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The robot apocalypse is coming and the Rolling Stones are partly to blame

Mich Jagger and a robot
(Image credit: Boston Dynamics)

The Rolling Stones have partnered with American robotics company Boston Dynamics to produce a new video for their 1981 smash Start Me Up.

In a new video released by Boston Dynamics, a quartet of Spot robots re-enact the video for Start Me Up, unerringly replicating Mick Jagger's moves and even lip-syncing to the original lyrics, making the line "If you start me up, I'll never stop" sound a great deal more ominous than it did 40 years ago.  

The video is the latest release from a company whose early robot videos (opens in new tab) (featuring the alarming Big Dog robots) have paved a way for something altogether less terrifying. Gone are the hairy spider legs and the Mad Max aesthetic, replaced by bright metallics colours and slickly-choreographed dance videos.   

It's not all cuteness and boogie, however: Last year the NYPD trialled a robot dog from Boston Dynamics, but it was withdrawn from service after being criticised for being a dystopian harbinger of overly aggressive policing. 

"Working with robots is really interesting," Start Me Up choreographer Monica Thomas told Dance Magazine (opens in new tab) earlier this year. "Obviously human bodies have all sorts of constraints and possibilities, but robots - especially as you move past bipeds - really push into new territory." 

It's not Start Me Up's first association with technology. In 1995 Microsoft paid the band US$3 million to use the song in their marketing campaign for the Windows 95 operating system (opens in new tab).

The Rolling Stones are currently on tour in the US, their first shows since the death of drummer Charlie Watts. Their next show as at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas tomorrow night, and the 40th anniversary edition of Tattoo You is out now.   

Rolling Stones US tour dates 

Nov 02: Dallas Cotton Bowl Stadium, TX
Nov 06: Las Vegas Allegiant Stadium, NV
Nov 11: Atlanta Mercedes-Benz Stadium, GA
Nov 15: Detroit Ford Field, MI
Nov 20: Austin Circuit of The Americas, TX
Nov 23: Hollywood Hard Rock Live, FL

Tickets are on sale now (opens in new tab)


Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 36 years in music industry, online for 23. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.