The Rolling Stones

The oldest rock and roll band of all time
* special introductory paragraph!
* England's Newest Hit Makers
* 12x5
* Now!
* Out Of Our Heads
* December's Children (And Everybody's)
* Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass)
* Aftermath
* Got Live If You Want It
* Between The Buttons
* Flowers
* Their Satanic Majesties Request
* Beggars Banquet
* Rock And Roll Circus
* Let It Bleed
* Get Your Ya-Ya's Out! The Rolling Stones In Concert
* Metamorphosis
* Sticky Fingers
* Hot Rocks 1964-1971
* More Hot Rocks (Big Hits And Fazed Cookies)
* Exile On Main Street
* Goats Head Soup
* It's Only Rock 'N' Roll
* 1969-1974: The Mick Taylor Years DVD
* Black And Blue
* Love You Live
* Some Girls
* Accidents Will Happen
* Emotional Rescue
* Tattoo You
* Still Life (American Concert 1981)
* Undercover
* Dirty Work
* Steel Wheels
* Flashpoint
* Voodoo Lounge
* Out Of Tears 7"
* Stripped
* Bridges To Babylon
* No Security
* Rarities 1971-2003
* Live Licks
* A Bigger Bang
* Shine A Light
* Rare And Unseen DVD
Nobody has lasted this long (unless you count The Ventures, but that's iffy, what with the whole Nokie/Gerry/Nokie/Gerry, Howie/Mel/Joe/Mel/Leon shenanigan). With their first release popping out of the British underbelly in 1964 (and their next four before the end of '65), it's no wonder that they've been called "dinosaurs" for the past twenty years (even by the Ramones, who are no spring chickens themselves, quite franklin). And yes, the past twenty years have been somewhat spotty, but hoo boy, their first ten or eleven years cannot be topped. They began as a fantastic cover band, excitedly melding blues standards with then-modern Chuck Berry guitar rock to form a new type of scuzzy dirty long-haired British white boy music. Marketed as the anti-Beatles (the Beatles were clean and wore suits, while the Stones were filthy...and wore suits), they pushed on with this style until their manager, sleazy boy wonder Andrew Loog Oldham, forced them to start writing their own songs. And manny mota could they write them. As their career went on, they became a pop band for a bit (copying the Beatles), then a "psychedelic" band for a year (copying the Beatles), then country-blues roots rockers at the end of the '60s (copying the Beatles) before discovering disco and reggae in the mid-70's (without the Beatles around to steer them away from these dangerous influences) and eventually turning into a not-very-good-at-all shadow of their former selves during the '80s. But truthfully, Voodoo Lounge is pretty good. If you like old people.
Reader Comments

Weigelda@aol.com (Dave Weigel)
I realise you're probably being sarcastic, but I have to take offense at your comment that the Stones "ripped off the Beatles" when they turned into a country-blues-rock outfit in 1968. While they did rip off the Beatles from 1966-67, 1968's Beggar's Banquet was a return to (and expansion upon) their roots. At the same time, the Beatles were fragmenting into experimental, blues, and rock influences with the eponymous white album and the later Let it Be sessions, and by 1969 they had regressed into more of a pop group. Rip-off? That's ridiculous. The Stones did it better and first. And how can you rip off the Beatles who acknowledgingly ripped off the Beach Boys? Ah, never mind. I agree with the rest of your Stones reviews.

gt909lb@prism.gatech.edu (Andrew Goldthorp)
Ripping off? That's your favorite term...I think you confuse it with another term called "influence". I enjoy reading your reviews and everything, but you're dead wrong on this one. Sure the Stones were a little Beatlish in the early 60s-every British rock band during that era was influenced by the Beatles, but what song of the Beatles did the Stones rip off? They covered "I Wanna Be Your Man", but do you call covers rip off, even if the song is credited to McCartney and Lennon. If you do-you're an idiot and must hate every musical artist of the past 30 years because every rock and roll band has had influences.

In fact you want a rip off-I'll give you a definition. The Beatles's "Come Together" steals three lines from Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me", which the Stones covered (not ripping off) on Rolling Stones Now.

Oh yeah-the Stones copied the Beatles when they became a country-blues rock band. Absolutely ridiculous..The Beatles didn't have the instrumental skill (Why did Harrison call in Clapton to do a solo for "My Guitar Gently Wheeps") to come up with songs like "Live With Me", "Midnight Rambler", "Bitch" and "Brown Sugar". I'm not trying to argue that the Stones were a better rock and roll band-but they clearly strayed away from stereotypical British rock starting with Beggar's Banquet in 1968.


England's Newest Hit Makers - London 1964.
Rating = 8

Mostly rough, black-and-white covers but, unlike the Fab Gang, the Stones really make these songs their own -- DIRTY-SOUNDING! And as time would reveal, these are the songs that would influence Mick and Keith's own songwriting from the getgo. There's some skiffle ("Not Fade Away," "I Just Wanna Make Love To You"), some honky blues wailin' ("I'm A King Bee," "Walking The Dog"), some rock and rope ("Carol," "Can I Get A Witness"), some naked men ("Steve," "Leo"), some new unforeseen spectral hues ("joper," "donk"), and a couple of crappy originals too ("Tell Me," "Little By Little"). A fun album! You'll dance. You'll let go. You'll feel the monophonic pulse of a repressed hyperactive nation churning off the phono needle with a rip-roaring maelstrom. And you'll laugh heartily at how young Keith Richards looks on the back cover.
Reader Comments

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
Just as Capitol did with the Beatles' Parlophone original albums, so did London Records with the Stones' Decca originals. They pulled out some tracks, put in some single and EP songs, and in some strange way managed to release more records. More money in the pockets of the record company exectutives! Thus, the three first english originals were transformed into five american ones.

This album is basically the same as Britain's The Rolling Stones, except that "Mona" has been taken away and "Not Fade Away" (the Stones' third UK single) has been put in.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Yes, this is one ground-breaking album! Uncompromising, hard, power-driven, tough... an excellent start. And I adore the Beatles' early rockers, but these little gems really knock 'em off. Just for fun: compare the Beatles' version of "Carol" (on Live At The BBC) with this one here and you'll see the difference! The playing of the Stones is at least a million times more tight and compact, and Keith's Berry-licks are perfect. Chuck couldn't have played it better (in fact, I think he played it WORSE!) The ballads are also frightening ("Honest I Do" - when I first heard that harmonica it almost made me jump out of the chair), and maybe the most wonderful thing about the album is Brian Jones' "stinging" guitar on "I'm A King Bee". The only letdown about this album is that it is much too short and has too few originals. Never mind, though - most of the covers are only associated with the Stones by now! I think the Stones' debut album was even stronger than the Beatles' debut: Please Please Me was just a bit too sissyish and uncertain. It was like the guys were looking at each other in disbelief and saying: "Hey... is it really true they're letting us have an LP? Incredible! Okay, but... let's still be careful about it!" And they didn't let go. As for the Stones, they out their thunderstorm in the very, very beginning. (Sure, this has a bad side too - the following albums didn't keep up to the standard until Aftermath!)

randerson@stratos.net (Rick)
Just gotta say, I never heard anyone call any song Buddy Holly wrote "skiffle." "Not Fade Away" is one of Holly's best, and the Stones did it proud. Let's call it "Rock And Roll!"

jsb292@nyu.edu (Joel S. Bocko)
Uh, Tell Me is NOT a crappy original! It is, in fact, one of the most underrated Stones songs ever. Why is it everyone keeps knocking it--haven't they seen "Mean Streets"?

Ben
The first stones album is a healthy place to start for the band. They're main goal here is to try to copy blues and r&b songs, and make them their own. They succeed at this, but they at this point they don't show any signs of what they would turn out to be. The songs written by themselves show some promise though, "Tell Me You're Coming Back" is a nice, poppy, beatles style song, and aside from is the best original song on the album. Though the album is a good one, and doesn't have any bad songs on it, it's still clear that the stones were still a singles band at this point. That being said, the single from this album "Not Fade Away," is the best song off this album.

You think "Tell Me" and "Little by Little" are crappy? Aww. "Little by Little" is ripped off from the Jimmy Reed song "Shame Shame Shame" by the way.

Anyway, I basically agree everywhere else. Love the diversity factor. Barely holds a candle to what the Stones eventually put out though. Favorite song is "Carol." Also, "Now I've Got a Witness" has a pretty cool bassline at the end.

Add your thoughts?

12X5 - London 1964.
Rating = 7

Five originals this time around! Still not too good, though. Poorly written rip-offs of the stellar stuff they were covering. "Good Times, Bad Times" is fairly enjoyable though, although sounding not a whit like the Led Zeppelin ditty that later borrowed its moniker. And the covers are spit-shiningly smiley. Chuck Berry's "Around And Around," Norman Meade's "Time Is On My Side," and whoever's "It's All Over Now" so effectively paint a portrait of wild '60s youth on the raw decline, immediately upon completion of each individual song, you'll request that your maid put the needle back at the beginning of the track so you will be able to listen to it again. As a whole, it's not as strong as the debut, but they got better later. Don't fret, lassie. Oh, and the sound? Two guitars with very early-60's-ish tones, steady heartbeat percussion, adequate bass, and a young Mick Jagger who generally (but not always) hit the right notes - and in a voice much rougher than any of those damned Beatles. And they're so cute! They're little kids, but they want so desperately to sound like old black men! It's just adorable. Except, of course, "Under The Boardwalk," which is just embarrassing.

Reader Comments

alynn@erols.com (Alexander Lynn)
"It's All Over Now" was written by Bobby Womack, who was a protege of Sam Cooke. It was recorded and released by his band, the Valentinos, in '63 or '64.

matt@creative-machines.com.au (Matt Ellers)
Just a bit of trivia for y'all : "Under The Boardwalk" was a rather large hit single in Australia, as was "Walking The Dog", neither of which were singles elsewhere sofar as I know.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
This one has the same cover picture as England's No 2, but not the same songs! "It's All Over Now"/"Good Times Bad Times" was the Stones fourth UK single. "Time is on My Side", "Under the Boardwalk", "Grown up Wrong" and "Suzie Q" are all on the album "No 2". "Congratulations" is exclusive to this set. It can't be found on any British original. The rest of the songs were on an EP called 5 By 5.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Maybe a little weaker than the first one, I agree. But not much. The rockers still rock ("Around And Around"; "Suzie-Q"), the blues are still bluesy to the core ("Confessin' The Blues" - a fantastic vocal performance by Mick, and hey! did I ever mention Mick is the best harmonica player I know? didn't I? well now I do!), and the number of originals has swelled to four, and they are good. The sound is pretty much lighter, though. They wouldn't have put "Under The Boardwalk" on their first LP because it's too sweet. Anyway, it's good pop, not crappy at all.

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that "It's All Over Now" was their first No. 1 in Britain. Deservedly, I say; pity the earlier singles were not that respected. The guitar break is fine and certainly ripped-off by Dave Davies on "You Really Got Me". Well, maybe not. But then again, Dave was such an unimaginative freak back then, he wouldn't have thought of it all by himself. And the Stones also performed this recently, on their Voodoo Lounge tour, and Keith's guitar sounded crappy, and he'd already forgotten everything, and it was sad. Real sad!

jaimoe0@hotmail.com (James Welton)
I don't want to question someone as authoritative as George Starostin, but didn't Brian Jones handle the harmonica at this point in their career? I've heard statements to that effect, and few deny that Brian was the best musician in the group early on, but I'm really just asking for my own edification here. Anyone know?

jaimoe0@hotmail.com (James Welton)
Not quite there yet. A lot of people on this page are going to call me an idiot for writing this, but I really think the Yardbirds and the Bluesbreakers were a lot better at this kind of thing than the Stones were. They didn't become great until Jagger and Richards started writing the vast majority of the songs. That said, "Around and Around" is fun, "Time Is On My Side" is pretty effectively bluesy, and as Mark noted, "Under the Boardwalk" is embarassing. Every time these guys tackled a tune that requires tight vocal harmonies - "Boardwalk," "Just My Imagination" - they embarassed themselves. Ensemble singing is not their forte.

ehlertlassen@sbcglobal.net
"Every time these guys tackled a tune that requires tight vocal harmonies - "Boardwalk," "Just My Imagination" - they embarassed themselves. Ensemble singing is not their forte."

That's one of the very reasons I continue to enjoy listening to these songs after all of these years: The reckless abandon with which they sing their songs...

Jeffery Hoelscher
'Under the Boardwalk' is good because of the way Mick sings 'hotdogs'.

Ben
More r&b covers this time around, and unfortunately the majority of them aren't as good ad the ones on the previous album. In fact, the songs in general aren't as good as the ones on the first album. It's true the gorgeous "Time is on My Side" is on here, as well as "It's All Over Now" (one of the roughest and best performed songs they ever did), but those are really the only two that stand up to anything from the first album. There's nothing outright bad on here (except for "Good Times Bad Times") but I can't help but feel they were repeating themselves.

Yeah, we agree again. Kind of unfortunate how this was a step back. This album just isn't as fun as the last one, but it's still got some high quality stuff. I'll take this fast, hard pounding version of "Susie Q" rather than CCR's overblown version. "It's All Over Now" and the tracks from the "Five by Five" EP are rough as shit too. But the real classic here is "Time on My Side," by far.

On the downside, that cover of "Under the Boardwalk" is just plain awkward, but it doesn't suck and "Good Times Bad Times" is just boring.

Add your thoughts?

Now! - London 1965.
Rating = 8

Surprise, surprise! A couple of swell originals (one is "Heart Of Stone," the other is.... well, I'll let you find out for yourself) and more topnotch well-chosen r'n'b and early rock'n'roll cover tunes (If "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" doesn't have your ankles a-gyratin' in seconds, you've got a neurological disorder), including yet another spiffy Chuck Berry song; you see, Keith was a huge Chuck fan and emulated him at every opportunity, except maybe the "videotaping girls taking a poop" thing. The Stoners do a good "Little Red Rooster," too; original second guitarist Brian Jones could play a mean slide, and Mick could sing a mean song about a penis. Still rockin'. Still fun. Still awfully mono.

Reader Comments

bkohlmeier@nelson.com (Bob Kohlmeier)
The best early Stones album. Chuck's "You Can't Catch Me" is pure delight and "Down The Road Apiece" is a terrific vintage-style rocker. But the highlight is "Down Home Girl"--it works a big deep groove and has hilarious lyrics to boot--the country girl's perfume smells like pork and beans, Mick says, and adds: "I can tell by your giant steps that you been walkin' thru the cotton fields." But she's hot, she's hot!

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
This is basically the same as the UK No 2, except... "Mona" is on The Rolling Stones. "Little Red Rooster" was the Stones fifth UK single. "Oh Baby..." and "Heart of Stone" are both on Out of Our Heads in England. "Surprise, Surprise" is, again, an exclusive song which didn't turn up in the UK until (I think) the compilation No Stone Unturned.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Don't you go forgetting "Off The Hook" - it's the first Glimmer Twins composition with a memorable riff! If you wanna have a nice collection of Stones' riffs, you should start with this one. The album's really good, a lot better than 12X5, and the mean and dark atmosphere turns out to be incredibly hilarious in the end ("you might wake up in the morning, find your poor selves dead" - what a line, eh?) As for that Richards guy - I read that even Chuck himself was astonished by his guitarplaying on "Down The Road Apiece".

And it also seems that on the recent CD edition they included the original long, 5-minute (!) version of "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love". Groovy! Everybody Needs To Love This Album.

mmcneil@balescompany.com (Mike McNeil)
The Stones really hit their groove on NOW. You can just sense their confidence and ability in both their playing and vocal performances developing as compared to their first two releases. The interplay between Jones and Richards on guitar really gels here. Brian's slide on Little Red Rooster is absolutely memorable and Mick's harp playing shines (listen to the end of Down Home Girl). As a side note, I've read several accounts of Chuck Berry being in the studio during the recording of Down The Road Apiece. The blistering Berry-esque lead guitar work on this cut is red hot stuff. I've been listening to this album since 1965 and still can't help but wonder if the lead work on Down The Road Apiece is perhaps Mr. Berry himself rather than KR. I have not heard Keith play lead guitar that good ever since and actually feel that his skills with his instrument has declined significantly through the years.

Ben
More of the same as the first two, except better. Again, only one shitter here ("Down Home Girl") but the other 11 songs are great. Their covers really stand up to the originals, instead of just sounding like a bunch of ripoffs. The originals have also improved. Hard to single out any songs, but I guess my favorite is "Oh Baby."

Awfully mono? Get the remastered CD then! This album wipes the floor with the previous albums with every song except for "Down Home Girl," which is a little repetitive. Very high quality record otherwise. Favorite is "Oh Baby."

Oh, and I saw the Allman Brothers in 2010 at the United Palace Theater and they did a version of "Heart of Stone" that's even better than this one.

Add your thoughts?

Out Of Our Heads - London 1965.
Rating = 9

Called that 'cause they wrote seven of the twelve songs themselves and crap salad, they're all GREAT!!!!! I imagine you've heard the classic rocker "I Can't Get No Satisfaction," and possibly the even-better guitar hooker "The Last Time," as well. And who knows? If you're really adventurous, you may have even heard the dark, evil, Satanic "Play With Fire!!!!" The others are more bonus than a hairy woodpecker, too - fun, upbeat, original rock and roll. And for the first time, the covers, though fine in and of themselves, simply pale in comparison to the groovy compositions of Jagger/Richards. (Apparently, Charlie Watts was nuthin' but a drummer, Bill Wyman was too busy screwing every girl in the audience, and Brian Jones couldn't write his way out of a paper airplane, so the "glimmer twins" took the songwriting responsibilities upon themselves). Wowee. I'm looking at the song list as I write and I'm thinking, "Wow. They didn't make another album this great until Beggars Banquet, and believe you me you, that's saying something, homeslice.

For you are, indeed, a slice of my home.

Reader Comments

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
Great album. "The Last Time" was the first guitar lick I ever learned. Oh, by the way, Bill Wyman, Brian Jones, Mick, and Keith ALL were busy trying to screw every girl in the audience. I dunno what Charlie's problem was.

matt@creative-machines.com.au (Matt Ellers)
This is the perfect Rolling Stones Album. A million miles away from what is now "stereotypical Stones" (open G tuning, stadiums, etc.) this is what all the excitement was about in the first place. The long haired lads so mocked by "adults", so loved by "kids". The Rolling Stones are one of the few surviving links to a now alien civilization!

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
Includes mostly songs from its UK equivalent, except... "The Last Time"/"Play With Fire" was the sixth single. "Satisfaction"/"Spider&Fly" was their seventh single. "I'm Alright" can be found on the UK EP Got Live if You Want It! (not the same as the USA LP). "One More Try" is exclusive for this record.

gt909lb@prism.gatech.edu (Andrew Goldthorp)
This has always been the most underrated Stones album. "Satifaction" and "The Last Time" are the two greatest guitar riffs Keith ever came up with. And even more interesting are the blues-rock of "The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man" and the haunting "The Spider and the Fly".

mjhaag@webtv.net (Michael Haag)
Ocassionally on an oldies station, I'll hear a version of Satisfaction that includes a piano and acoustic guitar. I'll listen carefully other times I hear the song and don't hear a piano at all. Any rock and roll scholars out there know what this is all about?

jaimoe0@hotmail.com (James Welton)
Now they are really starting to cook. This is fantastic early Stones, and "Satisfaction" is an all-time great that is worthy of being placed on all those "best of" lists when it comes to the rock music thing. "Spider and the Fly" is one of my gal pal's all-time favorite Stones songs, therefore I like it too. It saves on the petty bickering... plus, it's really good. This is great stuff.

andy@sfslater.com (Andy Slater)
I'm listening to 'Satisfaction' as I write this, and I think once again how perfect a song this is. It's not the most ambitious song ever made, not by a long shot, so it probably didn't deserve the #1 spot on VH1's list. However, the riff is the greatest in history, the lyrics are actually very interesting: under the sexual innuendo, there's some pointed social criticism of advertising culture. As an anthem, both of teenage horniness and revolutionary attitudes, it's as good as it gets.

FLanzone@aol.com
I don't know if anyone has ever pointed this out, but on the original recording of Satisfaction, at the end if the verse, Keith plays an extra note using the Fuzz Tone. He must have stepped on the pedal and played an extra note before he went into the chorus. Let me know if you hear it.

Anonymous
8/10

Wow, what a great album. It was probably 'sink or swim' for the Stones - they could start writing their own material to match the trend The Beatles and Bob Dylan were setting and continue being superstars, or continue covering Chuck Berry and Jimmy Reed songs and Mick could go back to being a porter at a mental hospital. They split themselves between the two - this album features 7 originals and 5 covers - and the originals by far surpass the covers. "The Last Time" features Keith's first ever immortal guitar riff (of course that's only because "Satisfaction" comes four songs after it on this CD) and probably would have ensured their place in rock history had they never released another song ever. (As a side note, the Andrew Oldham Orchestra's version of the song, which of course was the basis of the whole Verve-Allen Klein lawsuit, is breathtakingly good and makes me wonder whether there are any other pop orchestra recordings floating around. Try and find the song somewhere). I can understand why Q Magazine named "The Last Time" as the best Stones song ever (with "Satisfaction", also on this record, #2). My US version of the CD has a live version of "It's All Right", which features a) cool-as-hell, danceable music which shows Charlie and Bill really can swing; b) literally only one lyric for the whole song; c) annoyingly loud screams from the girls in the crowd; and d) the only correct spelling of "all right" by a rock band that I'm aware of in a song title. ("Alright" is not a word!) "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" is, of course, one of the most perfect songs ever recorded, and I probably don't need to say much about it, other than every time I hear the song I find myself listening to Bill's bassline. "The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man" and "The Spider And The Fly" are great examples of how Keith can cook up great blues music and Mick can stick a great melody and terrific lyrics over the top - along with "Satisfaction" Mick really displays his talent for being intelligent, thoughtful and charismatic at the same time on record as well as live in concert. "Play With Fire" is another classic, and stuck between the two blues songs it creates a great fun song-serious song-fun song flow. The covers are very good, but, as I mentioned, not up to the same standard. The opener "Mercy, Mercy" features the same lead guitar line as on their cover of "Walking The Dog", and while Mick displays possibly his first truly great vocals on "That's How Strong My Love Is", the fact it comes straight after "The Last Time" just highlights how much better the Stones' own material was at that point. Marvin Gaye's "Hitch Hike" features a cool little intro the Velvet Underground "used" a few years later for "There She Goes Again", and "Cry To Me" features the only example I can find on record that Brian Jones was actually any good at guitar at all (yeah, I said it). The only other thing I have to ask is why did "I'm All Right" and "Play With Fire" get the Nanker/Phelge treatment? Those songs are awesome!

Ben
Quite possibly the first stones album that hinted at something special. Every song is great, not a bad moment in sight. The covers are done more professional and the originals are great 60s pop songs with a bit of a proto punk attitude.

This album should have a much better reputation rather than "the album with 'Satisfaction' on it." That might be the best song on here, but fuck it, they're all good. You basically summed up the album perfectly. Phil Spector played bass on "Play with Fire."

Add your thoughts?

December's Children (And Everybody's) - London 1965.
Rating = 8

Half originals, half covers. The covers are, as usual, intelligently chosen and brilliantly performed, but the originals are, a tad perturbably, POP! Only "Get Off Of My Cloud" (a "Satisfaction" rip-off) rocks with any intensity; the others are slow early hippie anthems like "I'm Free" and "As Tears Go By." I understand their desire to develop musically, but is this really what we want to hear from the self-proclaimed "world's greatest rock and roll band?" Hmmm. Catchy, though. And that counts for something. Trying new things. Copying the Beatles. It happens. You can't just imitate Chuck Berry all day. Where's that gonna get you? Not in the record books, I'll tell you that right Now! Could Chuck Berry have written "Angie" or "Ruby Tuesday" or "Waiting On A Friend?" Hell no! Generic rockers and dick jokes - that was the extent of his vision. But those Stoners - they were honkies. And they had a Sinatra legacy to live up to, goddammit.

Reader Comments

alynn@erols.com (Alexander Lynn)
I don't think that dissing Chuck Berry's songs by calling them "generic rockers and dick jokes" is fair. Chuck's songs encompass a WIDE range of things, it's just that the best known of them ("My-ding-a-ling," "Johnny B. Goode") happen to be, respectively, either novelty embarassments, or songs that are so fundamental to our conception of rock & roll that some people dismiss them as "generic." Listen to the lyrics of "Too Much Monkey Business" or "Back in the USA" and try to tell me that these songs are generic. . .

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
Has the same cover shot as the English Out of Our Heads, but mainly other songs. "Get Of Off My Cloud"/"The Singer not the Song" was single no 8. "As Tears Go By" was the b-side of the single "19th Nervous Breakdown". "You Better Move On" is on the 1964 EP The Rolling Stones. "Route 66" is on the LP The Rolling Stones. "I'm Moving On" is on the EP Got Live.... "Look What..." and "Blue Turns..." are both exclusive for this record. I think they were written for other artists. The rest is on Out of Our Heads.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Actually, Daniel Reichberg obviosly never listened to this album. If he did, he would have known that "Route '66" on December's Children is a live version, and therefore taken not from their first LP, but from the EP Got Live! (not to be confused with the later LP Got Live!). As for the album itself - quite cool, but not the best of their early albums. A marking-time album, really. Had they released a couple more of such albums, the world would have forgotten all about them very quickly. Instead, they pulled themselves out of stagnation with Aftermath.

reichberg@hotmail.com (Daniel Reichberg)
George Starostin is absolutely right! I haven't heard December's Children. Simply beacuse here in Sweden you could just buy the British Decca records. It's just now in the CD age we have received the US London records. Thanks anyway for telling me about "Route 66". I had no idea it was a live version!

spinaltomek@hotmail.com
"get off of my cloud" - more like the most obvious "louie louie" rip off ever. still, very catchy and enjoyable. it IS a good riff!

Ben
A compilation of random UK only tracks that actually flows a lot better than the badly compiled "Flowers." London Records did a crappy job at making it look like a regular album however, basically because the two live songs sound completely out of place here (they're fuckin GREAT otherwise). Again, not a bad moment anywhere, and one for everybody.

Quite a weird track listing for this album. I realized this was thrown together by London Records, but it's clear they really didn't give a shit at this point. They did choose some fantastic stuff though. Best song here is "Get off of My Cloud."

Add your thoughts?

Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass) - London 1966.
Rating = 9

Unnecessary in these post-Hot Rocks days, but if you see it for a dollar, get it. Three-fourths are originals, including a superkickass rock single called "19th Nervous Breakdown" that has a neat chugging bass thing at the end. Plus there's a stronger re-recording of "Time Is On My Side" with actual in-tune back-up vocals! Someone must have hidden the reefer! Only "Tell Me" (from the debut) sounds weak here. The rest make you glad that ol' Andrew locked Micky and Heroin Addict in a kitchen and said, "Write a song!" Yes, you'll thank the good Christian lord that this incident occurred. Oh boy, will you. Yes sir. Oh man. And how about those huge photos inside the jacket? Man, there's nothing like a bunch of huge photos inside a jacket.
Reader Comments

aswope@fuse.net (Bogus Andy)
Yeah I got a though the Stones just plain suck.

AdamHammack
Sometimes, one reads something of such staggering insight and genius that one absolutely must make his astonishment known. This is, indeed, one of those instances. As long as we all shall live, I'll never forget the moment (6:49pm on Friday, Dec. 12, 2003) that I read the frighteningly intelligent, paradigm shattering treatise on the inherent lack of worth of the Rolling Stones' 1966 release "Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)". I was sitting in my chair at work, not working of course, but reading Mark's review page as usual. I had a passing thought about what I might eat for dinner later in the evening. Then, suddenly, my world-view changed irrevocably. Yale educated web-reviewer/god-of-opinion "Bogus Andy" dropped the bomb, and nothing would ever be the same.

"Yeah I got a though the Stones just plain suck."

Let us examine these scholarly words for a moment. It should be obvious to anyone with an advanced degree in non-linear, syntax-free sentence construction that Mr. "Bogus" believes the quality of the Rolling Stone's catalogue to be of dubious merit. But what other new ideas can we take away from this uniquely poignant entry into the debate between Stone's aficionados and those nattering nabobs of negativity, the Stone's detractors?

!!!ABSOLUTELY NONE BECAUSE THIS "BOGUS ANDY" FUCKER ISN'T SPEAKING ENGLISH!!!

Why do you not reply to these sort of reader comment with the new "Napalm" attachment feature in Outlook Express 2004, Mark? I guess just so smart-asses like myself will have something to occupy themselves with for a couple of minutes.

Oh yeah. And did you check out that guy that was a complete asshole on the Everclear page? That guy's an ass-hole.

(Or at least I was back then.)

ddickson@rice.edu
Yeah I got a though the Stones just plain not bad.

Unfortunately, that's my op-onion as of 9/8/05. I don't agree with the Bogus up there, but I definitely sympathize. Waaaaaaay too reliant on just pure attitude and "good taste" to get my nod as "the best rock and roll band that ever did anything." As far as I can tell, they never released an out- an-out album masterpiece their entire '65-'72 period (which is all I own, because it's the one everyone says is the Height of Stuff That Rules). Even though many of the bands-that-would-never-have-existed-had-it-not-been-for- them DID. Led Zeppelin? Two masterpieces under they belt, those crazy bombastic blokes. But the Stones? Tried, but couldn't cut it. Good taste, great chops, excellent mojo, coolness, rawness, good taste, and good taste just isn't/aren't everything. But hey! They tried (a few times). And they came close (once). Exile on Main Street? Splendid. I listen to it, on average, once every 92.5267 days.

But THIS album? WHERE'S "Down Home Girl", "What a Shame", and "Surprise Surprise"??? They were the best songs off of Now!, in my opinion!! The only old Stones album I own, incidentally.

Speaking of albums, here's how I rate: Beggar's Banquet's an 8, Let it Bleed's 8.5, Sticky's 8.5, Exile's 9, Between the Button's an 8, Now!'s an 8.5, Majesty's an 8, Some Girl's's a 7.5, and Aftermath's a 7. Well, they ain't inconsistent! And they make some great singles. But I tell you this: The UK Aftermath's their only hope. If THAT ain't a masterpiece, we'll have to call it a knight in shining armor.

(checks All Music Guide)

WHAAAAA?? THOSE DICK COCK SUCKERS!! THEY TOOK IT OUT OF PRINT!!! I'M GONNA START TYPE-YELLING IN READER COMMENT-ESE!!

YEAH I GOT A THOUGH WTF LOL BTWN OMG:)(*&!!!!! UR MOOZIK SUX MANY DIFFERENT VULGAR SLANG WORDS!!!!!!

Hey, this ain't exactly a second language. Are YOU fluent? If so, could you tutor me for free??

Ben
Great collection. The first of many greatest hits albums. Though all their actual albums from this era are good, this is probably the best album for anyone who wants to find out what the early stones are like. There are a couple of songs here that aren't on any of those albums and they are excellent.

Add your thoughts?

Aftermath - London 1966.
Rating = 8

And here comes the musical growth! Just look at that back cover - Marimbas? Bells? Dulcimers? Sitar? Harpsichord? Oh, that Brian Jones and his early LSD experimentation. And why in the name of many many things is Mick Jagger credited for "lighting?" Oh, the songs - Well, they sound fantastic; they're in stereo, you see! Also, the production is much cleaner than on the first five (you can decide your own feelings about that - I think it's kinda neat). There's still some skiffle and blues and Chuck Berry rock'n'roll, but (a) they're all originals, and (b) they sound mature. These aren't kids. They've been around, and now they're making their first mature rock album as adult musicians. So they can trash women on "Stupid Girl" and "Under My Thumb," and get all romantic and medieval in "Lady Jane," and try to be threatening in "Paint It Black," and it WORKS! Lots of good songs and gobs of different musical styles, all of which are handled with professionalism and artistry. And the pop here isn't nearly as fruity as the pop on December's Children, although "I Am Waiting" desperately longs to put on a pair of stockings and hang out in the meat-packing district.

Any problems? Yeah, one. An eleven and a half minute one. "Going Home" is a stupid, boring "blues" jam that belongs on a bootleg - not in my record collection. However, the rest of the songs promise a rosy future filled with joy and wonder and "Emotional Rescue."

Reader Comments

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
I have to agree with you here, Mark. An excellent album accept for that 11 and 1/2 minute problem.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
I agree, although I actually like "Going Home". I think it points the way to the masterpiece "Midnight Rambler" (Let it Bleed). Other great songs are "Doncha Bother Me" and "High And Dry". Not only was it the first time the majority of the songs were originals, but also Mick & Keith wrote ALL of the songs! The Stones' Rubber Soul...?

The American version has a completely other cover picture than the UK version. "Out of Time", "Take it or Leave it" and the opening track "Mother's Little Helper" have all been taken away. "Paint it Black", single no 9 has been put in.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
A lot of crazy people say that the REAL Rolling Stones have only begun since Beggars' Banquet (including some of the Stones themselves: didn't Keith say something like 'we were beginning to find the Rolling Stones' by that time?). Stupid! How could they BEGIN to find the Rolling Stones on BB, when they were already beginning to LOSE them on Sticky Fingers?

The true beginning of the Stones is this fantastic LP. Many people say it's somewhat boring, especially near the end, and most of them despise "I'm Going Home" and say songs like "It's Not Easy" should have been left behind. Well, the only reasonable idea coming from these people is that the songs DO resemble each other: while on BB we witness a terrific variety of styles, the melodies and the arrangements here do not seem to stray too far away from each other. But then again, WHAT melodies! WHAT arrangements! "Paint It Black", "Under My Thumb", "Stupid Girl" - classics! And "Lady Jane" is arguably the best ballad they put forth in the sixties! "Flight 505" is a great song from the beginning (great piano introduction - I guess by Nicky Hopkins? or by Ian?) to the end; "It's Not Easy", "Think", "Doncha Bother Me" and "High And Dry" are lightweight but not less catchy then all those early silly Beatles' songs.

One more thing. I ADORE "Going Home". And not just because it was the FIRST song which exceeded the 3-minute barrier in such a terrific way. I just love Mick's screaming and screeching over that one! You HAVE to admit one gotta have a lot of talent to make so many different howls in more than seven minutes' time! And the guitars are also good. Anyway, it's much more exciting than both "Sing This All Together" and "Revolution 9". At least it's music!

Jcjh20@aol.com
Fantastic collection of songs! Every song has awesome melodies. We also hear some new instruments being used and some experimentation and its great! While nothin' may not rock hard like previous rockers they've done (like "Last Time"), it dont mean crap! Some of these songs rank with the best songs they've ever done ("Paint It Black", "Under My Thumb", "Stupid Girl", and especially the beautiful, spine chilling ballad "Lady Jane"). Every song rules! Even "Goin Home" (even though, its wayyy overlong, but i dont mind it)!! I give it a 9.

mojo5052@yahoo.com (Eddie "Mojo" in Oakland, CA)
Look man,. in 1966 the Rolling Stones were my hero as a black kid growing up in Alabama! These 5 guys from England made me proud because they were doing black blues! I was 15 in summer of '66 and Mick and the boys will always live in my heart!

Ben
Best known for being the first album where Mick and Keith wrote all the material, its probably the biggest style change the stones have ever had. Only a couple of minor hints of blues and R&B, while the rest are 60s pop songs. For the most part, they're great, and only the sappy "Lady Jane" makes a bad impression on me.

This was the first stones album I ever heard. I was 15, and the reasons why I chose to start with it were because I heard it was the most Beatles sounding one, and because it featured a song I heard in Full Metal Alchemist: "Paint it Black." Its often compared negatively to the Beatles song "Norwegian Wood," cuz of that sitar, but it's not only better than that song, but basically every song on "Rubber Soul," and the best stones song at this point. The rest of the album doesn't hold up today as well, just a bunch of basic pop/rock songs. But their all good though, and this album could have been a fuckin masterpiece if more songs sounded like "Paint it Black."

Instead, it's average by stones standards, but it's still great. The playing is better than ever, and all the songs tell their own stories. The only song I don't like here is "Lady Jane," which is also the only ballad here.

Add your thoughts?

Got Live If You Want It - London 1966.
Rating = 8

Well, hell, it's mono and it sounds like just a bunch of indecipherable noise, but what catchy indecipherable noise! "Under My Thumb" sounds a lot tougher without that xylophone thing, and there's some great heretofore unreleased covers ("Fortune Teller" and "I've Been Loving You Too Long"), as well as the bong-spillingly masterful "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?" So crap. Buy it! Their earliest live record (if it is in fact live - some claim Andrew just put crowd noise over outtakes; I wouldn't know one way or the other), and lots of energy. My only bitch is that they destroy "The Last Time," which is one of my all-time favorites - ever since I was a child. A young boy. A man trapped in an infant's body. Screaming for release. My soul an oyster. My mind a pearl. My tummy a vacuum. But oh, how they ruined my song, with that jokey twangy lead guitar making a mockery of my beloved melody. To this day, it makes me wanna punch a guy in the nose. Twice.

Reader Comments

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
Good call. As puzzling and occasionally truncated as Got Live!!! is, it still has that "sound thing" that worked so well for them in their pre-pro days ('63-'67).

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
Got Live If You Want It isn't half as good as Live At Leeds. Yet you give them both eight stars. That's nuts.

alynn@erols.com (Alexander Lynn)
The whole live/not live debate about this record stems from the mixed source of the songs. A few of them are studio outtakes with overdubbed crowd noise, most are actual live recordings. I don't remember which are which, as I sold my copy of this album years ago . . . the audience noise was WAY too high in the mix for my earbuds. . .

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
OK, some HARD FACTS, taken from The Complete Guide to the Music of the Rolling Stones written by James Hector:

All songs on Got Live if You Want It! were recorded live in London, Newcastle and Bristol during September and October 1966, EXCEPT "Fortune Teller" and "I've Been Loving You Too Long", which are studio recordings with crowd noise overdubs.

"Fortune Teller" was intended to be part of the second Stones single (coupled with "Poison Ivy") in 1963. Instead, they released "I Wanna Be Your Man"/"Stoned" and "Fortune" and "Ivy" were put on the shelf. Two versions of "Poison Ivy" can be found on No Stone Unturned and Collectors Only respectively. "Fortune Teller" (minus screams) can be found on an obscure compilation from -64, called Saturday Club. Maybe it's on Collectors Only, too.

"I've Been Loving You Too Long", the Otis Redding number, is a 1965 recording which was, for unknown reasons, never released.

leo1@1starnet.com (Rob and Lisa)
The crowd noise is kinda stupid. Adding crowd noise to studio tracks is what happens when a non-musician gets in the way...this is a must have live album anyway. Its the Stones in 1966! How could it suck? Lots of energy!

ryanmajor@comcast.net
The raw, almost punk rock version of "Under My Thumb" is enough to justify the purchase. The crowd noise is a drag, but the sloppy, fast takes of the songs are neat to hear. And it's a hell of a lot better than Still Life.

Ben
I really don't care if this album is actually live or not, it's still good. The band kind of sounds like a punk band here, and do great renditions of every song on this album. Far from being their worst live album.

Add your thoughts?

Between The Buttons - London 1967.
Rating = 8

The Stones's pop masterpiece. Kicking off with the upbeat piano celebration "Let's Spend The Night Together," this seventh studio album delivers twelve of the most creative and deceivingly complex pop songs ever written. Well, at least by this band. The melodies are rather simple, for the most part, but the arrangements are something else entirely. For the first time, they make an effort to layer instruments on top of each other in a way that allows the listener to focus on something new every time he listens to the record. The lead guitar, although used sparingly, is interesting when it's around, and the rollicking circus mood that keeps reappearing throughout the record (especially in "Cool, Calm, And Collected" and "Something Happened To Me Yesterday") says top o' the mornin' to ya from a more friendly, humor-filled band than that which frightened small children with the dark cynicism and scary cover art of Aftermath.

And they exploit the "stereo" thing wonderfully. Take "Connection," for example, which features the rhythm section in the left speaker and piano and guitar in the right. Apart, they sound moronic, but together, they're boppier than a fistful of angry buzzing hornets! Also, for the first time, they display a keen understanding of musical dynamics - keeping the guitar out of the picture during bass/piano/percussion masterpieces like "She Smiled Sweetly" and "Ruby Tuesday" (which also boasts the most beautiful flute line this side of some foreigner country where they play the flute a lot), and highlighting the wonder and majesty of an amazing new guitar tone during the solo breaks in "Miss Amanda Jones." Probably the best-produced Stones record ever (aside from Sticky Fingers), but not their absolute best because, well, it's piano pop. And that's not exactly their forte. Buy it, though! And listen to it often! And throw away all those crappy Billy Joel records!

Reader Comments

jtklosek@MIT.EDU (Justin Klosek)
The instrument that you call a "flute" on "Ruby Tuesday" is actually a recorder, played by Brian Jones in one of his rare lucid moments. By the way, what are your credentials to judge records?

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
Advice: Listen to this album on VINYL. Don't buy the CD, buy it on VINYL. What sounds brilliantly produced through a needle sounds like something my dog produced through a laser. But on LP, this is a kickass album.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
Between the Buttons is a fantastic record. Few other records capture Carnaby Street semi-psychedelia better. (The Who Sell Out is in the same league). "She Smiled Sweetly" shows what the Stones could do with a very banal song. And the great "Connection" shows what they could do with... practically nothing!

On the American version, "Please Go Home" and "Back Street Girl" have been taken away in favour of "Let's Spend..." and "Ruby Tuesday", a- and b-sides on the 11th UK single.

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
Buttons is the Stones' most weird album, maybe even weirder than Satanic. Satanic is at least talked over and over again, it's always a point for controversy, and occasionally they even play songs out of it live. But Buttons is an unjustly forgotten album - forgotten even by the band. If we remember that the hit single 'Let's Spend The Night Together/Ruby Tuesday' was an American innovation which substituted 'Back Street Girl' and 'Please Go Home', then it's a fact: NOT A SINGLE track off this album was ever played live (except probably 'Yesterday's Papers', which was briefly performed live in 1967). NOT A SINGLE track off this album ever appears in hits compilations. People just close their eyes on this album. And yet - it's beautiful. I could even give it a 9. WHY?

Because it's so English. Because it's the Stones imitating the Kinks. Just look - most of the lyrics deal with debunking the mythology of the English lady: 'Cool, Calm & Collected'; 'Complicated'; 'Miss Amanda Jones'; 'Backstreet Girl', everything! This is combined with direct Dylan influences which are also seen in 90% of the songs. And the melodies? English music hall! Does this tie in with the Stones' later hardrocking-cocksucking image? Nope! That's why the boys are a bit shy of this album themselves. A shame - it's so great. And they don't want to play it live. Imagine that.

WyldLash@aol.com (John)
My favorite of their pre-Altamont output.

And for heaven's sake buy it on vinyl. Because nothing matches the sonic glory of clicks, pops, hisses, skips and scratches.

Vinyl snobs make me ill. Your technology has passed. Cope.

Me? I'm gonna go listen to my extensive collection of Edison Cylinders. Tom's "Mary Had A Little Lamb" completely rips on Cylinder! Much better than that crappy 78.

ratkinson@epicrealm.com (Ryan Atkinson)
George sez that they never played any of this live. Well, first off, they really didn't tour between BTB and Let it Bleed.

But, anyhoo, Keef played 'Connection' with the X-pensive Winos. And it rocked...very underrated song.

Jcjh20@aol.com
Like George said above, this record is usually unjustly forgotten. Why!? This is definatly one of my favorite 'Stones records. Every song here is absolutely awesome (except the out of place "Miss Amanda Jones", which is just merely good), especially the ones that don't even sound like the Stones, like "Something Happened To Me Yesterday", "Cool Calm And Collected", and the beautiful Dylan-ish "Whos Been Sleeping Here". Sure, none of this stuff may be groundbreaking like the stuff they did before or after, but these songs just rule too much. Plus, this kind of music is my absolute favorite anyways. The 2 hits "Lets Spend The Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday" are definatly a few of the most perfect songs ever written. "Yesterday's Papers" is also an extremely underrated song. The only complaint i have is that "Backstreet Girl" should of been on all copys dammit! THAT song is definatly one of my most personal favorites. A brilliant tune, with a great mix of achingly beautiful music and absolutely cruel and sexist lyrics. I wish there were more experimental type songs like the songs on the UK version on the US version instead of songs like "Connection" and "Miss Amanda Jones", but they are still catchy rockin' tunes. Definatly a high 9 from me.

AdamHammack
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jtklosek@MIT.EDU (Justin Klosek)
"...By the way, what are your credentials to judge records?"
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Oh no, Mark! Some cocksucker from MIT is going to report you to the online-reviewer police because you don't have the proper credentials to have an opinion.

How I admire you for subjecting yourself to such idiocy just for the sake of giving a few of us who aren't elitist jerks {I REALLY HAVE CHANGED SINCE THAT EVERCLEAR INCIDENT! I PROMISE!!!} some light entertainment and some insight into some music we might not have heard yet.

P.S. -- This album is proof that Mick Jagger is indeed sissy enough to let David Bowie give it to him in the pooper like Bowie's wife says. Piano-pop on a Stones album, indeed! Feh!

Still really good though. I bet you didn't write it, did you? Justin Klosek? DID YOU???

kd5dfm@bellsouth.net
for Justin , brain was more lucid than you think . ever notice the stones sounded very different after beggars banquet ???? maybe brain wasn't there no more so they couldn't be as musical or such wonderful melodies , well muck and keffs stupid words are still there , childish at best . between the buttons is the stones best album and don't just take it form me ask most people what is there favorite stones album , it always comes out between the buttons unless there some disco emotional rescue freak ;-) btw what are your credentials for judging others credentials ... oh yea your a snob ;-)

Ben
I'd give this album about a 6.5. I have very mixed feelings about it, I like the fact that the stones are experimenting with British music now, but I also don't think it suits them that well. It strikes me as a disappointing follow up to "Aftermath," which pointed to a VERY strong future for them. Here, the songs sound like a couple of teenagers writing parodies of British pop songs. I could have easily come up with something like "Yesterdays Papers" or "My Obsession." I wouldn't exactly skip over this album all together, but it's more intriguing than anything else.

Add your thoughts?

Flowers - London 1967.
Rating = 8

Or is this the Stones's pop masterpiece? Stealing the three best songs from the last two albums was a bit of a cheat, but the other songs on here (barring the cookie-toss-inducing cover of "My Girl") may be the catchiest (and corniest) yet! The accordion-laden "Backstreet Girl" is the standout, mixing class sensibility with good old-fashioned Stones misogyny to fashion the sorrowful beautiful tale of a peasant woman as told by the aristocratic shithead who is sleeping with her. Terrific. You'll want to cry and beat the car out of the narrator with a broom handle at the same time. Elsewhere, "Sittin' On A Fence" is a gorgeous acoustic misogynist masterwork, "Ride On Baby" is an upbeat bubble yum keyboard misogynist should-be classic, "Out Of Time" is sissier than God, and the semi-anti-drug rocker "Mother's Little Helper" has the spookiest slithery bass line that Bill Wyman has ever come within ten feet of. There are some others, too. Buy it and see! A lovely pop record that would probably get a 9 if it had been produced as well as Between The Buttons. You'll like it, I think, unless you're a female with even a shred of self-respect. Or a real man who hates sissy girl music.

Heck, maybe you won't like it.

Hmmm, I think this is a compilation, come to think of it. So forget everything I just said.

Reader Comments

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
I wish Decca would get off their ASS and release the British LP versions here in america, and ditch Flowers. That way my copy would be worth more money.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
Flowers is an American compilation with two exclusive tracks, "Ride on Baby" and "Sittin' on a Fence". The latter was released on the British version of Through the Past Darkly.

I've read that the Stones were themselves disappointed with their American releases, since they didn't show the right chronology. It IS a bit weird that "You better Move On" from the debut EP is found on the FIFTH American LP! And why was "Route 66" used twice??? It's even more strange that the Stones have put out the American albums as CD's if they are so disappointed...

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Just as I prefer the Beatles' British catalogue, for the Stones I prefer the American one. Why? Simple. The British catalogue for the Beatles includes 13 albums with almost no coinciding tracks PLUS several albums of Singles/Rarities (or 2 volumes of Past Masters if taken on CD), so that all of the songs can easily be acquired with the minimal expenses. On the other hand, if you stick to the Stones' British catalogue, you will automatically lose an enormous amount of single and EP tracks that were very rarely included on LP's. You either have to kiss them goodbye or get a dozen or so compilation albums, each one for two or three tracks. Then again, since the CD's came out, there are almost no original British releases on them.

And a good thing it is, too! If we take the Stones first two years, we'll see that they only had 3 albums in Britain (which are The Rolling Stones, The Rolling Stones No. 2 and Out Of Our Heads), while in America they pumped out FIVE (Hitmakers, 12*5, Now!, Out Of Our Heads, December's Children). That means you have an easy access to a lot of songs which were NOT available on original LP's in Britain - among them such gems as "Satisfaction", "The Last Time", "Play With Fire", "Around And Around", "Little Red Rooster", "Time Is On My Side" and lots of others! The American catalogue is thus much more rational. It's a good thing they stuck to this one!

The only complaint is about their late sixties singles, such as "We Love You", "Dandelion", "Honky Tonk Women", "Jumpin' Jack Flash", etc., and more obscure British B-sides ("Who's Driving Your Plane", which I've never heard!) The only album where you can acquire ALL of them in one place is the 3-CD Singles Collection set. But I don't want to! It's very expensive and most of its tracks I don't need - they're British singles, see, so they're all on the American LP Catalogue!

I wish somebody would compile a 1-CD American Rarities set, which would resemble the Beatles' Past Masters!

Oh yeah, I'm already getting muddled myself. But 'tis not my fault. I've spent almost five years trying to find out how in the world could I possess two different albums both called Aftermath and which one was the right one, and when I finally found out, 'twas small consolation.

reichberg@hotmail.com (Daniel Reichberg)
George Starostin, I think you're right about the convenience thing. Of course it's very convenient to buy five CD's and then get all of the Stones' pre-Aftermath catalogue.

But convenience isn't everything. What about artistic integrity? When an album is released it's supposed to include a specific selection of songs. That's what the artist wants. Cutting and pasting, as the Americans did with the Beatles, Stones and Who records, is a violation to artistic integrity. Because of that, I still prefer the UK originals.

I mean, it would be very convenient to have "Jumping Jack Flash" and "Child Of The Moon" on Beggar's Banquet. But then it wouldn't be Beggar's Banquet anymore!

I find it very weird to find songs such as "Satisfaction" and "The Last Time" on an album!

About "Who's Driving Your Plane" - you can find the blues tune on the album"No Stone Unturned. But maybe that one isn't released on CD?

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
Daniel, I guess you're right about the integrity, too. However, I am really in great doubt over whether the word 'integrity' is appliable to most pre-conceptual albums. Of course, mixing up records like Sgt. Pepper or Satanic would be a terrible crime. But mixing up the early Stones output does not seem much of a crime to me. Everybody knows the recording sessions were a horrible muddle: unlike The Beatles, who steadily recorded an album in one place and over a short period of time, The Stones kept recording in Britain, in America, here and there, sometimes in Europe, too. Some of the American releases actually preceded the British ones: Now, for example, jumped the gun with 'Heart Of Stone'; the American 12*5 preceded the roughly corresponding British No. 2 by FOUR months (so that you can't say that such songs as 'Time Is On My Side', 'Under The Boardwalk', etc., belong to No. 2 - chronologically they belong to 12*5).

This is just the reason for which I think the Stones' American releases are at least ethically equal to British ones. Also, until Aftermath there was not a single sign of conceptuality on any Stones album: they just stuck their tracks one onto another until there'd be enough. In fact, the only American release that REALLY bugs me is Between The Buttons. This album has lots of conceptuality, and the hit single 'Let's Spend The Night Together/Ruby Tuesday' just does not fit in. This release should certainly be replaced by the British one. All of the others can definitely stay.

Anyway, maybe it's just a matter of personal taste and custom. And yes I agree that ABKCO is one of the biggest moneygrabbers in the world, and that Allen Klein should rot in hell (along with Shel Talmy who still keeps The Who's My Generation out of my reach).

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
I'll admit one thing before this, my first comment on a Stones album: I really don't like the band's bluesy stuff. It does zip for me. However...

Flowers is the best Stones album ever! Not really a compilation, it packs all of my favourite songs by the group (well, almost) onto one very short CD. It's got "Backstreet Girl" on it, which alone should merit a ten. And "Mother's Little Helper" - which I still think of as a "greatest hit" just because I love it so! The feedback-drenched ones are superb, too - "Haveyouseenyourmotherbabystandingintheshadow" (as George Starostin says) and "Please Go Home" are essential early acid rock. Cool, cool stuff.

And does anyone else notice the irony of a junkie, casual-sex loving group like Jagger and friends performing a song like "Ride On, Baby," a rejection song directed at a drugged-out groupie? Who cares, it's my favourite on here! In fact, I'm going to listen to it right now!

A ten!

jaimoe0@hotmail.com (James Welton)
Okay, these guys really should have had someone on the payroll whose only responsibility was to tell them not to do Motown covers, because "My Girl" mars what is otherwise a damn fine album. This is also one of those ad hoc, American market albums designed to make extra cash, but for an album that pulls tracks from all over the place, this thing sounds amazingly consistent and of a piece. I think it shows the Stones as a 60's pop band while managing to sound nothing at all like the Beatles. I absolutely love "Have You Seen Your Mother..." That alone would earn this album high marks from me. Go out and get it!

noamdd@hotmail.com
I don't know when you did those reviews, but there are (at least now) import versions of the albums with numerous bonus tracks, eliminating a need for Flowers and US versions of the albums.

bdoleac@nhrelocation.com
The only proper way to deal with differing UK/US editions of albums is to compile tracks from both versions onto the reissues. Of course, most record companies will never do this – knowing full well how much money there is to be made from forcing consumers to shill out for both, they do what’s in their best interests (have you seen how Sony has handled the Clash? You want all the 1977 stuff, and you’ve got to get three fucking CDs with overlapping contents; three late non-LP tracks appear only on “The Singles,” which otherwise consists of tracks previously featured on US and UK albums; and none of the reissued albums feature bonus tracks, with the exception of the unnecessarily bloated “deluxe” edition of “London Calling”). And labels wonder why illegal file sharing persists…

Ben
This could have probably passed as a studio album if ABKCO hadn't placed "Ruby Tuesday" and "Let's Spend the Night Together" on here. I can think of about 3 or 4 tracks that could have easily replaced those songs, but they unfortunately had to wait a LONG time before getting released. I find this to be more enjoyable than "Between the Buttons" by a long shot. Not an essential album, but it's still worth hearing and having. It's also kind of funny to hear them do a baroque pop version of "My Girl" which is unavailable anywhere else...

Add your thoughts?

Their Satanic Majesties Request - London 1967.
Rating = 8

"Psychedelic!" Finally, they dumped Andrew and put out a record completely by themselves, not that I have any idea what impact that had on the record, if any. All I know is that these tunes are all extraordinarily catchy, plus they're full of funny "experimental" noises so it never gets boring!

The lovely piano-and-string-and-stupid-lyrics popper "She's A Rainbow" is the only semi-classic, but "Citadel" is rudimentary noisy guitar rock at its weirdest (complete with an eardrum-busting "ting!" noise during every chorus), "2000 Light Years From Home" sounds like it may have been the blueprint for Pink Floyd's entire second record, "2000 Man" is a splendid acoustic science fiction tale until it turns into crappy generic rock about halfway through (influencing Kiss in the process), the two "Sing This All Together" tracks represent druggy community at its most laughable (do we really need to hear one of the band members ask, "uhhh, where's that joint?" at the beginning of the song?), "In Another Land" is Bill Wyman's entertaining songwriting (and singing!) debut (which, while we're on the subject, is tons better than his disco solo albums, shockingly), "The Lantern" and "Gomper" are Moody Blues-ish classically-influenced yawn songs, and "On With The Show" is a bit of carnival magic left over from Between The Buttons.

You shouldn't complain about this record. The eight-minute noise thing is kinda dumb, but the rest of them, I feel, are extremely memorable. In fact, it's my brother's favorite Stones record! Take that to the bank and cash it! I mean, it's goofy, but it was 1967, for chrissake! What did you think they were gonna do? Fusion? Come on now. And try to get an original copy - with the funny 3-D cover.

Reader Comments

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
I'm sick of people constantly crapping all over this record. Except for the second "Sing This All Together" and the last 2 or so minutes of "Gomper," this is a hell of a lot better than anything they put out after Some Girls.

rabin@BINAH.CC.BRANDEIS.EDU
what is a gomper?

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
Samuel Gompers was an American labour leader during the 19th century, but does "Gomper" have to do with that?

You're completely right! Maybe THE most underrated record in the history of mankind. Away with all that "Sgt Pepper rip-off" bullshit. It doesn't sound like Sgt Pepper at all.

All of Satanic is great! "Citadel" has one of the coolest Keith riffs ever, and both "Gomper" and "The Lantern" create a very comfortable meditative atmosphere.

Oh, you're wrong on one point: There is one more classic here: "2000 Light Years from Home". It was even played on the "Steel Wheels" and "Urban Jungle" tours. ("She's a Rainbow" is occasionally played on the current tour).

And at last! from now on all American and European releases are identical!

xfoundationx@mail.geocities.com (Dean Reis)
Ok, i do admit that i wince with pain and a little bit of laughter every time i look at the cover to this album. Mick jagger as the grand wizard, whatever. And whoever doesn't admit that it is a sgt pepper ripoff (maybe not totally in the music but definitely in the layout and atmosphere of the album) is just plain naive. But hey, everybody was doing it at the time. Despite all this, it remains as my favorite stones album of all time. "citadel" is awesome, "in another land" is my favorite stones song and one of my favorite songs in general, and "2000 light years from home" is one kick ass song. if it wasn't for "sing this all together 2", this album should get a ten.

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
Well, I finally bought Satanic Majesties Request and it's definitely different and in a pretty darn good way at that. Some of the songs actually seem well developed specifically "Sing This All Together", "2000 Light Years From Home", "On With The Show", and "She's A Rainbow". It does stray quite a bit from conventional rock n roll but the output is possibly their most creative work if not my favorite.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Right! The album is great, and most serious people cannot deny it. Sure, the Stones did not invent psychodelics, and it wasn't so close to them as it was to the Beatles. "Satanic" is a tribute to fashion: "Everybody's gone done that, so it's our turn now". But this record actually proves the Stones' greatness: that they could pick up a subject so alien to them and make it their own! Really, everything was turning to gold in these guys' hands!

The long "eight-minute noise thing" is much more interesting than "Revolution 9", but still forgettable. But most of the other tracks are fantastic! My personal favorites here are "The Lantern", with some of the most emotional lyrics Mick has ever written or sung, and "2000 Light Years From Home" - majestic and scary! The only problem with the album is that they overdid the trick. Even the Beatles did not make "Pepper" entirely psychodelic: there are songs like "She's Leaving Home" and "When I'm Sixty-Four" to enliven the bizarre acid atmosphere. On "Satanic" there are no such tracks: "pictures of us sitting in our caves" are followed by "flags flying dollar bills", then "in another land where the castles were blue", "oh daddy be proud of your planet", and so on. No escape from the acid! Well, maybe in the end, where we have that cabaret canticle "On With The Show", but everybody should admit it's rather lame. It takes time to get used to the album. But once you do, you'll be on cloud nine.

BrianMac48@aol.com
This album has been ripped to shreds by just about every music critic in the business and quite frankly I can't understand why. I love this album. It was a very successful attempt at trying something different - a period piece which was very representative of the times. If you were around in 1967 I'm sure you'll know exactly what I mean. Some of their most creative and imaginative work was on this album. "Citadel", "2000 Man", "The Lantern", "She's A Rainbow" and "2000 Light Years From Home" stand as some of the finest music The Glimmer Twins have created, despite the fact that these songs break from the usual Stones formula. (Oh yeah, how can I forget Bill Wyman's great contribution, "In Another Land".) Despite all the criticism this album has received, I feel it was definitely one record that The Stones had to make, and was an important step in their musical progression. I do agree that the 8 minute "Sing This All Together" is a bit labored, but one can excuse this minor setback considering all the great music that is on this album. The only regret I have is losing my original LP with the 3D hologram cover.

reichberg@hotmail.com (Daniel Reichberg)
I've said it once and I say it again - Satanic Majesties is NOT a Sgt Pepper rip-off.

Just listen to the music. There aren't ANY similarities between the two albums. Maybe someone would say "Gomper" sounds like "Within You Without You", but the differences are enormous.

If the Stones stole Satanic from Sgt Pepper, then where on Pepper do you find anything similar to "Citadel"? Or "The Lantern"? Or "2000 Light Years From Home"?

Let's leave the "Sgt Pepper rip-off" myth behind us and be rational! Remember that neither the Beatles or the Stones were first with the psychedelic stuff. Both the Byrds, Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead were before them.

Lan.Tu@infoseek.com
Uh...I think "Parachute" is a good album.

binro@webtv.net (Marc Paskvan)
I know I read somewhere that Mick said this album is simply (to paraphrase) "our Sgt. Pepper", which is to say, they were doing their usual "we're the AntiBeatles " thing for the press to play up. It was more like "hey, we can do this experimental stuff too." They dipped their toes in the psychedelic genre and beat out a lot of other bands at it, IMO. I always wished they'd do this genre hopping more often, but they likely believed the critics and album sales and stuck with what they did best. Da blooz.

If you go in to listen to this, and try to forget for a while who made it, you'll be surprised when you think back to who the Stones were back then. My fave cut is "2000 light years from home" and is likely a classic to lovers of space rock.

(It is to me.) Not too many other bands of that day could reference "Aldebaran" in a lyric and actually know what it was. The 3-D album cover with the tipping motion is a trip. I found one with a lousy LP in bad shape for $20, but it's worth having for the cover alone, even if the songs were crap, which they sure aren't.

fiber_optiq@yahoo.com (Alex Temple)
Hey, I *like* the 2nd _Sing This All Together_! It's really spooky.

jaimoe0@hotmail.com (James Welton)
Uh, no. This is, to me, the first time the Stones sounded like they were jumping on a bandwagon, and it didn't work to well. Like most classic "psychadelic" albums, it hasn't aged particularly well, and as an example of "psychadelic" music, this isn't great. It's like paint-by-numbers pyschadelia. Put a plinky noise here, some noisy background vocals there, an eastern influence in that space to the right, talk in veiled and not so veiled terms about drugs... tah dah! A psychadelic record! The weird thing is, I fully consider the Stones, especially classic Stones, to be a druggy band, but I think of coke, heroin and booze, not paisley hallucinogens. So my problem with the album is part image and part uninvolving, uninspired songwriting. I know this album has its share of defenders, but I ain't one of them. Still, as a snapshot of a band at a certain time, and an aural record of the era, you should probably own it. You should probably own every Stones album up to Some Girls, but whatever. Don't get this one first if you haven't started on your Stones collection yet.

jcjh@sparklingriver.com (Joe H.)
As a lover of psychadelic music, and the music of the mid-60's (in fact, 1966 and 1967 are my favorite years in music history), i can't help but love the hell out of this album! I think it is so awesome that the Stones attempted a full out psychadelic album like that, and i'm actually really grateful they did. I know it sounds crazy, but i actually prefer this album to Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed ANY day (despite my old praises on the site of those albums, i really am not a big fan of those records at all anymore aside from a few songs). It was really unfairly criticised for being a shameless Sgt Pepper rip off at the time too, which is ridiculous if you ask me because this album mostly sounds a lot more like Piper At The Gates Of Dawn or any other psychadelic album released the same year. People didn't expect the Stones to play this crazy psychadelic music, i guess, despite the fact they've flirted with it already on the previous 2 albums! Fortunately, a lot of people see it's greatness now a days, just like those later Beach Boys albums.

Lots of great songs on this one, like "Sing This All Together" which is a really silly and catchy and fun sing-a-long song with all kinds of crazy percussion and group singing which is a lot more fun and engaging than the Beatles's own "Bungalow Bill" from the following year. "In Another Land" is a hell of a great song for Bill Wyman's debut at songwriting. I can't help but think of Syd Barrett when i hear his tremelo'ed vocals on this song! "2000 Man" is a really underrated Rolling Stones song as well, as i think it manages to be both beautiful and very very catchy and rocking. That line "ohh daddy proud of your planet, ohh mommy proud of your sun" always gets stuck in my head after i listen to it. "The Lantern", "2000 Light Years From Home", and "Gomper" are fuckin' trippy as hell, and are psychadelia at it's best and "She's A Rainbow" is positively gorgeous and i think it is really awesome the band attempted a song like this. What the hell is with people anyway? Don't they like diversity? I think it's great the Stones attempted a totally different multi-instrumental (thanks to Brian Jones!) experimental sound they weren't much accustomed to before.

I give this album a 9/10 rating. It might not be a masterpiece and among the best albums of all time, but it's definately one of my personal favorite Rolling Stones albums ever, no doubt in my mind. These guys sure as hell know what they were doing too, so it's not like this album is full of a bunch of amaturish crappy psychadelia, which is what people tend to think this is for some reason. I mean, some of these songs creep me the hell out! And i really don't think much of this sounds dated at all either; i was actually quite surprised at how well this was produced, but then again i love psychadelic music so no matter how dated it is i really don't care because i love the sound! I recommend this album to any fan of mid-60's music, even all Stones fans.

jonthes@mindspring.com (John Ellis, NYC)
The funny thing about "Satanic Majesties" is how much of a put-on it is (as well as a careful marketing move). It's very clear from hearing the remastered CD that it has a lot in common with Zappa's "We're Only in It for the Money" in it's intentions, the Stones were too earthy and grounded to take anything - even drug-induced style - too seriously. And money was a factor, also fear of being left behind in the pop market - so it's a bridge between "Sgt. Pepper's" and Zappa's scathing parody. That's the problem with it in the end, it is having it both ways with some success, but still pales next to "Beggar's Banquet" or "Let It Bleed", and miles behind "Exile". Sincere art will in the end nearly always leave parody behind. From this distance of time you suspect Jagger would have liked to have really spit in the face of it all like Zappa did, but for the Stones that would have been very dangerous at the time. Of course, the album that actually was successful both as great psychedelic musical art and as a devastating parody was Captain Beefheart's "Unconditionally Guaranteed" (it's "Beatle Bones and Smokin' Stones" cost Don VV his relationship with John Lennon, who had covered his London apartment chest with "Safe as Milk" stickers); but as the US version's sound was ruined for thirty years it only really existed for English ears at the time.

PS The Stones shouldn't have left Wyman's "Shades of Orange" off - it's way ahead of about a third of the tracks.

slb23@shaw.ca
Well, i bought this once (the recently remastered CD version), listened to it a couple of times, then sold it. That was a few years ago. Recently I bought it again (recently remastered LP supposedly "limited edition" version).

"Why you ask?". That's a good question, my friends, that's a good question.....

It seems to me that my opinion has not changed regarding this album between the first and second times i bought it.

I still think it's sometimes moderately interesting, there are some neat effects here and there, and the occasional good song, ("2000 man", "2000 Light years from Home", "She's a Rainbow", "On with the show" ---- i'm not joking about that last one, call me crazy, but i quite like it.)

What is this album??

--- jumpin' on the bandwagon?

--- an imitation of SGT. PEPPER?

--- the stones actually legitimately experimenting with a different sound?

--- a "we're too stoned out of out minds to think coherently, so let's write a bunch of songs" album?

--- the stones trying to experiment with the new musical style of the day, except that it goes horribly, horribly wrong?

--- or just a big joke, like METAL MACHINE MUSIC?

I like to think the album is a little bit of all of them.

4/10

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
To Mr. John Ellis - I respect your quip about Beefheart, but the album with his psychedelic classic "Beatle Bones 'n' Smokin' Stones" was 1968's "Strictly Personal." John Lennon was indeed pretty pissed off about the use of the phrase "strawberry fields," but I didn't know that he stopped listening to Beefheart because of it. The album "Unconditionally Guaranteed" was one of his two 1974 vomitpiles - 1974 for Beefheart was like the mid-'80's for David Bowie, except that Bowie made millions off his artistic bankruptcy while Beefheart and his musicians got jack shit as usual. But anyway, on to the Stones album I'm about to review badly.

This is fun, but in the end, it's not that great. But, some of these songs rule! "2000 Light Years From Home" is science fiction psychedelia at its creepiest (that beginning still sounds terrifying...Brian Jones had it going on for this album), and '68 Pink Floyd would have killed to have written that song, which is a true Stones classic and the best song on the album by a mile. "In Another Land" is goofy, but fun, "Citadel" is fucking awesome, and "She's a Rainbow" is still the weirdest single the Stones EVER released...hippy-dippy Nicky Hopkins-assisted piano-pop with nauseating avant-garde orchestration (arranged by none other than John Paul Jones, pre-Led Zeppelin) and acoustic rhythm guitar that sounds like it's being played with a switchblade. And that ending, with the freaky violin high notes and the huge, baleful electric guitar power chord rising over everything and getting cut off just as it stops peaking? What the fuck? Bizarre...and real psychedelic, too. "Gomper" is fun enough - I like the varied instrumentation - and "On With The Show" is catchy psychedelic music-hall, and notably has a sidesplitting Mick vocal, a hilarious and sweet-natured Ray Davies parody that manages to sound like a tribute and a raspberry at the same time. Hey, it reminds me of Ray Davies, may remind you of someone else. Some of these songs are just good and others are underrated Stones classix.

Unfortunately, there are some misfires. Both versions of "Sing This All Together" blow ass out loud, "The Lantern" is pure shit, and "2000 Man" starts off great, but blows it in the middle with some bad by-the-numbers rocking. Which reminds me - another thing that's fascinating about the album is how little input Keith had. Though he wrote a lot of the music, he was more just the guitarist this time out. This view is probably wrong and underthought-out, but this feels very much like Mick and Brian's album, no doubt. All the weird instrumentation is Brian Jones. Brian in general was underrated as a musician and composer; there is significant evidence - from Mick and Keith themselves - that Brian was the actual composer of a lot of "Ruby Tuesday" (which ain't all that surprising when you think about it), that he should have gotten a co-credit for "Paint It Black" (again, not all that surprising) and that "Gomper" was also co-written. (From Wikipedia article on Brian Jones.) But he wasn't credited due to contractual reasons. Brian could be pretty scummy - he was the Stones' original business manager before Oldham came on board, and had it written so that he got paid 5 pounds sterling more than the rest of the group - but he was underrated as a musician, probably because of how often he switched around on different instruments. If there was any classic rock star with musical ADD, it would be Brian Jones. Brian played hardly any guitar on the album...which means Keith was more present as a contributor than I thought. Whatever. It's fun but hardly a true-blue set-in-stone classic like the real essential Stones albums. I'll give it an 8 and leave it at that. "2000 Light Years From Home" rocks my socks off.

Some more facts about this album: The Small Faces' Steve Marriott played guitar on "In Another Land" and sang backing vocals along with Ronnie Lane, Jagger and Richards. Hendrix's engineer Eddie Kramer plays claves on "2000 Light Years From Home." John Lennon and Paul McCartney sing backing vocals on the first "Sing This All Together." "Sing This All Together (See What Happens)" includes a severely tape-manipulated rendition of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas."

emanuelfromny@webtv.net
I think its a great lp.It bears no resemblence to sargent peppers,so its not a pepper rip off,and like pepper its full of great songs.Its a cd that sounds like they used every instrument in the world,and it works.

Dennis.York@va.gov
This is the Stones most (unfairly) underrated album of all. I wish Brian Jones had survived and the Stones had continued in this direction for a few more albums. I love it. It is my favorite just because it is so different from anything else they’ve done.
In their own way ,they measured up to SPLHCB and MMT (and Floyd) in every way, if that’s OK w/ Stones fanatics.
I love just about all the Stones records up to Goats Head Soup…after that it becomes a little redundant.(but not “bad”).
This album has been derided by Lennon as a rip-off of Sgt.Pepper’s…I don’t think so. It is just as good and Lennon probably felt threatened by that. The next time I see the Stones on tour (I hope),it would be cool if they resurrected some songs off this album for part of their show. I don’t recall if they did in 2006 or not…
The Stones are probably my second-favorite band from the old days…the Who and G.Dead coming in next and Nirvana rounding out the top 5. Of course, the FABS are numero uno. That goes w/out saying.
This from a boring old fart who’s first 45 was “Strawberry Fields”. Unlike McCartney,I don’t hide my grey hairs.
Piece and Lieb ‘08

mwjbaldwin@windstream.net
I agree with you; it's a good album, as are Between the Buttons and Aftermath, British versions. The Amerikan record companies fucked-up every Beatles and Stones record before Sgt Pepper/ Majasties Request.The "concept album" made the packages seem more inviolable, I guess.

Regarding the question of it being a "rip-off" of Sgt. Pepper, everybody and their brother made a psychedelic record that year; it was the style. And the Stones had laid their debt to the Beatles bare since they covered "I wannw be your man" in '63. The Beatles are pictures on the cover art. Even Beggars Banquet has the green apple on the inner-sleeve. So it's not so much a ripp-off as an homage to their trail-blazing countrymen.

Jeffery Hoelscher
I'm glad there are so many positive comments on this album. I thought I was the only one. It's frequently my favorite, though it trades with Between the Buttons (UK version), Let It Bleed, and Beggars Banquet. And I just noticed that 'beggars' has no apostrophe--meaning that 'Banquet' is a verb (assuming that it can be a verb) or that whoever came up with the title has poor grammar. A Bitches Brew type of thing.

Ben
This is the only stones album I don't like. I understand what they were going for here, but this album really doesn't do anything for me. On one hand, it's got great tracks like "She's a Rainbow," "2,000 Light Years from Home" and "Citadel," but that's really about it. The stones got a bit too indulgent here, and it's probably the only time in their career where not only did they make a bad album, but drugs had a negative effect on their music.

Add your thoughts?

Beggars Banquet - London 1968.
Rating = 9

Finally, they stopped using so much acid and realized that there were enough pop bands in the world already, and what the planet really needed was a talented country-blues-rock band - essentially a calmed-down older and wiser version of what they had been before they tried to prove that they could be as sissyish as The Beatles. And so they changed. And it worked amazingly. Not "amazingly, it worked," which would suggest that they weren't a very good band, but rather "it worked amazingly," proposing that not it only were they successful, as we might have expected anyway, but that they surpassed even our highest expectations. Beggars Banquet takes the melodic know-how of the last three records and applies it to the kind of music that the Stoners had always been best at. Five blistering rockers and five acoustic country-western things, each as good as the last. Let me be more specific, as I just love this record and want very much for you to purchase it, if you haven't done so already.

First off, how much better can an album begin than with "Sympathy For The Devil," probably the most popular Stones song of all time? The groovy bongos, the piano, the "woo-woo"s, the sensationalistic violent lyrics - man, it's bitchin' hella killer, main! That Mick, when he's in the mood, he can make a dang song come alive! Imagine the Bush guy or the Gin Blossoms guy acting this macho in a song without sounding like a total dope! Very few can pull it off. Mick could in his prime. Bon Scott of AC/DC could, cuz he was funny enough to joke and brag at the same time. Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin could in his prime, 'cause he wasn't afraid to strain his voice and scratch up his throat in the name of an interesting vocal (see "The Crunge," "The Wanton Song," or pretty much anything on Presence). David Coverdale of Whitesnake couldn't. No sir. Never. Sounded like a dork. David Lee Roth could; Sammy Hagar can't. Simple lesson. Some guys have personality; some guys just sound dumb and sexist.

Thenaroonie, "No Expectations" shows the other side of this new Rolling Stones coin, slow and dripping with messy stinging slide guitar and desolate love-long-lost lyrics; very depressing (especially if you've ever lost a lover) and fitting in exactly with country-blues tradition. Next is the jokey redneck thumper "Dear Doctor" which is improved ten-fold by Keith's high-tone harmony vocals, followed by the short screaming harmonica rocker "Parachute Woman" and the second (and perhaps better) epic rocker "Jigsaw Puzzle," a dazzling, building tale of rockers and outlaws that inexplicably was never released as a single or picked up by classic rock radio. Maybe 'cause the slide guitar is such a tuneless mess? Brian Jones was apparently completely drug-obsessed and musically incompetent by this point, which might explain why it sounds like he's actually trying to destroy this godlike song with his crappy playing. It doesn't work; it's still an amazing song.

Then you turn the record over and you get "Street Fighting Man!" A loud acoustic/electric rock 'n' roll cry for revolution! Then a kickbutt skiffle cover called "Prodigal Son," the sleazy thowin'-it-to-little-girls smut rocker "Stray Cat Blues," the pretty-but-ruined-by-out-of-tune-vocals country ballad "Factory Girl," and the epic (or at least overblown) love-everybody-even-if-they're-not-a-big-rock-star anthem "Salt Of The Earth." And you got yourself a darn-near-perfect rock album. The mix is rough, but perchance it should be. You don't hear ME complaining.

Reader Comments

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
Why does Keith's riff on "Street Fighting Man" sound so cool, but so hard to produce? Because Keith originally recorded it on a pissant little cassette recorder, the kind you'd have sitting around your house. He brought the tape in, and everyone liked the sound, but they couldn't replicate it. So the whole guitar riff is played through a cassette recorder. And the whole song, except for the bass, is COMPLETELY acoustic.

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
One of the classic recordings of all time.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
Stop this bullshit about David Coverdale! If you say he hasn't got personality, you've probably just listened to his 1987 and Slip of the Tongue albums. Listen to Purple's Stormbringer, his own Northwinds Coverdale/Page or the latest Restless Heart, and you'll realise he's one of the most sincere and personal singers in rock history. Even if he's often sexist and sometimes dumb. The one who calls David a dork is the biggest dork himself.

If you hadn't written such crap about David, I would have given your review on Beggars Banquet a 10/10. You're very right on all points regarding the album. "Sympathy" is a monstrous classic and all of the rest is marvellous! Once, The Stones played "Salt of the Earth" together with Izzy and Axl from Guns 'n' Roses. It was a brilliant version, but then it was sadly laid to rest again. And I can't understand why "Jigsaw Puzzle" isn't on every Stones live set list. Those three mentioned songs may well be the best three Stones songs ever.

In fact, "Salt of the Earth" as a duet between Mick Jagger and David Coverdale would be qiute nice!

gt909lb@prism.gatech.edu (Andrew Goldthorp)
This album took a while to get used to. Extremely dark and depressing, only "Salt of the Earth" is up beat. "Sympathy for the Devil" remains the Stones greatest set of lyrics and the raw anger of "Street Fighting Man" and "Stray Cat Blues" make this one a keeper.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
A wonderful album. Not as perfect as Let It Bleed (mainly because of the inclusion of the rather lame "Salt Of The Earth" at the end). And if I could, I would edit out the last verse in "Jigsaw Puzzle" (about the queen and the landlords and stuff: it sounds like a parody on Dylan and is actually DOUBLE - I just can't wait to hear the refrain!). But the other songs are great! By the way, the album is structured very close to Let It Bleed: both albums begin with a scary satanic/demonic epic thingamajig ("Sympathy For The Devil" - "Gimmie Shelter") and immediately follow it with a beautiful pessimistic ballad ("No Expectations" - "Love In Vain"), then segue into a country tune ("Dear Doctor" - "Country Honk"), continue with a rocker ("Parachute Woman" - "Live With Me") and end with a kind of social comment ("Jigsaw Puzzle" - "Let It Bleed"). Side B begins with a "dark personality" song ("Street Fighting Man" - "Midnight Rambler") and ends with another social comment ("Salt Of The Earth" - "You Can't..."). This can't be a coincidence! Had they worked out a kind of pattern for album-making, or what? Anyway, I don't give a damn. This album is so beautiful, I just cried all over it - even over "Jigsaw Puzzle", which is not really a sad song at all. And I love "Prodigal Son" (groovy! New Testament For Modern Rocker), and "Factory Girl" is funny and not at all bad. A deserved 9!

randerson@stratos.net (Rick)
Laura's right on "SFM". "Jigsaw Puzzle" works better on the boot RSVP, that out of tune slide is buried nicely. But what's with the skiffle thing? "Prodigal Son" is a blues song. It's so far removed from any British music that I would think of all the Stones' songs ever recorded, that would be the least likely to be called a skiffle song. Could you imagine Lonnie Donegan doing "Prodigal Son?" Eeeyyyeww!

eeinhorn@home.com (Eric Einhorn)
This album sucks.

Now that I've gotten that out of my way, I will say that I love "Sympathy", and "No Expectations" and "Street Fighting Man" are decent (although I don't really like the latter, I admit it's pretty good). But the rest of the album is very weak. "Dear Doctor" is just stupid, almost as bad as "Lean on Me". "Parachute Woman" is a waste of a couple of minutes - nothing but a repeated line and a riff or two. "Jigsaw Puzzle" is noteworthy, but it drags on far too long and you get the sense that it deserves more playingwise - it's boring the way they play it. "Prodigal Son" and "Factory Girl" have nothing to recommend themselves, and "Stray Cat Blues" is just stupid. "Salt of the Earth" would be listenable if it were not smeared with female backing vocalists and schmaltzy arrangements. So that wraps it up. In a good mood, I give it a 4.

Where the hell's the bass?

limeginger@yahoo.com
Thanks for your great site!

I love Beggar's Banquet too--recently re-bought it on vinyl. One comment. I humbly disagree that Salt of the Earth is a "love-everybody-even-if-they're-not-a-big-rock-star anthem." It's a great song, but it's tongue-in-cheek (not unlike You Can't Always Get What You Want), and completely awash in cynicism. To me, it's thematically Kinksish, in its sense of irony (ex - Death of a Clown, Autumn Almanac, or Village Green Preservation Society)--the Stones are swiping at the what they consider the pathetic working and middle classes. Mick and the boys didn't give a shit about the "hardworking people," "the stay-at-home voter/His empty eyes gaze at strange beauty shows," "the rag taggy people," or the "lowly of birth"! It's a boozy tune, an end of the night song when you're so bombed and filled with alcohol-induced magnanamity you're toasting everybody and his sister (or his wife and his children).

Jcjh20@aol.com
Ohh yeah, this album is great. The mix sounds like a demo or something, but thats just all a part of the gritty rock 'n roll. "No Expectations" never fails to give me the chills, very beautiful song. Probably my favorite track on the album. "Street Fighting Man", "Stray Cat Blues", "Jig-Saw Puzzle" all rock very much, "Dear Doctor" is a great country-ish number with great harmony vocals, and of course the classic "Sympathy For The Devil", which is complimented very nicely by the dark production. I dont get Eric Einhorn's beef with this album, this is just amazing shit. 10/10.

drazy@gatecity.com
I feel a source of pride when I tell people the first album I ever bought was this one. Actually, it's a lie, my Mom bought it for me after a whined for ten minutes in the local Shenandoah, Iowa Woolworth's store. The same technique also got me the "Jesus Christ Superstar" original Broadway cast album and "Sgt. Pepper's." Two out of three ain't bad. Fuck Meatloaf, let's get to the Stones. Their first essential album and one of the greatest rock albums of all time. After fucking up royally with "Request," the Stones attempt to produce an album that sounds like it was recorded on tin foil in Alabama circa 1932. Here's a low-fi album before there was even a name for it! In the middle of Keith's cassette recordings, Charlie's toy drum kits, and all the non-Dolby hiss are some of the best riffs, lyrics, and attitude ever put to wax. While others during this time were marveling at studio magic and overdubs, the Stones brought it all back home with this one. Don't tell me it's in stereo, don't bitch about the mix (can you blame 'em for burying Bill's fretwork after his pouting about how they didn't promote "In Another Land" as a single? It's because it sucked Bill!), and don't even bring up David Coverversion (this is not the forum for promoting Whitesnake dude, now get back to your Metal Edge and shut the fuck up). I'm getting all worked up here, and there's nothing that anyone can say to change my mind: A perfect 10.

bdoleac@mail.wesleyan.edu (Benjamin Doleac)
Geez, talk about an overrated band. The Stones did make some great singles-yeah, they made some great singles, but albums? Ehhh... "The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band" and their fans may get off on recycling the standard blues progression for a whole side, but I don't buy it. They were a singles band. And, to be perfectly honest, their albums- Exile on Main Street possibly excepted- didn't amount to shit next to those of the Beatles or even the Beach Boys. Swallow that, kiddies.

j.vargas@aznar.es (Jaime Vargas)
Hum. When people complain about the slide guitar on this song, do they refer to the proper slide guitar, or the syth thingie that comes in the instrumental breaks? If the former, the slopiness is not due to Brian's state - it was played by Keith, and he was just learning to play slide - he would later play it much better in all the songs in Let It Bleed, but as he says, "in the band there's always been a better slide player than me".

fedefer@fibertel.com.ar (Federico Fernández)
OK there, this album is FUCKING OVERRATED.

Man! "Sympathy For The Devil" is OK but is not the best Stones song, not the best song on this record, the Richards solo is average, the crescendo is overlong and plainly even from beggining to end. It is original and hellish, yes, but I'd prefer "Gimmie Shelter" and "Midnight Rambler" a hundredtimes!!! Why the hell people rave with this song I DON'T KNOW.

Apart from that, most of the songs here are pretty small and redundant. Not bad, but not great either, just little, minor, cute, well played tunes that can't accomplish a real masterpiece. The only excellent ones are the rockers; "Stray Cat Blues" really kiss ass and "Street Fighting Man" is God! acoustic hard rock!!!

FUCKING OVERRATED. Try Let It Bleed instead.

leahcim666@juno.com (Michael E. Rodriguez)
Yo Mark, It`s a Ten. Beggers Banquet was the first album to splatter the notion of flower power, it captured the violence of a world in chaos and exposed the terrible truth that everybody is capable of evil. Trancending Pop music this album brought home the nightmare of assasinations and bodybags from war. The music is threatening,the lyrics are scraped off the streets ferocious, even the redneck yodels of factory girl and Dear Doctor reflect broken dreams.The Stones do away with the pretty pop melodies , The fashionable psychedelia made popular by Sgt. Pepper and so miserably attempted by the Stones themselves is nowhere to be seen. Ultimately Beggers Banquet is pure Rolling Stones All SEX AND VIOLENCE.

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com (Mike Noto)
My favorite Stones album, "Beggars Banquet" is amazing. Every song here is practically perfect. Even though "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile" get all the critical ink, this is my fave, mainly because it's Keith's album, plain and simple. Even though Mick contributes the best lyrics he'd ever write, this is the Keith Richards Show. Keith plays almost all the guitar on this album (Brian Jones shows up for the lead slide guitar on "No Expectations"). Yeah, that's Keith on the slide guitar for "Jig-Saw Puzzle" - he was just learning how to play slide, and everyone was dealing with the fact that Brian was heading out, so all things considered, he did an OK job there. The pitch is off, the guitar is sharp, but the playing itself is fine. The album's production is rough, but also innovative - how many bands would dare to use multiple cassette recordings of an acoustic guitar for all the guitar parts on one of their best songs? (That's "Street Fighting Man", in case you're wondering.) My only problem is that "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Honky Tonk Women" weren't included on the album - there, you'd have perfection on a scale rarely equaled. "Jig-Saw Puzzle" is also the only song where each Stone is described in verse - I wonder how Bill Wyman felt about the bass player being nervous about the girls outside. One last thing - Nicky Hopkins' piano on the album is fantastic. And Keith plays amazing lead guitar.

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
Oh, yeah, the Stones at their best (I think so, at least, if that means more than an empty box 'o' sweet-tarts)

10/10 on my scale

3.5/5 on the recommended scale

Best Song: Sympathy For The Devil

Other Standouts: Jig-Saw Puzzle, Street Fightin' Man, Stray-Cat Blues

Well, first I'd like to say that the reason why this album got a 3 on the recommended scale is becuase........ well, the songs aren't immediately acessible. 'Street Figtin' Man' is the only song which really sounds like a hit, and really, it wasn't much of a hit. Many of the songs acoustic blues-rockers or country. 'Parachute Woman' 'Dear Doctor' and 'Factory Girl' especially aren't catchy. They take a while to like, well, at least for me. Even the song 'Sympathy For The Devil'.......... it's 'Help!' that's for sure, but what it is is INTERESTING. The idea is a clever idea, and one that is, like I said, supremely interesting. Mick Jagger pulls off being satan in fine style. The wild African beats in the background, the pounding piano, the guitar solo and, of course, satan telling us what he has been a part of throughout the centuries. Unforgettable, my favorite song. Well, I have heard that, in reality, Mick is playing the human race and not the devil, that works too. Well, enough of that, why is Beggar's Banquet the best Stones album? Well, after psychedelia, the Stones decide to paint a nice serenic picture of the delta swamps. They play blues/country/rock in a way which works perfectly, there is rarely, if ever a moment where things are awkward. Sticky Fingers has too many of those moments, that's why I don't regard that as the Stones at their best, Let It Bleed is about as close as you can come to Beggar's Banquet, as long as you buy 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' and the delightful, but questionable 'Monkey Man'. Beggar's Banquet DOES have one such moment, that's with 'Salt Of The Earth' but it doesn't keep it from being unenjoyable. Jig-Saw Puzzle is a song which I have never heard the likes of in any other Stones song, it is a track which seems to have been forgotten, when people mention the best of the Stones, they rarely mention this fascinating narration. Stray-Cat Blues is the Stones at their sleezy best, Mick's voice is excellent and the sleeziness is controlled with taste (ha ha, is that possible?). Dear Doctor is a hilarious country song about an ill-fated marriage. AND, the country sounds natural, that is something special in-and-of itself. Street Fightin' Man is a furious rocker in the style of 'Brown Sugar' and 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' it's filled with political uneasiness. Prodigal Son is a hugely enjoyable blues song (a cover, I think). It's based on the Bible story of the prodigal son. No Expectations has an oceanic feel with a VERY nice acoustic guitar, Jagger's vocals are great. Paracute Woman and Factory Girl are both short, and bluesy affairs, they are a bit of a bore at first listen, but the grow on you, I think they're great now. Finally, Salt Of The Earth is the Stones ending on a positive note, a salute to the working man. It's filled with nice background vocals and a great piano arrangement, but, it just doesn't feel like a Stones song, it feels somewhat forced, I don't know. It's still an entertaining song, by a LONG shot, it does add to the score so, overall, the song is a winner. So, this is the Stones sounding their best at what the Stones wanted to play, they rarely sound forced and the thing isn't commercial sounding. It's the Stones being the Stones, not repeating past triumphs with new songs with forced lyrics and emotions, not a competition with the Beatles and definently not an excersise in showmanship. It reminds me of just a group of guys sitting in a church in Louisiana or on the porch of Robert Johnson's house, singing to the swamp and whoever wants to listen. Absolutely stunning, one of Rock's best records.

Wadedh14@aol.com
So, Eric, "Where the hell's the bass?", huh? More like "Where are your fecking ears?". Listen to "Sympathy", "Expectations", "Jig-Saw", or "Stray Cat" and tell me you don't hear some absolutely KICKASS bass work going on there. That's Bill Wyman for yeh! Incredible bass player.

With that little bitch of mine out of the way, this album is a 9/10. "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Street Fighting Man" are the two most popular on here, but they're really no better than the rest of this material, as it's all great. "No Expectations" is beautiful, "Dear Doctor" is jokey, good-time country and fun at that. "Parachute Woman" has absurdly obscene lyrics (though not as bad as the ones that would later "come" on "Let it Bleed"), and is a neat little blues there. "Jig-Saw Puzzle" is amazing...MAN, what a song. Crazy that energy and gorgeous playing, huh? "Prodigal Son" is pretty neat; I really didn't think that was Mick singing at first, as it actually does sound like a black guy! "Stray Cat Blues" just kicks my ass all over the room; what an energetic, rock-out song! "Factory Girl" is kinda stupid, but still enjoyable. And "Salt of the Earth"...well, it woulda been better without the gospely women singers. But it's still good! It all is! At its worst, it's good. Once again, 9/10 (haha, that rhymes -- I'm a loser). Thank you, and good night.

DenBlake29@aol.com
cmon mark, this lp needs a 10. don't nitpick over this song and that. the overall sound and feel is one of a kind. never find another lp that sounds like this one. let it bleed is dissipated already. this one is still open and raw. i haven't sen it yet but i bet let it bleed gets a 10. this here is the stuff. one of the truly greats of all time. top 20 for sure.

matthew byrd is on the money. one of the greatest. try finding another record made by any rock outfit that sounds like this. with this one the stones put most rock acts to shame

slb23@shaw.ca
I got this album as a remastered (supposedly "limited edition") vinyl version released in 2003 by ABKCO Records. I must say the presentation of the album/disc is superb. Nice thick somewhat glossy sleeve, nice thick, heavy record with a picture label.

I think the cover design (both back and front) is really neat, really sets the time period of the release: 'homages' and jokes to musicians and bands of the time: ie: John and Yoko, "Music From Big Brown" (ha! that cracks me up! take that, The Band!! No, that's not very fair, actually I quite like The Band. Especially their first two albums), Bob Dylan's dream, Love (possible reference to the band of the same name?). etc. etc.

Anyway, onto the record itself.

Apparently I was mislead. I THOUGHT this was a back-to-rock w/ electric guitars release for the Stolling Rones. But no. I was half right. It's a back-to-rock w/ ACOUSTIC guitars release. Interestingly enough, the best songs on this album (imo) kick off both sides A and B. Yup, you guessed it ----- "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Street Fighting Man". Hey.....weren't those the hits off the album? << shuffles imaginary papers around >> Well golly gee, they were!!

Well, i'm pretty sure the majority of the songs on here are acoustic songs. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing the Stones when they go acoustic, I like the acoustic/electric ballads on Sticky Fingers. A lot, in fact. I just think a few just-acoustic numbers in a row like there are on this album is a bit too uninteresting and underwhelming for me.

You, dear reader, may be thinking, "Hey, this guy seems to have no attention span if he can't appreciate a short acoustic song!"

Well, here i am to prove you wrong: i've listened to each of the following in one sitting at least once in my life: Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull, Tales from Topographic Oceans by Yes, The Wall by Pink Floyd, Alchemy by Dire Straits, among others.

I'm not one to boast, so do not take the previous statement that way, i was just trying to prove a point.

In my opinion, i think the Stones should have just not released Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed (please hear me out before you start throwing tomatoes) BUT INSTEAD, have culled the best from those two albums into one album to be released. (and years later, they could put those "unreleased" tracks onto a special "rarities" disc for those who go for those types of compilations.)

What would the tracklist of this *imaginary* album look like, you might ask?

1. Sympathy for the Devil
2. Street Fighting Man
3. Stray Cat Blues
4. No Expectations
5. Salt of the Earth
6. Gimmie Shelter
7. Love In Vain
8. Live With Me
9. Midnight Rambler
10. You Can't Always Get What You Want

Anyway, you can probably tell from this imaginary track list which songs are my favourites from both albums.

Over all i think that both albums (BB and LiB) are both (gasp!) overrated. Though they both have a bunch of classic RS songs, and/or classic songs of the late 60's.

6/10 for BB and 7.5 for LiB.

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
This was, for a long time, my favorite Stones album, but I'm not so sure now...I mean, ALL the albums from 1968 to 1972 are practically straight A+'s across the board. But, without doubt, this is the album that is probably the most important in the Stones' discography. "Beggars Banquet" was the album that revitalized them, their first absolute, no-holds barred, all-out masterpiece, and first used techniques that would prove essential in the masterpieces that came with frightening regularity until 1973. The mix is pretty lo-fi in places, but that never matters; in fact, I'd say that the roughness gives the album an authority that slick studio gloss would have obliterated. Besides, it's not that lo-fi, anyway - it's better produced than any of the Velvet Underground's albums.

But let's discuss this brilliant cornerstone of rock music track-by-track, shall we?

(Note: all my facts have been taken from the BRILLIANT and irreplaceable TrackTalk section of the best Rolling Stones website, Time Is On Our Side: http://www.timeisonourside.com.)

Sympathy For The Devil - The best incorporation of samba in rock, with one of the catchiest and most difficult drum parts ever thought of and recorded (have you seen Charlie playing this? It's crazy!), and man, just everything about it's a classic, from Charlie's groovin' drumming, Rocky Dijon's congas, Bill Wyman's maracas, Keith's bassline, and Nicky Hopkins' piano, to Keith's masterful, minimalist, literally scorching lead guitar (I've never heard anything like that white-hot tone to this day...I know he used a vintage three-humbucker Les Paul Custom for it, though, cause I saw him with it in the live version from the 1968 "Rock and Roll Circus" film, and the tone is the same), those goofy and inspired group backing vocals (Mick, Keith, Bill, Brian Jones, Nicky Hopkins, Marianne Faithfull, Anita Pallenberg, and producer Jimmy Miller), and the capper, Mick's absolutely brilliant lyrics, probably the best he ever penned, and his immortal lead vocal. Absolute genius.

No Expectations - The last Stones song Brian Jones was heavily involved with, and it may be the best performance he ever recorded (aside from "Paint It Black," that is). Mark says in the review that "Brian Jones was apparently completely drug-obsessed and musically incompetent by this point," but that obviously isn't true, as Brian's the lead slide guitarist here, and plays with beautiful, truly understated grace. It sounds like there's a very minimal, one-note organ drone in the background, which I've never heard anyone mention; it is hard to hear, but it's there all right. You can hear it at 2:35 into the song, when Mick starts singing, "our love was like the water..." My guess is that Brian put it on there, if only because he was the really well known multi-instrumentalist in the group. The lineup here is Mick singing, Keith on acoustic rhythm, Brian on lead slide guitar and possibly one-note organ, Bill on bass, Charlie on claves, and Nicky Hopkins on piano. Mick says they recorded this live, sitting in a circle on the studio floor.

Dear Doctor - Keith and Traffic's Dave Mason are the acoustic guitarists on here. The rhythm section is totally old-time country, with Bill on acoustic bass and Charlie sticking to the tambourine on top of the hi-hat and possibly a brushed snare drum. Brian plays some great harmonica here, and Nicky Hopkins plays some fantastically old-timey tack piano (aka honky-tonk piano) here, but he's shoved off a little too far in the left speaker for my liking. The lyrics and Mick/Keith's dual vocals are hilaarrrious, telling the story of a poor unfortunate whose mother is forcing him to marry a girl with a face that could stop a clock, and the unexpected prevention of his horrid fate. Brilliant.

Parachute Woman - Short, sweet, and completely lascivious, this is a prototypical Stones sex rocker. Most of this one was apparently recorded on a small Phillips cassette recorder, which was then transferred to studio tape. This happened with a couple of other tracks on this album. The way the Stones would transfer the cassette recording to studio tape was pretty interesting; Keith would...well, I'll let Keith tell it: "I bought one of the first cassette machines - a must for a budding songwriter - and then day in, day out recorded on it. Then I began to get interested in the actual sound of the machine, how close you could put the microphone to the guitar and what effect you could get out of it... When we were in the studio I would bring in that little Philips cassette recorder, get a wooden extension speaker, plug that into the back of the recorder, shove a microphone in front of the speaker in the middle of the studio and record it. W e would all sit back and watch this little microphone record the cassette machine in the middle of the studio at Olympic, which was the size of Salder's Wells. Then we'd go back, listen to it, play over it, mash it up and there was the track." This technique was used extensively on the studio recordings of this song and "Jumpin' Jack Flash," and almost exclusively for "Street Fighting Man."

Jig-Saw Puzzle - Sounds like it was influenced lyrically by Dylan. At least that's a possible explanation for the wildest and most improbable images in a set of Stones lyrics ever. Really good, with a great rhythm and fantastic piano. Mick's vocal is a little wavery, but works really well anyway. The question here is the slide guitar part. I think Keith was trying to learn how to be a better slide guitarist during the "Beggars Banquet" sessions, and that it's actually Keith playing the slide guitar. The only problem with his playing is that the guitar is out of tune - the thing is so sharp that it sounds like it's in a different key. It's an interesting sound, but ultimately hurts the song a bit. Brian may have contributed some slide guitar, but I don't think he did - he's playing the high-pitched Mellotron, or possibly synthesizer, in the left speaker. I guess it's a Mellotron, because I don't know how far synthesizer technology had come in 1968, and the Stones were definitely using Mellotron around this time (Their Satanic Majesties Request, anyone?).

Street Fighting Man - Unbelievable but true fact: There is only ONE electric instrument on the master take of "Street Fighting Man." That is the bass guitar, which Keith overdubbed. The amazing, wailing, droning notes at the end come from Traffic's Dave Mason, who, in my eyes, has pretty much guaranteed himself rock immortality and total badassedness for playing on this song alone. It's not a guitar, though. The instrument Mason's playing is the Indian equivalent of an oboe, which is called a shehnai: it's a quadruple-reed woodwind (the reed is in the shape of an oboe reed, except there are two reeds for the top part and two reeds for the bottom), with the reed attached to a wooden tube with toneholes carved in and a brass bell (resembles the part of a clarinet where the sound comes out, for all you non-woodwind players). Charlie's massive, powerful drum sound on the track actually came from a 1930's toy drum practice set that Charlie found in an antique shop. Nicky Hopkins added piano, Brian Jones added sitar and tamboura to the massively multitracked, overrecorded, and tape-distorted acoustic guitars Keith had dubbed onto the cassette, and Mick's vocal was overdubbed after the track had been transferred to studio tape to complete the song.

Prodigal Son - Brian's harmonica is shoved waaaaayyy in the back of the recording. This was probably recorded live, as it's just Mick singing, Keith playing acoustic guitar, Charlie keeping time on the hi-hat, and Brian playing harmonica. This is a fantastic cover of a blues song that the Reverend Robert Wilkins recorded around 1930, apparently. Obviously, I've never heard the original, but this is a fantastic performance.

Stray Cat Blues - This is one of the most authentically sleazy songs the e of the best rockers they ever cut. Mick says that it was influenced by the Velvet Underground, of all bands! Listen to this: "I mean, even WE'VE been influenced by the Velvet Underground... I'll tell you exactly what we pinched from (Lou Reed) too. You know Stray Cat Blues? The whole sound and the way it's paced, we pinched from the very first Velvet Underground album. You know, the sound on Heroin. Honest to God, we did!" That's pretty funny, because the song sounds nothing like the Velvets, except for maybe the lyrics, which are as sleazy or sleazier than anything the Velvets drooled out. Brian's on Mellotron again for this one. Nicky's piano is fantastic as always, and the song has a brilliant breakdown with congas and Mick scatting a little. Keith played all the guitars. To me, this one belongs to the rhythm section. Bill and Charlie have that heaving, heavy groove down, and really give the song the horndog feel it needs.

Factory Girl - This one's my least favorite on the album. Mick's vocals are way too affected, way too stereotypically rednecky, and intentionally out-of-tune. Not too good. Musically, though, the song is really nice. Dave Mason's mandolin is really good, and Family/Blind Faith member Rik Grech contributes some sweet violin to the track. I originally thought the percussion was Charlie playing congas, but apparently he's playing tablas with drumsticks, which is not the proper way to play them, but gave a cool sound nevertheless. It's okay, but if I'd had my way "Jumpin' Jack Flash" would have been here instead or ended the album. It was such a mistake NOT to include "Jumpin' Jack Flash" on the album. I mean, it would have fit perfectly as an ending track, and they certainly had the room on the LP - what gives? C'mon, guys - it's "Jumpin' Jack Flash," fer God's sake! Oh well, I burned the album with the song on there, so I'm not gonna complain anymore.

Salt Of The Earth - Mick says that this song is completely cynical, and that he's saying that "the salt of the earth" have never had any power and they never will have any power. Jeez. But I guess there's feeling there - he's also saying let's drink to them and recognize their contributions to society, cause he wouldn't be able to do his stuff without them. Also pretty condescending, but the song's great anyway. Keith sings the first verse and he sounds drunk. The Watts Street Gospel Choir, from Los Angeles, was brought in to add vocals to the track. This one has a great Nicky Hopkins-led outro. It's an okay ender, but I'd have preferred "Jumpin' Jack Flash" as the album closer.

If you don't have this album, you should stop whatever you are doing and buy it NOW. Or download it and burn it to a CD with "Jumpin' Jack Flash" on as the last song. It really improves the listening experience even more.

rockylisa@yahoo.com
Great record. The only song that doesnt do it for me is No Expectations. I can see why people like it, it just sounds too "forced", just my opinion. Too bad Jumpin Jack Flash isnt on it. Should have been included as the last song on the album. A song that some people dont like, BUT I LOVE, is Parachute Woman. I read how Bill Wyman loves the song, too. Im not sure what it is about Parachute Woman, we all know about the mini-cassette recorder thing. There is something about the song from 1:01 to 1:16 that is so cool sounding. Its sounds like the band is locked in like a freakish boiling tea-kettle, thats about to bust open. I love the double snare hits on it(listen closely at :39, :40, :44) and the way Keith groans after Mick opens up with "parachute woman land on me tonight...." The way Wyman pops those bass strings is perfect and at 1:22 where Wyamn finshes with that bass chord. I just think the songs is great. Jigsaw Puzzle has kind of grown on me over the years. I love the droning flute sounds that Jones does on it and the bass line is cool. Stray Cat Blues is one of their best tunes ever, as well.

Ben
This is where I think the stones began a looooong run of albums worth a 9.5 or 10. Every song is terrific, and after the uninteresting psychedelic detours of 1967, the stones had the brilliant idea of going back to their old blues sound and mixed it with the hard rock that was popular at that time. The result is excellent, and the album is a real powerhouse, making most of what the stones did before this album obsolete. "Jigsaw Puzzle" is my personal favorite from this album.

Add your thoughts?

Rock And Roll Circus - ABCKO 1996
Rating = 6

I'm warning you right now that this is going to be a rough one. It's been four weeks since my wife left me, but I'm still in an extremely fragile emotional state. It's very hard to get up in the morning, and no matter how well the day goes (and the days have actually been going pretty well, considering), the loneliness and sorrow inevitably creep up on me at night. It's currently 1:12 AM, and I admit having succumbed to tears about half an hour ago. My expected future is over. My one-time soulmate wants nothing to do with me.

And I swear to Jesus Figureoa that it came out of nowhere. One night we were laughing and seemingly having a good time as usual, and the next day she told me our marriage had been dead for years. As I wrote to a couple of my friends last night, it literally feels as if the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" snuck in overnight and replaced my wife with a soulless pod person. When I speak to her now, I see no sign of the person with whom I've spent nearly half of my life. I'm so confused. I feel like I'm stuck inside a nightmare that won't end.

And beyond the sadness, I'm also furious at her. If she felt our marriage was in trouble two years ago, why the Hell didn't she suggest that we seek counseling? Now not only am I suddenly single at age 36, but there's no way I'll ever be able to trust a female again. This is what I get for 15 years of loyal and loving husbandry? Fuck you, womanhood.

Rock And Roll Circus is the soundtrack to a stupid movie The Rolling Stones made and shelved in 1968, featuring performances by such timeless artists as:

1. Jethro Tull -- or rather Ian Anderson, who sings over the studio recording of "Song For Jeffrey" while the other Tullers (including Tony Iommi!) mime their parts behind him. You can't hear their miming on the CD of course, but it was probably pretty awesome. Iommi went to mime school, for example. I'm serious! I both wrote and read it on Wikipedia.

2. The Who, giving us a version of "A Quick One" that is -- against all rational hope or expectation -- very, very good!

3. Taj Mahal, the famous Indian mausoleum, which was flown in by helicopter to perform a rote blues rocker based on the "Gimme Some Lovin'" bass line.

4. Marianne Faithfull, who churns out some rootsy Band-esque blech between injections.

5. The Dirty Mac (John Lennon, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell and Yoko Ono), who whip out a killer rendition of The Beatles' "Yer Blues" and an insufferable pile of electric blues and shrieking called "Whole Lotta Yoko." Yeah, more like "Whole Lotta ROSIE" if you - no hang on

6. The Rolling Stones, who perform terrible shitty versions of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" (where the hell are the high notes?), "No Expectations" (why the hell is Mick singing in his upper register?), "Sympathy For The Devil" (Where the hell are the "whoo whoo!"s? Also, at times the over-busy guitar and piano change the whole melody of the song!) and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (honestly never one of my favorites anyway, particularly as played here sans choir) -- as well as a version of "Salt Of The Earth" that is just Keith singing over the studio recording, and a single decent performance, that of "Parachute Woman."

Apparently the Rolling Stones hated their performance too, blaming the low quality on lack of practice and a ridiculously late/early filming time (everything ran so late that they apparently didn't hit the stage until like 5:00 AM!). Thus, they canned it, much like my wife canned our marriage and annihilated my belief in true love.

Which reminds me -- would the opposite of 'timeless' be 'timeful'? Because if so, the Stone Temple Pilots are timeful.

Reader Comments

stefan_ambrosie@yahoo.com
Yeah, Mick hasn't been too good with the high notes lately. After my first (and last) Rolling Stones concert, all I remember is Jagger making "ughhhgaaa ug yeeahh" noises and shaking his buns for the camera. Keith was doing great, though...

Anyway, I've been reading up on your recent experiences, and I just don't know what to say. I could say I understand, having been in relationships like that, but it's not the same thing... I hope you and your wife work this out in the end; all of your readers do, in fact. We're all so grateful for the world of music you've opened to us (especially to me: stumbling upon your site was a blessing, and since then, I've become acquainted with wonderful bands like the Cows, the Dead Milkmen, Sebadoh, Superchunk, Polvo, Fugazi... I also enjoyed reading your reviews of bands I already loved, like the Flaming Lips)

We're rootin' for you, Mark! Don't lose hope, you wonderful human being, you!

Add your thoughts?

Let It Bleed - London 1969.
Rating = 9

Proving that Beggars Banquet wasn't a fluke, the Stones actually expand on the formula introduced on that classic record of '68 by playing even looser acoustic jams and tightening up the rockers until they are positively terrifying! Okay, they aren't terrifying at all, but darn it, you read enough critiques of this album that call "Gimme Shelter" and "Midnight Rambler" terrifying and, by golly, after a while, you start to believe it! Still, "Gimme Shelter" is an awfully spooky way to start off an album. Ever heard it? A scary quiet electric guitar line introduces it, then some voices go "ooo ooo ooo" and a threatening sorta lead guitar line comes in, then it all kicks together and Mick sings "ooo, a storm is threatening my very life today / If I don't get some shelter, you know, I'm gonna fade away!!!" Boo! Spookin'!

But that's about the extent of it, really. If you survive that one, the rest of the record is much more welcoming. Their stunning cover of the old blues standard "Love In Vain" shows exactly how far they've come since their early days as a fast-paced "blues" combo, "Country Honk" hicks up their hit single "Honky Tonk Women," "Live With Me" has a groovy-as-horseshoes bass line, and the title track is absolutely gross ("we all need someone we can cream on / and if you want to, well, you can cream on me!"). Plus, "Monkey Man" is a cool piano-guitar rocker, "You Got The Silver" features weak vocals courtesy of Keith, and if you're looking for epics, just stop here for a moment. "Midnight Rambler" is a seven-minute celebration of mass murder set to a sinister rockin' beat (with eerie slide guitar laid on top!) and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is a gospel song! A real honest-to-goodness gospel song! And good? Ho! Ever heard Joan Osborne's "What If God Was One Of Us?" Imagine the exact opposite. IT'S THAT GOOD! An earthy bluesy country real-life no B.S. American album made by a bunch of British drug addicts. Go figure. And check out the album cover. Their best ever. Better than the zipper, even.

Oh yeah. They threw out Brian Jones while they were making this album. A couple of months later, he drowned in a swimming pool.

Reader Comments

Weigelda@aol.com (Dave Weigel)
Let it Bleed is the Stones' most understated album, and a strong contender for their best. But I must warn you, if you are just getting into the band, don't get it until you a get a few other of their famous ones--this is a bleak, depressing record. And I don't mean headbanging Black Sabbath depressing, neither! I mean soft, evil country rock with slow tempos and uneasy hooks. When a record's bounciest song is "Gimme Shelter", watch the fuck out! This is atypical of the Rolling Stones' music, as there's nary a balls-out rocker to be found.

Yeah, it takes some time to get into, but you'll eventually be rewarded. "Gimme Shelter", "Midnight Rambler", "Monkey Man", and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" are all classics, but "Live with Me" and the wrenching "Love in Vain" are often overlooked. I can take or leave the other three tracks, but in this context it all seems great. In my opinion, this is the best record of 1969 and one of the best of the 60s as a whole.

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
This album, along with Who's Next, is the most consistently brilliant rock album to ever come out of the UK. Beginning with the ominous notes of "Gimme Shelter" and concluding with the rhythmic majesty of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" this is as perfect a rock album as one could hope for. It is on this record that the Stones really arrive, and lay claim to the title of Best Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World. Sandwiched between those opening and closing classics are some of the best cuts the Stones ever recorded. "Monkey Man" opens with some delicate piano, curtesy of session great Nicky Hopkins, and then launches full-throttle into some of the most vicious electric guitar of Keith Richards' career. "Midnight Rambler" works a feverish groove that seems to go on forever yet never seems to drag. "Live With Me" rocks like the best Stones stuff while "Love in Vain" explores the Stones' deep roots in mythic american blues. "Country Honk" proves the Stones nearly as adept with country music as they are with the blues and taken side by side with "Honkey Tonk Women" illustrates what it takes to turn country into great rock 'n' roll. The title track is classic decadent Stones, showcasing that new claustrophobic Stones sound. To top it off, Keith Richards gets in the best vocal of his career on "You Got the Silver." Complaints? An ugly cover and way too many guest musicians. Charlie Watts doesn't even drum on "You Can't Always Get What You Want." All in all, though, this record demonstrates what rock 'n' roll is capable of when performed by true masters of the form.

patterson@tatrc.org
Simply a great album. The bookend tracks - "Gimme Shelter" and "You Can't Always Get WHat You Want" - are gems. The material in the middle includes Stone's classics "Let It Bleed" and "Midnight Rambler", as well as the underrated rocker "Monkey Man". I give it 4/5 "stars."

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
I fully agree with Tim. THIS is the Stones by definition, NOT Sticky Fingers! On Sticky Fingers there is already too much funk and sexual show-off (songs like "Bitch", for example). But on Let It Bleed everything is taken just in the normal proportion: some thrilling mystique ("Rambler"), some sad romance ("Love in Vain"), some social comments ("Let It Bleed", "You Can't..."), some psychodelics ("Monkey Man"), some groove ("Live With Me"), some country ("Country Honk"), and, hey, there's even some Keith singing! The playing is great, the melodies are catchy, the riffing is perfect, the arrangements are wonderful! And I even like the album cover. 10/10!

NOSPOL@aol.com
Let It Bleed is in my opinion The Stones best album. The inside of the CD jacket says "Play It Loud" and you should.

patterson@tatrc.org (Jan Michael Patterson)
Just a great album! The quality of music on this disc, as with many other Stones discs, is what others strive to achieve! I mean, this album is framed by the haunting Gimmer Shelter (with its unforgettable opening guitar line) and spectacular You Can't Always Get What You Want! The stuff in between is solid, if not spectacular. There simply is not a weak moment on this disc! In short, this is the album (along with Exile on Main St, Through the Past Darkly, etc.) I reach for after listening to much of the unoriginal, pop ear candy that gets heavy play on radio and MTV...

Homelessperson22@cs.com (Zach English)
No, Mark, you were right the first time; "Gimme Shelter" IS positively frightening, or at least as urgent a rock song as these ears have ever met. Rock fans in general don't (or maybe can't) grasp how intelligent Mick Jagger is here. All the peak Stones albums have as many (maybe even more) eerie underpinnings and themes as the Velvets did, but I think everyone in this forum can count at least a few people they've met who have brushed aside Jagger as being a "fake bluesman"; the key to their idiosyncracies is the fact that the Stones didn't TRY to sound black. They're too tied down to the basic traditions of sex, drugs, and FUN to wallow in bluesy piddle in the way B.B. King does. As for Let It Bleed, "Midnight Rambler" is, for my money, the most brutally exciting song they've ever written, and everything else is sublime. Country, rock, R & B, blah blah blah; you can't label this stuff with any other word than "stunning". 10/10

Amgreenberg@aol.com
"Gimme Shelter" is one of the top 5 songs ever written. It is no conincidence that song has been featured in more war and mob movies than any other song I can thing of. And it's fitting, because it has such a disquieting and anticapatory feeling to it, like something big is about to happen...and it's not going to be something pleasant. Powerful, powerful, powerful. Oh yeah, and the rest of the album is cool as shit too! I can't decide between this and "Sticky Fingers" so I guess they both get 10s.

Jcjh20@aol.com
Great album. I dont agree that its the best Stones album, as i seem to like Beggar's Banquet and Sticky Fingers better, but still one of the best. My favorites are "Gimmie Shelter", "Midnight Rambler", "Let It Bleed", and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (Gospel singers in the beginning doesnt do much for me though). The rest are all great songs as well, i really like the Keith lead vocals on "You Got The Silver" too. Only song that doesnt do much for me is "Country Honk", its basically the same reason why i dont like "Dont Pass Me By" on the White Album. 9/10 overall.

ivanakruzelova@hotmail.com
There are simply too many third-rate tracks on this record. 'Let It Bleed', 'Country Honk', and 'Live With Me' are absolutely dreadful songs, and 'You Can't Always..' is a lyrically dire, overlong jam that, again, spoils what could be a great album. And has anyone mentioned how generally RUBBISH Mick Jagger is as a person, a frontman, a singer? Christ the man makes me heave. He's a fake, a piss-poor singer, an out-and-out wanker with no style or guts. A posing, spoilt cunt. He looks like shite as well, always has done. Now imagine Iggy Pop fronting prime-period Stones, 1968 - 1972! THAT'S how it shoulda been!

bucsfan08@msn.com (Jonathan Reimer)
Let it Bleed was the first Stones album that i ever purchased, and what a way to be introduced to the greatest rock band ever!!! Probably the tightest and most polished album they ever came out with, it has to be one of the ten best of all time. I may catch some heat for this, but Gimme Shelter, despite it's chilling vocals, is the track I skip over the most on this album. It gets old for me...seriously!

Mick's vocal on Love in Vain delivers the somber lyrics perfectly. Country Honk and Live With Me are great fun, the latter with that great bassline and those goofy lyrics - "My best friend he shoots water rats and feeds them to his geese" Let it Bleed, although a tad bit boring, has amazing piano work and I, unlike a lot of people, love Mick's vocals on this one. Midnight Rambler is not my favorite track on the album (we'll get to that later), but it is the best. A truly haunting song - I love playing it late at night- it scares the crap out of me.

I really, really dig You Got the Silver. Keith should have taken lead vocal more - NO JOKE. That chorus is catchy as hell.

Monkey Man is my favorite song on this classic album, and it might be my favorite Stones song ever. That piano at the start of the song - WOW. And I love Mick's monkey impression near the end, priceless stuff. It is irrestible fun and top notch entertainment. And, as we all know, the album caps it all off with the gospelish epic You Can't always Get What You Want. Theres not much to say about it. Its catchy, philosophic, its Mick Jagger, and it has a choir intro!!! Brilliant.

fedefer@fibertel.com.ar (Federico Fernández)
This, this, and THIS is the best Rolling Stones album ever!!!

Forget Beggar's Banquet and Exile, THIS is a Masterpiece.

OK, not ALL songs are great. "Live With Me" is rather generic and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is just a boring overblown "Hey Jude" wannabe.

But then... Oh Beloved God!!!

GIMMIE SHELTER is the BEST song ever made by the Stones, certainly SUPERIOR to "Sympathy For The Devil" Everything is great here, you know, everything, the vocals, the guitarrs, the melody. This song is pure DREAD. Midnight Rambler is a blues straighly from hell... The riff here is KILLER.

The rest of the songs are good either. 9,5/10

fedefer@fibertel.com.ar (Federico Fernández)
Ok, what the hell I was thinking??? I kept listening to this marvellous jewel and in fact I discovered I enjoy "You can't always get what you want" and "Live with me" as much as the others.

This album is, simply, one of the top ten rock classics.

Wadedh14@aol.com
10. 10, 10, and 10. One of the biggest 10's ever given. Here's the blow-by-blow.

"Gimmie Shelter": YES! Very good, excellent kick-off, I love it.

"Love in Vain": YES! Sad acoustic blues ballad, lost love, GREAT song.

"Country Honk": The only non-perfect song on here, but I can't complain - the other eight songs won't let me.

"Live with Me": YES! Very cool song, Keith plays bass, great sax solo, awesome lyrics.

"Let it Bleed": YES! Great slide work by Keith, disgusting lyrics are overpowered by the sheer greatness of the song.

"Midnight Rambler": YES!!!!!!!!!!!! My favorite Stones song EVER. Has been since I was a little tyke. The playing on this song outdoes any Stones song before or since. And dig that harp, man!

"You Got the Silver": YES! I like Keith's voice more than most people I know, and this is my favorite song that he sings. Great way to rock out at the end there.

"Monkey Man": YES! Humorous lyrics set to a truly awesome melody and backbeat. VERY underrated.

"You Can't Always Get What You Want": YES! Probably the most popular song on here. Boy, believe me, you can't play this song without that London Bach Choir backing you up. Sure, they can still play it good, but the original gives me goosebumps everytime that chior builds up to the finale. They haven't come close without that choir. But enough of how they play it live.

This is my favorite Stones album, and has been all my life. I've heard Exile, and it's not all it's cracked up to be. Sure it's got it's lion's share of good songs, but this is THE ESSENTIAL ONE TO GET. Let it Bleed. My god. Why am I still typing when I could be listening to it?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

linda.hubble@tcdsb.org
Say what you want, but i find it totally disrerspectful that you would conclude this review with just a pittance reminder of Brian Jones. This was HIS band, this was HIS music, and maybe he was a pain in the ass, but if it wasn't for him, Mick and Keith would be in a second-rate hinky-tonk every weekend somewhere in some cowtown in England. And one more thing.... how could you write all this stuff and not mention Anita Pallenberg or Sister Morphine? Punny, aren't u!

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
Oh man! Let It Bleed is so good! With nasty, irreverant songs like 'Live With Me' and the muderous rampage of 'Midnight Rambler' the Stones show why they actually do deserve the bloated status they now have. The only stinker, to me, is 'You Can't Always Get What You Want'. In the days of Let It Bleed, Exile On Main Street, Beggar's Banquet and even the overlooked Between The Buttons, the Stones were more than a band that kids just scoff at now. Well, I also like Some Girls, Sticky Fingers and Aftermath quite a bit. A few other albums of theirs, are good too. I mean, is there any other group that has so many albums that are more-than-decent-bordering-great-and-some-great albums? Yes, probably, but we won't mention them now for the sake of this review's credibility........ which it was probably lacking all along.

jersyboy5@hotmail.com
TEN OUT OF TEN

after2hours@mac.com (James Ewan, jazz and blues musician)
Let it Bleed has more emotional dimension and spooky roots ambience than any other Stones record before or since. Their 4 studio and 1 live album output between 68 and 72 will never be equalled by another rock and roll band,, The problem as always is their subsequent crap .(possible weak exception ''some girls'') Still even their crappiest crap has a better substance than most..

By the way , Nicky Hopkins piano playing is the rhythmic and harmonic bedrock the guitars built upon. Keith and Mick T.s guitar work sound even heavier and more correct because so much chordal keyboard funk is already present.

DenBlake29@aol.com
y'all know i think beggars is the deal. but while beggars has sympathy for the devil this here one has gimme shelter. shelter may be better than anything on the beggars disc, street fighting man may equal it, yes shelter is truly horrifying. but much of this lp is a little stodgy and there are some moments i think the stones wish they had back. some reviewers said this or that cut on beggars is stupid-stray cat strut rocks, you- but monkey man is really dumb and country honk goes nowhere. just a bad idea. many other tunes simply lack fire. maybe the whole thing is supposed to be scary and muddy but i go for lps like beggars where you can tell the stones were excited about making greatness. here they tend to take it for granted.

max.a.buerli@marken-meyer.ch
"Gimme shelter" ?? ...not much to tell about... it's simply the most perfect song ever been written ! Every note, every tone is on its right place... never heard anything like that again.

I've been stunned for million times since '69 and I am still every day..

If 10 is the best mark, I'll give 25...

Thanx for this nice site !

matthewbyrd@hotmail.com
In my opinion, i think the Stones should have just not released Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed (please hear me out before you start throwing tomatoes) BUT INSTEAD, have culled the best from those two albums into one album to be released. (and years later, they could put those "unreleased" tracks onto a special "rarities" disc for those who go for those types of compilations.)

............. later in the review by the guy above me

Over all i think that both albums (BB and LiB) are both (gasp!) overrated. Though they both have a bunch of classic RS songs, and/or classic songs of the late 60's.

6/10 for BB and 7.5 for LiB.

.............. (throws a tomato)

(ABOUT A YEAR LATER)

I can't believe I wrote that...... BB and LiB are great, not overrated, maybe underrated.... I was being a stupid ass.

tphelps6@gmail.com (Tucker Phelps)
Let it Bleed is a phenomenal album. The use of the slide guitar gives an eerie blues feeling throughout the record. This coupled with cool lyrics and Mick's whining delivery gives the record a sound that is different from both American delta blues and late sixties British rock. These two sounds emulsify beautifully in this classic follow up to 1968's Beggars Banquet.

dullygray@letterboxes.org
While listening to the Stones’ Let It Bleed, I’d always had this uneasy feeling that something is wrong with the record. It’s a great album, no doubt, and a classic; but with a nuisance. And a couple of years ago I figured it out: it’s not Richards’ brittle solo spot, not that seemingly throwawayish “Country Honk” thing – it’s actually “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. It’s not that I want to be so cool and original (few people read the Rolling Stones’ reviews anyway, right?). I consider “Gimmie Shelter” ominous and masterful, “Love In Vain” one of their loveliest; “Monkey Man” has some mind-blowing soloing from Keith, and “Midnight Rambler” could well be their greatest song. But “You Can’t Always…”. It’s powerful and anthemic alright, but I can only vaguely realize that. My tongue is too thick to say “overlong” (handily and cleverly that’s the point), but not too thick to say “overblown” and “repetitive” and “unimaginative”.
Regardless, of course, Let It Be is an utter classic and a perfect nine. But I could never bring myself to a ten, even if it was their sole record.
And some frustrated words about classics. I guess we all have to read something about “lost classics” and “forgotten masterpieces” and “overlooked gems” and “obscure milestones” and all that from time to time. And, quite frankly, it gets somewhat irritating. Inevitably intrigued, you go and hunt down that record by, I don’t know, Wallpaper Telephones, and might even think it terrific. But then you have to face it: “Well, so it’s good, but is it as good as Let It Bleed?” The answer is, invariably, NO. I’ve just heard an album by Microdisney (my God!) and I’m bitter. Often compared (and by people I trust too) with the Go-Betweens (one of my all-time favourites), it is just a bad bad record. Imagine the sound of a plain face; that’s the way Microdisney sounds. I guess I just shouldn’t be so naïve and fall for all that crap, but it’s always tempting to discover the greatness of another obscure oddity. So next time somebody tells you about another Humps, Gumps, Dumps and Mumps (incidentally a good band), think twice. Obviously, it’s always intriguing to read about a band called The Cockroach Incident from southern Winnipeg who outbeatle the Beatles and outstone the Stones, but don’t expect much. Yet I believe I always WILL expect much, and that’s okay.

Ben Burch
This is an all around better album than Beggars Banquet, even though I wouldn't exactly call this album "spooky," I'd call it "interesting" and "awesome." Even though I like every song ("Monkey Man" being my personal favorite), I'm sick and tired of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" - too long and overplayed. The choir in the beginning is just annoying. "Gimme Shelter" somehow managed to keep its coolness despite being overplayed as well. The title track is pretty hilarious, and "Live with Me" and "Midnight Rambler" sound good here, but I like the versions on the next album better.

Add your thoughts?

Get Your Ya-Ya's Out! / The Rolling Stones In Concert - London 1970.
Rating = 6

Popular as heck, but I'm not too fond of it. The guitars aren't tuned worth a crap, and the songs don't do a whole lot. It basically sounds like a faceless Rolling Stones cover band sleepwalking their way through some previously great songs. The threatening rockers "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Stray Cat Blues," and "Midnight Rambler" are reduced to mere guitar jams. Whoopee. Two Chuck Berry songs played in exactly the same manner. Whoopee. Critics love this, but I call bullcrap. I love the movie Gimme Shelter, but these particular songs, I feel, should not be treated as good-time rock 'n' roll, which is how they are presented. There's nothing mysterious or majestic about wanky guitar jams. Heck, even "Love In Vain" is dull here. Only "Sympathy For The Devil" sounds cool (acoustic guitar instead of piano), but I'd still rather hear the original. I get the Who's Live At Leeds. I don't get this. Great songs reduced to fodder. Whatever. I'll leave my Ya-Ya's right where they are, thank you very much.

Reader Comments

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
The most overrated live rock album of all time. They could've done so MUCH with this! Maybe released parts of the Hyde Park concert where they "exorcised" Brian Jones and introduced Mick Taylor as part of the band. They could've also taken the BEST cuts from that '69 tour, not just the best from those two performances in NYC.

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
I disagree here. The raw feeling exhibited on this recording really grabs me. "Midnight Rambler" really comes alive as does "Street Fighting Man". Some piano and background vocals would have helped but the album is a winner in my book.

fredrik.lunden@vrg.se
I tell you - I get Live at Leeds and Get your ya ya's out!! Both are widely considered to be "one of the best live rock records ever", and how can anyone disagree.

This album's at least 8/10., Why? For one, almost every track is as good as ir their studio pals. Do you mean that "Street Fighting Man" isn't terrifying? Come on, the Ya's version is the best I've heard, the guitars surpasses just heavy riffing, they float into a pretty, screaming melody. And "Midnight Rambler" was excellent on Let it Bleed, but here it's magic, and heavy! Why did they lower the volume of the great riffing guitar of "Live with Me", was it just to hear Mick's vocals? The "Honky Tonk Woman" performed here is as good as in the studio. The sound quality, or mixing of sound is perhaps not the very best, but none of the ABKCO releases remastered to CD are pretty dull sounding, due to bad noise reduction, rather it has been increased so the records "noise my head off" almost as bad as my Electric Warrior, also a bad remastering.

Just asking, since you like the version of "Sympathy for the Devil" found here - have you heard the "ultimate" version (I think) found on The Rolling Stones Rock 'n Roll Circus and supposing you have, why in the earth haven't you reviewed it here?

cengel26@earthlink.net
Are you stoned!!! ha ha
Incredible slide solo on "Love in vain"
Trademark live version of "Midnight rambler"
proper raw tempo for "live with me"

gt909lb@prism.gatech.edu (Andrew Goldthorp)
Overrated? Absurd...this at least sounds like a concert record. While sure the Stones have had better concerts, this isn't a bad representation. Certainly "Midnight Rambler" is improved over the original with Mick's improvising vocals and the guitar interplay between Taylor and Richards on "Love in Vain" is stellar. An the rework of "Sympathy for Devil" shows they never played the same song twice.

As for Live at Leeds-that's another good live record, but inferior to this one. At least on Ya Yas you can hear the excitement of the crowd, the crowd in Live at the Leeds is reduced to nothing more than golf claps. The whole point of a live record is to make the listener feel sorry for not being there. Get Yer Yas Yas Out shares the excitement with the listener, Live at the Leeds fails in comparison.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Hey guys, stop arguing! I tell you - you'll NEVER come to an agreement about what's better - YA-YA's or LEEDS. Most of your arguments, on both sides, are just crappy (I particularly love the one about "golf claps" on Leeds. Hey, ever wondered about where the recording took place? A New York stadium on YA-YA's and a tiny concert hall at Leeds University! What did you want - a handclap overdub on Leeds?), so let's shake hands and make both albums share the first place among live albums. Ya-Ya's is just wonderful, most certainly the Stones' best effort at a live recording. Taylor's guitar solo on "Devil" is among my favourite guitar solos of all time (although I strongly suspect it is overdubbed); "Rambler" makes the studio version pale in comparison; the great riff of "Honky Tonk Women" truly rocks; and I especially like the introduction to "Little Queenie" (hear the fade-in! hear the fade-in!) It's especially astonishing to hear the band playing SO tight, when less than half a year ago they were giving out a badly rehearsed cacophonic sound (due to the newcomer status of Taylor: see (or better still, don't see) The Stones in the Park video, and you'll understand).

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
Who on earth buys a live album for the applause???

aswope@fuse.net (Bogus Andy)
"Who on earth buys a live album for the applause???"

Well its the fact that the Stones suck and the Who rules and it gets to Stones fans so they say things like "Well Ya-Ya's is better because you can hear then crowd while in Leeds you hear the music, whats that all about?" If thats the case I say buy The Monkees Live 1967 because you can't hear anything but the crowd so you know it must be the greatest live album ever.

randerson@stratos.net (Rick)
You guys are nuts.

hutchilj@aramco.com.sa
This isn't a great album, I agree, but I think it's better than you give it credit for, Mark. "Midnight Rambler" is too long, sure, and the Chuck Berry songs are rather perfunctory, but the versions of "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Live With Me", "Stray Cat Blues", and "Honky Tonk Women" are great. Mick Taylor is superb, definitely the best guitarist they ever had, and Charlie and Bill are very tight. Not the greatest live album ever made, I would say, but a worthy document of live Rolling Stones from the classic 1968-1972 period, for those of us who were too young then to see them.

By the way, guys, and gals, the best live album ever made was Stupidity by Dr. Feelgood, followed by Dylan's Before The Flood and Unplugged, and the J. Geils Band's Blow Your Face Out.

Trashsurfr@aol.com
Please. KISS Alive! is the greatest live album ever. And I will personally kill anyone who even mentions Frampton Comes Alive.

RichardMelchior@aol.com
Where the hell's the bass?

leo1@1starnet.com (Rob and Lisa)
How could a rock fan not like this? I dont understand the criticism of this?!? This is one of the best live albums of all time! jeez!....

Mark.Triall@prudential.co.uk
Live at Leed is, of course, (as we say in the UK), mustard.

Ya ya's comes in at third place as contender for the greatest live record.

2nd? Got be 'The Pie', Rockin' The Fillimore, of course . . .

gailling@shaw.ca
Just a quick note for trashsurfr who voted for Kiss Alive, the most re-touched live album of all time as the best live album ever - at least Frampton Comes Alive was live.

By the way, my vote's for Live At Leeds

Wadedh14@aol.com
Awww, I can just HEAR the people chanting, "LIVE AT LEEDS! LIVE AT LEEDS! LIVE AT LEEDS! LIVE AT LEEDS!" Ha, ha, ha, ha. Whatever.

I like Ya Ya's, but I mean, y'know.....or maybe you don't. "Midnight Rambler", my favourite Stones song (as you read by my slightly idiotic Let It Bleed review), is done in a neat, jamming fashion here, but the original is so much better. "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is good, and at the beginning of side two, you can hear the infamous crazy woman: "I wanna hear 'Paint it Black.' 'Paint it Black.' 'PAINT IT BLACK', YOU DEVILS!" Good fun there. I hate the way they piss all over "Stray Cat Blues" though. The original could kill Goliath with a pebble. This one couldn't kill David with Goliath.

....I've never been big on analogies. 7/10? Yeah, we'll leave it at that and shut up.

DenBlake29@aol.com
hey mark triall, love the rockin the fillmore lp but here in the states we think the allmans did the fillmore more proudly. if i were living smack dab in the middle of the atlantic i would think the halls of the fillmore were more sacred because of the allmans. now don't crucify me if the pie happened to play the fillmore west. just saying that i, and MANY others, think the allmans reached a higher pinnacle, one of THE highest, in their fillmore endeavor. taking nothing away from frampton and co spirited performance but the allman music is some of the finest american music ever made. louis armstrong and the allman bros at the fillmore are all you need to know about american music in the 20th century.

otiscass@shaw.ca
In regards to the comparison debate, i'd pick "The Who Live At Leeds", anyday as it is a massive sonic boom of beauty, (and with one less guitarist in the band too, although you'd swear there were 2), having said that i love this album esp. for "midnight rambler" & "sympathy for the devil" (i find Micks singing on "love in vain" a bit painful though)....let's just face it, it 'is' a classic Stones album and you like the Stones you'll most probably love this album, (personally i prefer the "rock n roll circus" Stones performance, even though they themselves weren't keen on it ).

steve.robey@mindspring.com
I'm not big on this album, but I like Live at Leeds a lot. Still, I'd like to go out on a limb and say that my favorite live album of all time is "Golden Earring Live". Seriously. Take that, Stones fans! Thppp!! ;o)

Dang, I love that mid 60s Stones music though (say, "Heart of Stone" thru "Beggars Banquet", with a side order of "Jumping Jack Flash"). Mmm-Mmm!

As a rule, don't buy live albums. 9 times out of 10 you'll just be disappointed. Either that or you'll love it the first 2 times you hear it and then never listen to it again.

pugsmalone@gmail.com
The arrangement of "Sympathy for the Devil" here completely sucks, and I doubt anyone would remember the song if the studio version had been like it. Where's the awesome piano? The sets by B.B.King and Ike and Tina Turner on the expanded version are way better than the actual album, and I'm not even much of a fan of those artists.

Ben Burch
I used to hate this one too. Probly because I first heard it right after I heard Got Live if You Want it (which I still think is better). I guess the Altamont incident has something to do with this album's reputation, and the 9 minute "Midnight Rambler." But either way, I didn't even notice the guitars aren't tuned. Somehow I prefer just about every version of these songs over the studio ones (except for "Sympathy for the Devil" and definitely "Carol," which kinda drags here. Nice version of "Little Queenie" though). I'll give it an 8.5.

Add your thoughts?

Metamorphosis - Abkco 1975.
Rating = 8

Ex-producer Andrew Oldham decided to cash in on the name by releasing an album full of outtakes recorded between '64 and '69. Universally panned, this record is actually just more proof that the Jagger/Richards songwriting juggernaut couldn't be stopped for the Christmas parade. In a teeny nutshell, the songs should by no means have been "outtakes."

"Don't Lie to Me" and "Try A Little Harder" rank with the best of the early rockin' stuff, "Each And Everyday Of The Year," "I'd Much Rather Be With The Boys," and "Walkin' Thru The Sleepy City" are hilariously hokey yet extremely infectious mid-'60s Spector-esque sissy pop, and side two showcases the older, wiser, more drugged-up band that had brought Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers to the world's attention - and therein lies the reason that these songs are outtakes. As curious and moody as the seven side two selections are (especially "I Don't Know Why" and "I'm Going Down," two fantasmo ditters), they don't quite match up to the near-perfect presentations put forth by the Fab Five between '68 and '72. But don't believe the anti-hype! This isn't crap by any means. "Downtown Suzie" is a bit goofy, "Family" is extraordinarily ugly, and the alternate takes of "Out Of Time" and "Heart Of Stone" are wretched (Why in God's name would somebody think that a steel guitar solo belongs in the middle of "Heart Of Stone?"), but they hardly ruin an otherwise "chockfull o' underrated gems" LP. The poetry on the back of the album cover is pretty friggin' stupid, though. As poetry generally is.

Reader Comments

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
This record is worth it, just to hear the boys attempt a Stevie Wonder song. Man, at 1 in the morning on the interstate with the stereo full blast, "I Don't Know Why" ROCKS!

Amber11@email.msn.com (Deborah L. Brennan)
Don't forget "Jivin Sister Fannie" with Taylor's incessant solo throughout the song, much like "All Down the Line" on the '72 Tour.

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
Since you haven't heard the Singles Collection, I thought I'd say a bit about it. The Rolling Stones' Singles Collection: The London Years, takes us from 1963 through, oh, around 1971 or so. It's a 3 CD set. The first CD is the most enjoyable, as it contains the most unreleased songs of any of them. Now, you've got your familiar hits, like "Time is on my Side" (which seems to be in EVERY commercial these days), "Heart of Stone", and "Satisfaction". But hey, that's not why you buy the CD. You get the Stones' great take on Willie Dixon's "I want to be loved", which sounds unusually poppy and well-produced for a 1963 recording. There's a nifty cover of the Lennon/McCartney song "I wanna be your man", which blows the Birkenstocks off of the original version. I mean, what would you rather hear, Ringo singing and a George Martin keyboard, or Mick Jagger backed by a screaming Keef solo?

"Little by Little" comes back from the dead to make an appearance here, as does the hard-to-find Booker T-inspired "Stoned", which is basically Mick not sounding stoned at all. Good jam, though. There's also the wackily out-of-key "The singer not the song", which still is kinda cool. You also get two bluesy gems, "The Spider and the Fly" and "The Under-assistant west coast promotion man."

Second CD time, and hey! WELCOME TO POP. But that's not really a bad thing. Sure, "Sad Day" is kinda dumb, but it's more than countered by Mick's soulful work on "Long Long While" and the totally unexpected (and totally unavailable) "Who's Driving your Plane?". "Stupid Girl", the Stones' greatest misogynist anthem, comes out of the effin' blue here as well.

The third CD is, well, kinda odd. There's a strange, shortened version of "You Can't always get what you want" (minus the french horn and about two verses). The movie version of "Memo from Turner", complete with Ry Cooder's slide guitar (missing on most bootlegs) is included. Also, three Metamorphosis tracks, including "I don't know why" and "Jiving Sister Fanny" pop up. By far the oddest track on the entire collection is the near-hilarious version of "Out of Time", with Mick J backed up by a STRING section and some altered lyrics.

Overall, it's a good collection if you don't own any of the early albums or the More Hot Rocks album. If you own 12 X 5, or December's Children, (or any of those pre-Aftermath LP's) then you have most of the songs on here already. Not an earth-shattering collection, but it's still a fascinating history lesson.

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
the 1969 outtake "I Don't Know Why" is fucking genius. (They actually found out about Brian Jones' death while mixing the song.) So ridiculous! So brilliant! Also, the Keith vibro-guitar (at least I think it's Keith on the vibrato part) and especially the Charlie drumming totally make the song. Mick's preening is hilarious.

Ben Burch
As big as the Stones might have been around this time, this might have surprised the shit out of their fans when this came out. About half of these songs aren't even the Stones, they're just demos for other artists done by Andrew with Mick singing on them. You (and everybody else) seem to hate these versions of "Out of Time" and "Heart of Stone" but I love 'em. "Heart of Stone" features Jimmy Page on guitar and sounds great with that slide! What I personally hate here is that lame folk ripoff "Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind" and the hideous "Each and Every Day of the Year." The other songs on the first side are pretty good and catchy, but shouldn't be taken seriously. However, that version of Chuck Berry's "Don't Lie to Me" should, as it's fuckin' awesome.

For the stuff that's actually the Stones, you're right about the fact that they're good, but don't really match up to what was on the fab five. "Memo from Turner," "I'm Going Down," "Jiving Sister Fanny" and "I Don't Know Why" were the ones that caught my attention the most. Bill Wyman's "Downtown Susie" kind of sucks though.

Add your thoughts?

* Sticky Fingers - Rolling Stones 1971. *
Rating = 10

More gritty American rock by Britain's greatest living rock band. Like Let It Bleed, but a step further - more mature and full-sounding, with a couple of hard-core woman-hating good-time rockers ("Brown Sugar," which celebrates slave rape, and "Bitch," which actually isn't misogynistic at all - it's just about humpin'), a couple of magnificent, gorgeous ballads that it's almost impossible to believe were written by the same band that recorded "Brown Sugar" on the same record ("Wild Horses," "Moonlight Mile"), a couple of dark, slow fuzz guitar rockers ("Sway," featuring Mick and Mick, but not Keith, on guitar, and "Can't You Hear Me Knocking," which turns into Santana at the end, but not in a Mexican way; it's actually an impressive unexpected mood shift), the original R'n'B "I Got The Blues" that puts to shame all those folks that suggested that five white Brits couldn't play American negro music, the best country song they ever did ("Dead Flowers"), the most somber song they ever did ("Sister Morphine"), and a cover of the blues obscurity "You Gotta Move." That was all one sentence because I didn't want to suggest that any of the songs were subordinate to the others. Also, I'm lazy.

It's testament to the absolute genius of the Stones during this particular era that this record is actually better than the greatest hits record that came out the next year - mainly because, instead of being just a bunch of unconnected songs, it's a carefully-conceived document of the band at a crucial time. The Beatles had just broken up; perhaps others felt that the Stones should follow. But the Stones didn't agree. They weren't on the way out; they were at the pinnacle of their career. These songs are individually and collectively the definitive synthesis of all the creativity that the Stones were born with and all of the lessons they had learned from the blues, R'n'B, rock'n'roll, jazz, country/western, folk, and pop music that they had been absorbing since childhood. It's not "devilish" or "threatening" or "psychedelic," but intriguingly real and alive. This isn't a show; it's reality. It has its gleeful sickness and its desolate emptiness, and everything in between. Upbeat, downcast, beautiful, soulful, fun, rockin' - it's all right here. And man, that production! Fantastic guitar sounds all the way through.

Reader Comments

Weigelda@aol.com
Your reviews have prompted me to break out some albums I haven't heard in a while. Maybe the best surprise out of these was Sticky Fingers. In my hopelessly rock-critic-addled mind I had remembered Exile On Main St. being superior, but no offense to that great record, this is THE Stones album. I like schizophrenic albums, with one side hard and the other soft (Led Zeppelin II) or one side normal songs, one side crazy crap (The Mother of Invention's Freak Out). Side 1 of Fingers is some of the best rock 'n roll the band did, while 2, with the exception of "Bitch", has some lovely Stones ballads. I can't really expound more on what you said, it's just a phenomenal piece of work.

rgelling@nero.UVic.ca (Randy)
"Dead Flowers"is the best song they ever did; and it may be one of the best country songs of all time.

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
A real gem. "Dead Flowers" is undoubtedly the best country song they've done. "Bitch" is one of the best rockers. "Sway" probably offers one of the five best guitar solos on a Rolling Stones record courtesy of Mick Taylor. Only a slow finish keeps this from a perfect record.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Yes, it's a great album! But no so good as Let It Bleed. My personal 10 goes to that one. Here I particularly enjoy "You Gotta Move" with its great acoustic, and "Dead Flowers" is great country, and "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'" is one of their best instrumentals, and "Wild Horses" is maybe their BEST ballad (a bit long, though, and underarranged), and "Sister Morphine"... brrrrr... it really makes me shiver!

These are the REAL good ones. Now "Sway" tends to drag - just a little, a teensy-weensy bit, but it's not their best effort at a philosophical song ("You Can't Always Get What You Want" is a trillion times better); and "I Got The Blues" - well, THIS one is FAKE: Jagger singing homemade opera-style! And "Moonlight Mile" is good, too, but overlong as usual. As for "Brown Sugar" and "Bitch", I have a mixed feeling for these two songs. On one hand, as musical entities, they are wonderful: I could listen to that "Bitch" riff for twenty-four hours a day, and "Brown Sugar" rocks as hard they could! It deserves its place among the dozen most popular Stones' songs.

On the other hand, the lyrics on these two songs - together with the offending front cover of the album - was a marking point for the Stones. It was there that they started overabusing their image. Yes, misogyny has always been typical of Jagger - beginning with "Downhome Girl" back in 1964, but here he is already mixing it with that sort of stinking kinkiness that reached its climax on Undercover! From now on, the Stones would fight to retain their status of "World Famous Perverts", and since by 1971 the standards of "pervertness" have already changed (you wouldn't be judged an "unnormal" kind of guy, for example, if you did not use obscene lexics in songs), they were trying to catch up with them!

"Sometimes I'm sexy, move like a stud". Imagine that line in 1964? Impossible. Thanks God, on Sticky Fingers the music level still prevails over the kinkiness level; by Some Girls both would become equal, and finally (after a brief musical revival on Tattoo You) kinkiness would take over completely on Undercover!

This is where it all began. Dammit! It's really sad watching Mick slowly trying to become a Sex Pistol (which, by the way, he never became).

hutchilj@aramco.com.sa
I agree with all of you on this one. I compiled my list of "The Best 400 Albums Of All Time", having re-listened to well over a thousand LPs, and Sticky Fingers came out at Number One! For me, simply the greatest album in the history of rock, edging out such worthy contenders as Blood On The Tracks, Let's Get It On, Never Mind The Bollocks, Millie Jackson's Caught Up, and the Doors' wonderful first album - Mark, how could you prefer Strange Days ???

Kevman0001@aol.com
Mark, you're right on target with those 10 stars (or records or circles or whatever the hell they are): Sticky Fingers (aka Drug Slang 101) this is THE Stones album.

"Brown Sugar" is an instant classic--'nuff said.

"Sway"--a great, out-of-control rocker.

"Wild Horses"--see "Brown Sugar."

"Can't You Hear Me Knocking?"--THE GREATEST STONES SONG IN HISTORY. That opening riff? The "help me baby" chorus? That great organ? Mick's singing? The extended jam session? Mock me if you will, but I think in time people will see how right I am.

"You Gotta Move"--great guitar and drum action here. You just gotta love how Mick sings this one.

"Bitch"--need I say more?

"I Got the Blues"--the only slow part in the album. BUT HELL! It's got some great organ work (by Nicky Hopkins I think ... or was it their old road manager Stu?) and some nice horn action.

"Sister Morphine"--creepy. Paced. Disturbing as all get out. By the way, how did they get that crashing piano sound in there?

"Dead Flowers"--best country song ever produced. Just goes to show you the Stones could have made the greatest country album in history if they tried.

"Moonlight Mile"--great closing track. The strings are what really make this a classic and that odd, vague Oriental-sound arrangement.

This is the type of album that should be analyzed over and over again. They shoulda just quit after Tattoo You. But that's another story.

Homelessperson22@cs.com (Zach English)
Bingo, Mark; this is the Stones' pinnacle. Folks may whine that the band never recorded another song as scorching in its young lust as "Satisfaction", but that's akin to saying the Beatles never wrote another "I Wanna Hold Your Hand": true to be sure, but suggesting what? That the band's energy was siphoned? No fucking way, not with barnstormers like "Bitch" and "Brown Sugar". That their songs stopped connecting with their audience, that they somehow became passe? A quick run-through of the punishing "Sister Morphine" can debunk that point of view; never had their snot-nosed decadence sounded so beautiful, so darkly nihilistic. Plus, they added crunchy Stax Volt R&B and a deeper appreciation of country music on this one that would be all but gone in about five years. Savor it while you can; Exile being the existentialist masterpiece that it is, nothing they did could ever top this. 10/10

dcrbt@bellatlantic.net
If you listen to Baggers Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers at one time you'll see how the Stones rework the same songs over and over. They stick with the winning combination of Beggers. The Stones beauty is that they know the blues so well, and find different ways of saying and playing the same themes without losing the neccessary Stones edge. Compare: Sympathy with Rambler ; '; or Parachute Women, Live with Me, and Bitch or Stray Cat; Monkey Man and Can't You hear Me Knocking. or Prodigal Son, Love In Vain, and You Gotta Move. How come no one has mentioned Jumpin Jack Flash? How does Richard wind that band sooo tight? What a seamless song! Richard is just so damn angry when he plays. He saying I'm Keith Richards, motherfucker , and no one can top me and my band.

mmcneil@balescompany.com (Mike McNeil)
If you could only buy one Stones' disc that would fully capture their essence, versatility and skills; Sticky Fingers would absolutely be the one. This is The Stones at their peak. The contributions on lead throughout the disc by Mick Taylor exponentially expand the Stones overall sound. (I love Ronnie Wood and always felt he'd fit the Stones profile; but as far as the guitar work goes, I wish Mick Taylor never left. The Stones never sounded better than when he was aboard).

"You Gotta Move" is a bit plodding and wears thin quickly, but otherwise there's not a weak song here. In fact they're all classics. Although not prototypical Stones, "Moonlight Mile" is one of the strongest recordings they've ever done and a perfect closer to one of the true classic rock & roll albums of all time. One of the most memorable outros to a song ever recorded!!

nickwalford@hotmail.com
well, I hate to be the one dissenting voice, but for me this album is not as good as let it bleed. sorry. I don't dig 'dead flowers' or 'can't you hear me knockin' as much as everybody else seems to, whereas 'let it bleed' hasn't got a single track that isn't incredible. don't get me wrong, this is still a brilliant record, but not the stones' greatest. I'll give it a 9.5 (the 10 goes to let it bleed).

Jcjh20@aol.com
Incredible album. Definatly the Stones' pinnacle. Every song on here is fuckin great (well except maybe "You Gotta Move" which is just merely good, but its a cover anyways). "Brown Sugar" and "Bitch" (that riff rules) are awesome rockers, "Wild Horses", and "Moonlight Mile" are achingly beautiful, "Dead Flowers", is, once again, like everyone else here is saying, one of the best country songs ever, and the amazing darkness of "Sway" (doesnt drag at all to me, great song), "Sister Morphine" (nice guitar work), and "Cant You Hear Me Knocking" (dig that cool ass jammin' at the end). Good fuckin shit. I really cant decide which to give the 10 too, Beggars.. or this....ahh fuck it, they both get 10's! 10/10.

Muggwort@aol.com
Sticky fingers is the rolling stones masterpiece, it is an easy 10. My favorite song on it is 'wild horses' it makes me want to cry.

nostalgia@prodigy.com (Teresa Juarez Guzman)
Hi, Mark.

What follows is merely a brief impression of a portion of this classic album (and the little red discs that you gave to each of the Stones' outputs).

For my pleasure, "Dead Flowers" and "Moonlight Mile" are the only two songs that confirm the Stones' genius... in fact, they're the only two songs that I can think of right now (that is... by these fellas), that can genuinely excite me. OK, maybe not... but I'm never tired of that line "And I won't forget to put roses in your grave". Quite subtle and romantic, comparing with songs that nowadays serve to imbrue the group into raunchy images ("Gun face", the worst) but we don't need to distance all that from 1971, right?. Zip covers and all, "Dead flowers" could easily have been penned by Dylan (in a not too impossible parallel universe) at his most humble and sincere.

I agree with every one of your scores.

bdoleac@mail.wesleyan.edu (Benjamin Doleac)
Okay, fine, I haven't heard Sticky Fingers. But if "Wild Horses" and "Brown Sugar" are any indication, could be great. I'll check it out - eventually.

fedefer@fibertel.com.ar (Federico Fernández)
Let it bleed is the best stone album ever; but this is an EXTREMELY CLOSE second. EVERY TUNE here is a classic. Even minor pieces like "Sway" and "You gotta move" are quite charming. The only misfire could be considered "I got the blues" because it is an attempt to sound soulful when everybody knows there's no REAL venom in there; I mean, Jagger's vocals are great but they are quite overblown, overplayed, exaggerated. Still, it has got a DARK organ solo by Preston and so I lquite like it.

But then, what can I say about an album with "Wild Horses", "Bitch", "Brown Sugar", "Sister Morphine", "Dead Flowers", "Can't you hear me knocking" and "Moolight Mile" on it??? Simply awesome; full of insanely catchy grooves, fantastic melodies, excellent playing and killer riffs (The riff of Bitch is MADLY catchy) You Prindle are right, this is a truly great album.

You George Starostin, in case you are reading, I CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOW THE HELL YOU CAN PUT THIS GEM AT THE SAME LEVEL OF TATTOO YOU or AFTERMATH. YOU ARE IN DESPERATE NEED OF SOME DOCTOR AND YOU BETTER FIND ONE SOON. Ok this is about George's site but as I can't manage to contact him by mail I guess this is a great chance to express one of the MAJOR disagreements I have with him.

You Prindle are right though.

NMcpherson@fac.unc.edu (Earl McPherson)
Yep, this had to be their finest hour. I can still remember the little organ break that Billy Preston did on "I Got the Blues".....and I haven't heard this album in years and years. This is another one of those CDs that I need to pick up. Mick Taylor is one under-rated picker. Too bad he let the drugs and booze get to him.

mbleicher1@yahoo.com (Michael Bleicher)
After a lot of deliberation, I think I agree with the ten. This is a polished, cohesive effort, and, unlike just about every other great album the Stones ever made, it's almost completely REAL. Except maybe for 'Brown Sugar'. I don't think that Jagger had an any experiences with what he's writing about there, thank god. Anyway, this is there most solid album. For once (and maybe for the only time), no one is putting on masks, which is extremely rare for the Stones. Sure, some might argue that, as a result, this shouldn't be their best, because the masks are part of their image, but I disagree. Mick and Keith were skilled songwriters, and songs are usually best when there's some real truth and experience behind them, and these songs, more than any that came before, show the real life that Jagger and Co. were leading, for better and for worse. Some of it is like what they were singing about before-there are hints of dangerous characters like the Midnight Rambler or Jumping Jack Flash. But there's also more of the real people, too, and it's extremely compelling. Beautiful, too, in places. And great guitars and production.

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
No, whoever was saying George was wrong about Sticky Fingers, you're wrong. Sticky Fingers is NOT the Stones at their best it is their best at impersonating their best. 'Wild Horses' is one of the weakest songs I've ever heard come out that is truly considered great, it's forced country that sounds contrived and it doesn't work. All in all this is a record I like and I do give it a good rating, but it is not as good as Beggar's Banquet(The Stones at their REAL best), Let It Bleed, Some Girls, Between The Buttons, Aftermath or Exile On Main Street.

Wadedh14@aol.com
Hoo, man, this is a great piece-a music, huh?

"Brown Sugar is an absolutely fabulous, rock-out song. "Sway" is the same, in a slower form; man, Charlie sounds pissed in that one, doesn't he? I've never loved "Wild Horses" as much as some other people, but it IS a rather pretty balalalad. "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'" is really two songs, but I shouldn't have to say that -- it's obvious! The grumbly riff part with the lyrics and the jazzy-funky jam section. Both are great, I particularly like it. "You Gotta Move" cracks me up in that damn-can-these-guys-play-some-blues-or-WHAT?!! kinda way. "Bitch" is classic, with that absolutely KILLER bari sax line, courtesy of our new-old friend, Bobby Keys. "I Got the Blues" dragged a little at first, but then I heard Mister Billy Preston over there on the Hammond B-3, and it just KNOCKED ME BACKWARDS. That is one hell of an organ solo! "Sister Morphine" would be enough to chill me to my very soul, but then they have to put that piano line in there. That thing is so spooky, I get GOOSEBUMPS when I hear it. Now THAT is a great song. "Dead Flowers" is some good country with a little surprise from Charlie for us drummers near the end. Well, it was for ME! And "Moonlight Mile" does drag a little bit, but whatever. I really do love this album. I think I'll give it the not-so-generous rating of 8.9/10. NOT QUITE AS GOOD as Beggars Banquet. But that close.

lennart080@hotmail.com
It's a good album, but not their best. I'l give it a strong 8. There is something with about this album that could be described as a little bit too sweet or commercial? Don't know exactly.

EXILE, LET IT BLEED and BEGGARS are their best

airsces@yahoo.com
A 10 for sure. Let It Bleed, Exile on Main St. and Aftermath are incredible rock and roll albums, but shit...nothing else really compares to this. The overall dirty drug-ridden mood of the album is perfect for these songs and there are NO low points. This is the classic. Truly one of the BEST rock and roll albums I've ever heard by anyone, ever. Put it on and fantasize about back in the day...remember sex drugs and rock and roll before it turned into AIDS, crack and techno? Well, let this one take you back to the good ol' days! Every song is amazing, so crank it up...in your car, at work, on your home stereo, in bed with someone special, doesn't matter. Few albums have I blasted on the freeway as many times as this one...the Stooges' Fun House and DK's Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables do come close though.

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
I still don't understand how the hell people can justify saying this is better than both Beggar's Banquet and Let It Bleed...... well...... Obama is one of the most popular presidential candidates, there are a lot of stupid asses

the.doktor.is.in@ddreviews.com (DD)
Everybody,

Buy this album or I will fucking kill you

Ben Burch
When I first saw that you gave this album a 10, my first reaction was "what the fuck?" but after listening to this album a couple of days ago, I can see perfectly why. Your whole review sums the album up perfectly. Best song here is "Sway," and that happens to be my favorite stones song. Somehow it reminds me of the David Bowie song "Moonage Daydream" (maybe because of the epic guitar solo at the end). Miles better than anything they did at this point (I know i said that about the previous two studio efforts but it's true). Only one here I'm not a fan of is "You Gotta Move," which is kinda goofy and boring.

Add your thoughts?

Hot Rocks 1964-1971 - London 1972.
Rating = 9

Greatest hits double album. Absolutely essential if you're not gonna buy all the individual albums (which you should). All the early hits are here, plus some of the more recent ones. My praises, you enquire? Well, it contains three great non-LP tracks; "19th Nervous Breakdown," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," and "Honky Tonk Women." Oh, but Mark, you ask, what about complaints? Do you have some of those, too? Why, as a matter of fact I do! There's nothing from Their Satanic Majesties Request, it's missing "The Last Time," it contains the inferior Ya-Ya's version of "Midnight Rambler," instead of the slithery original, and, quite frankly, their last three albums were far too great to be condensed into this cut-and-paste compilation format. Still, if you're cheap, buy it a jillion times. That'll save money.

Reader Comments

nickwalford@hotmail.com
I was under the impression that the version of 'midnight rambler' from here was recorded at the famed hyde park free concert..? whatever, I love this version, probably better than the original.

nator9999@comcast.net (Nathan)
I don't actually own this, but I looked at the track listing, and it looks like a damn fine compilation. It's pretty pointless if you're a Stones fan though, I enjoy listening to the albums a lot more in this case. More Hot Rocks is more interesting to me because it has rare B-sides and stuff like 'Child of the Moon.' I agree about the version of Midnight Rambler too. Sure, it's cool how all the instruments contribute to that "THUD" sound in the midsection of the Ya-Ya's version, but that's about it as far as improvement goes. It lacks that dark, eerie atmosphere that it had on Let it Bleed. So if you want to get into the Stones and need a place to start, get Hot Rocks. If you're already a fan, skip this one and proceed to More Hot Rocks.

Add your thoughts?

More Hot Rocks (Big Hits And Fazed Cookies) - London 1972.
Rating = 8

A smooth follow-up. It's got "The Last Time," there's two songs from Their Satanic Majesties Request (but, strangely, none from Sticky Fingers), and, best of all, it's got the hilariously moronic (and hard-to-find) hippie anthems "Dandelion," "We Love You," and "Child Of The Moon" (a direct rip-off of the Beatles's "Rain," assuming, of course, "Rain" came first), as well as an entire side of what I guess are previously unreleased R'n'B covers plus two fantazmo originals that for some strange reason were left off of the first five albums. If you're a completist, this is much more important for your collection than the first Hot Rocks, since you probably already have all of those songs anyway. And, as an added bonus to all those Andrew Loog Oldham fanatics out there, more crappy poetry! And a cool rainbow negative album cover.
Reader Comments

randerson@stratos.net (Rick)
Allen Klein used all the songs he had the rights to from Sticky Fingers on Hot Rocks.

daringbob@hotmail.com
wanna hear somethin weird? This was the first complete Rolling Stones album I ever heard.

Can you imagine what I thought of them? I FUCKIN LOVED EM!!!!!

To be truthful, my mom had some K-tel 30 Greatest Hits Album of theirs that she played every Sataday of my youth along with Cat Stevens's Tea for OR Teaser. So I knew all the early standards - from Not Fade Away to You Can't Always [finsih the title]. But THIS THIS THIS is what made me go and buy everything until I wanted to shoot myself after buying "only rock n roll".

I love "We Love You" and all those early R&B covers. For my money, they beat the hell out of almost all of what they were releasing on albums from 1963-1965.

Jeffery Hoelscher
'We Love You' sounds like 'Rain' in large part because John and Paul sing along with it. And when are you going to review Cheap Trick? In particular you should rip on the fact that they pretended what was obviously the first side to their debut was the second on the CD reissue with bonus tracks. In spite of the greeting quality of ''Elo There', 'Hot Love' is one of the most fantastic riffs with which to introduce yourselves to the world.

Add your thoughts?

Exile On Main Street - Rolling Stones 1972.
Rating = 9

A lesson for all you youngsters out there; if you've just completed the greatest album of your career, follow it up with a double-album. That way, even if the songs aren't quite as great, there are so darn many of them, fans will appreciate the effort - especially if, like this here band the Roller Stones, you still have plenty of fantastic ideas and melodies running through your head. In fax transmission report, Mickey and Keith had so many idears, they were able to put together a rock/gospel/country/blues double-album of such high quality that many fans consider it to be the crowning achievement of their long, illustrious career. I myself put Sticky Fingers a little higher on my hit list, but this is a rousing musical experience. Unless, of course, you're not a pretentious windpipe, in which case it's just a record. But hoo, a good one!

The rockers ("Rocks Off," "Rip This Joint," "Happy," "All Down The Line," others) thrash mercilessly like a fuckin' choo choo train chasin' after a defenseless little baby deer, and several of the songs achieve a grandiose gospel feel that these fellows only hinted at with "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Generous doses of boogie-woogie piano and female back-up vocals transform "Let It Loose," "Just Wanna See His Face," "Shine A Light," and even "Tumbling Dice" into songs that would seem much more natural coming from a Mississippi black church choir than from a bunch of imported honky drug addicts. Their early records showed they had the love for black music; this one shows that, with age, they had developed the clops and sensitivity necessary to actually pull it off! The melodies are great, the guitar interplay is superfun, there's a Robert Johnson cover, some country-western, some skiffle - you really should buy it. Only a few of these songs are radio standards, but they all should be. The essential bar band record. What NRBQ and the Black Crowes wish they could do.

Heck, what the Rolling Stones wish they could still do. This was the last great record they ever made.

Reader Comments

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
Okay, I'll agree with you that the songs can get a little repetitive. But hell, with a set like this, repetition is a good thing. The great thing about this album is the art. That run of songs in the middle of the album, starting with "Torn&Frayed" and ending with "All Down The Line," is one of the classic groupings of songs in rock history. This album was really the cap for everything they'd done up to that point. Every song on here has an equivalent somewhere in their back catalogue. I prefer it over Sticky Fingers, if only because I heard this album first. But none of these beat Their Satanic Majesties Request. :-)

Klarrabe@frognet.net (Kirk Larrabee)
I don't have much to say about Exile On Main Street other than if this isn't the greatest pure rock album ever recorded, I want to know what is.

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
My personal 10 barely nudging out Beggars Banquet.

gt909lb@prism.gatech.edu (Andrew Goldthorp)
Exile on Main Street and Sticky Fingers were no question the Stones two best albums, but Exile is superior. I would say the best record any rock and roll band ever made...sure there have been better pure rock and roll records-Who's Next and Led Zeppelin IV, but this one sounds superior to just about anything else.

We find the Stones rolling through 18 gems that reassert all of their major musical roots. The country-folkish "Sweet Virginia" remains a timeless classic as does the old time rock and roll feel of "Rocks Off". Then we get the blues with the dark "Ventilator Blues" and the shuffling of "Turd on the Run". Not to mention the two best songs on the album are the concert favorite "Tumblin Dice" and the gospel influenced "Shine A Light".

An monumental piece of work, unfortunately the Stones never followed it up with anything worthy of comparison.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
I'm in terrible disagreement over this album. I still can't understand what all the fuss is about. First of all, it is TOO big. That is, for a double album it's too small (about 60 minutes), but for a single album (which ity is since it's been on CD) it is MUCH too big, including a lot of weak and tasteless songs which can be deemed interesting only because they come from the Glimmer Twins.

The Great Tunes here are: "Rocks Off", "Tumbling Dice", "Sweet Virginia", "Stop Breaking Down" and "Shine A Light". Oh yeah, and "Happy", too. And "Rip This Joint" is quite breathtaking - the fastest they ever played!

The other songs are crappy. CRAPPY! Eliminate most of them and you get a great album. DON'T mistake this one for Let It Bleed!

Evelio_Herrera@MCKINSEY.COM
No doubt about it. This is "the" greatest album ever! You know when people are asked "If you were stranded on a desert island, what album would you have?", well look no further, this one's it. It has every. From soul to R&B to gospel to rock 'n roll to rock. There's never been a more complete album than this. Mick pulls no punches with his vocals and the music is just that good you will swear it's God sent. Unbelievable. I could die tomorrow and say I've lived after hearing this masterpiece.

hutchilj@aramco.com.sa
Flawed, yes - not all the songs are great, I agree - but I'd still give this "8". It is raw because Keith was in charge while Mick was on honeymoon with Bianca, and the Stones have never rocked as hard as on this album. I'd put "Rocks Off", "Rip This Joint", and "Shine A Light" in my Stones Top 5, (the others being "Brown Sugar" and "Gimme Shelter").

9402992h@student.gla.uc.uk (Dan Hackney)
My friend Ben Jones likes "Just Wanna See His Face". A unique specimen indeed.

binro@webtv.net (Marc Paskvan)
Funny, I didn't enjoy this as much on the vinyl. But when I got the CD and could listen to the whole thing without getting up to flip it, hey, my opinion went up 200%.

I believe it was recorded in a private studio, so they could just relax and let it all hang out.

This is the Stones...having FUN, and it sounds like it...it's loose, it's raw, and even though it's not as well crafted as previous albums, IMHO, it's the closest they ever came to the real spirit of the blues.

cynderelli@techline.com (TAD)
"Tumbling Dice" is the greatest single of all time. "Happy" is a close 2nd.

cola@together.net
You've missed the point, Mark. The beauty of Exile on Main Street - and what makes it the Rolling Stones' most complete musical statement - isn't the power of each song, but the cumulative effect of the whole. While there is undeniable variation from song to song ("Rocks Off" is as far from "Black Angel" as "Black Angel" is from "Shine A Light"), a dark and brooding atmosphere pervades every track. Heck, if I didn't know better, I'd call this a concept album! The flow of Exile on Main Street is stunningly beautiful, although admittedly hard to get used to. For me, at least. Forcing myself to put this record on at least once a month for the past year or so has definitely paid off. I genuinely like every song, even the so-called "filler," if only for their sense of unity. "Shine A Light" was my early candidate for the highlight. Now I'm leaning toward the whole of Side 2.

But choosing a standout moment is futile. Listening to Exile on Main Street in its entirety is one of the most rewarding experiences rock and roll has to offer. I can only think of three albums that succeed in developing a similarly consistent atmosphere: the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (which is basically the polar opposite of this record), Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, and R.E.M.'s Murmur (which, to me, is so consistent that every song sounds virtually the same). Maybe Bruce Springsteen's The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle should be in there too...at least the second side. It owes too much to Astral Weeks to get full credit.

My god, is this a great album.

ivanakruzelova@hotmail.com
Now THIS is the dog's bell-end. The Stones at their unassailable, fuck-you peak. NOBODY could have bettered this in 1972, and nobody did, by a loooong chalk. It is often said, however, that the Beatles White Album would have been much better as a single record. This goes double for Exile...miss out four or five tracks and you have a belter.

Muggwort@aol.com
exile on mainstreat was prob'ly the inspiration for R.E.M's murmur it has cool atmosphere but very few noteworthy songs. the only one that really knock me off my feat is "loving cup" 'cause it's so obvious that Mick jagger is talkin' about eating a girl out (sorry to be vulgar but it is true "give me a drink form you loving cup, just one sip and I'll fall down drunk" wow I wonder what the meaning of that is!!) so in conclusion this album proves why the rolling stone are so popular they write songs for the lowest common denominator but act snotty.

8/10

fedefer@fibertel.com.ar (Federico Fernández)
I TOTALY agree with George Starostin here. This record is SO monotonous...

There are just a pair of GREAT songs ("Tumblin' Dice", "Rocks Off" and "Sweet Virginia"), a little bunch of minor enjoyable tunes ("Casino Boogie", "Happy", "Ventilator Blues", "Stop Breaking Down" and maybe "Let It Loose"), and the rest is just filler; boring, noisy, repetitive, weak, melodyless, self - plagiaristic filler which I cannot stand. It is a total mystery why this record appeals so much to so many people. It is SO INFERIOR to Sticky Fingers that sometimes it makes me pityful. It's not crap, It's good, but average. ANY band could come up with a similar efford, I mean, this is not Stones standard quality. Less than 8 to this.

morristeflon@yahoo.com (Jack Stallings)
Although -- just to set the record straight -- it is not blemished by one weak track, those who complain about Exile's "inconsistency" miss the point entirely. Intentionally or not, this is an organic work of art that expands and breathes as it builds its relentless and overwhelming momentum from track to track. Songs like "Sweet Virginia", "Torn and Frayed", "Ventilator Blues" and "I Just Want to See His Face" are half tongue-in-cheek, half sincere tributes to the musical forms that provided the foundations for all of the Stones' music. At the same time, they are brilliantly written and executed songs absolutely capable of standing on their own, and whose varied paces and styles contribute to the flow of the album. It is these very shifts in pace and style and tone that are substantially responsible for Exile's greatness. Over the course of 18 tracks the album is always changing levels, keeping you on your toes, susceptible to surprise.

By this time, the Stones were masters of the form. They had assimilated and transcended their influences so that the music that they made was at the same time distinctly their own, but also a part of a continuum that included blues, boogie, country, R and B, you name it. Exile on Main Street is where everything came together and the Stones were able to demonstrate their mastery so effortlessly. It was the culmination of everything that they had done for the previous ten years and neither they nor anyone else would again equal it.

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
fuking awsome man Stones fukin r.o.c.k. n the usa man fukin Jagger still got it man nd this joints been stuck up my ass since 74

Yeah, the Stones were--and, thus, remain in image only--a great band. We needed an antithesis to the brilliant streamlined artistically brilliant pop of the Beatles with some sloppy, messy, beautifully down-and-dirty rawk and rowell. (Not terribly sure of the correct way to misspell 'roll'.) Still, though, I can't help but prefer the Stones artistic high of 66-69, 'Math through 'Bleed. I still can't figure out the principle draw to a record where most everything is murky and inaudible.

Although "Rocks Off" definitely rox my fukin sox.

okeydoke0@yahoo.com (Barrett Barnard)
this is one of the best albums ever.whats that?you want punk.how about"rip this joint".what?you want poppy shit.oh lord take your pick.you can have "let it loose","rocks off","shine a light",or the song which kurtis cobain would rip off for heartshaped box "soul survivor".if you like dusty, dont-get cut-by-it-cuz-youll-get-an-infection roots muzak well theres simply too many for my elfin fingers to type.the rest is just plan good ole fashioned rock n roll.best songs:the above mentioned and "tumbling dice" and "sweet virginia".this is the last great achievement by the greatest rock n roll band ever.true rock n roll spirit and catchy rock n roll tunes.great rock n roll.rock n roll.rock n roll.rock n roll.this review sounds like a def leppard chorus.but im still better than those worthless pieces of shit at rolling stone.

davidd@vote-smart.org
Holy mother of crap. I actually agree with the critics for the first time in my life. Seriously.

Exile on Main Street is actually pretty damn good! Usually I'm not a fan of "roots-rock" or anything "off-the-cuff", but here it is. One of the truly great hard rock masterpieces of the '70's. It combines the raw energy from the Stones' early days (sorely missing from Satanic, Banquet, Bleed, and Fingers--although Fingers is still a masterpiece, too) and the sophistication they'd gained from recording Satanic, Banquet, Bleed, and Fingers (sorely missing from their early days). And Voila! Their best album. Not bad, guys. Not bad at all.

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
"The sunshine bores the daylights out of me!"?, what the heck is this? WHO CARES? This is fantastic record! It's kind of like Blonde On Blonde. Blonde On Blonde and Exile On Main Street bothe serve as the last the end of highly productive time periods for their creators. Some will say that Blood On The Tracks and Some Girls are both just as strong as albums made before the two previously mentioned water-marks. I disagree TOTALLY. Sure, Some Girls is a good album, but it can't really match up too well with Let It Bleed and Beggar's Banquet. Blood On The Tracks can't match up with any Dylan after Freewheelin' (ok, except for Another Side and Times A-Changin'). But.......... I don't know where I'm going with this, so I'll quit. Tumbling Dice, though is my favorite Stones song.

Wadedh14@aol.com
Come on, Mark, you're smarter than the stupid, crap-headed, classic-rock-radio-listening, "Free Bird"-screaming general public. Well, maybe not, but I won't speculate. Exile on Main St. is NOT THAT GOOD. The biggest highlights are: "Rocks Off" (best song, shoulda been the finale), "Rip This Joint", "Tumbling Dice", "Happy", "Turd on the Run", "Ventilator Blues", "All Down the Line", and "Stop Breaking Down". "Happy" through "Ventilator" is the only stretch of thoroughly enjoyable music lasting more than two damn songs. "Rip This Joint" is NOTHING but energy, and is great. "Dice" is one of the best damn Wyman basslines ever. "Happy" is my second favourite Richards-sung number behind "You Got the Silver". "Turd" is "hoo-ee!"-type good skiffle (despite the stupid lyrics). "Ventilator" is just low-down, mean, "hoo-ee!"-type good blues. That "(gonna/don't) fight it!" coda is really cool, and it's all blown to hell when it fades into the UNBELIEVABLY STUPID "Just Wanna See His Face", probably the absolute worst song the Stones ever did. "All Down the Line" vents all kindsa energy, and "Stop Breaking Down" is one of the blooooooziest things they ever recorded. Gotta love that "WOOOO!!!" Mick does into the harp mic.

That's the glittering review of the actual enjoyable part of the record. The honorable mentions are: "Hip Shake", "Sweet Virginia" ("got to scrape the shi-shit right off your shoes!"), "Torn and Frayed", and "Loving Cup". The songs that I'm sure are okay but refuse to stick in my head are: "Casino Boogie" and "Shine a Light". The songs that don't stick in my head probably because they suck are: "Let it Loose" and "Soul Survivor". The songs on here that suck ALL OVER THE PLACE are: "Sweet Black Angel" and "Just Wanna See His Face". Those last two songs I mentioned are just crap. I can't think of many Stones songs I'd just come out and call "crap", but that's what these are. Crap. This whole collection gets a 6.8/10 in my best mood, and probably a 5.5/10 in my worst. Suck on that, stupid, crap-headed, classic-rock-radio-listening, "Free Bird"-screaming general public.

pedroandino@msn.com
shut ya' bitch ass up ya' fuckin gay wad! go suck on 50 cent and lil' john's dick! stop with the fucking rap shit! wahdah14 or whatever shut the fuck up faggot! any faggot cockeating bitch will piss blood! suck on a niggers dick! and I will cut ya' dick off, cocksucker! uk faggots better fuck off! this is xm radio, bitchwhore! my daddy got me this tape. no doubt the sloppiest, grimiest, nastiest, raunchiest double lp's yet! but ever in my opinion is so fucking overrated! my dad was dj, fagwad! 10! bitch! never come close to this shit! rock on!

Wadedh14@aol.com
Dude, Pedro.......like....learn some English before hating all over the Internet.

pedroandino@msn.com
said shut the fuck up ya' faggoty cocksucker! HOW'S THAT FOR ENGLASH! BITCH

sorry about that! I thought you hate screaming, classic rock , beer drinking people! no! I do not scream freebird! fuck skynard! I like prog better. still I say I apologize. great work reviewing stones cd's but you forgot the early stuff.

DenBlake29@aol.com
oh boy, where do we even start here. wadedh just listed enough great cuts to make a 40 minute lp and then dissed the record for one and a half side of stuff that he doesn't like as much. as for sweet black angel and just wanna see his face, well they are similar and they don't rock. bet hey, great lps are lps that cover alot of ground. so mick is singing about a martyred black woman. ithink that is ok on a stones lp. don't have to think it is the best song. there is always talk about maturity on each successive stones review. well this exile disc is even more mature and sophisticated than sticky fingers. while brown sugar might be the catchiest thing the stones ever did- the one definitive stones piece, rocks off is a little less hooky, and i think shows even more songwriting confidence in the way that the melody rides the sneering wave. and for the best stones song ever, tumbling dice is a brilliant piece of songwriting and do you know what? the stones made a masterpiece of a record out of it. no cover tune could ever top it. i have said over the last few years that if you edit this lp down to 12 songs and 46 minutes you just might have the greatest lp ever made. an edit of the 2 discs would produce the best blend of genius and testosterone ever laid down on vinyl. take a song say, loving cup. how do i say mature? take a piece this confident and sure of itself and sounding so majestic in places and then think of the drag in the mud feel of some of those let it bleed tracks. i'll take rip this joint, all down the line, rocks off, tumbling dice, happy, stop breaking down, turd on the run, and 5 other picks over let it bleed any day. and sticky fingers too. sticky fingers is too pretentious and arrogant. but maybe in 5 years i will appreciate its swagger. nah, right now it just doesn't seem like it is put together that well. but hey, it is like revolver in that it contains too many moments of brilliance. oh well, that is why we like to debate these things. still like exile for not dragging in the mud but throwing it in your face.

d.atkinson@maxfordham.com
Overated. 3 really good tunes. Shit Production

lazik@cox.net (John A Lazik, Tempe Arizona)
This was Keith's baby. Not a bad effort for a strung out heroin addict. I read that the album was put together in the damp smelly basement of house in France while the band was on tax exile.

Mr. Richard's is quoted as saying he learned to ski and shoot dope while making Exile On Main Street.

"Just as long as the guitar plays
Let it steal your heart away,
Let it steal your heart away"

tomplotkin@sbcglobal.net
If Keith Richard by some voodoo I am certain he is capable of somehow captured all of my hangovers and my worst sexual escapades and melted them into vinyl, that's Exile; throw it on whenever you're feeling so wretched you cannot face the daylight and it will give you the strength to endure. This is what distinguishes the greatest rock and roll album ever from a mere masterpiece like Sticky Fingers.
Also, lyrically speaking, it's Mick's kiss-off to Keith -- that femme fatale in berber jewlery whose wicked ways are dragging the protagonist down; and that is why Mick's vocals are more direct, unadorned and less full of shit than anything else he ever laid down; he was writing a "Dear John" all over what is supposedly Keith's album. The theme never announces itself, but its the end of the band, as told from within.

paul.pittman@vancouver.ca
Great Album. Not as good as Let It Bleed, but not much is. And I think Mick's vocal on Rocks Off sounds like J Mascis.

Ben Burch
This is what A LOT of bands wish they could do. And this is also not the last great album they would ever do. You should pick up the 2009 UMG remasters, which sound hell of a lot better than those silly vinyls or basic cd's. Anyway, following Sticky Fingers up with a double album was a smart move, kind of in the same vain as Rattle & Hum after The Joshua Tree xD. As much as I love this album, I can't help but think "Shake Your Hips," "Sweet Black Angel" and maybe "Casino Boogie" could have been left off. But the rest of the songs are fuckin' awesome. So is the documentary Stones in Exile, which I highly recommend. My favorite here is "Soul Survivor," followed closely by "Tumbling Dice."

Add your thoughts?

Goats Head Soup - Rolling Stones 1973.
Rating = 8

Most people consider this to be the beginning of the end. In the sense that they would never again do an album as creative or moving as the last four, it is. However, since (in my opinion) the Stones didn't start putting out weak records until the '80s, this isn't the beginning of jack. It's just another enjoyable batch of songs, though a bit on the bizarre side. Where Sticky Fingers suggested a struggle with narcotics and fatigue, and Exile On Main Street bragged a victory over both, Goats Head Soup sounds like a band trapped in an opium slumber that will not end. This stuff isn't rock and roll, but it's sure not the hyper pop of '66 and '67, either. This stuff just refuses to pick up. The somewhat upbeat "Silver Train," the obscene Chuck Berryish rocker "Star Star," and the funky socially-conscious "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)" try to kick up a little dirt, but are bogged down by muddy production. Everything sounds so sluggish and bassy, the songs don't have Richard Nixon's chance in Hell of thrashin' up the ukulele store.

And the others? They're slow. Very slow. I think by this point, three of them were hooked on smack, so perhaps that explains it. Ever seen the movie Cocksucker Blues? Probably not. It's pretty hard to find. So let me tell you about it! It was filmed during the Exile On Main Street tour. Remember that record? With all them upbeat rockers? That's what the concerts were like; the Stones presented themselves as the scummiest, sexiest, most party-happy rockers in the world. But, as the movie shows, twas but a mere facade. Between shows, all they did was shoot up and fall asleep. Even the pre-fabricated "orgy" scene on the airplane collapses as the band members lose interest and fall asleep. So that was their life. And that's why Goats Head Soup sounds like this.

But the songs are really good! I love the melodies, and Mick sings 'em with the conviction he's always shown. Heck, even Keith sounds great singing "Coming Down Again," and he can't sing worth a Jack Russell Terrier! The best song is the sorrowful acoustic ballad "Angie," but the others stand up, even when that awful "funky" keyboard rears its ugly head. If you like this band, but don't feel the need to rock and shimmy all the livelong day, definitely pick this one up in a cheapy bin near you. The only bad thing about it is the butt-ugly album cover. Bleah. Did they intend Keith Richards to look like a poop stain on the back? 'Cuz that's what he looks like.

Reader Comments

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
Goats Head Soup and Who's Next both have eight stars. You complained about Who's Next being sluggish Bob Seger type rock, but you PRAISE the Stones for releasing EVEN MORE sluggish rock. You damn Who's Next for being midtempo, but Goats Head Soup doesn't even GET to midtempo. You complain that Who's Next is too full of guitars and pianos and things, when Goats Head Soup is EVEN WORSE in that regard. You say Who's Next isn't full of simple catchy tunes. I say it sure is, especially when compared to Goats Head Soup. Can you see why your site is so frustrating for Who fans? You never give them the breaks you give to the Beatles and the Stones. You complain about a lack of guitar on some Who records, but love Sgt. Pepper's for example. Anyway, do you really think a mediocre Stones record like Goats Head Soup is equal to one of The Who's best, Who's Next?

Weigelda@aol.com (Dave Weigel)
I'm sick and tired of critics and everybody else (especially obsessive Who fans named Tim) getting down on Goat's Head Soup. It's beyond me how people can praise fabulous but fake albums like Some Girls or Tattoo You and act like this record was a misstep. Sure, it's not Exile on Main St. Maybe it is the beginning of the end, but it's also the end of the beginning in the sense that the Stones would never again do something with balls like this. Goat's Head Soup is the last Rolling Stones album where the band is going for something more than AOR hits (maybe "Angie" was a #1 hit, but you get my point). This is a grim, moody album with great, subtle melodies. I call it a companion to Let it Bleed, but no one ever agrees with me. Now it doesn't really grip you like the last four records, and "Hide Your Love" actually blows, but it's an easy 8/10. I would agree with Mark in rating it equal to Who's Next.

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
1) Baba O'Riley
2) Bargain
3) Love Ain't For Keeping
4) My Wife
5) The Song Is Over
6) Getting In Tune
7) Going Mobile
8) Behind Blue Eyes
9) Won't Get Fooled Again

Goat's Head Soup compares to THAT? Get out of the institution much?

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
Definitely a strong if not flashy recording. The album does rock but in a sleazy prodding way. "Star Star" has a good rockin' beat and "100 Years Ago" has a cool solo courtesy of Mick Taylor. You know it's too bad Mick Taylor didn't stick around longer with the Stones. Where the Stones have superb rhythms courtesy of Keith, Bill, and Charlie, many of their guitar solos left a little to be desired. Only during the Mick Taylor era were the guitar solos consistently done well. Its too bad the Stones did not open up to what Mick Taylor had to offer for that's what led to him quitting the band.

swc555@aol.com
This album is so friggin underrated! "Angie" and "Winter" are two of the best Stones ballads ever. "Winter" sounds like early Van Morrison (and that's a real good thing). "Coming Down Again"- although it screams JUNKIE - is a beautiful song, Keith Richards's best. I mean compare this album to Steel Wheels or Doo Doo Lounge or God-forbid Dirty Work. Black And Blue is underrated too but that's another story.

I agree that Sticky Fingers was their peak. Exile is just icing on the cake. The band's best period was definitely when Mick Taylor was with them. It's too bad that after Wyman left, Ron Wood couldn't have switched to bass and a really good bluesy player like Taylor have joined. In fact how about Taylor himself, what's he working at Burger King now or something? Stevie Ray Vaughan would have been an amazing choice, Stevie and Keith jeeez!, but I guess his being dead creates touring problems.

Anyhow, nice site, I wish I would have thought of it, and what's with the Who guy?

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
What's with The Who guy? He thinks Mark gave The Who the SHAFT in his reviews, that's what!

gclavio@indiana.edu (Galen Clavio)
After repeated listenings, I'm convinced this album is one of their best. Songs like "Hide your Love", "Coming down Again", "Winter", and "Angie" wouldn't really belong on any album other than this or Black and Blue. This is just as strong an anti-stones album as Black & Blue. It's full of the excesses and personal debts the band has had to pay to get to where they are.

In other words, if Sticky Fingers describes the struggle, and Exile describes the victory, Goat's Head Soup describes what was lost to get to that point.

trr@quote.com (Tim Ringwood)
For years I didn't pick up this album/CD because I was told this was the first 'bad' Stones record. I really don't like Some Girls for example and think Black and Blue is all right.

But while Goat Head's sound isn't Exile or Sticky it's damn good. All the songs are good, some great and while it doesn't have the singular feel to it as some of thier better work I'll be damn if I heard any note on this album that didn't please me.

This is the start of the slide yes, but they were at the highest mountain top in rock and roll so a few feet down still puts them higher them most bands every dream of.

Worth the $$ if you like the previous 4. Don't let anybody sell your wrong.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Well, yes, the Stones slowly begin writing filler songs here - a thing they NEVER did before! The fillers are "Hide Your Love" (which is just Jagger having fun with a piano), "Can You Hear The Music" (psychodelics? in 1973?!), and Keith's "Coming Down" (this is the first in his line of rather unmelodic lyrical wailings, followed by "All About You", "Sleep Tonight" and "Thru And Thru").

But the other songs are cool. There's "Angie", and then there's the great buccanneer hymn "Silver Train", and "Winter" features some moving Jagger vocals (actually, it reminds me of the much better "Shine A Light"). The spooky songs ARE spooky ("Dancing With Mr D", "Heartbreaker"), the sexy songs ARE sexy ("Star Star" - good melody but shitty lyrics), and my personal favourite here is "100 Years Ago" because it features a fantastic wah-wah solo by Mick Taylor. It's a pity the others didn't let him carry it on for a few minutes more! And could somebody please explain to me what the hell is this discussion of Who's Next doing here?

hutchilj@aramco.com.sa
8 out of 10!?!? No way! This was a huge disappointment after Exile - I might give it "6" at a push. Most of the songs are just very ordinary, and even "Coming Down Again", "Heartbreaker", and "Starf....." are hardly classic Stones. I loved "Angie" when it came out, but I was 15 then. Now it just sounds insincere, merely an attempt to prove that they could write a love song. The Stones, with the notable exception of "Wild Horses", and "Beast Of Burden" if it can be classified as such, have never been any good at love songs.

break7@localnet.com (Tim Eimiller)
My fault, George. I tried to make amends by reviewing a truly fantastic record, Let It Bleed.

Hey Mark, how ya doin'? I've been away for awhile doing Navy stuff, but it's great to see your site is still going strong. Congratulations on the kudos from the LA Times. This is the BEST record review site on the net because it's the only one where the reviewer has the BALLS to print stuff from people who disagree with him.

leo1@1starnet.com (Rob and Lisa)
This album and Led Zeppelin 3 are the most underated rock albums of all time. You just cant have the real Stones "picture" without this one. Silver Train is a sleeper hit and the whole thing is fantastic and morose. A good compliment bootleg album from this "tour" is Brussels 73 and Heading for an Overload(Brussels 73 plus Wembley 73). All Stones fans need these ex quality boots. Perfect stereo. Jagger wanted to release "you cant always.." from the Brussels 73 show and include it on Love you live. its that good!! Goats head soup is a let down from Exile on Main St. But how could anything follow arguably the best dbl. album of all time(The Wall, Phy. Graffitti, London Calling, White album plus others)? When folks get "high" , they come down...this album makes perfect sense!

akoleszar@core.com (Alex J. Koleszar)
Has anyone noticed that "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)" sounds exactly like "Tin Soldier" by the Small Faces?

nickwalford@hotmail.com
have to agree with prindle on this one, although his somewhat acerbic comments belie the decent rating he gives. it may not be as good as let it bleed or exile..., but it's certainly tons better than that whos next bullpoop. a fair enough 8/10.

NB: I used to have a tape with this on one side and it's only rock n roll on the other, which didn't leave my walkman for about 3 years.

kduroche@nycap.rr.com (Keith Durocher)
Let me first say it's no where near who's next. who's next is the who's crowning achievement and probably one of the ten best album' s of all time. That aside goat's head is worth listening to especially for serious stones fans. Dancing with Mr. D is unmistable stonesey and my favorite 100 years ago will have you listening to it more and more often. Imagine the ball's it must have taken in 1973 to release Star Star. Long before warning labels appeared on albums. Starf**ker is a gem, the way Mick sings it makes the song. Add Angie and heartbreaker you have a pretty good album. Albeit not as good as let it bleed and sticky fingers but not a bomb that's for sure. Casual fan's stick with Hot Rocks and 'Rewind, serious fan's buy it there are terrific song's on here you can't get anywhere else and you will be sorry if you don't here them. By the way Winter ROCKS.

festivefriend@volny.cz
'Angie' is the WORST song on here by a long chalk, my friend. What's wrong with ya? Mick Jagger sounds about as sincere as Tricky Dicky. And 'Heartbreaker' is the BEST here, with irresistable keyboards and wah-wah guitar.

Get your facts right or I send the boys round.

andy@theleeches.com
Mick Taylor was, and is, a superb technical guitarist.

But boring as shit for that very reason. As Jimmy Miller said during one 1970 recording session, "Can't you make that guy shut up?".

I've a bootleg recording of he & Keith working through what must be the very first idea of "Wild Horses". Keith's got the progression in order but is audibly trying to get a mood for it, and young Mick is just jamming away 40 notes to the second like some 15y.o. kid who's just learnt his first blues scale. Truly horrible.

Every Taylor solo is gibber, a soul-less gymnastic fretboard exercise, so expressionless as to leave me cold. The main reason they got him in was compared to the Trouble that was Brian Jones, this guy was a controllable lackey who'd know his place. I s'pose his style suited the times, the Claptons & Pages were in the ascendant then, but in hindsight his contribution to the overall progression of how guitars are played was fairly minimal.

In fact I would argue that he, though through sheer passivity, did contribute to the Stones' decline into mid-70s pap, something which they never truly recovered from. Tho, to be fair, Keith being a complete screwup-smackie probably did more to contribute to that debacle.

jcjh@sparklingriver.com
Like other 'Stones records, this one and Their Satanic Majesties Request probably has the most mixed results. I personally really like both records, and think they're both quite underrated despite some inconsistancies here and there. As for Goats Head Soup, i think an 8/10 is the perfect rating i'd give it, so needless to say, i agree!

"Coming Down Again" and "Angie" in particular are one of my all time favorite Rolling Stones ballads, though most people either love or hate "Coming Down Again", which has the best lead vocal from Keith Richards possibly ever recorded in my opinion. There's also those beautiful guitar touches from Mick Taylor and great piano work which makes it quite the highlight for me. There's also "Winter", which just further shows these guys can do one hell of a beautiful song.

The only lowlights for me on this record are the faster paced songs, like "Star Star" and "Heartbreaker", which are just dumb songs, and the only thing that shows the band was going downhill after this. Most of the rest are really good though, even "Dancin' With Mr. D" has a great riff and "Hide Your Love" is catchy. "Can You Hear The Music" is very interesting too, and i dig that swirling leslie speaker effect on the guitar.

Even though this album is quite different than their "classic" material, that's exactly why i like it. They tried something new on this record instead of recording more of the same stuff they've done already in the past by creating a totally pleasant and relaxed sound that i think suited them very well. It's when they try to "rock" again is when they sound inappropriate, but that's just me!

NMcpherson@fac.unc.edu (Norman McPherson)
This was probably the Stones' last great album. I picked this album up when it first came out. "Dancing with Mr. D" sounded pretty weak for an opener though. A buddy of mine picked up the tape and we played the thing over and over when a bunch of us stayed in an old house one night. A couple of years later we saw the Stones in Greensboro, N.C. I swear that Keith Richards was the whitest man that I ever saw.

Wadedh14@aol.com
More Stones? Hey, it's not the 80's yet! We'll take it! I love "Heartbreaker", and on certain days I'll find myself listening to "Angie". "Star Fsutcakrer" is DIS...GUS...TING. But pretty rockin'. The rest of the stuff is kinda so-so, but I haven't heard a lot of it in a while. Still, not as bad as it would get, and better than the worst from Exile.

csukaly@tulane.edu (Cooper Sukaly)
When you listen to Goats Head Soup right after Exile on Main St., its hard to not get a little depressed in the drop-off in quality. Some people don't like Exile because of its "messy-vibe", but what the hell do you call the sound on this album then? A "lazy-vibe"? You can almost see Keith nodding off in the corner when you listen to "Winter" The band still has a knack for writing some decent melodies and hooks, but this most of these songs sound like they were recorded by a band who had better things to do. Just compare "Dancing With Mr. D" to "Sympathy to the Devil" from 68' and you'll get the picture of how uninspired this era was for the Stones. They were still talented enough to half-ass their way to a marginally entertaining album, but the energy and creativity they had a few years prior is almost totally gone from Goats Head. Let's not even talk about 'Steel Wheels", on which the band actually cared but still wound up sucking. Disappointing stuff.

Brad.Saltzberg@serebra.com
I have no idea why Goats Head Soup gets labeled as their big downfall album- sure there are a couple weak tracks but “winter” is excellent, as is “coming down again”- both great down tempo ballads” some dissed “can you hear the music”- not in my books, it has a great clavinet sound and the break where mick says “love is a mystery…” is brill. heartbreaker is as good as it gets, infused with 70’s blackploitation funk, nice touch.

weirdlyone@hotmail.com
Goats Head Soup is a great album to kick back and listen to all the way through, the way we used to in the old days, maybe with some beers and a bomber j of some Lumbo Gold!

I especially love 100 Years Ago and Can You Hear the Music.

Keep rockin', Marky P!!!!!

Ben Burch
Man, even I thought this was the beginning of the end when I first heard it. But then again, it was a smart move to follow up Exile with kind of a mellow album and avoid sounding like a parody of themselves. Shit, thanks for throwing support behind "Coming Down Again," which George Starostin accused of not having a "melody" -_-

Anyway, "Angie" might be the best known song here, and it maybe a good song, but it doesn't come close to matching up to forgotten gems "100 Years Ago," "Winter" and especially "Can You Hear the Music?" (the best psychedelic song they ever did - aside from "Paint it Black,") hell even the follow up single "Heartbreaker" is better than that one, and unfortunately that song (along with pretty much the rest of this album) seems to have gone obscure over the years. What a bummer. The album is certainly not better than Exile, but it's certainly more even. There's not one song on here I don't like.

This is also what the original cover was supposed to look like: http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Evils%20in%20America/Rock-n-Roll/goats_head_soup.jpg

Add your thoughts?

It's Only Rock 'N' Roll - Rolling Stones 1974.
Rating = 7

Since I wasn't born until 1973, I wouldn't know if the following assumption is true or not, but I betcha that this record was recorded in response to a Goats Head Soup backlash. These songs aren't weird or muddy at all. They are rillly rilly simple and accessible (almost offensively so, in light of their past achievements), as if to say "No no, really! We're STILL the Rolling Stones! Listen! Can ya hear it????" I might suggest that this album (and attitude) truly represents the beginning of the end. There's no exploration here. The rockers, though catchy, don't come within a cute little stuffed puppy dog of comparing to those on Exile On Main Street, the ballads are pro forma, whatever that means, and even the R 'n' B cover is remarkably uninteresting. Now granted, they warn you in the title that this isn't going to be a mind-blowing experience, so, with lowered expectations, you might actually enjoy it!

Myself, I'm enamored by the distorted guitar grunts of "Dance Little Sister," the silly fun of "Short And Curlies," the excessive but wonderfully melodic Mick Taylor soloing in "Time Waits For No One," and the funky-as-the-theme-from-Shaft anti-FBI disco rocker "Fingerprint File," which gets my vote for best song on here, in addition to the office of attorney general. The title track's pretty great, too, but the others - well, the others are just okay.

Reader Comments

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
Somewhat inconsistent. "If You Can't Rock Me", "Time Waits For No One", "Fingerprint File", and the cover "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" rate among the upper echelon of Stones Tunes. However "It's Only Rock N Roll" and "Dance Little Sister" lack staying power and were badly over played. The rest is ordinary.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Not bad. Definitely not bad! This album is probably the last Stones' album on which they are not too concerned about funk and raunch. So they managed to put forth several beautiful ballads (I like all the three ballads on the album), and the rockers are fine (well, you may or may not like the title track, but you have to admit it's one of their most popular songs). The only problem is "Short And Curlies", which is a rip-off from Dylan's "Rainy Day Women # 12 And # 35"; but thankfully it is quite short. "Fingerprint File" is fantastic! One of Jagger's finest vocal performances, to my opinion. Who could suspect what would happen to that voice twelve years later... sigh!

mmcneil@balescompany.com (Mike McNeil)
This is Mick Taylor's album. He hits his peak performance here during his much-too-short tenure with the Stones. The lead work on "Time Waits For No One" is a thing of absolute beauty and grace. There are very few classic leads ever recorded as strong as this. I think perhaps that while Mick Taylor was with the Stones, Keith Richards forgot how to play a lead guitar. The post-Mick Taylor lead guitar work by either Richards or Wood on any of their subsequent recordings are fairly weak to say the least.

Wadedh14@aol.com
Man, the title track kicks all sorts of ass. I think so, anyway. Why'd they have to lop off the ending on Forty Licks though? Best damn part of it, if you ask me!

Brad.Saltzberg@serebra.com
This is a very under-rated album. For one thing, the song “it’s only rock n roll” should be up there with their most famous uptempo rockers- it’s every bit as good. But even better are the acoustic ballads- “if you really want to be my friend” and of course “time waits for no one.” fingerprint file is a cool take on 70’s funk. There are a couple weak tracks but mostly its great. Same with goat’s head.

Ben Burch
I really don't get this "self parody" bullshit I've been reading about concerning this album. This is the Stones doing what they do best. I myself see no self parody on here at all. I do agree that "Fingerprint File" is the best song on here, and it just might be the best funk/disco song they ever did. I don't know why, but this album always felt more fresh and real to me than the others preceding it, maybe because it's a lot less overplayed. "Time Waits for No One" also has what I think the best guitar solo on any Stones song.

Add your thoughts?

1969-1974: The Mick Taylor Years DVD - Sexy Intellectual 2010
Rating = 7

This DVD is basically a bunch of talking heads (David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Je

This DVD is basically a bunch of talking heads (John Mayall, Robert Greenfield, Robert Christgau, Al Perkins, Bill Plummer, Barney Hoskyns, Mick Taylor, etc) chit-chatting about the Rolling Stones' albums and live performances between Let It Bleed and It's Only Rock And Roll, interspersed with live footage of the band.

Key conclusions:
- Mick Taylor was the most talented guitarist that the Stones ever had, and wasn't given enough songwriting credit ("Ventilator Blues" and that's it!?)
- The Stones lost it after Exile because Keith was a drug addict and Mick only cared about being a celebrity

Interesting facts that you probably already know, but I didn't:
- Anita left Brian for Keith, then cheated on Keith with Mick!
- The Stones were completely broke by the end of the '60s!
- The Stones were never all in the studio at the same time during the recording of Exile, and the record was completed by session musicians in L.A.!
- They recorded 150 takes of "Tumbling Dice"!

The DVD is interesting enough for one viewing, but not compelling enough for two. It's sorta like just hanging out with your buddies and discussing the Rolling Stones, except that these guys are more intelligent than your stupid, stupid friends. They can suck it with their whining about Goats Head Soup though. I love that album.

But let's get to the real reason we're here today -- to talk about how I've been thrown out of two bars in the last three weeks!

I'm told that the experience of being abandoned by a spouse is a form of "trauma," so I hope you can understand and forgive such recent misbehavior as staying out all night, sleeping all day, binge drinking, and essentially failing to get anything done. My mood is constantly shooting up and down, and I'm just trying to be out and about with my friends as often as possible. For the moment, sanity must take precedence over industry.

More specifically, I've been going to karaoke twice a week (generally with Jim Laakso, sometimes with James W. Greene as well) and sing/scream/abusing my heart out to the audiences' sheer delight and/or horror. Here are a few highlights you may have missed because you were at home being productive:

- "Unchained" - This Van Halen classic gave me the opportunity to show off all my old Tae Kwon Do kicks. I'm a little rusty, but I pulled them off okay.

- "Ebony and Ivory" - In this duet with Jim Laakso, I sang the Stevie Wonder lyrics while lying face down on the floor with a former America's Next Top Model contestant snuggling me.

- "Highway To Hell" - A pretty blonde woman was singing this with her two drunk friends when, seeing my zeal and remembering my delightful earlier performances, she invited me onto the stage and held my hand as I sang along. We chatted a bit afterwards too, but then she disappeared forever, like a lost vision on the prairies of a dream.

- "Toys In The Attic," "Draw The Line," "Back In The Saddle," "Heatseeker," "Who Made Who," "Sink The Pink" - Just your basic raving through the audience smashing into people and rolling on the floor like an idiot. The "Draw The Line" evening was notable though, for the fact that I blacked out before performing the song and got ejected from the club shortly afterwards -- apparently because I kicked a broom and then stared at the floor for several minutes while standing completely still. Oops! I also remember lots of 'tipping things over' going on -- several glasses and even the bench I was sitting on. Good old defensive drinking.

- "Munich" - In one of my most disconcerting performances, I sang every threatening and accusatory line of this Editors song while standing too close to various female audience members and looking directly into their eyes.

- "See Emily Play" - This performance won me my second bar ejection. I was having a grand old time singing the hits and living the good life when suddenly these two whiny assholes complained about me jumping up and down excitedly while grabbing onto a nearby ledge. "Every time you do that, you knock glasses and plates off the ledge," they argued. I apologized and sat down. However, thanks to sorrowful overdrinking, I grew angrier and angrier in that chair until by the time my name was called, I was a festering boil of spite. So as I walked to the stage, I purposely knocked a plate off the ledge. Then during the first verse of the song, I swiped a glass off the ledge as hard as I could -- it flew across the room and smashed against the wall next to Jim Laakso. Apparently I then tried to jump off the stage but fell on my face. The next thing I remember is a gigantic bouncer standing right in front of me. I proceeded to the table next to Jim to pick up the broken glass while continuing to sing. After the song, the bouncer ensured that we went on our merry way! Another funny thing about this evening is that a bit earlier, a woman shrieked about a roach on the floor so I ran around trying to catch it so I could hand it to her. In this way, I get dates.

- "Ace Of Spades" - A few minutes before this performance, I noticed two cute young (and drunk) laydeeeeez looking me over. When I hit the stage, they shouted, "Take it off!" I replied, "Huh!?" They reiterated, "Take off your shirt! Show us your tits!" Being an agreeable sort, I did so. But come on, it was "Ace Of Spades." So I proceeded to clear the dance floor with the most exuberant and violent performance possible. Afterwards, I approached the women to apologize. And this conversation took place:

(this is all true)

(I'm not making this up)

Me: "I'm sorry about that."
Woman: "You broke my necklace."
Me: "I'm so sorry. I was drunk; I don't even remember doing it. Here, let me pay for it."
Woman: "I don't want your money."
Me: "No seriously, let me pay for it."
Woman: "It's already fixed."
Me: "So... what's the problem?"
Woman: "I'm mad because of your carelessness! What if you'd grabbed somebody's vagina?"

!!!!

Okay, gotta go. It's karaoke time!

Add your thoughts?

Black And Blue - Rolling Stones 1976.
Rating = 7

This album was, in the words of Keith Richards, "auditios for a new guitarist" -- with the winner being ex-Face Ron Wood, a goofy drunken Keith Richards parody who added a lot more to the band appearance-wise than Taylor had, but musically you hardly even notice he's there! That's okay, though. This is by far the least Stonesy record of all time - a complete retraction of the statement put forth by the last album. These songs are disco, reggae, Caribbeany, wussy adult pop, lounge jazz, and, as an afterthought, a couple of 'em are distorted guitar rock. For obvious reasons that I don't need to jot on the blackboard, I used to despise this record. Now I pretty much love it. The production is topnotch; you can hear everything - pianos, organs, brushes, horns, TWO guitars (often more!), bass - and it's all as sharp and crisp as a flaming businessman. Plus, a lot of the melodies ("Hot Stuff," "Hand Of Fate," and "Hey Negrita," especially) just grab you by the shirt collar and make you dance up and down and tap your foot like some kinda fruitcake.

If I were the sort to complain, I might tell you that the melodies just repeat themselves over and over and over again for about five minutes apiece, and that the cheesy keyboards nearly destroy both the pleasant ballad "Memory Motel" and the already-pretty-lame "Fool To Cry," and that "Crazy Mama" is awfully generic to be only one of two rockers on here, and, oh, that's enough for now. I love "Hot Stuff"; only a great rock and roll band could pen a disco song this funky. And "Hey Negrita" - now that's a cool skittly guitar line goin' on there. And, throughout, the drums are louder than an aeroplane. Complain if you want, but this is the last time that the Stones were willing to experiment with an entire album. The rest of their career has pretty much been a restatement of "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll," with a few weird songs thrown in here and there. But for more data on that, continue reading!

Reader Comments

gclavio@indiana.edu (Galen Clavio)
This is the most non-stones the Stones ever got in their career, and it actually works. I mean, "Cherry Oh baby" still blows, but the rest is all really worth listening to - slow rockers, boogie-woogie piano, schmaltz, and disco. That's okay, though - it's good schmaltz. "Memory Motel" wins my vote for their most beautiful song after "Angie". "Hand of Fate" rocks my world, and "Hot Stuff" even gets me moving sometimes.

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
The start of the decline. "Hot Stuff" is lacking lyrics and an alternate melody. "Fool To Cry" suffers a similar fate although the fade out at the end is fairly cool. "Crazy Mama" and "Hand Of Fate" are good but not near the Stones' best work. Mick Taylor's presence was needed here.

swc555@aol.com
I was reading a few of your Aerosmith reviews and you referred to Draw The Line as Aerosmith's "groove" album. Could be, I don't really remember that one, but Black And Blue is the Stones' "groove" album.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
This is probably the most chaotic album ever put out by the Stones. But despite this, it is probably their best effort in the 70-s (I mean, after Sticky Fingers). Most of the songs are indeed grooves, but they work (unlike the grooves on, say, Undercover): "Hey Negrita" features some fantastic Ronnie Wood licks and great vocals from Mick, "Melody" is an exciting jazz improvisation with some more interesting vocal efforts, and "Hot Stuff" is probably the ONLY straight-ahead disco song I ever liked - mostly because of the guitar breaks.

Speaking of guitar breaks - the sessions for B&B were overloaded with guest musicians (Billy Preston, Harvey Mandel, Wayne Perkins, and lots and lots of others, I guess), but this cannot be considered a flaw. In fact, it is Perkins who contributes the great solo on "Hand Of Fate", and it's Preston's piano that makes "Melody" eminently listenable. And hey! "Fool To Cry" is not lame at all. It's a great humorous ballad, and besides the keyboards (which never ruin nothing), there are some painfully touching guitar licks (Keith's presumably), and I particularly love Mick wailing "I'M A FOOL - YEAH - I'M A FOOL!". Ve-e-e-e-ry modest, ain't he?

Finally, everybody seems to hate "Cherry Oh Baby". I LOVE it. Don't know why, but I LOVE it. I mean - come on, 'tis just a groove, ain't it? It's real funny hearing the guys singing "Ye-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-y-e-y-yeah!"

mjhaag@webtv.net (Michael Haag)
Why did all the albums put out by rock legends in 1976 all suck? (think Zeppelin, Stones, McCartney, the Who '75) No wonder the Ramones, Sex Pistols, the Clash, Talking Heads, et al were able to move in so easily and shake thing up.

mmcneil@balescompany.com (Mike McNeil)
Ah yes, the downhill slide begins here. "Memory Motel" and "Hand of Fate" are still strong classic Stones tunes. "Melody" and "Fool to Cry" are a bit out of the box for the Stones, but admirable nevertheless. The "Hot Stuff" disco thing to this day makes me ill. The Stones sold out when they started doing disco. Please!!!

Remember that Ronnie Wood was still with the Faces during the recording of B & B and was just sitting in to help the boys out. The Stones were still auditioning guitarists during this period (Jeff Beck, Nils Lofgren, Rory Gallagher to name a few). Lots of guest musician work on this disc, so a good deal of the fine instumentation on this recording cannot be contributed to the Stones themselves. Wayne Perkins' lead guitar workout on "Hand of Fate" is absolute top-shelf. Mick Taylor could have at least performed this as well as Wayne, but it was certainly way beyond the abilities of Keith Richards!

linda.hubble@tcdsb.org
Hot stuff disco!!!??? That's what ya' call white-boy funk!! It even incorparated some early rap if you will9Everyone in New York, I know ya' all going broke but Ya' tuff; shake it up, shake it up!" Disco!!!??? Puleese!

pedro.andino@msn.com
hey! merry christmas! and shut the fuck up mr. haag! I do not like punk! sex pistals are shitty! classic rock rules! my sister is a dj! the tasty thing that I remember was I fucked my sweet girl! mmmmm sweet delicious spasams! yo! I belive that the guy who said in the no security review said that the stones can rock whenever they want! keef! mick! watts! black and blue! do not look at the cover with a raped woman in her underwear saying rape me! ew!

1.HOT STUFF: CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA! FUNK GUEETAR LIKE JAMES BROWN! OW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOT STUFF IS A ROUGH DIRTY RAUNCHY JAGGED DANCE JAM THAT MAKES ANY WHITE BOY DANCE HIS ASS OFF WITHOUT MAKING A DAMN FOOL! AH AH AH! THE MEGAPHONE VOCALS ARE GOOD BUT I CANNOT HEAR JAGGER!

2.HAND OF FATE: CHUNKY ROCKER WITH UM.. HEY I THINK THAT KEEF DID THE SOLO OR RON WOOD?? ANYWAY YOU SAID IT WAS WAYNE PERKINS A SESSION GUY THEN U ARE RIGHT!

3.CHERRY OH BABY!: HA! REGGAE! SILLY SLOPPY STUFF! LIKE A BUNCH OF DRUNKS MESSING AROUND!

4.MEMORY MOTEL: OOOOOO YEAH. PRETTY BALLAD! SWEETEST BALLAD SINCE SHE'S A RAINBOW! TIFA, LARA, AREITH,CAMERON,KIRSTEN,ABBY,ARWEN. SHE'S ONE OF A KIND! YES IT IS A MAMBO .5 JOKE!

5.HEY NEGRITA!: ARRIBA! SUPER RICO! SUPER! SUPER 1976 QUE RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRICO ESTA! MEXICAN FLAVOR AND DIRTY RIFFS! I HAVE SEEN Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN! SWEET COOL DELICIOUS SEX! YEAH! MEXICANS COME TO GET SOME! EVEN I LIKED IT WHEN THE BOYS KISSED! WOAH!

6.MELODY: 1933 JAZZ WITH A SMOKY BILLIE HOLIDY VIBE! OOOO CHICAGO! VELMA! HOT RENEE ZELLWATCHAMACALLIT! HER WAIST! OOOOO YEA!

7.FOOL TO CRY: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SWEET! A SEXY CALM FALSETTO-Y BALLAD JUST LIKE BARRY WHITE! SEXY WATERY ELECTRIC PIANO AND MICK!

8.CRAZY MAMA: DIRTY HARD AND ROUGH LIKE ROD STWERAT BFORE HE TAMED TO THE WORTHLESS SHEEP ! THE HERD OF CELINE 'I CANNOT SHUT UP' DION! STUPID

ANYWAY U MAY BE TIHNKING AND THINK WAY TOO MUCH ABOUT GIRLS, FUCK YOU! I STILL LOVE 'EM U GOTTA HAVE SEX! FUCK EMO UP IT'S BITCH ASS! ANYWAY LOVEMAKING IS KING! HERE I COME MS. LOCKHEART! THE LOVE TRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ryanmoss@rogers.com
Too bad the greatest Stones era ends with Mick Taylor leaving and Ron "rooster-head" Wood joining. I saw his solo performance on the "Strat Pack" dvd. Yikes! I thought Keith was a shit singer.

toro_92@yahoo.ca (Ron)
Sure, they're rehearsing guitar players, and wound up with someone right for his own band but not the best choice for the Stones (Wood), but looking back it's a pretty well made album overall. "Hot Stuff" is really the only stinker here, it just shuffles along aimlessly. The Wayne Perkins solo and Mick's snarly vocals make "Hand of Fate" one of their better songs of the 70's. "Cherry Oh Baby" has that heavy drumbeat (Watts is great on the whole album), and "Memory Motel" captures the Mick/Keith dynamic a hundred times better than "Waiting On A Friend". "Hey Negrita" is raw and spunky, and "Melody" is tolerable. The Some Girls shakedown had to happen of course, just to inject some energy into things, but one thing lost was the musicality of those mid-70's records. Preston, Hopkins, Keys, Price, those Rolling Stones had some strong musical depth behind them.

Wadedh14@bellsouth.net
It took me forever to post a review to this album because it took me so long to listen to it. And I listened to it a long time ago, so I'm double-overdue.

"Hot Stuff" is so so silly. It's so tongue-in-cheek, it's almost as if Mick Jagger's tongue is in the listener's cheek (I wouldn't rule out that literal possibility; Mick was pretty glammy around this time). Great Harvey Mandel guitar guest spot. "Hand of Fate" is a little less memorable, if only because the other songs are so out-of- character in terms of genre ("Crazy Mama" suffers the same fate). But I prefer "Hand" to "Crazy" -- not sure why, but the former is a good rock song.

"Cherry Oh Baby." My, my, my. The Stones do reggae, and it is HILARIOUS...and hilariously good! This was the first song I heard from this album; can you believe it? Boy, what a fun song. "Memory Motel" is a very nice, if slightly overlong ballad.

"Melody" is an interesting glimpse into the (one-song ever) world of Stones jazz. Billy Preston? Fuck, we'll take it! Nice little boogie feel to it. Some may disagree, but I don't really care for "Fool to Cry". It's too keyboardy, too weird, too falsetto, I guess. Maybe it's just boring. The only time-edited song on Forty Licks that wasn't an abomination.

Saved the best for last...ready? "Hey-fucking-Negrita!" Best goddamn song on this album, and one of the best songs they did in the '70s, you better believe. Ronnie plays the "cool skittly guitar line" (perfect description, Mark!) while Keith plays the chords. Billy Preston (again!) bangs the fuck out of the piano like a pissed- off coke-headed black man (wait...he was), and Charlie and Bill hold it together PERFECTLY. And Mick? Mick runs the gamut from sounding like generic Mick (something he was surprisingly good at) to great soul screams to sounding like a woman sneezing, all the while incorporating suck classic idiocy as "I need money / My sweet ass". Seriously, this might be in the top ten '70s songs the Stones did. FANTASTIC fucking song.

I probably stressed that point a little too hard. Oh well. Black and Blue gets a mid-to-high 7/10, and deservedly so. When the Stones don't give a shit what their playing (in a peak period, such as 1976), the results are pretty entertaining!

Ben
Great review. I agree on just about everything, and I think "Crazy Mama" is better than the other rocker on here " Hand of Fate". Only song I don't care for is "Cherry Oh Baby". Mick's voice also gets annoying here.

Add your thoughts?

Love You Live - Rolling Stones 1977.
Rating = 7

To me, this sounds like what Ya-Ya's failed to be - a generic beer-drinkin' honky-tonk rock 'n' roll good time! The songs just boogie along with guest piano and keyboards by Ian Stewart and Billy Preston. There's lots of tacky on-stage banter, Bill Wyman is credited on the cover for "bass and dancing," there's grotesque and stupid Andy Warhol "artwork" splashed all over it, plus there's a lot of great songs and excitement. Real sweaty. And it's a double-album! Two problems, though. (1) Side three is four blues covers that all sound exactly the same, and (2) Mick half-asses it the entire time. He doesn't sing ANYTHING right! Tons of ego, but aaaaaah, who gives a crap? Fun decadent late-70's bar rock. Just don't listen to it after the Ramones. It would sound pretty dumb.
Reader Comments

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Sure, this record IS what you call it - a generic beer-drinkin' rock'n'roll good time! But this is what makes the record WORSE actually. "Ya-Ya's" was NEVER intended to sound like Love You Live, so it just COULDN'T fail in this respect. However, on "Ya-Ya's" the musicians are obviously trying to make GOOD stage music, and Mick is trying to sing. On Love You Live nobody gives a damn. So they go and ruin such otherwise beautiful songs as "Fingerprint File", "If You Can't Rock Me", "You Gotta Move" and "Tumbling Dice"! Hell, even the version of "Honky Tonk Women" is incomparable to the version on "Ya-Ya's"!

But how can you dismiss side three, which is eventually the best of the whole record? "Four blues covers that all sound exactly the same"? There's "Around And Around" which is not a blues cover, it's pure rock'n'roll, and it's real satisfying to see Keef revitalize on this one and crack out his Berry-licks! And "Manish Boy" is fun. Even Mick's note-missing, gruff type of singing which is unfittable for oh so many originals sounds great on this one! "Exactly the same"? That's what Dave Weigel (an all-time nice guy but a complete idiot when he starts discussing things he doesn't understand) wrote in his review of Layla, "why does all blues sound the same"? What do I have to say in response? (Sigh).

But apart from that side three there is not much to be found on this album. Oh wait! There's that breath-ripping solo on "Brown Sugar". Cut it out from the CD and hang it on your wall (especially since it is most certainly overdubbed: you can hear that very well on the record). Sure, the album is valuable for completionists (like me), but NOT recommended for amateurs. "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out" instead!

fheilbro@sinfo.net
LOVE YOU LIVE/YES!!!!!!!!!!! USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brad.Saltzberg@serebra.com
Why isn’t this album considered to be one of the best live rock albums ever? It SHOULD be- it is fabulous. I have never understood why this album doesn’t get more props. I will go out on a limb and say it is one of the finest recordings of their career. One whole thing is awesome- pure power from Keith and Ronnie actually takes some solos- check out his “trilling” style solo on “you cant get what you want”- that shows why Ronnie was the obvious replacement for mick taylor- one of the great rock solos and completely overlooked. How about “round and round” from side three at el macombo- smokin’ hot- keith takes a solo and it is just killer!! This album is the bomb.

Ben
Though I didn't discover this until recently, this is the one Stones album I don't care for. Sloppy playing, bad singing and these versions don't really add anything to the studio versions. However, the guitar solo in "Brown Sugar" is pretty cool, "Fingerprint File" has some nice effects on the vocals, "Around and Around" is excellent and I like how they joined up "If You Can't Rock Me" and "Get off of My Cloud". However, there's also a pretty crappy version of "Sympathy for the Devil" and "You Gotta Move" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" are also on here.

Add your thoughts?

Some Girls - Rolling Stones 1978.
Rating = 8

I guess Big Mickey was living in NYC, cuz all the songs are about the fabled "Big Crapple." They're also lively and creative! On the creative side, "Miss You" is the most fantastic disco song any band could ever dream of recording (I love those "hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo"s!), "Beast Of Burden" is almost beautiful in a late-70s kinda way, "Far Away Eyes" is a steel guitar-driven country-western narrative that's right up there with "Dear Doctor" in terms of catchiness and joviality, and "Shattered" is a bitter condemnation/celebration of scummy ol' Manhattan set to the most bizarre guitar tone the Stones ever used. I still don't know what the hey they're doing to that poor instrument! Is it just too much chorus? I don't know! You? Real neat sound, though.

On the lively side, "When The Whip Comes Down," is a latter-day three-chord rocker along the lines of "Get Off Of My Cloud," both "Lies" and "Respectable" show that Mick hadn't turned a blind ear to that crazy "punk" phenomenon that had taken British by storm in past months (go ahead, listen to these songs right after anything on Never Mind The Bollocks, and you tell me which is faster - go ahead!), and the title track is just as sleazy as every other song that this band of gentle loving scumbags has ever written about women ("Black girls just wanna get fucked all night?"). The cover of "Imagination" blows, and Keith's empty whiny vocal destroys the otherwise not-bad "Before They Make Me Run," but, as you might have figured out by now, I like this record pretty well. Their best since the glory days. And the album cover's kinda whimsical, too. Stones in drag. Sit on this one. They haven't done an album this good since.

Reader Comments

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
A badly overrated album. More overplayed crap, specifically the singles "Miss You", "Beast Of Burden", and "Shattered". "When The Whip Comes Down" is fairly monotonous with just a D, A Chord Progression throughout although Ronnie adds some decent fills. The only worthwhile tunes here are the controversial title track, "Before They Make Me Run", and "Respectable".

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Now this one is mixed. VERY mixed, I mean. Actually, I prefer Tattoo You; but it's not that I have anything unpleasant to say about this one, either. The gems here are "Miss You" (it may be disco, but one almost forgets about it, 'cos it's not the rhythm that matters here, but the great riff), and "Beast Of Burden", of course, but the others... Some of them work much better live: "Shattered", for example. This song becomes attractive only on stage. Same goes with "Before They Make Me Run", which is badly produced. Same goes with "Imagination": I actually prefer the live version on Still Life. Some of the songs are just crappy. "When The Whip Comes Down" is one, for instance. I mean, it does "kick ass", but that's about all there is to this one. I felt ashamed for the Stones when I heard it for the first time. The two other punkish tracks ("Lies" and "Respectable") are more attractive, because there is at least some great guitar on both of them. "Far Away Eyes" is overlong and therefore dull. Same goes with the title track, which is unnecessarily kinky as well.

In all, the album is quite interesting and worth having, but I agree it is badly overrated. It's a shame the world skipped Black And Blue and welcomed this one! Go figure!

hutchilj@aramco.com.sa
Also very overrated, Im afraid. "Beast Of Burden" is wonderful, of course, and "Respectable" is a great ballsy song, but there are too many ordinary songs, and "Miss You" is an embarrassment. Id give it 6.5.

jtcable@tir.com (H.V.C.)
Almost every next Stones album is described as "The last great one since (the last one or two). One other thing, does every band release albums that are packed solely with great songs, or is it just Stones, Beatles, and AC/DC? It's not Kiss, I know that.

Anyway, I guess I'll tackle the songs in the order they are presented.

Miss You... missed me. Disco? But then, I didn't even find out the name of the song until I bought Some Girls. Anyway, pretty much the #1 in the Stones formula of songwriting. This formula being: 1 = Catchy music that is good with really interesting/cool lyrics. 2 = Just the cool lyrics, dull music. 3 = Just really great music, average lyrics. Really funky and fun song, fun lyrics. Great way to start an album.

When The Whip Comes Down... first time I heard Mick say gay and fag in the same sentence (and probably the only time), really fast and fun, with some incredible lyrics. This couldn't have actually happened to him... could it? When the shit is hitting the fan, is Mick really wishing he was sitting on the can?

Imagination, or Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me), I'll admit, sounds really lame. It's got a fast beat, but the vocals are so soft and weak. I still like the lyrics. Stones Song Formula #2, nice lyrics, dull as Hell tune. I actually like it, though. If I'm tracking through this album, I might stop on this one.

Title track has a great intro, and it just gets scary with the lyrics. Mom likes it... I guess it's ok. Mom is in her 50's, so she knows better. And, now I need not go to China, because I know what the girls are like there. I'd put this in a borderline formula between #'s 1 & 2. Really great lyrics, especially "Gimme half your money/Gimme half your car/Gimme half of everything/I'll make you the world's biggest star/By half". Too cool.

Incredible fast music on Lies, with the blistering vocals to match. More fun with lyrics. "Lies, lies you dirty jezebel/Why, why, why, why don't you go to hell?" Mick knew to treat women as equals. Almost every vocal aspect of this song is enjoyable.

Underrated: Far Away Eyes. Mick does a really funny redneck impression, without dropping his English accent. Then he sings about being inspired by God to run 20 red lights. Thank You Jesus! Thank You Lord! Also, the fact that the main body of lyrics is in spoken word really helps the song. Neat lyrics, again, and I like that music. What kind of music is that, anyway? ;p

Don't take my wife, don't come back! Just kidding. I think Respectable is just kind of average, and not very punky at all (guitar isn't electric enough for that). Nice song, but that's it.

Keith's rebellion song, too bad he has nothing to rebel against. His choked vocals (he sounds like he's holding in a few hundred breaths) are pretty damn annoying, and the tune is really nice and sappy... but I kinda like it.

Almost done. Really cool guitar intro to Beast of Burden. I'm sure the song is about fucking, but don't tell Bette Midler that, she'd go into a conniption fit. Nice lyrics, ok music. This song isn't really near the top of the album.

Shattered is one of the classics, DUH!

8 out of 10

todchy@openaccess.org (Todd Lee)
This is a much better album than some want to give it credit for, but maybe its gettin a bad rap for being the beginning of the end, which it was. With the exception of Tatoo You, every album they put out since, sucks in a major way. How tiresome is it to read some Rolling Stone magazine hack praise their latest piece of crap as, "The Stones' best since Some Girls". This is the same hype every release has got for the last 15 years. They should just become a touring act, and stop trying to put out relevant music.

CraigPorubsky@TitleSourceInc.com
One of the all-time overrated records. "Miss You" is lifeless dross, the rest isn't even up to that mark except a couple of tracks. "Beast of Burden" is about the best. The next record, Emotional Rescue, is even worse. Imagine that.

Wadedh14@aol.com
Hmmm.....well, sure, why not.

I'd have to say I pretty much love this album. Not as much as, say, Beggars Banquet, but yeah. "Miss You" is a ROCK AND ROLL SONG and great at that. Screw this disco crap. "When the Whip Comes Down" rocks along hard as a....hmm...I've never been big on analogies. "Imagination" is pretty cool; those guitars intertwine nicely. "Some Girls" is wowwie-man-wow type lyrics set to a grrrrrroovin'...groove. Great song. "Lies" is DAMN fast, and catchy, if you can keep up with it. "Far Away Eyes" is AWESOME. GREAT country. Boy, I love that one. "Respectable" is really cool -- all Chuck Berry there, I tell you what. "Before They Make Me Run" is good enough. "Beast of Burden" I like; it's rather pretty. Like a pretty pretty pretty pretty girl. Damn Forty Licks cut that one and "Miss You" all up. "Shattered" finishes it off pretty good. It's not great, but it's...good. Ah, hell. 7 or 8/10. Depends on if it's raining or not. If it's snowing, it gets a 12!

Rob.Simmonds@co.snohomish.wa.us
Some Girls has my vote for their best album. Unlike the past albums there are no gawd-awful fillers like “country honk” or “you gotta move”. The playing is perfect, especially that from Wyman and Watts. Anyways, I was surprised to see less than glowing reviews for this one. Classic.

Ben
Overrated? Not at all. This is yet another Stones album that makes it all the way through with good songs. Great energy throughout. This is also their best album up to this point. Not a huge fan of disco but I really like "Miss You" and "Beast of Burden". The rocking songs are better, and the best one is the title track, and it might also be their funniest song.

Add your thoughts?

Accidents Will Happen - Bootleg.
Rating = 6

The strangest thing about the Stolling Rones, especially considering the number of mediocre live albums and compilations they've released over the years, is that they still have vaults and vaults full of interesting alternate takes and undeniably bitchin' original material that they have yet to release - and the crap would sell millions! I personally have about fifty Stones songs (some are covers and some blow, but still.... I got 'em!) that can only be found on bootlegs (I guess). Not that this particular one is the best you can find; aside from some killer rock 'n' roll tunes ("Claudine," "I Can See It" and "Fiji Jim") and a few neat alternate versions ("You Got The Silver" sung by Mick, "Dear Doctor" with no harmony vocals), this is mostly a bunch of half-finished "Beast Of Burden" ripoffs and... umm... more than half of Emotional Rescue. I'm not sure why. Not alternate versions, mind you, but, in fact, more than half of Emotional Rescue. Hmm...

Regardless, you should definitely look for some of these bootlegs - let me give you some song titles so you know what you're looking for.

If you like early Stones, hunt down the side-bustingly hilar "Fuckin' Andrew," a tacky tribute to their original manager that is sung by... hmmm.... Brian Jones, maybe? Funny. There's also truckloads of what I believe to be covers that should have been on their first records: "Roll Over Beethoven" (which is large iotas better than the Beatles's version of same; Mick just had a much cooler voice, happy to say), "Bright Lights Big City," "High-Heeled Sneakers," "Baby What's Wrong," "Crackin' Up," "I Want To Be Loved," "Fanny Mae" - all cool. Maybe B-sides of singles? I don't know. You?

Later on, in the psychedelic drug era, they recorded the very catchy Who-ish vocal-harmony-immersed "Loving Sacred Loving" and the wretched "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"-wannabe entitled "Shades Of Orange." Horrid song. Horrid. God, it's bad. Look for it!

And man overboard, the acoustic blues outtakes from '68 to '72 are unbefrigginlievable. Oh my deary, find them all. Eat them. How in the world could they not have released "Still A Fool?" Eight or ten minutes of the heaviest blues they ever did - seriously! It's an amazing song! And unreleased? What kind of marketing scheme is that? And "I Was A Country Boy," the catchiest acoustic instrumental ever recorded by man? And "Blood Red Wine," more depressing than the wrath of an angry god, but in a good way? And the infamously obscene and overdramatic bawdy joke "Cocksucker Blues?" And the jaunty ragtime soon-to-be-the-intro-to-"Happy" "Who Am I (See I Love You)" that proved once and for all that Charlie Watts was actually a jazz drummer the whole time? And the completely frigged-up rocker "Highway Child" featuring only upbeat drums, Mick's eager vocals, and one distorted guitar playing a riff that sounds like it was written by a ten-year-old? And the almost-as-catchy-as-"I Was A Country Boy" instrumental "Potted Shrimp?" And the as-good-as-you-might-expect cover of Robert Johnson's "32-20 Blues?" And the bonus bluesy-wueser "I Don't Know The Reason Why?" Why? Why have they still not released these great songs? What are they thinking?

In addition to the ditties mentioned in that last paragraph, you can also find really neat early versions of hits, like "As Time Goes By" (very bad, but funny! Mick sings like a little boy.), "Did Everybody Pay Their Dues ("Street Fighting Man")," and "Good Time Women ("Tumbling Dice)." Wouldn't collectors just pay up a blue streak for this stuff? I would! They even did a few great ones in the late 70s! Avoid the crappy adult pop stuff like "What Gives You The Right," "You Married An Angel," and "Lonely At The Top," but keep your eyes peeled back in their sockets for "Claudine," a funny tribute to Claudine Longet (who "accidentally" shot her boyfriend - twice), and "Fiji Jim," a lead guitar-driven r'n'r fun ride (both available on Accidents Will Happen, as well as elsewhere). Man. If I were the Stones, this stuff would have been on the legal market years ago - 'Sup, guys? I mean, yeah, a lot of this stuff is just basic 12-bar blues, but what about the ones I just listed? Great songs! And, instead, they put out Steel Wheels. Fools. Hunt these songs down tomorrow.

Reader Comments

laura@gseal.mdn.com (Galen Clavio)
Hey, I picked up one of those Stones Bootlegs today, and man, it's great! (One's all I could afford, I'll have more cash later in the week) It had that "Shades Of Orange" song, the "As Time Goes By" version of that song, a *MUCH* better version of "Memo From Turner" than what is on Metamorphosis, plus some kickass stuff like "Travelin' Man" and "I'm Going Down". It even had "No Satisfaction"---with no vocals! Complete instrumentals! Hah!

Add your thoughts?

Emotional Rescue - Rolling Stones 1980.
Rating = 7

The best Stones album since Some Girls! Maybe the fact that everybody and my brother hates it is one of the reasons why I don't. But even more so, I genuinely enjoy most of the songs, regardless of the creative stagnation they represent. The title track and "Dance" don't hold a bellbottom to "Miss You," but they're still eminently danceable disco ditties, "Summer Romance" and "Where The Boys Go" are just as lively as the "punkers" on the last one (in factaroonie, modern punk outfit The New Bomb Turks do a cover of "Summer Romance" on one of their singles!), and "She's So Cold" and "Let Me Go" are extremely singalongable, like "Shattered" without the weird guitar tone. And, just so I can feel good about myself for telling you, Keith's "All About You" is about fifty jillion times more listenable than "Before They Make Me Run," and "Indian Girl," though no "Beast Of Burden," is still pretty - plus it's got that tubular "bwoo-bwoo" bass thing.

Only the boring reggae "Send It To Me" and the semi-bluesy "Down In The Hole" cry out for a swift post-production kick in the asspipe. Go into it with an open mind and, like me, you'll find a good deal of festive pinatas. And the thermographic band photos are a dang snicker. I'm certain you can find this album for a dollar in the next three hours, so go ahead and buy it. And dig that falsetto!

On a more depressing note, here's an article I wrote for Crawdaddy.com shortly after my wife left me in May 2010:

OPEN MIC: Emotional Rescue
By Mark Prindle

I had seen her around campus, but knew her only as the ex-girlfriend of a fellow WXYC DJ. It wasn’t until a St. Patrick’s Day party on N. Greensboro Street that I worked up the nerve to speak to her. She was drunk and I was sober, so my dumb balloon animal gags were far better received than they deserved. “Look, a snake!” I boasted, simply hoisting a long balloon in the air. “And here,” holding a round balloon aloft, “A pig with no legs, tail or head!”

We talked well into the night and, as shy as I was, I somehow worked up the courage to invite her on a date to the hip collegey section of Durham the next day. And that’s when the trouble started.

See, I have issues. Okay, we all have issues. But my specific issues revolve around obsessive-compulsive disorder and low self-esteem. The former hit with a vengeance the next day, forcing me to (as always) wear whatever t-shirt was hanging next in the closet, and play whatever cassette tape was next according to whatever obsessive system I was following at the time. The shirt turned out to be a gigantic Ramones atrocity, and the cassette? Forget Crooked Rain Crooked Rain, Ill Communication and all the other college radio hits of the day. No, I would force this young woman to sit through the Rolling Stones’ much-loathed 1980 release Emotional Rescue.

The date did not go well.

However, a few months later a mixture of boredom and mutual attraction brought us back together – first as friends, then as lovers. And as time passed and we grew to compliment and complement each other, “Emotional Rescue” became a punchline – a funny reminder of a first date gone wrong. This is why I laughed in agreement when, seven years later, she suggested that we use this awful, endless sub-reggae mess as our wedding song.

She became my wife on November 10, 2001. We performed a ridiculous, over-the-top dance to our chosen schlock classic, and continued our journey through life.

Unfortunately, my issues had not gone away, and never would. In the early years of our relationship, I developed an anxious obsession so debilitating that it threw me into a lengthy depression and nearly tore us apart. Somehow, she loved me enough to stick with me until I found the right combination of medication and therapy.

But occasional setbacks were inevitable, and unbeknownst to me, each one tore another thread out of the emotional bond that held us together. On the surface we had a normal stable marriage – lots of laughter and dining out, vacations to exotic foreign lands, and even a puppy dog that we adopted and raised together. But underneath it all, something else was going on.

When bouncing paychecks forced me to leave my job in early 2009 -- during the heart of the recession -- my self-confidence hit an all-time low. I began treating her as my superior, my savior – and thus escalated the excuses, lies and drunken screaming fights. Soon I was threatening suicide on a regular basis.

Still, as bad as things were, I thought we’d be together forever – through sickness and health, richer and poorer. In particular, I thought that everything would be fine once I was working again. The irony is that that’s what she was waiting for; once I was working again, she could leave me without feeling guilty.

Is there nothing I can say
Nothing I can do
To change your mind
I'm so in love with you

She moved out without warning in May 2010, and we were legally separated by the end of July.

Don't you know promises were never made to keep?
Just like the night, dissolve in sleep

As anybody who has experienced this kind of abandonment can attest, it isn’t easy to accept. My life partner and soul mate had fallen out of love with me – after 15 ½ years. The confusion, pain and rage were overwhelming: “How could she do this to me?” I wondered. “Why didn’t she tell me something was wrong so that we could work together to fix it? Why did she fail me like this?”

Crying baby, yeah I'm crying
Yeah I'm like a child baby

However, once the tears dried and I was able to think clearly, I finally understood what had happened. She had warned me. At one point months earlier, she’d confessed that our marriage had begun to feel like a trap. Another time, she’d sadly lamented that we felt more like ‘friends’ or ‘brother and sister’ than a married couple. I had even seen her perusing marriage self-help books at Barnes & Noble. But I didn’t take any of it seriously. After all, she’d put up with my issues for this long; what could go wrong at this late date? We were life partners – together forever!

In other words, I was wrong: she didn’t fail me.

I'll be your savior, steadfast and true
I'll come to your emotional rescue

I failed her.

Reader Comments

Brenda
this is mainly a great album in my mind because a horrible dubbed tape of it was played in the shitty stereo system of a single navy 83 monte carlo on the way to durham on a quite memorable first date of mine. i was unimpressed at first, the rolling stones not being a trendy punky college band, but soon the familiar songs (the one about being hot, namely, if that one is even on this album--quite frankly, i don't know shit about the stones except for that the off my cloud song is good to rollerskate to) started playing and soon i felt a great affection for the longhair sitting next to me. what a wonderful spring day! and how appropriate the title of this album because it was the beginning of the end of the search for my sweetie.

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
Whereas I like this album considerably more than Some Girls, it just doesn't hold up well over time. "Summer Romance" and "Let Me Go" rock for me and "Down In The Hole" has a nice bluesy feel. However, there's just not enough rock n roll here.

JnJCable@worldnet.att.net (Neptune Salad)
To put it simply, the best song on the entire album is "She's So Cold". That song is the only reason why I bought it, and "Send it to Me" is the only reason that I haven't thrown away the CD. According to my brother, "Let Me Go" is the second best song on the CD, but he is dead wrong.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
"She's So Cold" is a great catchy song, with a lot of breathtaking riffing and soloing, and Jagger sounds cool, too. Pure rock'n'roll - no serious messages or anything, just excitement!

The title track was supposed to be "Miss You No. 2". It wasn't. It's still good, though (although I prefer the video version on Rewind. Why? Because it's two times shorter! And Keith wears a pretty fashionable jacket, too. Oops - sorry, that was on "She's So Cold").

"Let Me Go" is another good old-fashioned rocker. The faster version on Still Life worked better, though.

Now... I've started thinking about the other tracks and I wish I didn't. "All About You" is the usual Keith's wailing like on "Coming Down Again", but this time he did not bother much about setting it to a melody. "Down In The Hole" is a rather primitive bluesy tune. "Where the boys all go" is another punky tune, but, unlike "Respectable" or "Lies", it goes nowhere and does nothing besides exposing us to the unthinkable idea that the Stones DO know how to use bad words, too.

"Send It To Me" is OK, I guess, but I would prefer "Feel On Baby" from Undercover. "Summer Romance" is a good rocker but the sound is ruined by crappy production.

And finally (or, rather, initially), there is "Dance". Oh God! This is the ONLY track the Stones ever recorded that I honestly wish they wouldn't. DISCO CRAP - that's what it is! Sure, it's danceable, and I always said the Stones are primarily dance music, but not THAT dance music! HORRIBLE!

JnJCable@worldnet.att.net (H.V.C.)
I've just given this disc a second chance. The ENTIRE disc is pretty good, other than "Dance pt.1". "Summer Romance" is fast and exciting, "Let Me Go" is actually pretty good, "Indian Girl" is very nice, "Where The Boys Go" is seemingly the Stones answer to punk rock, and it's good (... huh huh... "cunt"....hhuhuhuhhuuh), "Down In The Hole" is moody *and* catchy, Mick's voice on "Emotional Rescue" (the song) is kinda funny and also kinda cool, "All About You" is at least fun to listen to, and "She's So Cold" is still the best Stones song EVER!!

jtcable@tir.com (H.V.C.)
It's been awhile, but I see that people are trying to ignore ER. That's bad. That's the problem.

Anyways... this was never mentioned, but Summer Romance is incredibly unique for a song named "Summer Romance." Basically, it's an old guy (Mick) who had a fling with a high school slut, and is trying to console her over their breakup by explaining that in a little while, she'll be passing notes in study hall and hiding her make up and all her dumb-fuck girly bullshit, and he'll be in the pool hall with the guys and all will be normal.

Indian Girl is probably the only song where they mention Castro, or disemboweled corpses and mothers being raped by the soldiers. Scary song, and very serene, That's The Stones for ya. All About You is Keith's way of saying that he loves you because you're a dog and a jerk, and it's great.

This is really a semi-tame, semi-edgy album. There was only one real hit, She's So Cold (the best Stones song ever made, STILL!), and the rest of the album takes some getting used to, but it's all around great. Still hate Dance, other than the spoken word intro. Still think the title track is incredibly fun. Mick is my knight in shining arrrrmooooooorr.... ;p

And I can see why you might not like Send It To Me, since it's an average Stones song (formula #2, I think... great lyrics), but DOWN IN THE HOLE????? All of your friends gone... love that song. Give it one or two more listens. And I'll let you know, ah... when you're -

Bumming for cigarettes.... bumming for nylons! I'll let you know! When you're down in the hole! Something down, down down down...

LOOKIN' for cover and finding nowhere to go, no nowhere nowhere... *falls asleep, crying*

cynderelli@techline.com (TAD)
In yr Doors reviews, somebody called AN AMERICAN PRAYER "best album ever by a dead guy."

Well, EMOTIONAL RESCUE is the worst album ever by a world's formerly greatest rock and roll band. Or act. Don't wanna hear bout no Bob Dylan SELF PORTRAIT. Don't wanna hear no CCR MARDI GRAS. No Beatles' LET IT BE. Not even no U2 POP (or whichever 1 after JOSHUA TREE U think sent them in2 the toilet). Those ain't even close. At least those showed signs of life.

This is just mush. Lazy, muddy, spineless, no drive, no kick, lethargic, no EMOTION dammit, probly not even worth the trouble of hating, only 1 funny moment on it, Mick's slow-motion "Like a knight in shining armor, I am coming to your emotional rescue...."

Of course, 1 of the resons this is the worst album of all time is Bcos it SOLD so damn much. People never know what's good 4 them....

creexul@home.com (John Cable)
My brother, Josh, wrote about what, twenty seperate comments for this album?

Anyway, with time, it really grew on us. Especially as we listened to it while playing that shitty Bomberman 64 game a long time ago. Good memories, boring game.

Anyway, this album deserves the 7 just because of "She's So Cold," which is the best Stones song ever, because it's the catchiest song in the history of FUCKING SONG FOREVEWR MOTHERUYFGCK

But really. That is one fucking multi catch of a hell hook in that song. It's fucking insane how catchy it is. Kind of like "Star Star."

I don't know about "Down in the Hole" or "Indian Girl," I remember not caring much about those, but "Summer Romance" is some great old classic Stonesy sneer rock that's a lot of fun. Same for "Where the Boy's Go." With a title like that, you'd think it would be a slow blues song about boys who've had their hearts broken by wumyn, and where they go to comiserate. But instead it's where the boys all go to party and get fucking drunk as shit! Awesome!

I kind of like how Keith sings, by the way. I just like that sort of beat up sounding voice, that's not too singy, but not too wretchedly bad. It's just kind of a calm human.

I also think that "Emotional Rescue" is a little bit moving as a fantasyish romanticism song, even if it's just me. I hate the ballads of course and shit like that, but this one has such a calm vibe.

I also like "Send it to Me," because it's a bluesy song that's a little catchy. I don't love it, but I won't skip over it. At least I DIDN'T, then. I haven't listened to this album in a long time, but I still remember the fond memories of listening to it.

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
What's wrong with this picture? The worst album, possibly of all time, definitely from the Stones, is being reviewed as a decent album. Jesus Christ! I try not to be too opinionated against other people's beliefs, but I can't take this crap...Are you people listening to THE ROLLING STONES--EMOTIONAL RESCUE? Are you people into the old Stones stuff? Are you into music at all? This album is the result of a tired, creatively-spent, sell-out band! Some Girls was a last ditch attempt at trying something new, exciting, and creative. And many people would argue with that assessment...I enjoy Some Girls, but even on that album there are signs of what's to come (and it ain't good!)

There is ONE decent track on here. That would be "Dance." Arguably it's the best of the Stones' trilogy of disco tunes. ("Miss You" is good too, while "Hot Stuff" is vomit-inducing). Other tunes are listenable ONLY if one is in a VERY forgiving mood: "Indian Girl," "Down In The Hole," "All About You," and (god-forbid) even the title track can be listenable on occasion. Just not often. And the rest...god almighty! DON'T! Don't listen! It's crap like this that can cause stomach flus, strokes, and the worst of all, a severe loss of musical taste! (Which leads to today's faithful listeners of N'Sync...) Too many disastrous moments on here for this to be anywhere near good...

I am usually a very forgiving listener. I enjoy some popularly bad albums (the Stones Undercover album for instance). I understand other bad albums, and feel for the artists (the aforementioned "Undercover," was at least an attempt to do something different; and the Stones "Dirty Work"--well, I don't like it, but I understand the struggles they were going through at the time). But E.R. (an appropriate acronym, huh?)...this could well be the worst album I have heard in my life. There is no experimentation, no apparent "problem" inside the band at this time...just a possible contractual obligation, and a shameful need for the band to cash in on anything they do...don't support this people...they've already got enough...stick with the Let It Bleed's of the 60's the Exile's of the 70's and the Bridges of the 90's. They lost it in the 80's.

Wadedh14@aol.com
I wish I could say that I've heard more than two songs on this album, but I can't. "She's So Cold" kicks ass. And "Emotional Rescue" is kinda boring, but at least interesting. I could listen to "Cold" for days, though. Neat! Whee! Glimmer Twins! Before 1983! Awesome! Yeah! Woo!

Ben Burch
Well finally, a positive review for this album! Maybe I like this album a lot more than I should, because I heard it before "Some Girls." My main view of this album is that yes, it's not as good as "Some Girls," but then again not that many albums in general are. But "Some Girls" comparisons aside, this is still a pretty terrific album. "Summer Romance," "Where the Boys Go," "Let Me Go" and "She's So Cold" are terrific rockers that sound as if they're played effortlessly. "Dance" and "Emotional Rescue" are excellent disco tracks (I'd rather hear those than "Dancing Queen" or basically anything by Michael Jackson anyday), "Down in the Hole" is a great retro blues track, "Send it to Me" and "Indian Girl" are fun reggae songs (much better than "reggae" tracks like "Luxury" or "Feel on Baby") and the completely underrated "All About You" is an excellent soul/r&b track (although I still prefer "Before They Make Me Run" or "Coming Down Again" over it). Apparently that song was written about Mick. Either way, while it seems like "just another album" for the Stones, for any other lesser band (like Bon Jovi or somebody) this would have easily been their best album. A 9 for me.

Add your thoughts?

Tattoo You - Rolling Stones 1981.
Rating = 6

The best Stones album since the one after Some Girls!

Four great songs surrounded by generic crap. The rockin' Windows 95 anthem "Start Me Up" will get your knees bouncin' to and fro, the "too-doo-doo-doo-doo"-enhanced "Hang Fire" belongs on Exile On Main Street, the weird, slow "Heaven" sounds like a Black And Blue outtake (and probably was!), and the gorgeous "Waiting On A Friend" actually surpasses "Beast Of Burden" to stake its claim as the most beautiful Stones song since "Angie" (it was also, FYI, the first music video that I ever saw on MTV - back when EBN-OZN's "AEIOU Sometimes Y" was in heavy rotation). And that's it. The rest of the rockers aren't just stagnant; they suck. Well, "Little T & A" doesn't suck, per se, but it sure aint no "Brown Sugar." Heck, it aint even no "Summer Romance." And the other slow ones sound like Rod Stewart, which is not a good thing at all.

However, for some reason, a lot of people really like this album. I don't quite understand why, but I'd wager it has something to do with "Start Me Up" - it is quite the album-opening crowd-pleaaaser. According to Mick, it was originally a reggae song, and all of the others were just old unfinished songs that they dug up and worked on for a little bit before recording. Hmmm. Figures. All I can say is that whoever thought it would be a good idea to split the album into a "fast side" and a "slow side" was a wee bit on the "dumb side." But don't worry! They only got worse from here!

Reader Comments

eisenkraft@worldnet.att.net (Michael Eisenkraft)
Mark, I'm afraid you're mistaken here. Tattoo You is my favorite Rolling Stones album, and it SHOULD be yours. You see, unlike Beggars Banquet (an incredible album, by the way, thank you for recommending it) Tattoo You has a consistent "theme". Every single song is fast, hard, and filled with the sort of "we're the Rolling Stones, feel free to worship" attitude that I love about them. Beggars Banquet has better songs than Tattoo You, but it doesn't have that edge, and that makes all the difference.

DougS@aol.com
The windows 95 song. I always laughed when I heard it on TV, not because the Stones sold out to Microsloth, but becuase of the chorus "You make a grown man cry...") Truly they picked the RIGHT song for 95.....

bgoulet@snet.net (Bill Goulet)
I think this is a good workman-like album and perhaps the last real Stones album. "SMU", "Hang Fire", "T&A", "Limosines" are all decent rock tunes. Although most of the songs were done years before Tattoo was released showing that maybe the well had run dry.

swc555@aol.com
The last decent Stones album. After this one they went to sleep and awaited the pod people. And what's wrong with a "slow side"? When you're makin' your moves on a lady you don't wanna be playin' Slayer. Unless she's a freak.

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
Another album that just doesn't hold up well over time. Do you realize that there are songs left over from the Goats Head Soup and Black And Blue sessions? Although "Heaven" and "Waiting On A Friend" are good, side 2 does not confirm that the Rolling Stones Are The Greatest Rock N Roll Band In The World.

O_bhoover@FAIR1.FAIRFIELD.UDU
How can you ignore "Black Limousine," a blues that shows that the Stones can still play the way they'd set out to twenty years before. What about a truly driven jam like "Slave," or the fantastic '50's inspired ballad "Worried About You"? Why not mention "Tops," the Stones' tongue-in-cheek commentary on managers in the entertainment business? This album is filled with brilliant songs across the board; I'd put it on the same level, if not higher, than Some Girls.

gt909lb@prism.gatech.edu (Andrew Goldthorp)
Some more sheer idotic commentary. Just about any Stones' fan would acknowledge that either Some Girls or Tattoo You were the best albums following Exile on Main Street. Sure, "Start Me Up" might sound generic...AFTER BEING PLAYED 52 MILLION TIMES JUST ABOUT ANYTHING SOUNDS GENERIC...but the rest of the album is enjoyable. "Black Limousine" showed the Stones going back to their blues roots. And the ballads "Waiting on a Friend" and "Worried About You" are the best ballads the Stones had done since "Angie".

But somehow you're more interested by the blandness of Emotional Rescue, which happens to be the worst Stones album. I guess we'll have to disagree on this one.

PDigugliel@aol.com
Missed the mark here. Tattoo You is a great album. Of course, "Start Me Up" is a great song, but i really enjoy "Neighbors", "Hang Fire", and "The Top" is an underrated song. "Ain't No Use In Crying" is also very good. Leave it to the Stones to take a bunch of outtakes, do some tinkering, and come up with a winner. The remastered CD also sounds great.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
GENERIC CRAP? Mark, you must be joking! Actually, you're not alone in your despise of the album. When I first read James Hector's review of it I swore the day I met him I would hold a machine gun in my hands. WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY do critics hate this one so much?

My personal opinion (and, I dare say, the opinion of most of your correspondents) is that on Tattoo You the Stones are at their ABSOLUTE BEST since... well, since Let It Bleed! There is not a single duffer among the songs! What did you say? "Little T&A" ain't no "Summer Romance"? I say it sure isn't - it's A MILLION TIMES BETTER! First of all, it's a groove, and it's a nice groove - a good riff and great soloing! And the ballads? Absolutely gorgeous!

It's even more incredible how after such a great album they could release an album as weak as Undercover. Maybe it IS due to the fact that most of the songs are outtakes from previous sessions, so that by 1981 there was no real composing already.

Check out your ratings, Mark!

Melodie83@aol.com (Joe)
I remember getting this album a few years ago used and it is a great album.out of all the Stones albums I have this is one of my favorites.I agree with those who say it's great ,after this Mick and Keith have not come up with songs like these ever again.Worried About You has great falsetto vocals by Mick Start Me Up is great of course but Hang Fire is a classic great harmony singing and druming by Charlie,Little T has a great guitar riff No Use In Crying and Waiting On A Friend are great ballads,Slave is pretty rocking too,who cares that the songs were leftovers if only The Stones could come close to making a record this good again.I give it a 8

cynderelli@techline.com (TAD)
TATTOO YOU's 2nd side is ... not bad. Nice atmosphere, kinda modest. "Worried About You" & "Waiting on a Friend" obviously Blong on the same side, & the other stuff is ... OK.

Can't STAND the 1st side tho. "Start Me Up" sucks.

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
Well, at least some people came to their senses on this one! Tattoo You and Emotional Rescue must be the worst back-to-back set of albums from any band...ever! Tattoo You is a bit better then it's predecessor ONLY because there are two to three good songs instead of one, and the band has at least come to grips with the fact that they are creatively spent, so they focused on recording unreleased tunes from the past. (If some of you feel this is worse than releasing a new batch of tunes, I understand. It is indeed a cop-out. But I'd still rather hear good tunes than bad ones, even if they're a million years old...) For instance, "Waiting On A Friend" is an excellent song written during the Goat's Head Soup days (and would have made that album even better too). "Tops" was also written during that time, and is a decent song, though not necessarily deserving of the GHS album. The gem of Tattoo You though is "Heaven"-- a surprising little number I believe done exclusively for this album. Unfortunately, they then wrote "Neighbors". At least this time, they realised "Oops! We're spent...let's stop writing new tunes guys! Let's focus on the good shit that we didn't use before." Too bad they still left "Neighbors" on the album though. The only other decent tunes are the ones left over from the Black And Blue era: "Slave," "Worried About You," and the overrated "Start Me Up." But still, these aren't worth the price of this "compilation".

THEN THERE ARE THE LEFTOVERS from Some Girls and Emotional Rescue. Bad, bad idea. If you stop with the above songs, you have a pretty decent album. Not quite a good one, but quite listenable. However, throw in a stomach-wretching song like "Hang Fire," from the Some Girls throwaway batch and the album declines a grade. THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT EMOTIONAL RESCUE WAS FOR! TO GET RID OF THE REST OF THE SOME GIRLS OUTTAKES! (And boy, didn't that work wonderfully!) Then, if it wasn't bad enough to actually release the Emotional Rescue LP, the Stones then actually released the songs NOT GOOD ENOUGH to make the Emotional Rescue LP! NOT GOOD ENOUGH!?!? My snoring ability is good enough to make the Emotional Rescue LP! And upon hearing "Little T&A" and "No Use In Crying," which did not qualify for the E.R. album, I've concluded that my snoring is definitely preferable to these tunes! So, the album has just jumped down a grade-and-a-half. Not good. A possible B album is now a C- at best.

I am just writing this to warn people ahead of time about these albums, because there aren't enough nay-sayers writing in to do it. And since we're on that topic, Dirty Work is not worth buying as well as Satanic Majesties (although I must say it is intriguing, but the album as a whole is not good). Finally, Voodoo Lounge is drastically overrated. (Okay, I've thrown in my warnings. For my top ten, skip to the bottom.) In summation, I repeat--Tattoo You is not as dreadful as Emotional Rescue, but it's not much better either. Listen to the second half and you'll be fairly pleased, because if you start from the beginning, you won't want to get to the end...

Grant' top ten Stones list:
1) Exile On Main Street (the masterpiece--what a great atmosphere!)
2) Bridges To Babylon (the modern masterpiece--great tunes!)
3) Let It Bleed (the 60's masterpiece--dark and bluesy)
4) Sticky Fingers (the 70's runner-up to exile; great feel, grows upon repeated listens)
5) Beggars Banquet (the beginning of the classics)
6) Steel Wheels (yes, it's poppy, but it's catchy and energetic as hell. Best since...)
7) Some Girls (the last classic Stones album. Experiments with punk and disco)
8) It's Only Rock And Roll (trying to combine the old Stones with new gloss. It works)
9) Goats Head Soup (Still extremely creative, just lost a little attitude)
10) Black And Blue (Attitude and rawness is back. Some weak tunes, but plenty of good ones)

cmacj@webtv.net
tattoo you was thrown together (a record of newly recorded throwaways) for the sole purpose of that overblown tour that followed. it was all about the money. the band openly laughed at critics who called it the freshest sounding stones album in years. it certainly was well produced. but maybe the joke was on the band. the reason why it is a good record is because their old throwaways are far surperior to anything they have written since.

ryanmajor@comcast.net
"Start Me Up" is my all-time least favorite Stones song. I probably wouldn't hate it quite as much if it wasn't all over "classic rock radio" with my least favorite Clash and Beatles songs. ("Should I Stay or Should I Go" and "The Long and Winding Road".)

Wadedh14@aol.com
Yep, "Start Me Up" is one of my personal favourites! And "No Use in Crying" and "Waiting on a Friend" are pretty great too. We're still before 1983! We're still in good terrain!

rockylisa@yahoo.com
"Aint no use in crying" is a great tune. I agree with Izzy Stradlin. While I dont think they should have died after Tattoo You, no one really cares about the Stones after Tattoo You.

Ben
Well I agree that this is indeed not as good as "Emotional Rescue," and there are a couple of songs here that are rather generic ("Little T&A"), but there's a lot more than four good songs! Shit, "Worried About You," "Neighbours," "Black Limousine," "No Use in Crying" and especially "Tops" are all great underrated tracks, but "Heaven" just flat out sucks. "Slave" is another big highlight here, and it's a shame that it was never performed live by the Stones, and I think it would have been a huge hit single. Speaking of singles, "Waiting on a Friend" might be a good song, but I don't think it reserved to be one, but "Start Me Up" is a classic. Yeah, it's overplayed, but it's one of the best songs they ever did. Good effort. 8.5/10

Add your thoughts?

Still Life (American Concert 1981) - Rolling Stones 1982.
Rating = 6

Mick doesn't sing worth a JCPenney, but the song choice is strong. "Under My Thumb," "Let's Spend The Night Together," "Shattered," "Let Me Go," "Time Is On My Side," "Satisfaction," and "Start Me Up," plus some boring covers! Just short enough to be amazingly enjoyable except, of course, for the fact that Mick sounds like a tone-deaf goon. Probably couldn't sing 'cause he was too busy prancing around in a fruity football jersey and sweatpants.
Reader Comments

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
The album is not bad, but not a great thing either. Funny, it reminds me of WHO'S LAST: on both albums there is a singing problem. Compared with later live albums (Flashpoint), it is somewhat more vivacious and less strict, but a billion times less satisfactory in the musical sense! I think the reason of this is that this was the period (early Eighties) when both the Stones and the Who were desperately trying to prove to the world they were still young and full of energy and to rid themselves of the title "Old Farts". They couldn't. No sir, they couldn't! Mick could have run across the stage thirty times as fast he did, and Pete could make his windmills and jump and all, but they WERE old farts! They understood that later, and that's why both Flashpoint and Join Together are great albums worth listening: but not this. Not here. Not then. Not in 1982! This was the Dark Age of the Dinosaur Music.

PS: But, hey, I love "Going To A Go-Go!"

ryanmajor@comcast.net
"Start Me Up" is my all-time least favorite Stones song. I probably wouldn't hate it quite as much if it wasn't all over "classic rock radio" with my least favorite Clash and Beatles songs. ("Should I Stay or Should I Go" and "The Long and Winding Road".)

Ben
I used to listen to this album a lot when I first heard it a couple years ago, and I probably do like it too much. I like every song, and unlike "Love You Live" the sloppy singing and playing actually make the songs enjoyable. I'll give this a solid 8.

Add your thoughts?

Undercover - Rolling Stones 1983.
Rating = 5

"The best Stones album since Some Girls!" say top critics.

Oh so stale. And completely directionless, like it was recorded by eight different bands who hated each other. Well, I love the funky bass-driven "Undercover Of The Night" and "Too Much Blood," and the basic rockers "Too Tough" and "She Was Hot," and that "Pretty Beat Up" thing is pretty cool, but the other five songs are a complete embarrassment. "It Must Be Hell" sounds like John Cougar doing a cover of "Honky Tonk Women," "All The Way Down" sounds like a Stones rip-off band, Keith's "Wanna Hold You" is no improvement on his prior work, and the dub-esque "Feel On Baby" and "Tie You Up" prove that, sadly enough, not only is this not the Stones of Sticky Fingers fame; this isn't even the Stones of Black And Blue fame. Weird how half of the album can be so fun, and the other half so pathetic, eh? Crazy world we live in.

Reader Comments

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
For a long time I didn't dare to buy the album. I was told it was their first duffer, and I concentrated myself on the earlier stuff. Then finally I bought it (cheap!) and made myself listen to it. Well, it's not so bad at all. The main problem with it is that they overdid the funky (or maybe kinky?) side, wanting to prove that their "wasted" status has not been wasted over the years, and music suffers as a result.

But "She Was Hot" is a fine rock piece, quite in the traditional style. And "Undercover of the night" is catchy. "Too Much Blood" is fun if not taken seriously. ALL the other songs are rather dull. And they also rely too heavily on electronics. I wonder if Charlie ever visited the studio during the sessions!

luka50@hotmail.com (Keith)
In my opinion, Undercover has always been underappreciated and underrated. I've always loved the album and I think it's aged very well. Here's why I love it...track by track

"Undercover of the Night"...incredible percussion, great rhythm riffs from Keef, Wyman at his absolute best, excellent lead work from Ronnie, Jagger really working out on vocals. Instrumentally, one of their finest performances ever.

"She Was Hot"..."Rocks Off" for the eighties, Exile quality vocals from Jagger, great Keef solo, politically uncorrect lyrics, a CLASSIC

"Tie You Up"...incredible percussion again, one of Keef's best lead guitar performances ever, no bullshit singing from Jagger, great backing vocals,etc., etc.

"Wanna Hold You"...Good song-could have been great if performed like the current tour version with horns, background vocals, and great slide from Ronnie. Could have been the equal of "Happy".

"Feel On Baby"...I've never been a big Stones' reggae fan, but this is the best reggae they've ever done. Incredible percussion from Sly Dunbar.

"Too Much Blood"...This song has it all-funk,disco, soul, rock and roll, and those kick ass horns

"Pretty Beat Up"...some of Keef's best bass work ever, nasty guitars, incredible sax from David Sanborn-one of their best disco oriented songs ever

"Too Tough"...How can this song not be great? "Brown Sugar"/"Jumpin' Jack" style riff, peak Jagger vocals and lyrics, fierce Ronnie lead, and more excellent percussion

"All the Way Down"...The most underrated song on the album. Jagger in fine voice, Keef and Woody weaving perfectly, those classic out of tune backup vocals on the chorus, and the incredible bridge "She's there when I close my eyes, there when I close my eyes."

"It Must Be Hell"..."Honky Tonk Women" in the verses, "Soul Survivor" in the choruses, and "Sympathy for the Devil" in the fadeout. Everything that makes the Stones the Stones in one song. One of the strongest pieces of music in their entire career

Just my two cents worth...give the album another listen to some time and see if you agree

jtcable@home.com (Josh Cable)
Actually, I don't have the album, but I have Undercover of the Night on mp3. I really don't want to buy this album, and I probably won't.

But the title track is fucking awesome. Perhaps containing the greatest drum machine track ever made, unless that's actually Charlie. I wouldn't know, I don't have the album.

It's really raw, and it starts so simple. Some loud riffs, and that's all. Then as the song progresses, they add a million effects (of the not-entirely-gay variaty) and heavier riffs. And the drumming is really cool. The drumming is actually cool, and this is a Rolling Stones song.

The video was pretty neat too, even if it's incredibly dated. They get to fire guns, and then they die. That's a cool idea for a video.

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
What do you get when you take a struggling rock band, lacking in ideas, desperate for a solid album, and combine it with the disco-pop era of the early 80's? You get The Rolling Stones-Undercover. Sounds like it'll be a flop, doesn't it? Well...critically and commercially it was...but artistically, it's surprisingly effective...

No kidding! This is EASILY the best thing the Stones have put out since Some Girls. (It's not as good as the upcoming Steel Wheels, but...let's rewind back to '83 a second...) This is definitely not vintage Stones, but after the half-assed effort on Tattoo You and no-assed effort on Emotional Rescue (have you ever before heard an album that contains all FILLER tracks? E.R. is just that!), Undercover is the first solid effort the Stones have put forth this decade. "Undercover Of The Night," "Too Much Blood," "Too Tough," "Wanna Hold You," "Feel On Baby," "It Must Be Hell,"....the songs for the most part are all pretty good. Mick Jagger has obviously been influenced by Michael Jackson here and does his best to emulate him in some of these songs. The production job obliges with a crystal clear techno-pop sound and plenty of heretofore unseen tricks on a Stones' record. But the killer song (literally) that definitely keeps me coming back for more is "Too Much Blood," the centerpiece of the album. It's one of my favorite Stones' tunes of all time--the riff, the funk, the imagery, and the basic groove of the whole track just kicks! and never lets up! This track alone is arguably better than any other tune to come out of the Stones early 80's catalogue besides "Waiting On A Friend" (which is actually from the early 70's, but I digress).

Undercover barely missed my top-ten Stones' albums (Black And Blue is a tad better executed) The reason is...it still could have been better. There are good reasons why people do not like this album, and they should not be altogether ignored. There is filler material on here such as "All The Way Down, " "She Was Hot," (although released as a single, don't be fooled, it's not very good) and "Tie You Up," (it's okay, but could have just been dropped.) Further, some of the good tunes do not have the gritty production that is needed (ie. "Too Tough," "It Must Be Hell,"). And again, this is not the Stones we all knew and loved from the 60's and 70's. But it is a neat 80's experiment, and a good portion of it works...

bylcote555@yahoo.com
I'm sorry Mark, but there is nothing even approaching pathetic on this album. If it were any other band people would have thought it was genius. Only because they are the mighty Rolling Stones must they live up to such scrutiny. "Feel On" kicks ass, really cool noises, some fine dub-style there.
I just bought a sealed vinyl copy of this for 3 dollars yesterday, and so far side one ruled. Keith's tune is a little weak, but it still has that Richards charm, so it's cool.I'm listening to it for the first time in it's entirety today and I'm lovin' it.
"Too Much Blood" is fucking hilarious. I haven't even heard the rest of side two yet, but I can say right now, I'm gonna love it. I think Dirty Work is really where they bit the big one.
They are still the Rolling Stones on Undercover. I like the looseness of it. It's fun to listen to. Not a great album, but I think at least a 7. I was 12 when it came out and the videos were cool.

Wadedh14@aol.com
Hurrah! 1983 is here! We are officially in suckageville! One word for this album: PPPPPPTTTTTHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And that's about it. Oh, by the way, "Undercover of the Night" is an INCREDIBLY groovy song! Awesome drums and bass. Great groove. Kept the people hanging on for dear life for a couple more years.

toro_92@yahoo.ca (Ron)
The Paris sessions ran dry, and this one-dimensional album just didn't cut it in the end. So many numbers sound unfinished ("Pretty Beat Up", "It Must Be Hell"), and they should have been embarrassed to release dreck like "She Was Hot" and "Wanna Hold You". Some credit should be given for them getting away from the formula of the preceding three records, but this album just doesn't work. They really could have used a Mick Taylor-type guitarist here.

Ben
It's easy to see how people get turned off by this album. Electronics are everywhere, and Mick's starting to lose his voice. But it's still a stones album regardless, and this album is home to the classic title track (which might be my favorite 80s stones song) and "All the Way Down", another underrated rocker from them. Not a stones tribute hand at all. That would be on "Wanna Hold You", which is a lame version of the already lame "Little T&A". Never got "Feel on Baby" or "Pretty Beat Up" (the riff is pretty cool though) either. Other than those songs, I like this album, and there was a time when I thought it was better than "Emotional Rescue". "It Must Be Hell" sounds a lot like "Soul Survivor" too.

Add your thoughts?

Dirty Work - Rolling Stones 1986.
Rating = 2

The worst Stones album since Some Girls!

Absolute garbage. Trying to prove they could keep up with the '80s, they spat up an album that belongs in that wretched Mr. Mister / Starship / Mike And The Mechanics era that VH-1 fans so love to reminisce about. Stupid keyboard-drenched adult pop and wretched guitar rock are pretty much all you've got here, with Mick not even bothering to sing, preferring to belch out all the words in an ugly phlegmy voice. Completely rotten. Starts with the strong rocker "One Hit To The Body" and dives headfirst into Crapsville River shortly thereafter. The covers of "Harlem Shuffle" and "Too Rude" are the only other songs that even come close to actual decency. The rest is unlistenable bullshit music.

Reader Comments

diamantr@ext.missouri.edu (Rick Diamant)
I have to disagree with your review of Dirty Work, at least a little. I really like "Harlem Shuffle" a lot, and "Winning Ugly" is interesting. The rest is pretty forgettable, but those two make it worth at least a 4 or 5.

Glenn J. Wiener
Dude, you really gave Dirty Work the real scuz treatment. Where it's definitely not their best recording, it's hardly their worst. "Back To Zero" and "Had It With You" are good tracks (although not classics). You're right about Mick Jagger's barking uh singing style on the record. However I'd rate it an ordinary Stones album slightly ahead of Tattoo You, but somewhat below Goat's Head Soup.

swc555@aol.com
This is kinda scary, but if you play Dirty Work backwards - IT SOUNDS A LOT BETTER!!!

matt@creative-machines.com.au (Matt Ellers)
One of the things I always liked about Mick's singing was the light and shade, the subtleties and dynamics. Most "great" singers show off all the time and it gets boring. Mick always had loud bits and quiet bits (check the studio versions of "It's Only Rock & Roll", "Emotional Recue","Miss You", "Midnight Rambler" and "Sympathy For The Devil"). On this album he just growled all the way through like a Heavy metal poser. He probably got better technically, but FAR less interesting.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
When I bought it back in '86, I was very disappointed, but after having it collecting dust for about a decade, I decided to give it another go, and ­ hey, Dirty Work isn't that bad at all! OK, on side one there are a few reasons to be bored ("One Hit" is an exception), but flip the record over and you find a great side two! "Winning Ugly" and "Back to Zero" are swinging little pieces, "Dirty Work" and "Had it with You" true Stones rockers in the best Some Girls tradition, and "Sleep Tonight"... well, Keith always manages to make the most beautiful things out of practically nothing. 5/10, at least!

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Absolutely agree this is the WORST Stones album ever. However, even on this album it can clearly be seen that they still ARE the Rolling Stones. I particularly like "Had It With You" - to my opinion, this is one of the grooviest bits of boogie-woogie they ever did. "Harlem Shuffle" is fine, too, and the guitars in the title track are excellent! There are also some interesting moments to be found in "One Hit" and "Winning Ugly", and "Sleep Tonight" is not bad at all - that is, if you are a fan of Keith-type ballads like "Coming down again".

The rest, however, is hogwash. "Back To Zero" and "Too Rude" are dull disco/reggae outbursts; "Fight" is an over-aggressive rocker which has nothing to show but the aggression; and "Hold Back" is the worst song by any Stone EVER (if the term 'song' is appliable to it). Particularly annoying are Jagger's vocals. Someone said he "barked all his way through the album". I couldn't agree more (except for "Had It With You"!)

hutchilj@aramco.com.sa
Now, this was pretty good. I'd probably not go higher than a 6.5 rating, but "One Hit (To The Body)" is a wonderful performance by the whole band, and the whole album was refreshingly different. It sounded like they cared about this one.

jtcable@home.com (Josh Cable)
Never heard One Hit, but Harlem Shuffle was ok. Not that Harlem Shuffle makes this a good album.

I looked at the album cover and got ill. I'm never going to own this album, ever.

Wadedh14@aol.com
Eeeeewwwwww. Pathetic. I never thought I'd say "this is garbage" about a Rolling Stones album, but there's a first time for everything. Ready? Okay. This is garbage. "Harlem Shuffle" is good, and "Had it with You" is pretty groovy.

And the rest? Yyyyyyyuck! One listen to "Fight" almost made me vomit. "Got to get into a fight"? Sounds more like "GATCHGETINNTOAFAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!" Bastard Jagger. Bastard Jagger and his stupid 80's vocal deliveries or lack thereof. I don't even know WHAT I can rate this album. MAYBE a 3/10. And that's if I'm on morphine or something. Speaking of which, I long for the days of "Sister Morphine", don't you?

Ben
Though I don't think this is as abysmal as everyone else does (I like this album) even I gotta agree that there are some pretty sketchy things about this album that steer me away from it. Mick's singing is the worst it's ever been (if you can even call it singing) and the lame dance excursion "Back to Zero" is on here. On the other hand "One Hit to the Body" makes a more than welcome appearance on here, and "Fight" and "Sleep Tonight" are pretty tight as well. Not a fan of "Harlem Shuffle" but I can tolerate it when it comes on.

Add your thoughts?

Steel Wheels - Rolling Stones 1989.
Rating = 3

The best Stones album since Some Girls! (aside from several others)

Low-grade dog food. After a three-year breakup and some scathing solo attacks on each other, Mick and Keith gathered the troops back into the studio to prove that they still had what it takes. They didn't. Aside from the decent, if generic, singles "Mixed Emotions," "Almost Hear You Sigh" and "Rock And A Hard Place," this is excruciating stuff.

Unlike Dirty Work, however, it's at least entertaining. As each song fades into the next, it becomes increasingly clear that they were trying desperately to prove that they were still "the Rolling Stones." You can almost hear them nudging each other and saying, "Hey! Let's show 'em that we're still the kings of the generic rock 'n' roller! ("Sad Sad Sad")," and "Hey! Let's show 'em we're the same band that did those disco songs in the late '70s! ("Terrifying")," and "Hey! Remember when we used to do a lot of country/western? ("Blinded By Love")," and "Hey! We did some fast songs in the late '70s, too! ("Hold On To Your Hat")," and "Ooooh! Remember those cheesy keyboard ballads from the last album? Weren't those the best? ("Almost Hear You Sigh")," and "Wait a minute! Didn't we start off as an R 'n' B band? ("Break The Spell")," and, most embarrassingly of all, "Hey dude! Let's show 'em we're still psychedelic on that groovy '60s vibe! ("Continental Drift," very possibly the most abysmal song they've ever recorded)."

But, alas, no matter how hard they tried to sound like the Rolling Stones, they still ended up sounding like a bunch of out-of-touch old bags. What's up with those horrendous guitar solos, anyway? Very successful tour, though.

Reader Comments

diamantr@ext.missouri.edu (Rick Diamant)
I think you're way off on this one. Sure, it's nowhere close to their late 60's/early 70's work, but it's a BIG step up from Dirty Work and Undercover. "Terrifying" & "Almost Hear You Sigh" are great, "Mixed Emotions" isn't bad, and most of the rest is very listenable. If they had left "Blinded By Love" and "Slipping Away" off, it would rate an 8, but those two downers drag it down to a 7.

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Whats this? An album in 1989 that actually isn't all electronic drum machines and synths. That alone should get it five points. Really. I liked this album. I was glad to see that the Stones didn't go electronic with this one. The drums are real, and the guitar sound doesn't come from processers, it's REAL guitars going through REAL amps. "Sad Sad Sad" started things off nicely, and "Mixed Emotions" kept things going. I didn't like "Terrifying", or "Blinded By Love", but the seque between "Hold On To Your Hat" and "Hearts for Sale" was awesome. On side two, I liked "Rock and A Hard Place" and that wierd "Continental Drift" thing, but the rest was awefull. But remember, what other classic rock band actually sounded like THEMSELVES in 1989?

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Steel Wheels deserves a much better grade than you gave it. At least 6 or 7. I can think of at least the following arguments:

1) Mick has begun to sing on this one. Sure, he continues to bark on the rockers - but not all of the tracks are rockers! 2) Keith's "Slipping Away" is probably the best ballad he's ever done ("You Got The Silver" is the only one that comes close).

3) The rockers are not as bad as the ones on Dirty Work, especially "Rock And A Hard Place" and "Sad Sad Sad". ("Hold On To Your Hat", though, is a terrible piece of punkish bullshit!)

4) "Terrifying" is not as entertaining a disco number as "Miss You" - but it IS a song, at least, unlike the worthless "Dance" on ER (wow! I like the way Mick goes "strange... strange... desiiiiiiiiires!") It even reminds me of something real good they've done way back, maybe "Fingerprint File"?

5) You skip through "Hearts For Sale", which is a filler, and you get... A BALLAD! A BALLAD! Hey, we haven't had a ballad from the Stones since "Tattoo You"! Even if it is not a very good one, it's still heartlifting to hear Mick singing it!

6) And finally, I don't like "Continental Drift" much, but it at least demonstrates that Mick and Keith were actually WORKING on the songs and experimentating again instead of THROWING them UP like a piece of VOMIT (which they did on Dirty Work)!

On the whole of it, Steel Wheels is undoubtedly one of the best albums of 1989, together with McCartney's Flowers In The Dirt and Clapton's Journeyman. It is the beginning of Renaissance for the Stones.

ross.golowicz@oberlin.edu
i'm sorry, did i just read "one of the best albums of 1989?" um. isn't 1989 when the pixies put out doolittle? has this album just been compared to doolittle??? shock, horror, disbelief.

"mixed emotions" is pretty good though...

CraigPorubsky@TitleSourceInc.com
I thought Steel Wheels was by far their best 80s record. But then again, what would be their competition? The all-garbage Emotional Rescue? Undercover anyone??

I'm surprised a reviewer regarded this as low-grade dog food and reviewed Some Girls favorably. Conversely, I consider Some Girls very boring and Steel Wheels a very decent record. Its best songs, "Almost Hear You Sigh," "Blinded by Love," "Can't Be Seen," "Slipping Away," and the experimental "Continental Drift" make it one of their strongest since Exile. The rest of the tracks are at least average, I don't think there's one bad track here.

dafeldman@vassar.edu
i am going to come right out and say that i have never consciously listened to this cd all the way through, and i don't really have any desire to because i don't like much that the stones have done in the past 30 years and i'd rather think of them in their glory days. but i've got to jump on ross golowicz's train here. i don't understand how george starosin can call this undoubtedly one of the best albums of 1989...and think it only deserves a 6 or 7. plus, he said before that the stones already started to "lose" being the stones or whatnot by sticky fingers in '71 (18 years prior). the top 3 albums of 1989 are by artists who peaked 20 years before? i doubt it. pixies' "doolittle" and galaxie 500's "on fire" are absolute masterpieces by bands at their peak. that's right, even in 1989 there were bands with members who were born when the stones recorded "satisfaction" that were making masterpieces.

i love the byrds, the kinks, the beatles and the stones and lots of other 60s stuff too, but i really dislike that mentality where bands from the 60s reign king no matter what era we are in. "good music" did not cease to be created after 1972.

i'm sorry if this sounds harsh or condescending (i really don't mean it! and i imagine i will be less in contact with contemporary music as i grow older) but it bothers me when loads of innovative and brilliant bands from the past 20 or 30 years get unjustly ignored or get the tag "good for the 90s" thrown on them because people can't look beyond the trailblazers of the 60s that they grew up with. i'm sorry but i'd much rather listen to built to spill than the stones in their latest "renaissance".

Ben
Wow man, you are way off on this one. The songs here aren't generic at all, and sound like a band getting their shit together. The album is a lot more diverse than I thought it was gonna be. You didn't even mention Keith's amazing ballad "Slipping Away." Maybe you should give it another listen...

Add your thoughts?

Flashpoint - Sony 1991.
Rating = 6

Another live album, but how about this for a snookie-wookie? Apparently, on the Steel Wheels tour, they actually tried to play the songs the way they're supposed to go! With back-up singers, pianos, Mick hitting notes instead of grunting - and yes, I'm sure that there are overdubs on here, but still ... it's enjoyable to listen to!

No long boring wank jams (although the mid-song guitar solos are atrocious) - just classic after classic after classiccc, all performed pretty well. Admittedly, "Paint It Black" sounds goofy being played by a bunch of fifty-year-olds, but "Satisfaction" kicks, "Sympathy For The Devil" starts with bongos and piano like it's supposed to, and "Factory Girl" never sounded this good! Mick actually hitting the notes? Neat neat neat, damn it! The only suck jobs are the two stupid Steel Wheels songs (I like "Rock And A Hard Place," so I'm not counting it).

And.... two new songs! How about that, eh? The anti-Gulf War "High Wire" sounds as much like BS now as it did at the time, and "Sex Drive" is a complete rip-off of "Hot Stuff," but I dig it 'cause that "Hot Stuff" makes my poundcake shimmy. Not fantazmo, but better than the last few studio albums, at least, which is something.

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
It's too bad this one went out of print so quickly. I loved the concert. It had the best version of "Paint it Black" ever. Only down side is the lack of "Happy", "2000 Light Years From Home", "Tumbling Dice", and the INCLUSION of "Can't Be Seen". WHY?!?!?!?! Those of us who saw the tour loved the wierd seque between "2000" and "Sympathy", why did they edit it out of this cd? Other than that, though, it was great.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Wow, not bad! Definitely not bad. Unfortunately I only have this one on audio cassette, which seems to be a pirated copy, and it's also way too short - lacking "Brown Sugar" and several other tracks. But the rest of the tracks are good! "Factory Girl" - fantastic! Almost as entertaining as the original! And what a unique thought - to get this one on record. Then there's "Paint It Black" - a knockout version (never mind the fifty-year-olds!), and an exciting "Little Red Rooster" with guess who... right, Eric C on lead guitar!

On the other hand, the young spirit's gone. That Spirit Of Youth and Energy. Indeed, it was already gone by the beginning of the 80s; what we had on Still Life was Old Fart Mick trying to catch up with it. In vain. Only looked ridiculous in his sportswear. By 1989 he got the message. So, instead of trying to look what he wasn't, Mick is honestly saying: "Hey guys, I've changed but I'll still do my best to please you!" So there's a lot of scenery and effects and smoke and inflated dolls and a giant screen and all, and there's also good old Mick running and jumping around as usual, but he's so small now - he's just a teensy-weensy part of the show, so nobody really minds if he misses a note or two (which he doesn't - the songs are all very well rehearsed). This is a grand show. Music is only a small and not the most significant part of it. At least that's what you get on video. On CD it's entirely different. You just hear the music and you let go - 'cos it's good!

And one more word about the new songs. "Sex Drive" certainly is a remake of "Hot Stuff" - a BAD remake: all those intoxicating guitar breaks eliminated and replaced by slicky horns and rappy back-up vocals. "Highwire" is decent, but uninspired. Nah! Skip 'em. Get Black And Blue instead.

WBinder007@aol.com
A six?! Prindle, you gotta be kidding me. This is a four if I ever heard one. The track list is killer, the performances certainly are not. I don't know if it's out of print or what, though, because I picked it up at Best Buy a week ago for $10.

Listening to it in my car the other day, it made me so embarrassed I rolled up my windows and turned the volume down, two things I never do unless it's either raining or other people are in the car. I mean, I like some parts of it a lot. "Ruby Tuesday" sounds great, and so does "Factory Girl," but other than that... there's not too much else to listen to here. At first I hated the version of "Satisfaction," but after a few listens it grew on me. Same goes for "Jumpin' Jack Flash," although I still like the studio versions of both a lot more.

Just about every song suffers from shitty lead guitar work. Ron and Keith either just dick around aimlessly, or start off with the original solo for a bit and THEN dick around aimlessly, a technique which is most readily apparent on, of all things, "Sympathy For The Devil," which I can't even get through.

Is it just me, or they (Keith & Ron) not even try to play some of the guitar lines right at all? "Brown Sugar" sounds like shit, and not just because of the back-up singers, either. "Paint It Black," to me at least, sounds like a joke here. Mick sounds like he's trying to make fun of the original's foreboding tone, and whoever's playing the lead part doesn't seem to be trying very hard to hit the right notes, or even wrong notes that would sound sort of close to the melody.

I think the best thing to do would be to just burn a CD with this tracklist, but the original studio versions rather than these dull, decidely non-rocking, wanky versions found here, and completely leave off the new stuff.

My friends and I all had a good laugh at the band pictures in the liner notes, though. If George Lucas ever needs to cut back on the makeup budget for a future Star Wars movie he can just slap some green shit on Mick Jagger's face and have him play Yoda.

Ben
Not happy with the tracklisting that's for sure. I'll knock off a point just for that alone. It's like they chose to play their most overplayed songs and threw in a surprise or two just for the hell of it. Whatever. The only big surprise I got here was this version of "Factory Girl", and it's way better than the already good studio rendition. It's true Eric Clapton makes an appearance on "Little Red Rooster" but it doesn't make that much of a difference. "Paint it Black" sounds great, and so do the "Steel Wheels" songs. Sure, Mick still can't sing for shit and the playing is really sloppy, but other than that, this seemed like it was a fun show to watch (other than the fact that I would have had to sit through these versions of "You Can't Always Get What You Want", "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Ruby Tuesday"). The studio songs are good too, but not anything special. "Sex Drive" is easily the better of the two.

Add your thoughts?

Voodoo Lounge - Virgin 1994.
Rating = 7

The best Stones album since Some Girls!

No, I'm serious this time! It's good!

For reasons which I'm sure you can figure out on your own, I wrote this off before I'd even heard it. But then I started reading all these positive reviews of it and, even though I clearly remembered middle-aged critics going sow-wild over Steel Wheels five short years earlier, I was intrigued.

And good thing, 'cause this is a good album! A fourteen-song double-album (or fifteen-song CD, if you're that kinda person), it doesn't sound like old men trying to sound like the Rolling Stones; it actually sounds like the Rolling Stones as old men! They're a little slower and more introspective; for the most part, the emphasis is on creating melodic pop music instead of trying to keep up with current tastes (or fans's expectations). And it works. The pop songs (though a tad hokey) are extremely pretty, even approaching out-and-out beauty at certain junctures.

Maybe you've heard "Out Of Tears," Mick's piano-driven, paralyzed-by-loss love anthem. It might be the prettiest, but the sad-old-man-loses-the-girl-to-an-abusive-young-whippersnapper melodrama "New Faces" is fantastic as well as unexpected (who'da thought that Mick would ever fess up to the fact that, like most other human beings, at some point he was going to turn into an old geez?), "Blinded By Rainbows" is lyrically interesting as well as guitar-catchy, the slow blues-related "Baby Break It Down" does more to put forth an honest Exile On Main Street getting old, achy, and tired" emotion than anything else they've done since Goats Head Soup, and Keith's surprisingly excellent rebel anthems, "The Worst" and "Thru And Thru," do much to poke holes in the notion that he is completely incapable of writing a new melody. They're good, gosh darn it, good.

And for those of you who like the faster stuff, you can have the generic (but well-mixed and genuinely fun) radio standards "Love Is Strong," "You Got Me Rocking," "Sparks Will Fly," and "I Go Wild." And they don't sound like BS! On Voodoo Lounge, the Stones actually sound like a band again, instead of a retro irritation.

But, just so you won't get too excited about their long-overdue "comeback," they've included two or three songs that just suck all sorts of ass. "Sweethearts Together" has a nice accordion, but sickeningly saccharine lyrics and a poorly-conceived vocal style that complements neither Mick's talent nor that nice accordion, "Brand New Car" is a rotten sleaze explosion lacking both brains and energy, and the quote-unquote funky "Suck On The Jugular" does to James Brown what "Continental Drift" had done to "Paint It Black" just one album earlier - mutilates it into a so-bad-it's-not-even-funny food stain on the power tie of modern culture.

Aside from those few crappy songs, it's a pretty great record. Not a return to form, but rather a graceful acceptance of age, and an awfully honest and honestly not awful way of dealing with it.

Reader Comments

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
A Major Surprise. Just when you thought the Stones were ready to retire, they come up with their strongest record since Goats Head Soup, possibly even since Exile On Main Street. This CD seems to incorporate the many styles from their long career. "Sweethearts Together" and "New Faces" remind me of their 60's sound. "I Go Wild", "Love Is Strong", "You Got Me Rocking", and others remind me of the Mick Taylor Stones. "Out Of Tears" is a beautiful ballad and "Suck On The Jugular" funks better than any of the Disco crap the Stones put out in the seventies. A definite 8 if not more!

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Nope. We disagree on this one. "Love is Strong" made me sick. "You Got Me Rocking" made me sicker. This album started off bad and only got worse as it went on. I kinda liked "Out Of Tears", but the rest of this album put me to tears.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Well, "Love Is Strong" did not make me sick (maybe only for the first time - just a little). Nor did "You Got Me Rockin'". After that things slowly started getting worse. Instead of interspersing the good tracks with the mediocre ones, the Stones preferred to dump all the good ones onto the beginning (other great songs are "Sparks Will Fly" and "I Go Wild") and then ushered in a set of canticles that make you yawn. Well, maybe the only other decent song is "Brand New Car", which Mark seems not to like (due to his general hatred towards bluesy tunes).

The ballads are absolutely uninteresting. "New Faces", whatever you say, is maybe the worst ballad Mick has ever written. Why? I'll tell you! It reminds me of "Lady Jane", and trust me, I would rather listen to that one! "Out Of Tears"... everybody seems to like that one, but it just lacks the inspiration of their 60's - 70's ballads. Keith's "The Worst" is good, but short, and "Thru And Thru" is long, but bad.

The other songs are weak... insipid... lack excitement... make you sick... etc. Why people prefer this album to Steel Wheels has always been a mystery to me! Not that SW is a perfect album, see, but it's much more lively, at least!

ronbevault@prodigy.net (Keith Jones)
This is the album that the stones should have released instead of rusty, I mean steel wheels. This album rocks. even the Keith Richards songs are good. This album made me forget about all the Stones-disco albums of the late 70's and the wretched albums of the 80's. THANK YOU MICK AND KEITH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sainthuck9@aol.com
I would probably give this a low 8-you are exactly right-the Stones finally sound like a real band again. Charlie even sounds like he's playing in the same room with the rest of the band thanks to the more direct production. This album definitely spend a hell of a lot more time in my tape deck than the bland, overproduced Eighties music of Steel Wheels.

What is unfortunate is that the album could have been even stronger, for the Stones were a little circumspect in their track selection. Two of the b-sides should have been on the album: "The Storm" is 2 1/2 minutes of straight blues and "Jump On Top Of Me" is simply great; slow and slinky with some nice interplay between Keith and Ron and an interesting lyric from Mick.

If you can ever get ahold of the outtake "Honest Man" on bootleg or the web-do it. A raw Keith rhythm, abrasive harmonica and genuinely good lyrics from Mick combine to create one of the better Stones tunes of the last decade-that they left it off the album is genuinely puzzling.

saul9@frontiernet.net (Jack Markowitz)
I don't know, I think with the invention of the cd, and its companion, the cd player, you could skip over the boring crap on the second side and just listen to the first few songs and the last one and give it a nice 8.

CraigPorubsky@TitleSourceInc.com
One thing about the Stones is they are still excellent songwriters, even if they do seem a bit less inspired. I listen to Voodoo Lounge and although I certainly don't hate it, the zest is gone. And it's not really because the songs aren't good either, I'm not really sure why I don't think it's better than it is.

Anyway, I liked Mick's Wandering Spirit from this period much better. That record bordered on inspired.

Ben
Thanks for writing a good review for this one. It took me a while, but I'm very impressed with this one. Sure it's no "Steel Wheels," but it's very good in it's own right. I LOVE "Mean Disposition," and I think it's one of the best songs they ever did. I also agree that the first three songs are a bit generic, but they're pretty good. The ballads on here are surprisingly top notch (except "Blinded by Rainbows" which is terrible). However, I don't agree with your assessments on "Sweethearts Together" (reminds me of the Beatles song "Two of Us"), "Suck on the Jugular" (don't really see why this is so unpopular among everyone) and "Brand New Car" (which I thought was hilarious). And Keith's songs are strong as ever, although I don't think he hit his high point with the stones until the next album. Yeah if you (or anyone else) likes this album, chances are you would love Mick's solo album "Wandering Spirit" from a year earlier.

Add your thoughts?

Out Of Tears 7" - Virgin 1994
Rating = 8

Hello everyone, and good evening! You know, the exciting thing about the Intronet is that people of all shapes and sizes can come together and enjoy each others' company and thoughts in a way that would be impossible if Esperanto weren't so popular among the youth. Regardless, you wouldn't believe HOW many emails and postcards I get from people all over the world, saying things like "I don't understand a word you're saying" and "Can you write your reviews in Swahili please because I don't know what they're saying." To solve this everlasting problem, I'm going to review one of the most important releases of the past decade, the Rolling Stones' "Out Of Tears" single, in several different languages for all of our foreign-speaking, and thus dumber, friends out there. The rest of you can take a hike if you want, but why not stick around? You might learn something!

¡Hola, mis amigos mexicanos! A partir del primer momento que lo oí, yo consideraba "fuera de los rasgones" una canción, un correcto para arriba allí con "Martes de Rubíes" y un "Angie" maravillosamente melancólicos. Sin embargo, debido a su producción pulida de los '90s, puedo entender definitivamente porqué pudieron otros considerado él basura soulless del contemporáneo del adulto. También, sé que me no suponen beber el agua en su país porque me dará diarrea. ¿Pero es aceptable beber la diarrea?

Zeg links uit, voel niet, u gekke Dutchers in Dutchville! Deze versie van "Uit Scheuren" is vermoedelijk "Aantrekt Was Uitgeeft," maar aan me schijnt het enkel over een kortere minuut, die fijn is omdat het lied te assfuckingly lang was te beginnen met (hoewel ik van het! houd). Het is een dergelijk MOOI lied! Vooral wanneer de volledige band speelt. U kent, over hier in Amerika, betekent de term ' Nederlands gaan ' dat een jongen en een meisje de controle van hun datum verdelen, eerder dan de jongen die voor alles betaalt. Dit omdat de Nederlandse mensen goedkope stukken van is shit zijn die denken zij een vrije snatchgrab verdienen enkel omdat zij stomme kleine houten schoenen dragen? Of is het om wat andere reden? Ook, denk ik u mensen windmolens hebt.

Hé Français ! J'ai visité Paris par le passé et vous des types étiez un groupe de piqûres, mais j'apprécie comment vous êtes toujours nu et chose ! Jim Morrison est encore poésie vivante et d'écriture dans votre pays, et que diriez-vous de de tous ces crânes et os dans les catacombes ? C'est joli dopant de rad, n'est-il pas ? Je ne parle pas réellement du disque mais les Américains sont si stupides, ils savent seulement une langue ! Ils ne suspecteront jamais une chose ! Ha ha ! l'"liberté fait frire" en effet ! En tout cas, merci pour le pain grillé et la 'subsistance sur Frenchin '!"

"eu estou indo dirigir" sou um B-lado grande! É uma canção agradável e relaxada da rocha e do rolo do midtempo, com as cordas felizes do piano e os guys cheerful da guitarra. Modal! Canção boa harmless do vibe de Nice! Should've estado no album. Bate o inferno fora daquele cabelo sweaty smegma-embebido da esfera do semen-gotejamento no lado três do lounge de Voodoo. YECH! Também, você é portuguese! (Brasil)

Perchè ciao là, voi Sylvester Stallone-come 'lo stallion italiano '! Heh del heh di Heh. "Sto Andando Guidare" sono una distensione, canzone buona piacevole. Ammetto che è molto tradizionale, ma è così facile sugli orecchi! Quei twiggle del piano e Ron e Keith piccoli che vanno appena, sorta basso Elvising del tipo esso. È kinda come quando presa del poop sulla faccia della ragazza (perché è cattolica) che la stessa specie della sensibilità piacevolmente comoda che funziona attraverso il vostro corpo intero. Inoltre, non dica al mexicans in su là ma soltanto i fags portano i sombreros. Fuckin 'mexicans del fag tutto lo stickin 'nel nnnn durante i loro 'siestas quotidiani.' 'Siesta '? Più come '(Carlos è mio) il degustatore della penna!'

Okay, I'm back to English now. I actually put forth the effort to write Greek and Russian paragraphs too, but they fucking TURNED INTO QUESTION MARKS after I saved them in Text. May God Damn Them! At any rate -- Hello all you English readers! How did it feel being left out of the private conversation I was having with my International friends? Didn't feel very GOOD now, did it? So remember that the next time a Dutch guy comes up to you and says, "Als alle Nederlandse mensen, Ik ben homosexual. U zult me doen, recht? Hier, gelieve te buigen over zodat zou ik mijn pud kunnen opnemen." Just be polite, act like you understand him and before you know it, you might have a new friend!

Oh hell, I forgot my readers from the Orient. Hay! Take your shoes off when you come in the house! And have some rice! Side one of this record is the "Don Was Edit," but sounds exactly like the album version except shorter! Side B is called "I'm Gonna Drive" and it's a wonderfully relaxing, smooth and simple little midtempo rock and roll song with a couple of nice guitars and a fun little piano line! It's very basic, but should've gone on the album because it beats the hell out of all the stuff on side 3! So have a good kimono and keep beating your children so that they do well in school! Ah so! (*bows; karate chops through four concrete blocks*)

(*is rushed to hospital and informed that bones in hand have crumbled into a fine dust*)

(*pokes hole in finger; pours hand-dust into rolling paper; lights it up and gets hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh*)

Reader Comments

mixxer@pandora.be
Fucking A. Dutch section had me rolling.

Add your thoughts?

Stripped - Virgin 1995.
Rating = 6

Very interesting! Mostly acoustic re-recordings of old Stones songs and covers, only one of which is from the Ron Wood era! Weird, huh? Now personally, musically speaking, I have no interest at all in listening to a bunch of weaker renditions of acoustic Stones classics like "Angie" and "Wild Horses," nor do I necessarily want to hear a bunch of old men destroy "Street Fighting Man" and plow through a pointless, endless Dylan cover just for the sake of making a joke about their band name.

However, artistically and commercially, it's very reassuring to watch them follow up their best album in fifteen years not with another generic live album, but with a document designed to remind the world that they ARE the Rolling Stones, and that they are, first and foremost, musicians and songwriters. No back-up singers (except in the vomit-inducing Dylan cover) and very few guest musicians - just the Stones playing their old songs.

"The Spider And The Fly?" "Shine A Light?" "I'm Free?" That's pretty cool. And some of 'em actually sound great, too - my fave raves are "The Spider And The Fly" (in which Mick changes the original 1965 lines, "She was common, flirty / She looked about thirty" to a more resigned, slightly embarrassed "She was a hippie, thrifty / She looked about ...fifty") and "Love In Vain," which boasts an enjoyable missed note courtesy of Mr. Clean Keith Richards. A very good idea. And basically a pretty good record, although it's a little hard to take it seriously knowing that these are the same guys who gave us Steel Wheels and Dirty Work just a few short years earlier.

Reader Comments

THEJIMP@webtv.net (James Weller)
You are way off on your review of the Stripped album; tracks 5 through 13 are great renditions. Mick's voice has never sounded richer, the guitar work on these versions also stand out more than on the studio recordings. The piano in place of orchestration on "Angie" is nice too. This is one great album to listen to; maybe you should listen to the way the music sounds too, rather than with worrying about how old you think these guys are. I saw them on their last tour and they had more energy then most bands working today. I'll bet that you couldn't keep up with Mick's moves. I don't know how old you are, but I'm 28 and I was impressed with the way these old guys appear, play, and perform a show. I wonder what S.T.P., Smashing Pumpkins, or Marilyn Manson will be like at 50? Puffy? Voices shot? Who knows but as much as I enjoy them also they'll never be as good as the Stones!

swc555@aol.com
Why is everybody so concerned about how old these guys are? If the music sounds good - and it does on this album (for a change) - then so what? I mean John Lee Hooker's like 150 or something and he still sounds damn good. If the guideline for good music is "the younger the better" then Hanson must rock.

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Starts off nicely. The acoustic "Street Fighting Man" is nice, as is "Not Fade Away". I'll try and ignore the Dylan. But what's up with this pseudo-country garbage. I thought "Sweet Virginia" was ok on the Voodoo tour, and it was good here, but they just over did the country bit. "Dead Flowers"? NO!!!!!! I'm glad that by the time they got to the studio to do the Babylon album they'd gotten this garb out of their systems. I'll take the newer songs like "Flip the Switch" or "Saint of Me" over this stuff any day.

gclavio@indiana.edu (Galen Clavio)
Compared to all the other "unplugged" drivel that's come out over the last 10 years, this one stacks up pretty damn well. The version of "Shine a Light" on this album comes close to outshining the original (which I always thought would be impossible). Personally, I liked the cover of "Like a Rolling Stone", but hey, that's just me. All the old covers, like the aforementioned "Spider and the Fly" and "I'm Free" are great to hear.

My problem was the covers of "Angie" and "Let it Bleed", which don't hold a filtered Pall Mall in the wind compared to the originals. The "Wild Horses" cover was at least palatable, though.

And FYI, the original "Street Fighting Man" was all acoustic as well. That version was better, though.

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
Fifty-fifty. I mean, fifty percent are great and fifty are REAL shitty. The earlier tunes ("I'm Free", "Spider") are very well done. The Dylan cover is NOT vomit-inducing: Jagger sings it quite superbly and plays terrific harmonica. "Sweet Virginia" is nice, the live version of "Slipping Away" is superior to the studio version, and "Little Baby" is fun. So much for the good ones. When they're good, they're WONDERFUL! But when they're bad, they're HORRIBLE! Jagger's singing on "Angie" is absolute shit. The version of "Wild Horses" is also painful: on the second minute of listening I caught myself thinking about something like "Hey, where did I put that Sticky Fingers thing? Let me look it up..." The other versions are just uninteresting. Not so bad, but..? However, this album would have worked out very well as a swan song for the band. I was almost disappointed when Bridges came out.

hutchilj@aramco.com.sa
The best live Stones album, for sure. Worth 7.5 in my book. Why - maybe it's because Jagger wasn't running around and trying to sing at the same time, or because they were singing some of the back catalog for the first time in years and clearly enjoying it. The cover of "Rolling Stone" is great, and a lovely surprise. There are weaker songs thrown in, but the band do sound like they care about all of them, all those years later.

Adam Hammack
I really like this one. Oddly enough, it was the first one I ever purchased (after seeing the video for the Dylan cover on MadTV), and I guess maybe I kinda dig it for that reason. It was pretty much my introduction to songs like "Street Fightin' Man" and "Spider and the Fly", and I thought that the nice, raw production made most everything sound pretty keen. I think the biggest thing about the Stones for me is that they really have to keep that genuine, scratchy ole' blues feel to their recordings to keep them from sounding rediculous. I personally think almost everything I've heard by them released after 1980 or so (but not absolutely all of it) sounds too slick to be taken seriously as a Stones recording.

But not this one. No sir. When I listen to it, I like to imagine that the band has found themselves in some delightful time-travel accident (much like the one featured in the blockbuster-worst-in-the-trilogy Back To The Future III) whereby they have been transported to a saloon in the American west of the late 1800's. (The Dylan cover is a bit too produced for that, granted; I don't dislike it as much as Mark does though, even with the one fewer verse and fifteen unnecessary backup vocalists.) Anyway, I just really dig the vibe they got for this one, with out all of the extra production.

Hell... "Not Fade Away" doesn't even completely suck. And Buddy Holly was a simplistic dumb square fuck.

My dad looked just like him when he was my age, too. Isn't that keen?

Ben
As big of a fan of the later stones, I loved this. Not a single bad cut on here (even if I'm not a fan of "I'm Free", it is a pleasant surprise). I did get a little sick of this "Wild Horses", mainly because it also showed up on the "Rarities: 1971-2003" (which I used to listen to a lot back in the day). I'll give this a solid 8. Nice to hear a stones live album without all the hits.

Add your thoughts?

Bridges To Babylon - Virgin 1997.
Rating = 5

REVIEW UPDATE: Below you'll find my crappy original seven-year-old review. Although I still agree that they were trying to sound more alternative and with the times, I now only hear dark R'n'B elements in a few of the songs. My main problem now is that a good third of the songs are just up-down GODAWFUL! And don't think I couldn't mean the soulful "Anybody Seen My Baby?" or Mick's embarrassing Bono impersonation "Saint Of Me," because those are two of the very songs I'm referring to. But "Godawful" doesn't help you, so let me say something that will. The rockers on this record ("Flip The Switch," "Low Down" and "Too Tight") are terrific, catchy, hard-hitting additions to the Stones catalog, the overall sound of the record is much more natural and relaxed than the at-times awkward Voodoo Lounge (even the bad songs don't sound AWKWARD the way that, say, "Brand New Car" and "Suck On The Jugular" did on the last record). I stand by my assessment of Keith's songs being by far the most heartfelt on here, although I've grown to at least *accept* Mick's approach. It's an average record, but not terrible! I could just do without excruciating black-music attempts like "Out Of Control" and "Always Suffering." Here then is my ORIGINAL review:

The best Stones album since Some Girls! (as long as you don't go by "how good it is compared to the other Stones albums released since Some Girls"). Not what I'm looking for. Not only does this record refuse to create the goodtime jovial hell yeah mood you expect from a Stones album, but it also refuses to present any solid new riffs. They're going for a darker, sort of cooler R'n'B sound on a lot of these, and though the songs are by no means bad or embarrassing like a lot of the Steel Wheels and Dirty Work stuff, they also don't really register at all. On here, the Stones sound like depressed old souls trying to sound sleek and sexy. The sound almost works, but so what? The melodies are damn near non-existent. Aside from the Keith Richards-sung closers, "Thief In The Night" and "How Can I Stop," nothing on here goes anywhere particularly important. Even the rockers are more bitter and hateful than good-natured and catchy. And no, I don't mind bitterness and hate in rock music if it's presented with power, speed and emotion, but here it's just delivered by Mick trying to sound tough and the band just sort of pussyfooting around. Again, there really aren't many truly bad songs on here - probably only one or two. And I gotta commend the Stones for going out on a limb and trying something different (and darn near ALTERNATIVE!) this late in their lives. But what I don't gotta do is enjoy the music and, try as I might, I just can't. The last two songs are lovely. Very good, though predictable, tunes. And I never thought there would be a point in my life when I would say this, but maybe they oughta let Keith sing more often! Unlike Mick, who is trying WAAAAAY too hard to sound tough and sexy, Keith just sounds like raspy old Keith, which is a lovely thing. In conclusion, I'm glad that the boys didn't go back to being self-parodies, but I'm not thrilled with this particular brand of music they've chosen. It may be for YOU, so give it a chance if you like "Anybody Seen My Baby." It's just not what I personally am into.

I like PIZZA a lot, though! Making fart noises with my hands too!

Reader Comments

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
The Stones will never again come up with such fantastic and groundbreaking music as they did between '67 and '74, but if this is the best they can do, then I certainly won't complain! I know that both Steel Wheels and Voodoo Lounge have been said to be "the return of the Stones", but maybe Bridges to Babylon is. Because a stronger selection of songs can't be found on any record since Tattoo You. Or Some Girls. Or maybe even Exile on Main St.

I won't go through all the songs, but I have to mention the fantastic "Low Down", "Too Tight" and "Gunface". Rockers-wise, this is what they've been searching for on the last few albums. "Saint of Me" and "Out of Control" aren't the new "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Fingerprint File" they've been described as. Still great songs, though. Even that Keith reggae tune, "You Don't Have to Mean It" really works. Thanks guys for your best album in many many years!

7/10 ('cause however good Bridges is, Beggars Banquet, Sticky Fingers and Exile will always be better!)

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
Interesting comments on Bridges. Whereas I do not completely agree with you, I feel that your review is quite thought provoking. It's interesting how you have come to like Keith's vocal style more and more as it relates to his newer recordings. People seem to appreciate Keith's singing because his style although technically weaker than Mick's is more heartfelt than his counterpart. As for the album, the music captures the Stones style fairly closely and the songs are very tuneful. The hip hop/alternative style adds something new to the Stone's repertoire. Not as good as Beggars Banquet, Sticky Fingers, or Exile but definitely a solid effort.

gclavio@indiana.edu (Galen Clavio)
While I agree with you that this is a departure from the regular style of the Stones that we've all been weaned on, I didn't have as negative a reaction as you, I think. Give them credit - this isn't a rehash of Exile (or Some Girls) (or Voodoo Lounge, for that matter). It's a step in the not-so-unknown.

The main problem is that there's very little cohesiveness with this album. Even Voodoo Lounge had a definite sequential plan to it. This one, however, seems to me to be a collection of singles and unconnected vignettes. Let's face it: "Saint of Me", "Always Suffering", "Out of Control", "How Can I Stop"...these are all good songs, all worthy of singles, in my opinion. But they just don't flow together.

Did any of you see the tour for B2B? I went to it, and it was almost like the Stones used the album as an excuse to tour. The tour was great, but they rarely played more than two or three songs from the album per show. (Normally "Saint of Me", "Out of Control", and "Flip the Switch"). It seemed that they thought that their faithful wouldn't be able to adapt to the new sounds of the album when laid alongside their prior successes (of which the setlists were chock full).

All things considered, however, I like this album, (better than Tattoo You and Emotional Rescue, actually). But hey, it's all a matter of individual taste.

karls@northnap.citynet.net (Karl Siever)
The Stones have been around for 30some years now, so no one can really expect anything groundbreaking from them. But you can hope, that like some of the other long-lasting artists around, that they refine and hone their craft. I think that with Voodoo, Stripped, and B2B they seem to be doing just that. I wholeheartedly agree with you about the Keith vocals, but I feel Jagger is aging like fine wine. The craftmanship and little touches in the music on this album are also signs that the touring and fairly steady work the band has done the last couple years are really paying off. I'm looking forward to these guys getting older!

gstarst@rsuh.ru (George Starostin)
The Stones have said they are "the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world." People disagree with this now and then, but deep inside everybody knows (or, maybe, does not know yet, but will know soon enough) that this is the ultimate truth. Oh yeah, there are the Beatles, too, but the Beatles were not really rock and roll - they were bigger, while the Stones were - and will always be - the true Gods of Rock'n'Roll.

That is why I am trying to buy every Stones' album that is. And I was happy to lay my hands on Bridges - because this is yet another Message from the Gods, one could say. And I don't like Bridges, mind you. It doesn't stand up to the Stones' name and fame. It's much worse than Voodoo Lounge. It's good they don't play much out of it. But I would prefer this album to ANY - mind you, ANY! - best-selling album of 1997 (and 1996, and 1995!) - just to hear Mick singing once again, and Keith tearing at his strings, and just to catch a few more shadows of the Stones' past glory!

God, shall there be another Mick Jagger in this world? Hardly. So, folks, let's pray he'll stay on stage for at least a hundred years more! I really don't know what's gonna happen to music when he's gone!

stureper@algonet.se (Tobias Person)
Bridges to Babylon is great! "saint of me" is their best song ever!!!

DAVID@caerlyle.freeserve.co.uk (David Rees)
i wont be exploited by a bunch of prima don tax exiles who cancel gigs becauset of uk govt change and pass it off as technical, and we wont disappoint our fans, we'll be back. yea, in the new tax year. pull the other one its got the measure of your yayas.

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
This album is freakin' awesome! Worse than Voodoo Lounge? I DON'T THINK SO!!! Voodoo Lounge was an admirable attempt at recreating the old Stones sound, it got them going further in the right direction (a direction the superior Steel Wheels started). Voodoo Lounge was a complete back to the roots sound...but the sound was not nearly as convincing nor as exciting as their classic 60's and 70's stuff. The Stones learned they had to take another step in order to rival those classics of old....and with Bridges To Babylon, they did.

This is definitely Stonesy! And with the excitement and power the Voodoo Lounge album lacked. It has a very modern sound, like Steel Wheels before it, but it's not poppy/cheesy like Steel Wheels. "Flip The Switch," "Low Down," "Gunface," "Saint Of Me," "Might As Well Get Juiced,"--the hard tunes are really solid. And the few ballads, "Already Over Me," and "Always Suffering," are quite good. It fades a bit at the end, but every Stones album ever had filler material at some point (with the possible exceptions of Let It Bleed and Beggars Banquet). But the overrall package is quite powerful. This was the album that truly made me a Rolling Stones fan.

The Rolling Stones have definitely made progress over their last few albums. Steel Wheels started them off on the right track as the band reinvented the Stones classic sound, mixing it with an 80's flavor. Voodoo Lounge further stripped the Stones to their basic roots, with no compromises. And Bridges once again adds to that foundation with a hard-hitting sound of great songs and solid production. I can say without shame that this is tied for my second favorite Stones album of all time, with Let It Bleed. If you like the early Stones albums, you should love this one as well...

Mark.Boudreau@motioncanada.com
This album re-introduced me to the Stones and I love it. Great tracks and a lot of variety, what more could one ask for. The Stones curse will always be to be compared to 1968 (or 1972) but they got over that and have forged ahead. If you think for a minute that Keith Richards is making music just for the money you are sadly mistaken. The Stones songs have always been a bunch of misses mixed in with a lot of hits but hell, what do you expect when you have been around for 40 years! I rate BtoB a keeper. Let them keep going for as long as possible. Isn't that what's great about BB King and Taj Mahal?

Ben
"Saint of Me" godawful? Whatever. That's a great song. I do agree with that assessment of "Anybody Seen My Baby?" however. I like it when the stones try to get contemporary, but that's just embarrassing. Just a dumb bass groove, stupid lyrics and bad rapping. "Low Down"'s not that great either. Starts out sounding pretty cool, but then turns out to be nothing. But that's all the bad things I could say about this album. I love the production and the "dark" R&B feeling. It took me a while, but I grew to really like this album. Favorite songs are easily the Keith ones, and the best one of those is the epic "How Can I Stop?", which has some terrific vocals. Funny how Keith's songs turned out to be the best, when this is essentially a Mick album. He also wrote "Flip the Switch", (another song with great vocals), but for some reason, he doesn't sing it. 8.5

Add your thoughts?

No Security - Virgin 1998.
Rating = 8

A very nice live album! Strong production and expertly performed tunes that you might not expect to hear them play in '98 ("Sister Morphine," "Respectable" and even "THE LAST TIME"!!!!). They picked a couple of new tunes that don't deserve to be on here (really weak version of "Thief In The Night," for expenditure), along with a couple of guest star spots that are subpar (Dave Matthews guest singing on "Memory Motel"? WHO FUCKING CARES????). But count me happy. The band sounds really, really good - even on "Gimme Shelter"! And when you compare the new ones to the old ones, you realize that they're not necessarily WEAKER; they're just a different style of r'n'r. And those Bridges tunes; maybe they ain't too bad!
Reader Comments

joumasepoes@hotmail.com (Rob Davies)
Hoo-hoo, This was a huge surprise. Damn good record. Gimme Shelter sounds fantastic, and Sister Morphine gives me the goosies. You gotta get it!!!

steelwheels@jahopa.com (C.S.B.)
You are an idiot.

I am so tired of these "old men" cavils... Why dont people grow the fuck up? And get an education? We all know age does not matter... The Stones are so much better than pretty much everybody else that it isnt even funny. Thier bad albums are better than some bands best ones and "old age" doesnt technically start till 65. The Stones arent that old yet. And even when they are they will still be good-Mick Jagger still performs like a 25 year old. So... Just wanted u to know what a redneck, dumbass, uneducated thing to say that about the Stones... But you were right about one thing... Voodoo Lounge was a very good album. Have a great life-Goodbye

csurson@yahoo.com
CUTTING THROUGH THE BULLSHIT

I like your reviews, they are all thoughtful and fun. But the people who comment on your pages, specifically the rolling stones page, are idiots.

Some examples (about the album Some Girls):

'More overplayed crap, specifically the singles "Miss You", "Beast Of Burden", and "Shattered"'

'"Miss You" is an embarrassment'

'"Miss You" is lifeless dross'

I don't know if it is a coincidence that "Miss You" was their biggest crossover hit, or that Some Girls sold as many copies as it did, but I STRONGLY suspect that the popularity of the album has something to do with these bizarre comments. I'm shocked so many people recognize the disco elements of "Miss You" in the first place. I didn't even notice it until I read a review of the album and recognized the 'four-on-the-gloor' beat. Or maybe once these people heard about how popular the song and album were, or how "Miss You" was built on a disco beat, they decided to hate it. It seems that way to me.

I want to know how old these reviewers are. I've heard about Stones fans who had temper tantrums when the band stopped putting out formula after "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" and began to experiment, but I thought that more than THIRTY YEARS later these people wouldn't fault the music for incorperating then-modern elements. People are still pissed about this? It's unbelievable. Time tests the quality of music, and the Stones' disco experiments sound good today, at least to me, and to almost everyone else I've ever encountered. Is it 40-50 year-olds that are STILL bitter about the Stones music in the 70s?

Particularly irritating:

'The "Hot Stuff" disco thing to this day makes me ill. The Stones sold out when they started doing disco'

With the possible exception of "Emotional Rescue," the Stones never really made a straight disco song. They played with the genre, but I don't see how this qualifies as "selling out," especially when the bands best-selling album (Some Girls) consists mostly of straight rock (When the Whip Comes Down, Lies, Respectable, Some Girls), and when the group was already one of the most popular, succesful, and wealthy in the recorded history of the world. They certainly didn't compromise their music, they expanded it. Isn't that supposed to be admirable?

On a final note, people are WAY too polemic about recent stones tours and material. For people who think the Stones are invested only in spectacle and wealth nowadays consider:

-Stones are already among the wealthiest musicians in the world.

-They are the only rock band in their age group still recording and touring, and I find it HIGHLY unlikely that remained togethor simply for money (if it were all about wealth then what caused greedier, even more successful bands to break up??). They are all in their 60s and could easily retire and live in fabulous luxury for the rest of their lives if they wished.

-The Stones have ALWAYS been about spectacle. I don't understand how poeple can overlook this fact. In the 60s Jaggers' lyrics were deliberately outrageous, he was one of the first rock frontmen to shock and move around the stage in ridiculous ways, their tours employed state-of-the-art lighting and production, even in 1969, they dressed in drag for promotional shots, in the 70s they donned deliberately androgynous costumes and heavy makeup, and Mick Jagger can be seen popping through giant Tongue and lips banners and playing with dozens of guest musician, Soaring above the crowed in a Cherry-picker, or dancing on a huge inflatable penis. If you go to a Stones tour today, even by contemporary Standards, they are almost LESS of a spectacle. And tour production has become MUCH more elaborate since the 70s. Some fire and fireworks to start and end the performances, a big screen, backing musicians, but for the most part the core band is tight. Tighter than they were in the 60s, and more energetic than they were in the 80s or 90s. The musicianship of players like the stones does not DECREASE over time.Contrary to popular belief, people won't play absurdly high prices to hear music that isn't exciting. If you can't understand why people wouldn't see the Stones if they weren't good, then you fail to recognize the idea of industry and bullshit and marketing. OK, the music industry is full of bullshit, but people hear this all the time and they don't understand WHY its bullshit, so they drag out cliches that it's just about money and spectacle when the real issue is FAR more complicated. The Stones would not be popular if people left the shows feeling deflated by the music. It just doesnt work that way

-Which brings me to the issue of TICKET PRICES. No one seems to realize that the Stones hold the record for the two most-attended North American tours of ALL TIME. Does anyone know what supply and demand is? If people are willing to pay prices so high, it doesnt make financial sense for the Stones to lower them. Mick Jagger whent to fucking business school.

I have to address this, too:

"This is the same hype every release has got for the last 15 years. They should just become a touring act, and stop trying to put out relevant music."

THE FINAL ISSUE is the music. People get so up in arms about this. The reason why new Stones albums are so hyped is that people are waiting for the great later-day Stones album. It's easy to write a band off. Anyone can do it and you don't have to be smart to do it. This of course explains why many are eager to write the Stones off, even though the band's stamina and endurance over the years isn't really cause for any sort of hatred. Careful listeners, however, can discern that the Stones have not simply lost their talent. If you are fair and objective and are someone who is astute and intelligent and thoughtful and CARES about music, you can tell there are flashes of vintage Stones brilliance in much of what they have done since the 70s (examples: the funk in "Too Much Blood" and "Undercover of the Night" the tight performance on "One Hit to the Body," stronger ballads on Steel Wheels and Voodoo Lounge, experimentation on "Moon is up" or "Thru and Thru," etc.). But people are hasty to proclaim a Stones album as "great" because they really want a great old-age Stones record. Plus, Mick Jagger is smart enough to release publicity that hypes their new albums and tricks reviewers into giving them better reviews than they deserve. But then there are the people who just refuse to admit that the Stones have released any good music and simply stick to party lines because they can't see beyond these issues. Anything that is not Let it Bleed or Exile on Main Street and was made in the last 10 years is crap, end of discussion. They either get mad at the Stones for experimenting too much in the 70s, or for sounding too generic and similar and derivitive of the old Stones in the 80s and 90s. These people don't get that most music is not bad, most music is simply mediocre. Led Zeppelin never got any shit for rehashing one overbearing metal riff after another year after year. They had strong tunes, but their sound didn't mutate, it wasn't as supple as the Stones. In other words, the main problem is party lines. People stick to trendy opinions. I think underneath all the bullshit, the Stones are a much better band than most people, even fanatics, will admit. Instrumentally, they are the greatest, most understated, hardest-rocking rock band of all time. You can't beat Charlie Watt's durms or Keith's rythm guitar playing, and Mick Jagger is ur-rock frontman (it would take another whole 5 pages to cut through all the fashionalbe opinions and bullshit about Mick Jagger, who some Stones fans seemed determined to hate b/c he isn't a reformed Heroin-addict grandfatherly pirate keith richards). The Stones songwriting has fallen off in the 80s and 90s, but they really never have released anything that is just horrible. They have released a great deal of solid filler and mediocrity, and this deflates people who inexplicably want to here 'Brown Sugar' quality material for 40 years. Bob Dylan has released HORRIBLE shit, possibly out of carelessness, but then again, he has released 1st tier latter-day recordings like "Love and Theft." It's easier for Dylan, though, because he has always been self-contained. It's hard to lose personal talent, but the Stones have always been about chemistry, which is easier to lose over time, especially if the musicians are not constantly living, playing, and touring togethor.

Ben
Considering all the hype the "Bridges to Babylon" tour got while it was happening, I would have expected a live album from it to be just as big. It wasn't, and though the track listing seemed to be pretty well put together, the biggest problem here is without a doubt Micks voice. He's trying way too hard. This album ranges from pathetic (who invited Dave Matthews to destroy "Memory Motel"?) to divine (who would have guessed "Out of Control" would have sounded so epic live?) The version here is without a fuckin doubt my favorite live stones track. I'd love to find out who's playing lead guitar there.

Add your thoughts?

Rarities 1971-2003 - Hear Music 2005
Rating = 7

Happy belated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, everybody! I hope you had a wonderful holiday and got all kinds of nice presents under your Black Person Tree. I've been thinking a bit about how much celebrities annoy me, and here's the incredibly obvious point that I finally arrived at, to: celebrities are only celebrities because non-celebrities want them to be. No no, hear me out with my genius idea. People complain about how celebrities are arrogant or make too much money or aren't actually very talented, but the Bottom Line/Personal is that if every non-celebrity in America would stop paying to see Tom Cruise films, stop reading People and Us magazine, and stop buying CDs by pop starlets, these 'celebrities' would become 'non-celebrities' within a matter of months. They'd still be RICH non-celebrities, but so what? The important thing to realize is that their celebrity DOES NOT EXIST without our approval. Regardless of the opinions they hold of themselves, people like Bruce Willis, Oprah Winfrey and Russell Crowe are only up on an Important Person pedestal because so many non-celebrities put them there and allow them to stay there. If it was only the media and other celebrities that wanted them there, they wouldn't bring in enough money to be further celebrated. It's US celebrating those pricks, with our terrible viewing and spending decisions. Well, not mine per se, but somebody's -- somebody who against all evolutionary odds actually gives a shit about Brad and Angelina, or Nick and Jessica, or Britney and That Big Fuckin' Loser She Married. The cult of celebrity would not even exist if so many common folks weren't so eager to feel like they have interesting friends on the TV. Infuriating yet truthful!

As for The Rolling Stones' Rarities CD, hurray! Hurray that we now have access to a couple of songs from the long-OOP impossible-to-find No Security live CD from like two years ago! Hurray that we now have hard proof that a CD called Stripped really does exist and isn't just a big made-up conspiracy theory on the part of the nation's cheapy bins! Best of all, hurray that only ONE of these tracks is actually a 'rarity' while dozens upon dozens of fantastic unreleased tracks remain available only in bootleg form! Hurray hurray hurray!

No, hang on. "Hurray" isn't the right w-- Ah! I remember -- "Fuck you, drug addicts"; that's what I meant to say.

Hey, what do you think about this band name: "The McCceCtsr Pzlnktrbblbp" Pretty good, right? If I had the time, energy and poor judgment to form a band, I'd call it that.

When the Rolling Stones were asked by Starbucks' Pizza to put together a rarities compilation especially for the popular pizza chain's customers, they thought to themselves, "Say... This would be a great opportunity for us to pretend that Bill Wyman never existed." As such, although he plays on 10 of these 16 tracks, neither his name nor likeness can be found anywhere in the 19-page booklet accompanying this CD. Not even in the 'Thank You's! Oh sure, you'll read about the 'distinctive bass line' of "Miss You," but you won't be told who played it. Even fuckin' MICK TAYLOR gets a mention, but not Bill Wyman. But then, he was only in the band for a mere 29 years.

But enough of my complaining. What am I, a complain-wart? Let me get down to business now and tell you what's on the CD. First of all, it's 80 minutes long so don't be afraid of not getting your bottom dollar's worth! And in conclusion, it features 16 songs: 1 live from a DVD, 1 unreleased live, 4 from live albums you probably already own, 3 12" dance remixes, 6 b-sides, and 1 that was previously only available on a compilation. 11 of these 16 songs are simply alternate or live versions of songs that you most likely already own. 4 are cover tunes. 3 were on Sucking In The Seventies. Wow! What a bargain!

Highlights include:

- A really long version of "Miss You" with extra jive monologue in the middle after "Hey, let's go mess and fool around, you know, like we USED to!"

- a wonderful rendition of "Tumbling Dice" that was left off of Stripped for God knows what reason

- a sad, smoky acoustic/violin Mick/Keith duet called "Anyway You Look At It" that was left off of Bridges To Babylon because somebody was positive that "Anybody Seen My Baby" was a much, much better song

- a raw, feel-good bluesy piano smiler called "Wish I'd Never Met You" that was left off of Steel Wheels because it didn't suck enough

- an extended version of "Mixed Emotions" complete with horn and lovely sustained piano

- a classic Stonesy dirty chuggle cover of Chuck Berry's "Let It Rock" from when they were young and hungry! (1971)

- "Thru And Thru" is a terrific Keith Richards song. This live version from the Four Flicks DVD doesn't really add anything to the original, but hey! Crowd noise!

Highlights exclude:

- "Fancy Man Blues," the well-mixed boring worthless 12-bar generic blues throwaway b-side of "Mixed Emotions"

- No Security's rectally painful cover of "I Just Wanna Make Love To You," a slowed-down "I'm A Man" with different lyrics whose shittiness is further compounded by the appearance of "I'm A Man" itself six songs later

Middlelights don't discount:

- "Through The Lonely Nights," a pleasant but not very memorable country snore from the b-side of "It's Only Rock and Roll"

In other words, though a listenable enough selection of live recordings, b-sides and remixes, Rarities is bound to piss off every single person who purchases it. Who needs all this substandard live material, particularly when most of it has been easily available for years? It's nice to have all these later B-sides together in one place, but even here the compilation is an incomplete (and thus complete) failure; where is "I'm Gonna Drive," for example? And do they honestly think there are people out there whose lives might be enhanced by the existence of "Harlem Shuffle (NY Mix)"?

Because indeed there are! And their names are Bob & Earl Royalty Fund.

Reader Comments

davethefish42@gmail.com
Rarities 1971-2003 is a goddamn waste. The Rolling Stones have always been one of the more agitating bands when it comes to tracking down rarities and such, and crap like this and the SHITASTIC COM LAG (Radiohead) is a waste of plastic. Take the time and collect all the leftovers and I'll gladly pay 50 THOUSAND dollars for intelligent comps. It's just sitting there otherwise.

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Live Licks - EMI 2004
Rating = 6

Man, no offense to bags but these guys suck. They just don't sound like they give even half of a shit about what they're doing. Mick has finally become completely incapable of singing like a human being, instead just forcing words out of his mouth in an unpleasant baboon-like imitation of a smarmy asshole. Add to that Ron's near-uselessness and Keith's either inability or unwillingness to play half of the riffs correctly (Jesus - what the FUCK is he doing at the beginning of "Brown Sugar"!? And are you sure that the members of the band were actually all in the same STADIUM when this embarrassing version of "Beast Of Burden" was performed?"), and you've got a double-CD full of messy, mediocre renditions of some of the greatest rock and roll songs in history.

Luckily it DOES have its moments in the sun: a sped-up choogle boogie take on "I Know It's Only Rock 'N' Roll" is a nice ear-treat, Mick against all odds actually manages to not make a wretched urine farce out of "Angie," "Satisfaction," "Monkey Man," "Start Me Up," "Street Fighting Man" and a few others, and maybe neatest of all is their 'all over the career map place' set list, which includes such unexpected winners as "Paint It Black," "Rocks Off," "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'," "That's How Strong My Love Is," "When The Whip Comes Down," "You Don't Have To Mean It," "Worried About You" and "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love." Granted, they don't play most of these songs worth a SHIT (Mick ruins "Paint It Black" with a dopey faux-Eastern lilt in his delivery, the 10-minutes-of-Hell "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'" only proves that 65-year-olds aren't quite as good at ethnicy improvisation as, say, ANY OTHER DEMOGRAPHIC IN THE UNIVERSE; "When The Whip Comes Down" is musically more energetic than the original but nevertheless converted to dung by Mick 'singing' as if he's busy watching a TV show on the side of the stage; self-same singer renders "Worried About You" unlistenable by adopting the falsetto of a fat retarded 85-year-old woman; and Charlie is pretty much the only guy in the band who remembers how to play "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love," so that's a lost cause from the getgo), but isn't it the effort that counts? Isn't it now?

No, it's really not. Not when the effort is so hamfisted that it manages to suck all the greatness out of such previously infallible works of utter genius as "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Honky Tonk Women," "Happy" and "Gimme Shelter."

Then there's the new material - My God! If you thought the Stones' recent originals haven't been too great, wait til you hear their stultifyingly grim takes on Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness Of You" and BB King's "Rock Me, Baby." I've heard car horns with more soul. And who's the man with semen in his ears that put "Neighbours" on the set list? Gee, why not add "Back To Zero" and "Suck On The Jugular" while you're busy performing your WORST MATERIAL EVER!?

I know what you're wondering - how on Earth could I give this dreadful display of apathy and old age a much-coveted 6 out of 10? Well, it's like this -- no matter how little effort you put into your performances of 20+ classic Rolling Stones songs, they're still 20+ classic Rolling Stones songs. And to be fair, they only completely destroy a few tracks ("Beast of Burden" and "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" are the main culprits); the rest have salvageable elements, especially once you find the original master tapes and remove all the vocals. Not even the backup singers perform worth a crap on this thing!

But that's just my opinion. Please take it with a grain of sand.

Reader Comments

fistanarius@gmail.com
I haven't actually listened to this album, but I just saw the Rolling Stones live and thought I'd comment. I think in ten thousands years on the scene, The Rolling Stones have proven themselves incapable of making a live album any better than "nice" and "a little interesting." That being said, they can still put on a very good live performance, even if it isn't quite worth committing to Compact Disc (TM). Mick struts and gays and minces and fags around as well as ever, and Ron and Keith still squat every once in a while as thought the power of the music is forcing them to crap right there on the stage, which I'm assuming is a traditional part of the image. Oh, they also sing, play guitar, and play another guitar pretty well, respectively. The funniest thing at the concert was when they played "Brown Sugar," right after "Start Me Up." You have to be pretty cocky to play the same song twice in a row, once about necrophilia and then again about slave rape.

Add your thoughts?

A Bigger Bang - Virgin 2005
Rating = 5

The best Stones album since some girls
walked into a studio, took a shit on the microphone, and released it as an album called Stones exactly one second before A Bigger Bang came out!

I'm not a damned fool and I know exactly what they're trying to pull here. Come on --- A Bigger Bang? BIGGER BANG!? Gee, that doesn't sound suspiciously similar to a certain OTHER Rolling Stones album title, does it? A certain Rolling Stones album from 1968 that was the first in their quadruple-shot of jaw-droppingly classic blues/rock albums? Mark my words - in five years (following another live album and greatest hits compilation) the Stones are going to release a CD called Leaded Tweed. From there it's only a hop, skip and four or five live albums, greatest hits compilations and box sets until Stocky Fungus hits stands and the band's career finally reaches cessation with Charlie Watts, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger all passing away on mic during the recording of Eggsalad On Strained Meat. Then you'll know I'm right and everybody else in the world is wrong. Not only about this, but about EVERYTHING. For example, did you know that John F. Kennedy actually died by choking on an olive? Many people don't.

So now onto A Bigger Bang. First, a description: It is 64 minutes long and features 16 original new tracks. It has a lot of Stonesy rock and roll on it, with the same raw distorted guitar tone that Keith has been using since Some Girls and an overreliance on basic tonic-subdominant chord constructions, along with the expected stylistic diversions (1 old-timey slidey blues, 1 slick r'n'b, 1 funky, 1 acoustic ballad, 2 Keith vocals). It also has good strong production that retains their classic raw sound while making it easy to hear all elements in the mix. But overall, it is a frustratingly hit-and-miss record.

First of all, "Rough Justice" is one of the worst singles I've ever heard in my life, so there's that. Have you heard this piece of crap? It sounds like a gang of jokesters went into the studio, said "Hey look, we're the Rolling Stones!," and proceeded to lay down the most damning and obvious Rolling Stones parody of all time. The verse - like many of the verses on this record - has no musical hook AT ALL. It's just Keith doing his usual 'one chord' jinka-janka crap while a wildly over-loudly-mixed Mick Jagger shouts every word on one note, then the 'hook' comes in with the chorus -- a standard ascending John Cougar redneck chord riff that only sounds catchy in comparison to the amusicality of the rest of the track. A truly terrible song, though well-loved by people whose entire qualification for 'a great Rolling Stones record' seems to be that it 'was recorded by the Rolling Stones.' Which is fine - I do that with Motorhead! I'm just complaining because I so violently hate the boring yet also IRRITATING (because of the overloud distorted vocals) song!

More generally, the album reeks of 'wasted potential' and 'terrible vocals.' Starting with my second problem first, what has happened to Mick Jagger? On most (though not ALL, I must add) of these 16 tracks, his voice has taken on this really amateurish tone-deaf timbre that clashes terribly with his naturally arrogant swaggering delivery. He has done this to varying degress in the past, dragging one-syllable words out into four or five, and ruining gentle moments by 'chewing the scenery' like a Vegas entertainer who feels absolutely no emotion towards the words he's singing. But here, it seems almost epidemic -- there are only two or three songs that he sings like a normal human being! Is this an age problem, you think? Why can't he just use a tastefully calm and melodic delivery like he did on the '60s and '70s Stones albums? Or such as he uses on THIS album's "Let Me Down Slow," a pleasant Tom Petty-like pop/rock song that's a standout track on here simply because it doesn't feature a single moment that SUCKS COCK TO HIGH HEAVEN!?!

Jesus, sorry about that. Let's try again. So that's the Mick thing -- it seems as if he's more concerned with trying to sound sexy and cool than he is in singing the songs. Check the (absolutely hideous) r'n'b ballad "Laugh I Nearly Died" for a great example of this: the song calls for a whispery, sultry, soulful delivery, yet Mick is unable to refrain from basically SHOUTING the quiet part and is clearly unable to distinguish between 'soulful' and 'simply mispronouncing every word in the lyrics.' Plus he's too high in the mix and his lyrics are as meaningless as they've been since Emotional Rescue. (And that's another thing! What happened to witty lyrics like "Shattered" or "Far Away Eyes"?)

On to that wasted potential now. I would need six or seven hands to count the number of songs on here that feature a strong, catchy verse followed by a cliched, non-written, effortless one-chord chorus (or vice-versa). If you turn on the CD and just go about your business, washing the cat or taking Excedrin or whatever you people do for a living, you'll come out of it thinking, "Wow! That new Rolling Stones album has a lot of catchy hooks on it!" And you know what? You'd be right. It does. However, they're all spread out very thinly across 16 songs and 64 minutes, separated by dozens and dozens of instantly forgettable no-effort two-chord shit-riffs. I'm not talking about melodies that I personally don't like; I wouldn't mind that. I'm talking about melodies that AREN'T MELODIES. They're just Keith hitting one chord, or maybe doing the ol' tonic-subdominant bluesy thing - while Mick sings everything in one or two notes atop. This to me is not songwriting; it's just laziness. The abundance of this non-material in no way detracts from the awesome vocal hooks you'll find in songs like "Let Me Down Slow" ("Baaaay-bay! Baaaaay-bay! Let me down reeeeal sloooow."), "Streets Of Love" ("I-eee-I-eee-I-I, I-eee-I-eee-I, walk the streets of love"), "She Saw Me Coming" ("She saw me CUMMIN'!") and "Biggest Mistake" ("Hoooooo-ooooooo-ooooooo-oooooo"), but it does detract from the overall listening experience when you pay closer attention to the CD and find yourself waiting impatiently through minutes and minutes of generic Stones-by-numbers bullshit to get to the good parts.

So maybe they just need a producer with more guts? Somebody willing to say, "Mick baby - stop sticking your lips out and just sing the fucking song like a human being" and "Keith baby - that is one AWESOME chorus you've come up with there. But maybe instead of pairing it with that 50-year-old Chuck Berry riff, we should pair it with the awesome VERSE hook from that other song -- you know, the one with the one-chord chorus? -- and create one entirely solid Rolling Stones song!"? Because if somebody would have gone through the master tapes, deleted all the made-up-in-four-seconds non-hook chord sequences and paired together the remaining pieces of music, this could have been a seriously catchy-as-hell 35-minute, 9-song album. And would that be so bad? From a bunch of senior citizens, I don't think so! So there - I'll place the blame entirely on the shoulders of the spineless producers. Fuck you, Mel Brooks' The Producers!

Summation: If you're a Stones fan, A Bigger Bang is definitely worth buying because there are so many great parts buried here and there among the faceless choogle churn blahs. But the Stones are never going to release their long-awaited 'comeback' album until Mick gives his schtick a rest and somebody reminds the band how to edit themselves. They obviously will never be able to recapture the youth, energy and social atmosphere that helped them create their greatest masterpieces of all time, but Some Girls is not such a pinnacle of perfection that Jagger/Richards by necessity will never be able to match it again, even in their 60s (or 70s!). So enough apologism - I'm not going to say "It's a solid Rolling Stones album, and what more can we expect at this point?" because that's bullshit. It's not like their brains have turned to mush - there's plenty of catchy hooks still coming out of their heads. They just need a little more help weeding out the weak parts than they used to.

I also wanted to say a few other things that I was unable to fit into the rest of the review, so I'll do so here at the end, as a post-script.

(1) "Look What The Cat Dragged In" sounds like INXS! INXFuckingS!!!!! Wonderful! HA! And catch that "diddly diddly diddly" lick during the chorus! WHEEEEE!!!! And those stompy drums! Fantastic!!! Make this song a hit! It is FUN AS HELL! Good? Eh. But fun? WHEEE!!!! It's like there's a party in my stereo and everyone's invited to stand on my stereo and enjoy it!!!!!!

(2) "Infamy" rides along on a four-note melody that could have been written and performed by a 9-year-old -- yet it still has a more interesting personality than nearly any other song on the record.

(3) "Sweet Neocon" is about the Bush administration. "Dangerous Beauty" is about Lynndie England. Both songs are among the Stones' worst compositions of all time. Conclusion: Keith doesn't want Mick's naive political comments embarrassing the entire band through radio play, so he pairs these lyrics with the worst music he can think of.

(4) Nearly two decades after its release, Dirty Work is still the worst Rolling Stones album of all time! Huzzah to the chef!

Reader Comments

COSMICBEN@aol.com (Ben Marlin)
Just wanted to let you know I enjoyed your review of the Stones' A Bigger Bang. I'd give it an 8 or 9, but I can't argue with your analysis of the crappy songs. I just like the way it all sounds. In any case, I appreciated the thought and depth you put into it, since I'd been awaiting your review since the album came out.

sr8950@hotmail.com
I think A Bigger Bang is good. Unlike the last albums, there are actually stand out songs, instead of just a bunch of product. The playing is also really good, which im surprised you didn't comment on. There are generic songs, though. It might be a cliche but they should have cut it down to the best songs, there are 10 or 11 ones worthy of a Stones album, in my opinion. If they'd done that, the record would have been like a latter-day Some Girls. That's not an overstatement. After all, the Stones best post-Exile albums are good because they are focused and concise and energetic, not because the Stones were at their absolute winning streak.

Of course again intelligent people will have to deal with all the stupid things that people say about the Stones nowadays. Usually these are dumb kids or bitter old men eager to write their music off and whine about the old days. Etc, etc, etc. It's all been said before.

dryrdiam@netzero.net
I. On the notion of Mick Jagger's:
really amateurish tone-deaf timbre that clashes terribly with his naturally arrogant swaggering delivery.

II. Is this an age problem, you think?*

Yes, I think. In fact it is the merging of his aging voice paired with a desperate attempt at recapturing the vocal tone of his youth gone wild which leads to an empty whole. That being his vocal delivery being complete and what not, sounding like it's not possible for him to do any better yet something is still missing, I mean the tone itself sounds to me as youthful as he can make it, but without that Deep Throaty "down to earth flava" as evidenced in the last studio album. Like, it sounds like he has to comprmise his breathing/breath with the sustain/power with the tone of his voice via a sort of Shout-o-meter technique; or shoutometer. Or just take the whole of what I said and transpose it from the realm of (micks) physical struggle into the realm of (micks) spiritual struggle and you end up with what you just said, which is really the same as what I said because what you wrote was so all encompassing and omniscient (in the context of it's own meaning) that 9 billion words weren't necessary to convey what is described in statement I.(see I.), except that you follow up on that in the form of a question, (see ? II. *) even though your question is almost already answered by the implied insinuations that are so prevalent in the unquestioning authority of your holy fluent prose. Am I obsessed with mick jagger? not really. Am I obsessed with mick jagger's voice? no, but I like what he says sometimes. He's got potty mouth, and I’m a 2000 (flushes) man. But I'm definitely not obsessed with mick's Jagger, that's for sure.

III. What happened to witty lyrics like "Shattered"?*

Wow, talk about a tongue in cheek inside of a tongue that is inside of a cheek, the notion of Shattered being witty. HA!. All over man hat in. Now that's witty.

* -> (above question mark for III., which is really question two, is an insert and without the consent of the author and/or publisher of the above written material)

P.S. you ruined my life, Quite Franklin was going to be the name of an experimental nostalgic art forum project touring band fair show I was going to start sometime in this decade featuring obscure covers, improvised poetry, acted out plays and video remixes of our favorite songs incorporating a sort of "where are they now" historical fantasy theme intertwined within, of the greatest mystical and mysterious figures of the past that might be - or would/should have remained (cryogenically frozed) in the past for the metaphorical and poetic sake of it all, so in that way the essence of the past can be justfully and properly resurrected to fix present situations and other problems, via Quite Franklin. Such prospective projects were to include a Judge Reinhold facial expressions (from Beverly Hill Cop ONE! the sequelz will suk 4 eva yo) tribute music video superimposed with Axel F with the historical context being the fantasy of the Judge's vegan recluse monk hibernation only to resurrect in quasi-human artistic glory. Also in the works included an Andrew Ridgeley mystery section. All that is known is after Wham made it BIG he became second banana in more ways than one by marring the chick from bananarama. Others like John Ritter would have been potential candidates for the project, as their early personas fit the bill but unfortunately he stuck around for too long and wiped out his aura. I even had an interactive forum for clove cigarettes all ready to go but now all those dreams are over.

vanderslam29@hotmail.com
I just gave this album a couple good listens, and think that it is alright......but for cryin out loud, it is waaaaaaay too long, after ya cut out a couple of the bland, steel wheels style, generic rock tracks, one of the keith songs, and perhaps throw out a few more crappy ones it aint too bad at all. Here is what the track list should be:

1. Rough Justice
2. Rain Fall down
3. Back of my hand
4. This place is empty
5. Oh no not you again
6. Sweet Neocon
7. Look what the cat dragged in
8. Streets of Love

There we go, i just cut this SOB in half and probably saved stones fans around the world 30 minutes of time. The songs listed above are catchy, they variate, and keith gets his one sappy track.

ddnickerson@yahoo.com
Mick Jagger is simply a hot shit, he gives tons of people joy through his work and has tremendous graciousness with local artist i.e. Cui Jian, what have you done lately with any corrolation of accomplishment?

aazon@txstate.edu (Aaron Brian)
Alright, Mark...it's about time I said this. Your review of A Bigger Bang is one of my absolute favorites on your site. I've been thinking about mine and everyone's songwriting and I'm waiting for a new Stones album as I'm sure you are too. I remember reading in one review your random note about George Starostin and how you don't write big long schpeels like his, and that's obviously alright. You have too little time to devote huge paragraphs to one album. But since it seems that you love the Stones, and a new Stones album is a miracle every time since Voodoo Lounge (they really need to knock off the 7+ year breaks between albums), you went all out in this review.

And I'm glad you did. Until I read your review, I hadn't really articulated my present feelings on the present Rolling Stones (my feelings about their classic stuff will remain as high as they ever were). But man, I've never heard a more spot-on observation about who they are now. I mean, most people either love everything they do because they simply do it, or they hate it because that's what you're supposed to do when you don't love them.

Total BULLSHIT. Either way. I love the goddamned Stones, but I haven't heard a point of view on their current state that didn't lean in either direction. Excellent job, man. We can both kid all we want, but I don't at all believe at all, I don't think that you do either, that talent, and whatever the Stones have and are fucking MADE OF simply goes away--"It's not like their brains have turned to mush." I don't believe that about anybody. The Stones (MICK) just need to stop trying to be "The Rolling Stones (TM) (R)(C)" and be who they really are. Even if it sucked, it would be a beautiful thing if they put down all of the unnecessary baggage and did what they would no matter what. Even if that means the end of the Stones as we know it, it would be worth it for themselves and for everybody.

Add your thoughts?

Shine A Light - Polydor 2008
Rating = 6

Due to a scheduling conflict, Martin Scorsese was unable to produce his planned Flo & Eddie concert movie, so he did the next best thing and snuck a camcorder into a Rolling Stones meeting. The result is the double-CD you see before you.

Actually it was released as a single-CD too, but that has six fewer songs, is better, and earns a 7/10, so I'm reviewing the double-CD instead.

Shine A Light finds the Stones once again digging back through the old catalog to play some unexpected oddities ("Connection"? "She Was Hot"!? "Far Away Eyes"!?!) while simultaneously failing to acknowledge that the past 25 years ever happened. The newest song on this thing is from 1983!!!!! That means that they theoretically could have recorded this exact same concert on the Undercover tour -- except Jack White and Christina Aguilera weren't around yet to ruin any songs with their shitty vocals. (Not that Mick couldn't have handled that task on his own. As Official MarkPrindle.com interview transcriber Jim Laakso put it after viewing the Shine A Light movie trailer, "He literally sounds retarded! Or like a non-English speaker who just learned the words phonetically!")

Bean Counters may find interest in the following LP/song breakdown:
Some Girls, Exile on Main Street - 4
Tattoo You, Let It Bleed, Out Of Our Heads (U.S.) - 2
Undercover, Sticky Fingers, Beggars Banquet, Between The Buttons, Aftermath, December's Children - 1
The "Jumpin' Jack Flash" single - 1
A blues cover with Buddy Guy - 1

The band is accompanied by three back-up singers, two saxophonists, a trumpeter, a trombonist and a keyboardy. Ron Wood and Keith Richards sound excellent together - one in each speaker, playing in and around each other's notes, chords, twangs and asides as if they were Jammin' In Tha Garge. Hi! I'm Larry Jenkins and welcome to today's episode of Jammin' In Tha Garge.

Unfortunately, Mick "Dick Dagger" Jagger lazily sucks all the melodic life out of songs like "Some Girls," "Tumbling Dice" and "Brown Sugar" by just saying all the words instead of singing them. With "Far Away Eyes," he goes a step further, reducing the original's charming sing-song narration to a complete monotone, as if it's all he can do to simply remember the words, never mind putting any thought into their delivery. Even when he does sing, he generally fails to sound like a human being. Remember his tender original performance of "As Tears Go By"? Compare it to the weird affected drag queen voice he uses on this version. At this point, I'm almost convinced that he doesn't even realize he's doing it! Whether due to ego or age issues, he seems to be simply incapable of singing like a normal person.

Or rather, barely capable, because he somehow manages a surprisingly warm and melodic version of "I'm Free" toward the end of the set. No clue how that happened; maybe he was too tired to over-perform?

But Gosh bless Keith Richards. Not only has he survived 60 years as Keith Richards, but he is also a true rock and roll heart. Mick is a businessman, a socialite, a poor singer; Charlie is a jazz lover who's only in the band because Keith said he'd punch him if he quit; and Ron played on several Rod Stewart albums -- but Keith Richards is rock and roll in human form. He's drunk, self-satisfied, vulgar, aggressive, funny - and he's always playing that goddamned guitar! Weirdly, he's also by far the Rolling Stones' best vocalist at this point. Not only does he do a terrific job adapting "You Got The Silver" to his now-weathered voice; he even sings the poppy old obscurity "Connection" from Between The Buttons! How did Mick allow this to happen!? It makes it completely obvious that Keith is the more spirited and melodic vocalist of the two! Does Mick just not give a shit about his reputation anymore? I know I do! Come on, Mick! Stick that ass out further! You're only 64!

Also, did the original Temptations version of "Just My Imagination" feature the lyric "SHE DOESN'T FUCKIN' LOVE ME!"? If so, good on ya Eddie Kendricks. Keep on truckin'!

Heh heh. Little joke for all you Eddie Kendricks fans out there.

Shine My Tights is a fun and interesting live album, but is marred by a number of almost unlistenable moments: Jack White ruins "Loving Cup" with his hideous fake Southern accent; Christina Aguilera won't shut up her gigantic mouth in a rendition of "Live With Me" already ruined by Darryl Jones' failure to play the actual bass line (the part of the song that provides the MELODY in the original version); "Little T&A" is just a stupid song; and I pity your ears if you've ever heard an uglier, less respectful version of "Satisfaction." Other than that, though - wow! It's another Rolling Stones live album!

Mick even makes a homophobic joke before "Loving Cup"! This from the guy who spent the first half of the '70s with his HELLO! in David Bowie's ZOIKS!? This from the guy who supposedly NOT SAFE FOR WORK! with one or two members of his own band? This from TOO MUCH INFORMATION! a TOO MUCH INFORMATION! his tongue with TOO MUCH INFORMATION! brown streaks on the TOO MUCH INFORMATION! Pete Townshend TOO MUCH INFORMATION! electric eel?

Reader Comments

tomplotkin@sbcglobal.net
I heard a rumor that back in '85, circa Dirty Work, when Keith and Mick's relationship was at some sort of nadir, Keith and Charlie talked about firing Mick and hiring journeyman soul singer Bobby Womack to replace him, and I am always sorry this didn't happen. Keith has always been the spirit of rock 'n roll in human form, our greatest rhythm guitarist ever, and a wise and funny man. An acquaintance of mine who lives in a wealthy Connecticut town shared an architect with Keith, who lives nearby. The architect said he would go 'round to Keith's place of a morning to show him plans and talk prices; Keith would greet him swigging from a fifth of Jack Daniels, breakfast apparently, and after perfunctory business chatter, upon learning his guest was a serious music aficionado, would play him obscurities from his record collection w hile getting him crocked well into the afternoon. That;s the secret -- richer than God, geriatric, Keith is still a teen music fan at heart. And I suspect that like William S. Burroughs, he's going to live lucidly to a ripe old age, out-live most of his contemporaries, an example to us all.

MBerry@orlandosentinel.com
There are those argue the Stones did nothing of interest after Tattoo You. Nonsense, I say. But I found A Bigger Bang totally devoid of interest and now long for the good old days .... of Voodoo Lounge. I have no interest in seeing Shine A LIght or listening to this soundtrack. But, hey, have you gona back to Tattoo You and listened to "Heaven" lately? Whoooeee, what a cool eerie little number THAT is!

S Fall
'Shine A Light' is an anagram of 'Healing Shit'. Just wanted to point that out.

Wadedh14@bellsouth.net
The last paragraph of that review was one of your best ever. Had me laughing out loud for a couple minutes! Keep up the great work, Mark!

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Rare And Unseen DVD - MVDVisual 2010
Rating = 6

Boy, what a strange and mesmerising thing this Rolling Stones DVD is! Obscure and odd clips that were shown once and have not been seen since. This is an original and sometimes downright weird random flick through some of the oddest, most serious and funniest news interviews of the band.

Best,
The Liner Notes

-------------------------

Dear The Liner Notes,

I read with interest your review of the Rolling Stones' Rare And Unseen DVD and must take umbrage with your description of the program as "strange" and "mesmerising." Furthermore, your claims that the clips are "odd," the flick "weird," and the interviews among the band's "oddest" and "funniest" make me wonder if you are somehow connected to the disc, on either a personal or business level.

Personally I found the disc under discussion to be a 64-minute collection of unremarkable and seemingly chosen at random Mick Jagger interviews, along with a few boring words here or there from other past and present members of the Stones. Don't misunderstand me; there is some footage here that would interest the hardcore Stones collector. These moments include shots of an unrecognizably young, clean and quiet Keith Richards; the infamous '67 drug arrests; early '70s Bill Wyman discussing the band's limitless future; Keith's '78 heroin arrest; present-day Mick Taylor remembering Jagger as 'a bit of a primadonna'; and Ron Wood discussing his painting hobby. Upon viewing these scenes, my brain became erect with interest and my parietal lobe turned into a boner and shot out my ear.

Unfortunately, my parietal lobe quickly grew soft and embarrassing, dangling down the side of my face as I sat through frame after frame of Mick complaining about having the responsibility to serve as a role model thrust upon him. And what's with the DVD juxtaposing these 1967 comments with Mick's 1983 argument that the "Undercover of the Night" video reflects his responsibility as an artist to show the brutal reality of violence? Was the editor trying to say "Look! Mick contradicted himself!"? Because all I got from it was "Look! Sixteen years have passed!"

By the time I'd slept through a staged '60s food fight, Mick whining about all the paparazzi at his wedding to Bianca, and ten minutes of reporters shouting "Keith! Keith!" at the Shine A Light opening, I had a severe case of blue occipital lobe. Not only is this DVD "A WienerWorld Presentation," it's also a weiner, world. I can't believe that my beloved Rolling Stones approved the release of such a tawdry and heartbreaking DVD. I shall never listen to them again, and will in fact burn all of their records, along with my body, in the basement incinerator this evening.

Sincerely,
Mr. David G. Rickets
Burnside

-------------------------

Dear Mr. Rickets,

This programme is unofficial. It does not seek to represent The Rolling Stones or any official body working in association with the Rolling Stones. It does not necessarily represent their views on any subject today but shows the range of opinions they held across 45 years of news.

Best,
The Liner Notes

-------------------------

Dear The Liner Notes,

I love the Rolling Stones! I can't wait to buy this DVD and hear all their great songs!

Best,
Little Jimmy Shitsalot
McGarnigle, East End

-------------------------

Dear Little Jimmy,

This DVD does not contain any Rolling Stones performance or music.

Best,
The Liner Notes

-------------------------

Dear The Liner Notes,

Fuck you!

Best,
Little Jimmy Shitsalot
McGarnigle, East End

-------------------------

Dear Little Jimmy,

Fuck me!? Fuck YOU!!!!!

Best,
The Liner Notes

-------------------------

Dear The Liner Notes,

Do the liner notes really say that?

Best,
Little Jimmy Shitsalot
McGarnigle, East End

-------------------------

Dear Little Jimmy,

No.

Best,
The Liner Notes

Reader Comments

saf66@insight.rr.com
Been listening to The Rolling Stones a bit after reading the Keith Richards autobio.

TATTOO YOU was a good record. Very crisp sound. Nicely divided between the "hard" and "soft" sides one and two. "Heaven" on side 2 is an underrated winner.

Listened to STICKY FINGERS and EXILE the other night. STICKY is easier to like but EXILE goes a bit deeper. STICKY is a bit more polished and commerical. Love the string arrangements deep in the mix of "Sway". "Moonlight Mile" is another underrated classic.

Best way to listen to EXILE is to remember the original 4 sides of the double set. Each side is sort of an entity unto itself. Somehow side 3 is may fave. Everybody knows "Happy" but "Turd on the Run" "Ventilator Blues" "Just Want to See His Face" and "Let It Loose" all superb. In a sense both "Just Wanna See His Face" and "Shine A Light" are gospel songs. Figured out the opener "Rock's Off" is about impotence. Whether Mick or Keith who knows. (" I only get my rocks off when I'm dreaming" quoting his woman: "Whats the matter with the boy/he don't come around no more" "I was making love last time/with a dancer friend of mine/I can't seem to stay in step" "I want to shout but I can hardly speak") Great tune.

Take away "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Street Fighting Man" and BEGGARS BANQUET becomes an album of country/blues/folk songs more or less. Perhaps the greatest country blues album ever recorded in that context.

SATANIC MAJESTIES is a likeable mess. The Beatles psychedlic era was much more inviting to the general audience. SGT PEPPER was an easy trip that invited the whole world along for the ride. Granted "A Day in the Life" had some darkness and the whole thing reached its zenith a few months later with the demented and brilliant "I Am the Walrus". But in general the Stones' trip was darkier, scarier, messier, less inviting. "2000 Light Years from Home" was the best moment in this vein. The "Dandelion/We Love You" single was a winner for me. They could have put both songs on either FLOWERS or SATANIC MAJESTIES REQUEST, a title which indeed became a millstone around their necks in subsequent years. btw- I remember Mike Egan's mom had this record in her collection back in 1983. Not a record my parents would have bought. Probably not yours either.

Best early one is ENGLAND's NEWEST HITMAKERS. "Route 66" cooks. "Not Fade Away" takes Buddy Holly adds Bo Diddley comes up with definitve version. On "Walkin' the Dog" Jagger is a hoot. "Tell Me" a good original if you get past the slight dorkiness.

BLACK & BLUE is a good jam record but short on real tunes. UNDERCOVER stinks and STEEL WHEELS is professional yet highly boring. Still like VOODOO LOUNGE.

The Rolling Stones are said to be gearing up for a tour and album in 2011. Rock On guys.

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Other Rolling Stones Sites

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*Keno's Rolling Stones Web Site

If Mick Jagger were here, he'd insist you click on this link to return to MarkPrindle.com. Don't you remember his hit single, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction (Unless You Click On This Link to Return to MarkPrindle.com)"?