Category: the Rolling Stones

Born on this day: December 18, 1943 – Rolling …

Born on this day: December 18, 1943 – Rolling Stones guitarist, songwriter and seemingly impervious to everything, Keith Richards (born in Dartford, Kent, UK). Happy 75th Birthday, Keef!!! Keep on rockin’!!!

On this day in music history: December 8, 1967…

On this day in music history: December 8, 1967 – “Their Satanic Majesties Request”, the sixth UK (and eighth US) LP by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by The Rolling Stones, it is recorded at Olympic Studios in London from February 9 – October 23, 1967. Following the release of “Between The Buttons” in early 1967, various diversions including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones being arrested on drug charges (all of which are acquitted), and general lack of focus on music, lead to producer and manager Andrew Loog Oldham resigning from The Rolling Stones organization. In spite of this, the band begin recording another album, influenced by psychedelic rock. Producing themselves for the first time, the sessions are erratic and drag on for several months. As late as a month before the albums’ scheduled release, there is doubt that the material recorded can be molded into a cohesive work. A final running order is worked out, and it is ready for release. The album is greeted with highly mixed reviews from critics and fans alike. Coming six months after The Beatles’ universally heralded “Sgt. Pepper”, The Stones album is largely written off as a self indulgent, ill conceived and pale imitation. Original LP pressings come with a 3D lenticular cover designed by and photographed by Michael Cooper, having also shot the “Sgt. Pepper” cover. Like “Pepper” which features a doll wearing a sweater with “Welcome The Rolling Stones” on the front, The Stones pay tribute to The Fab Four in return by featuring small pictures of them worked into the cover art work. The 3D cover is discontinued after the first pressing, due to high costs to reproduce it. Though it sells well initially, interest and sales trail off quickly. In later years, though the band are mostly dismissive of it, the band do perform “2000 Light Years From Home” and “She’s A Rainbow” (#25 Pop) live over the years. KISS also covers “2000 Man” on their album “Dynasty” in 1979. In time, the album garners a more favorable opinion, attaining cult classic status. “She’s A Rainbow” is later featured in an episode of “American Horror Story”, and in several television commercials. It is remastered and reissued in 2002 as a hybrid SACD, and on vinyl in 2013, with some import editions replicating the original 3D cover. The mono version, out of print since the late 60’s, is remastered and reissued on CD for the first time and on 180 gram vinyl as part of “The Rolling Stones In Mono” box set in September of 2016. For its 50th anniversary, it is released as a double vinyl LP and hybrid SACD set including both the mono and stereo mixes in September of 2017. The LP jacket replicates the original 3D cover. “Their Satanic Majesties Request” peaks at number three on the UK album chart, spending six weeks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: December 6, 1969…

On this day in music history: December 6, 1969 – The Rolling Stones headline a free concert at the Altamont Speedway in Livermore, CA.  Originally intended to be held at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, the concert is moved to the Altamont Speedway at the last minute, fifty miles away when an agreement cannot be reached with SF city officials. Attended by over 300,000 people, the concert alsos feature the Jefferson Airplane, Santana, The Flying Burrito Brothers and the Grateful Dead. As they had done with their Hyde Park concert earlier in the year, The Stones hire Hells Angels to do security for the event. Unlike that event which is peaceful and goes off without incident, Altamont turns violent and ultimately tragic when concert goer Meredith Hunter is stabbed and beaten to death by several Hells Angels when he brandishes a gun and waves it at the stage. The incident is captured on film, featured in filmmakers Albert and David Maysles’ documentary “Gimme Shelter”, released the following year. The incident signals the beginning of the end of the counterculture movement in the US, which peaked with the Woodstock festival just a few months before.

On this day in music history: December 6, 1968…

On this day in music history: December 6, 1968 – “Beggars Banquet”, the seventh album by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by Jimmy Miller, it is recorded at Olympic Studios in London from March 17 – July 25, 1968. The album marks the bands’ return to its R&B roots following the psychedelic influenced “Their Satanic Majesties Request”. The album is not without controversy. The song “Sympathy For The Devil” raises the ire of religious groups, and the single “Street Fighting Man” whose picture sleeve depicts a student riot is withdrawn from release, resulting in it becoming one of the most valuable and highly sought after Stones collectibles. The recording sessions for “Sympathy” are filmed by director Jean-Luc Godard (“Breathless”), for a film titled “One Plus One (Sympathy For The Devil)” about late 60’s counterculture. The footage of The Stones is inter cut with scenes featuring The Black Panthers, along with political commentary about “the need for revolution” and Marxism. The original album cover photo of a filthy toilet scrawled with graffiti is not issued in the US until the 1980’s, and is replaced with a white cover designed to look like a formal party invitation. It also is the last Rolling Stones album to feature full contributions from founding member Brian Jones, whose health and playing has been adversely affected by drugs and alcohol. The album is remastered  and reissued in 2002 as a hybrid SACD in digipak packaging, reverting to a standard redbook CD in a jewel case after the initial pressing is discontinued by ABKCO. It is also reissued on clear vinyl in the US in 2013, making it available in the format for the first time in more than twenty years. The original mono version of the LP, 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. “Beggar’s Banquet” peaks at number five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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.

On this day in music history: December 4, 1965…

On this day in music history: December 4, 1965 – “December’s Children (And Everybody’s)”, the fifth album by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, it is recorded at Regent Sound Studios in London in August 1963, Kingsway Studios in London on June 11, 1964, Manchester Odeon in Manchester, UK and The Liverpool Empire Theater on March 5 – 7, 1965, RCA Victor Studios in Hollywood, CA, Chess Studios in Chicago, IL on September 5 – 6, 1965. The album is a US compilation consisting of new material recorded in September 1965, along with songs first released on the UK version of “Out Of Our Heads” (“She Said Yeah”, “Talkin’ About You”, “I’m Free”, “Gotta Get Away”) and the EP’s “The Rolling Stones” (“You Better Move On”) and “Got Live If You Want It!” (“Route 66”, “I’m Moving On”). It spins off two singles including the recent number one hit “Get Off Of My Cloud” and “As Tears Go By” (#6 Pop), the latter being one of the first songs written by Jagger and Richards. The album is first remastered and reissued on CD in 2002 as a hybrid SACD, which is then discontinued and replaced by a standard redbook CD release. The original mono version of the album is remastered and reissued as part of “The Rolling Stones In Mono” box set on 180 gram vinyl and CD in September of 2016. December’s Children (And Everybody’s)“ peaks at number four on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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The Rolling Stones performing on Ready Steady Go! at Wembley Studios in London on October 7, 1966.

The Rolling Stones (October 1969)  

The Rolling Stones (October 1969)  

On this day in music history: November 7, 1983…

On this day in music history: November 7, 1983 – “Undercover”, the nineteenth (seventeenth UK) album by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by The Glimmer Twins and Chris Kimsey, it is recorded at EMI Pathe Marconi Studios in Paris, France, Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas and The Hit Factory in New York City from November 11 – 17, 1982, and May – August 1983. Returning to the studio for the first time in over two and a half years, The Rolling Stones begin work on a new album. Tensions arise between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards during the sessions, when they disagree over the musical direction they should take. Jagger wants to reinvent and revamp The Rolling Stones’ sound, while Richards fully sober for the first time in more than a decade (and taking a more active role in leading the band) wants the band to maintain their more traditional rock and blues rooted sound. The resulting “power struggle” between the pair results in a feud between them that lasts much of the decade. The songs reflect this tension, with the music featuring very contrasting styles, countered by some of the darkest lyrics ever written by Jagger. The Stones are joined in the studio by a number of guest musicians including David Sanborn (saxophone), Chuck Leavell (of The Allman Brothers Band) (keyboards), Sly Dunbar, Martin Ditcham and Moustapha Cisse (percussion). Public and critical reaction to the finished album is somewhat mixed upon its release, breaking the bands’ streak of chart topping albums in the US. Though in time, it is re-evaluated more favorably for its break from their tried and true formula. It spins off two singles including “Undercover Of The Night” (#9 Pop, #2 Mainstream Rock) and “She Was Hot” (#44 Pop, #4 Mainstream Rock). Originally released on CD in 1986, it is remastered and reissued in 1994. It is reissued again 2009, and is also remastered and reissued as an SACD SHM-CD by Universal Japan in 2014. Briefly reissued on vinyl in 2010 as part of the box set “The Rolling Stones ‎– 1971 – 2005”, it is remastered and reissued again as part of the new compilation “The Rolling Stones ‎– Studio Albums Vinyl Collection 1971-2016” in June of 2018. “Undercover” peaks at number four on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: November 6, 1965…

On this day in music history: November 6, 1965 – “Get Off Of My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it is the second US chart topper for the legendary rock band. First signing with Decca Records in the UK in 1963, the band are naive about the business end of the music industry, having signed a contract that pays them a very low royalty rate in spite of having sold several million records in a short period of time. After the huge worldwide success of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, The Rolling Stones seek a much better deal with the label. The deal is brokered by a savvy New York accountant named Allen Klein, then known for having managed major stars including Sam Cooke and Bobby Darin. Though the deal reportedly gives them the best royalty rate of the day (even surpassing the contract The Beatles have with EMI), by 1971 they lose the rights to their masters and publishing to Klein’s company ABKCO Music in order to break their contract with him. “Cloud” is The Stones’ first release under their newly renegotiated contract with Decca. Written while the band are in Los Angeles in the Fall of 1965, “Get Off Of My Cloud” is recorded at RCA Studios in Hollywood, CA on September 6-7, 1965. Entering the Hot 100 at #64 on October 9, 1965, it poles vault to the top of the chart just four weeks later. Initially issued as a stand alone single, the song appears on the US compiled album “December’s Children (And Everybody’s)” in December of 1965.