man
And my kids, they just don’t understand me at all

Well my wife still respects me
I really misused her
I am having an affair
With the Random computer

Don’t you know I’m a 2,000 man
And my kids, they just don’t understand me at all

Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy, proud of your sun
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy, proud of your sun
Oh daddy, your brain’s still flashin’
Like it did when you were young
Or do you come down crashin’
Seeing all the things you’d done
Spacing out and having fun

Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy, proud of your sun
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy, proud of your sun

Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy, proud of your sun
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy, proud of your sun

And you know who’s the 2000 man
and your kids they just won’t understand you at all

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