1972. Item #4577
An original print of the legendary unreleased Rolling Stones documentary Cocksucker Blues
directed by Robert Frank, in the form of 16mm film reels with separate 16mm soundtrack reels.
Also included are the original boxes with original ties, as well as additional authenticating ephemera
including film reel segments.
The film is a cinéma vérité style documentary following the Stones on their 1972 American tour in
support of their album Exile on Main St, their first return to the United States since the tragedy at
Altamont in 1969. It was filmed using multiple cameras, and though shot mostly by Frank himself,
he encouraged others to pick up a camera and start filming at any time. It includes concert footage
but mostly focuses on backstage and offstage events, making it an incredibly raw portrait of the
band. Frank said of the Rolling Stones, "It was great to watch them —the excitement. But my job
was after the show. What I was photographing was a kind of boredom. It’s so difficult being famous.
It’s a horrendous life. Everyone wants to get something from you.” The Rolling Stones decided
the film was too candid and too hedonistic, depicting heavy drug use and casual sex. It painted the
Rolling Stones in a light they did not believe the public should see, for fear that they would not
be allowed back to the United States, so they forbade the release of the film. The resulting lawsuit
ended with a deal that the film would be indefinitely shelved, but it could be shown a maximum of
four times a year only with Robert Frank himself present. Since then, it has been bootlegged and
circulated among fans, yet still very rarely seen in its entirety.
This original print is in excellent condition and is unique due to the legal issues surrounding the
Robert Frank is most well known for his 1959 photography book The Americans, widely considered
one of the most influential and important photography books ever published.
Provenance: This print was acquired from the estate of Tony Sanchez known as “Spanish Tony,” an
official photographer to the Rolling Stones and an all around general assistant, rumored to be Keith
Richard’s drug dealer.