Watch the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” Music Video Re-Enacted by Robots

When Microsoft released Win­dows 95, they did­n’t skimp on the pub­lic­i­ty. Their pro­mo­tion­al cam­paign for the oper­at­ing sys­tem even includ­ed tele­vi­sion spots sound­tracked with the Rolling Stones’ hit “Start Me Up.” The lyrics of its cho­rus neat­ly suit­ed the prod­uct, which came with a re-engi­neered inter­face fea­tur­ing a then-nov­el fea­ture called the Start menu. Though hard­ly new even then, the song did also car­ry faint asso­ci­a­tions with inno­va­tion, hav­ing orig­i­nal­ly been released on August 14, 1981, just two weeks after the launch of a cable chan­nel called MTV. Its music video thus received a great deal of air­play, prov­ing to the pub­lic that the Stones could stay on the cut­ting edge.

By the 1980s, rel­e­vance was by no means guar­an­teed to any band formed in the 1960s. More than proven though the point may be today, the Michael Lind­say-Hogg-direct­ed music video for “Start Me Up” demon­strat­ed that even a group of rock­ers in or near their for­ties could per­form with the same uncon­tain­able vital­i­ty they always had.

Even now, forty years after that, the group’s sur­viv­ing mem­bers show no incli­na­tion to retire, and the high­est tech­nol­o­gy has only just begun to catch up to them. I refer, of course, to Spot, the mod­el of robot dog pre­vi­ous­ly seen here on Open Cul­ture moon­walk­ing and twerk­ing to Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” In the years since then, it seems he’s learned to move like Jag­ger — as well as Richards, Wyman, Wood, and Watts.

In “Spot Me Up,” four Spot mod­els togeth­er repli­cate about a minute of the “Start Me Up” video. That each robot real­ly does seem to con­vey traces of the per­son­al­i­ty of its par­tic­u­lar Stone — even the one tasked with repli­cat­ing a glance from the late Char­lie Watts, a force of sub­tle­ty behind the drum kit for more than half a cen­tu­ry — speaks to the engi­neer­ing skill mar­shaled by Boston Dynam­ics, the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy spin­off where Spot was invent­ed. Not every­one has warmed to the life­like move­ments of their robots, a line­up that also includes the for­mi­da­ble humanoid Atlas. But dance videos like these serve as a form of pub­lic rela­tions for its prod­ucts, which were designed for not the stage but fac­to­ries, mines, and pow­er plants — places where they can do what any fan of the Stones in the 80s would sure­ly call the dirty work.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Kei­th Richards Demon­strates His Famous 5‑String Tech­nique (Used on Clas­sic Stones Songs Like “Start Me Up,” “Honky Tonk Women” & More

Watch the Rolling Stones Play “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” While Social Dis­tanc­ing in Quar­an­tine

The Rolling Stones Release a Time­ly Track, “Liv­ing in a Ghost Town”: Their First New Music in Eight Years

The Robots of Your Dystopi­an Future Are Already Here: Two Chill­ing Videos Dri­ve It All Home

Twerk­ing, Moon­walk­ing AI Robots — They’re Now Here

Kraftwerk’s “The Robots” Per­formed by Ger­man First Graders in Adorable Card­board Robot Out­fits

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.