Rock Star + Hell’s Angels + Assassination Plot + Time = Slapstick

Posted in Something about the Beatles on March 3rd, 2008 by bill

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Getting a lot of play today is a report, via the BBC, that the Hell’s Angels plotted to kill Mick Jagger in 1969, I guess as revenge for his bad-mouthing them over Altamont. The relevant passage goes as follows:

Gang members hatched a plan to kill Jagger at his holiday home in Long Island, New York, the BBC claimed.

“The Hells Angels were so angered by Jagger’s treatment of them that they decided to kill him,” Tom Mangold, the presenter of the program, was quoted as telling Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

He said the plan was disclosed during an interview with Mark Young, a former FBI officer, for the BBC’s “The FBI at 100” documentary.

Mangold said the men tried to reach Jagger by sea. “The boat was hit by a storm and all of the men were thrown overboard,” he was quoted as saying. They all survived but made no other attempt on his life, Mangold said.

As several comments I’ve read online have already noted, there’s a lovely slapstick element to this. Just picture a group of Angels, loaded to the gills on beer and speed, rowing a dinghy across Long Island Sound on their way to snuff Jagger. The boat springs a leak and a bearded 6-foot-5 biker named “Tiny” jams his thumb in the hole while dandling his old lady on his knee and chugging Jack Daniels with the other hand. But when the wind whips up they’re swamped by a wave and tossed into the surf, where they struggle and sputter for air, comically out of their element in full-dress leather. Were I an animator, I would make this into a short cartoon for your amusement. Instead, I’m going to have to ask you to close your eyes and imagine it for yourself. You may want to add Hunter Thompson looking on coolly from a nearby cigarette boat, as Jerry Garcia and Ken Kesey giggle hysterically on the deck of a Mississippi paddleboat painted psychedelic purple and green. Suddenly the Beatles surface in their yellow submarine, mercifully pull the Angels from the drink, and are gone again as quickly as they came. The last shot is of Yoko, clad in Nazi regalia รก la The Rutles, swimming for shore with a knife clenched in her teeth. Or you can picture it however you want; it’s your head, after all.