On this day in music history: December 5, 1969…

On this day in music history: December 5, 1969 – “Let It Bleed”, the eighth UK (tenth US) album by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by Jimmy Miller, it is recorded at Olympic Studios in London and Elektra Studios in Los Angeles, CA from November 1968, February – November 1969. After the critical and commercial success of “Beggar’s Banquet”, The Rolling Stones begin work on the follow up. The first track recorded is “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” in November 1968, first surfacing as the B-side of “Honky Tonk Women” in July of 1969. After a brief break, the main sessions get underway in February of 1969 in London. However, with Brian Jones largely sidelined by drugs and alcohol, he only plays on “You Got The Silver” and “Midnight Rambler” before he is fired. His replacement is Mick Taylor, who becomes a major asset to The Stones for his exemplary musicianship. Originally scheduled for release in the Summer, numerous delays result in the album not being completed until later in the year. Recording part of the project in L.A., Jagger and Richards decide that the song “Gimme Shelter” requires a little something extra. Background vocalist Merry Clayton is brought into the studio, very pregnant at the time, dressed her nightgown, hair in rollers in a scarf and wearing a fur coat. Clayton records her highly memorable vocals in just a couple of takes, making it a highlight of that classic. “Bleed” also features guest appearances by Ry Cooder, Nicky Hopkins, Al Kooper, Doris Troy, Madeline Bell, Leon Russell and Bobby Keys, the latter of whom becomes a sideman for The Stones both in the studio and on tour for the next forty years. The albums’ iconic cover is designed by artist Robert Brownjohn, and features a photo of the LP being played with the tone arm of a vintage phonograph, with numerous items including a film can, a bicycle tire, a clock, a pizza and a cake with figurines of the band stacked on top of a turntable spindle. The back cover reveals the aftermath when a slice of cake is cut out, with the record smashed and other items in disarray. Original copies of the LP come with a full color poster and an application for The Stones fan club. No singles issued are from it in the US, though several become rock radio staples, and is widely regarded as one of their best albums. It is remastered and reissued on CD in 2002 as a hybrid SACD, after the initial pressing goes out of print, it is issued as a standard redbook CD. The vinyl LP is reissued in 2013, with a high resolution Blu-Ray disc released in 2014. The mono version of the album, released only in the UK and other foreign territories, is remastered and reissued as part of “The Rolling Stones In Mono” box set on CD and 180 gram vinyl in September of 2016. “Let It Bleed” spends one week at number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.