Posts Tagged The Rolling Stones
The eponymous debut album by British prog-rockers Yes is considered to be the first progressive rock album. And Yes the band (for their playlist, click here) is considered to be the most venerable and commercially successful prog-rock band. Their debut album was released on October 15, 1969 in the waning days of psychedelic rock, and just ahead of the big splintering of rock music into a multitude of sounds and genres that made the 70s the best decade for rock music. With their next three albums, Yes became a major and defining force on the progressive side of rock music. But the debut LP didn’t fare well, even though it’s a decent collection of early Yes songs. The biggest reason: Yes was released within a few weeks of several notable late-1969 rock albums by the heavy hitters of the time, including Tommy by The Who, Led Zeppelin II, and the Stones’ Let It Bleed. By 1973, that would all change.
By the way, Yes includes two very ambitious and interesting covers of songs by the Beatles (“Every Little Thing”) and the Byrds (“I See You”). To download Yes from iTunes or for a CD from Amazon, click here.
Soon after the release of the masterpiece Exile On Main Street in 1972, the Rolling Stones got caught in a fog of self-indulgent superstardom and lost their bearings. The four subsequent albums – Goats Head Soup (1973), It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (1974), Black And Blue (1976) and Love You Live (1977) – were all chart toppers, but, with few exceptions, the material was largely mediocre. Ominously, while the band enjoyed its drug, booze and celebrity lifestyle, disco and punk rock were creeping in from the fringes of the mainstream, threatening to render the Stones superfluous to a new generation of rock and pop music fans.
Some Girls (released June 9, 1978) could aptly be named The Stones Strike Back. With Mick Jagger’s leadership and focus (Keith Richards was distracted by legal trouble from a heroin bust in Toronto in early 1977), the band settled into a five-month recording schedule in Paris that produced dozens of new tracks, many of which ended up on the LP. Some Girls takes direct aim at the mirror ball dance crowd with the thumping disco beat of “Miss You.” The steady roller “Shattered” serves up a 70s New York City street groove with a slice of proto-rap. “Lies” is straight-forward rock ‘n’ roll built on punk influences. “Before They Make Me Run” is Richards’ faux-country answer to the Toronto constabulary. The cover of the Temptations “Just My Imagination” provides a grittier, faster and louder version than the soul classic. “Respectable” and “When The Whip Comes Down” are decent second-tier Stones rockers. “Far Away Eyes,” and the title track add off-center flavor, and a personal favorite, “Beast Of Burden” is one of Jaggers’ best mid-tempo ballads, topping out the whole disc.
Some Girls jumpstarted the Stones’ career and led to three great albums and three major tours (two U.S. and one European) in the five years following its release. It registered #1 on Billboard’s Pop Album chart (#2 in the U.K.) in 1978 and is ranked #269 on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 albums of all time. There are two Stones playlists for review and download (comments welcome!) in the Playlist Vault and Some Girls is on Amazon and iTunes.
I previously opined (on April 23) that Sticky Fingers was one of the greatest rock albums of all time. Add Exile On Main Street (released May 12, 1972) to that list. The double album includes tracks the Rolling Stones recorded over four years, some from the Sticky Fingers sessions in England (early 1970 to ‘71), some from a trip to Los Angeles in early 1972, a few leftovers from as far back as 1968, and many from over six months of drug- and liquor-induced work at guitarist Keith Richards’ chateau-turned-party-house in southern France starting in mid-1971.
Exile On Main Street owes a good part of its existence to British taxing authorities. For reasons beyond this scope, the Stones accumulated more taxes than they could pay in the U.K. by early 1971. Choosing to flee across the Channel (and still further south) and start afresh, they reconnoitered at Richards’ vacation palace on the French Riviera. Of course, buried below the booze and stash in their baggage was their unparalleled ability to create the best hard rock, raunchy blues-rock and pure rock ‘n roll music the world has known. After several months on the Riviera scene, the result was one finished track (“Happy”) and a box of raw takes that would become Exile On Main Street when the Stones resumed recording in L.A. in early 1972.
Exile On Main Street is ragged and frayed and gloomy – pure Stones from the 70s. It’s a masterful blend of rock ‘n’ roll, blues, country and soul, fueled by booze and drugs and life in the fast lane. Downloads for mp3 players and CD purchases are on Amazon, and iPod downloads are on iTunes. Two Stones’ playlists are in the Playlist Vault.