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Mick Jagger didn't set out to create a TV show, he wanted to make a movie.

But now he's teamed up with Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese, among others, to produce HBO's "Vinyl," a series about the music business in 1973.

"I had an idea years ago that I took to Marty and asked him what he thought, and we tried to develop it as a movie," Jagger said. "And we developed it and developed it."

It was a "very sprawling idea" set in the music business over a 40-year period.

The lead singer of the Rolling Stones pitched Scorsese the idea in 1996, and various writers worked on various scripts for a dozen years. Terence Winter — the creator, writer and executive producer of "Boardwalk Empire" — took a crack at it in 2008.

"In 2009, the economy collapsed, and it was clear that nobody was going to make a three-hour, 40-year-spanning, epic period piece in the music business," he said. "So we were back to square one."

Then the movie turned into a TV show.

"When TV series came online and started to become interesting, respectable, moneymaking, we decided to make a TV series of it," Jagger said with a smile.

And change the focus considerably, giving up the idea of a story that swept across decades.

"We needed to then take what was a 40-year story and park it in one particular era," Winter said. "Together, we decided that 1973 was the most interesting time period. We reinvented the story."

He wrote the "Vinyl" pilot in 2011 but was busy with "Boardwalk Empire," which ended in 2014. The 10-episode first season of "Vinyl" was filmed in 2015, with Scorsese directing the two-hour pilot.

The narrative centers on Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale), the founder and president of American Century Records, which is in deep financial trouble. He's about to sell the company to the German-owned PolyGram when a life-changing event causes him to change his mind and attempt to save the company.

It's all about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, with a mix of fictional characters and actors' portrayals of real people, from Alice Cooper to Robert Goulet.

(One of American Century's artists is Donny Osmond. He's talked about — there are multiple references to "Donny [f-bomb] Osmond" — but he's not seen.)

There's also a mix of music from the early 1970s and music written to sound like it's of the era.

"It's really interesting, the combination," Jagger said. "Not only the combination of the new and old music, but the combination of real characters and the characters that Terry created for the series."

The combination of Jagger and Scorsese might seem unlikely, but Scorsese directed the 2008 Rolling Stones concert/documentary film "Shine a Light." And he's a fan.

"I'm his audience," said Scorsese, who said Rolling Stones music was "basically the inspiration" for scenes in many of his movies, including "Mean Streets," "Raging Bull" and "The Wolf of Wall Street."

"It's very much a part of my life," he said. "It was a natural for us at some point to try to do something together."

"We have a kind of shorthand," said Jagger. "Even though it appears that we come from different worlds — I suppose we do — but we meet somewhere in the middle."

"Vinyl" is not the story of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, but Jagger's experiences in the music industry have been translated to "Vinyl." That includes his experience, he said, of getting "really screwed" by recording executive in the 1960s.

"I got really involved in record companies and how they worked and who was good, who was bad, who was who paid, who screwed who, who ended up with the money," Jagger said.

Winter, who created the character of Richie Finestra after conversations with Scorsese and Jagger, said, "I think Richie is a pretty accurate amalgam of a lot of different record executives."

The cast includes Ray Romano, Olivia Wilde, Juno Temple, Andrew Dice Clay, Max Casella and James Jagger, Mick's 30-year-old son, who stars as the not-so-talented lead singer of a punk band that may or may not get signed to a contract.

"Vinyl" is not subtle — it's often incredibly intense. Not just the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, but the violence — including a particularly brutal killing in the two-hour premiere.

And the nudity. Sometimes unexpected nudity.

"People who just know me from 'Everybody Loves Raymond,' well, they should avoid Episode 7 because I'm naked," said Romano, who stars as American Century's head of promotions, Zak Yankovich. "Yeah, they should go bowling for Episode 7."

Romano is a comedian, but "Vinyl" is not a comedy. Through the five episodes screened for critics, it is increasingly engaging.

"It's an intense role," Cannavale said. "I was exhausted every single day for six months. … And when it was over, I felt like it was the end of a really long fever dream or something."


Twitter: @ScottDPierce —


The two-hour premiere of "Vinyl" airs Sunday on HBO — 7 p.m. on DirecTV and Dish; 10 p.m. on Comcast. The hourlong Episodes 2-10 air on successive Sundays at the same time.