The Rolling Stones (October 1969)
The Rolling Stones (October 1969)
On this day in music history: October 17, 1964 – “12 x 5”, the second US album by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, it is recorded at Regent Sound Studios in London and Chess Studios in Chicago, IL from February 25, May 12, June 10 – 11, 24 – 26 and September 28 – 29, 1964. The album includes the first songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (under the pseudonym “Nanker Phelge”), after manager Andrew Oldham tells them that if they want to build on their success, that they have to come with original material. Oldham literally locks the pair up in a kitchen and tells them that they can’t come out until they’ve written a song. While on their first trip to the US in the Summer of 1964, the band records several tracks at Chess Records studio in Chicago. The five songs the band records in the US are released in the UK as an EP titled “5 x 5”. The Stones US record label London takes those songs and expands it to a full LP with the singles “It’s All Over Now” (#26 Pop), and “Time Is On My Side” (#6 Pop), along with their respective B-sides and three other songs that are included on their second UK album “Rolling Stones No. 2”. When the album is remastered and reissued in 2002, it includes the full unedited version of the instrumental “2120 South Michigan Avenue”. It is also remastered and reissued on LP in 2014 pressed on clear vinyl, with the original mono version being re-released as part of the “Rolling Stones In Mono” box set on September 30, 2016. “12 x 5” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 30, 1997 – “Bridges To Babylon”, the twenty third US (twenty first UK) album by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by Don Was, The Glimmer Twins, Rob Fraboni, Danny Saber, Pierre de Beauport and The Dust Brothers, it is recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, CA from March – July 1997. Making a major critical and commercial return to form with the Grammy winning “Voodoo Lounge”, The Rolling Stones take a brief break before returning to work. Working again with producer Don Was, Jagger also seeks out other producers to contribute to the sessions. Among them are The Dust Brothers, whose work with the Beastie Boys and Beck had impressed The Stones front man. The sessions become tense when Keith Richards brings in Rob Fabroni, who had previously worked with the guitarist on his solo projects. With Richards not pleased with the idea of using “loop gurus”, Jagger also enlists the assistance of R&B super producer Babyface on the track “Already Over Me”. Though Face’s work on the track does not make the final mix. The disagreement over the album’s creative process becomes so intense between Jagger and Richards, that Don Was has to work with them separately. By the end of the sessions the band aren’t speaking to each other, with the normally calm and reserved Charlie Watts leaving town as soon as his parts are recorded. The album is led by the track “Has Anybody Seen My Baby?” (#3 Mainstream Rock), is co-credited to songwriters k.d. lang and Ben Mink, when Richards’ daughter Angela points out the similarities between it and lang’s hit “Constant Craving”. Though it performs decently chart wise and sales wise, “Bridges To Babylon” receives largely mixed reviews, and is not as well received as the previous album. The cover artwork for “Babylon” is designed by Austrian born artist Stefan Sagmeister. The actual cover is painted by artist Kevin Murphy of an Assyrian lion in attack stance. The first million copies of the CD are packaged in an outer plastic slip case, with a detailed filagree design, with the lion printed on the booklet blending seamlessly into the other artwork. The album spins off three more tracks including “Saint Of Me” (#94 Pop, #13 Mainstream Rock) and “Flip The Switch” (#14 Mainstream Rock). The Stones also support “Babylon” with a large scale world tour from September 1997 to September 1998. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2009, without the slip case and with the filagree art printed right on the booklet. Originally issued on vinyl as limited edition double LP (and single picture disc) in Europe only, it is remastered and reissued in 2010. It is remastered and reissued again in June of 2018, as part of the box set “The Rolling Stones – Albums Collection (1971 – 2016) on CD and double vinyl. "Bridges To Babylon"peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 24, 1966 – “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadow?” by The Rolling Stones is released. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it is the thirteenth US and fourteenth UK single by the legendary rock band from London, UK. The track is recorded at IBC Studios in London from August 31 – September 2, 1966. Recorded early in the sessions for the bands next album “Between The Buttons”, the song is issued as a stand alone single, making its first appearance on an LP on the UK edition of their first greatest hits compilation “Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass)” in November 1966, and in the US on the compilation “Flowers” in June 1967. The song is their first to incorporate guitar feedback as well as a horn section. The bands’ record label (Decca in the UK and London in the US) issues the single with what The Stones feel to be an inferior rough mix of the song (obscuring the tracks strong rhythm section) in order to rush it out to the marketplace. The picture sleeve for “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby” features a photograph of The Rolling Stones dressed in drag, taken by photographer Jerry Schatzberg in New York City. For the US release of the single, the satirical drag photo is considered “controversial” and is regulated to the back side of the sleeve, while another picture of the band (shot with a fish eye lens) also used as the cover photo the UK edition of “Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass)” is used on the front instead. Film footage of the photo shoot is also included in the documentary “25×5: The Continuing Adventures Of The Rolling Stones” released in 1989. “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadow?” peaks at #5 on the UK singles chart and #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 29, 1966.
On this day in music history: September 9, 1978 – “Beast Of Burden” by The Rolling Stones is released. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it is issued as the second single from the “Some Girls” album. Recorded between October and December 1977 at EMI Pathe Marconi Studios in Paris, France, the song is inspired by a riff from Keith Richards written when he returns to the band after narrowly escaping conviction from his drug arrest in Toronto, Canada earlier in 1977. Richards later states that the song was his way of saying thank you to his band mate and songwriting partner for “shouldering the burden” of keeping the band going while he was abusing drugs. While the basic track of the song is being cut, Jagger improvises most of the lyrics in the verses on the spot, embellishing lines Richards had already written including the chorus. Issued as the follow up to the chart topping “Miss You”, “Beast Of Burden” quickly follows it up the charts. The US 45 is released with a picture sleeve featuring a vintage photo of a lion sitting on top of a woman that is immediately withdrawn from the marketplace (when Atlantic Records receives complains that the image is “offensive and sexist”), instantly becoming a highly valuable and sought after collector’s item. Only a couple dozen copies of the withdrawn sleeve are still known to exist, and have sold for as much as $3,000 on the collector’s market. A reproduction of the picture sleeve, along with a replica of the 45, is included in the super deluxe box set edition of The Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls” album released in 2011. “Beast Of Burden” peaks at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 11, 1978. “Beast Of Burden” is covered a number of times over the years by different artists including Big Head Todd And The Monsters, The Kooks, The Nadas, and Bette Midler. Mick Jagger appears in the music video for Midler’s version when it is released in 1983.
On this day in music history: August 29, 1989 – “Steel Wheels”, the nineteenth album by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by Chris Kimsey and The Glimmer Twins, it is recorded at AIR Studios in Montserrat from March 29 – May 5, 1989, May 15 – June 29, 1989. It is the bands first album of new material in over three years, following a period where Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are at a low point in their working and personal relationship in part due to Jagger’s embarking on a solo career. Recording on the West Indies island of Montserrat sees the band working in a calm and relaxed atmosphere, which allow them to be very focused and productive. The band complete the recording sessions just in three months, mixing the album at The Hit Factory in New York City and Olympic Studios in London. After receiving largely mixed notices for their two previous studio albums “Undercover” and “Dirty Work”, “Steel Wheels” is their best received album in nearly a decade. It spins off three singles including “Mixed Emotions” (#5 Pop, #1 Mainstream Rock) and “Rock In A Hard Place” (#23 Pop, #1 Mainstream Rock). The album is also supported by the ambitious “Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle” world tour, which is The Stones first major tour in seven years. The album is also the last for original bassist Bill Wyman, who officially leaves the band in 1993 before the Stones record their next studio album “Voodoo Lounge”. The album is remastered and reissued in 1994, when The Rolling Stones end their association with CBS Records and sign with Virgin Records. It is remastered and reissued again in 2009 when The Stones’ catalog is licensed to Universal Music Group. Out of print on vinyl since its original release in 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2010. The vinyl is remastered and reissued again in July of 2018, as part of the box set “The Rolling Stones: Vinyl Album Collection 1971 – 2016”. “Steel Wheels” peaks 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: August 24, 1981 – “Tattoo You”, the eighteenth US (sixteenth UK album) by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by The Glimmer Twins (aka Mick Jagger & Keith Richards), it is recorded at Dynamic Sound Studios in Kingston, Jamaica, De Doelen Concert Hall in Rotterdam, NL with the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, Musicland Studios in Munich, West Germany, EMI Pathe Marconi Studios in Paris, France, and Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas from November – December 1972, February – March 1975, January – March 1978, January – October 1979 and October 1980 – June 1981. Not having toured in nearly three years, The Rolling Stones decide to embark on their first major world tour since the release of “Some Girls in 1978, planning to kick it off in the Fall of 1981. They also want to issue a new album in tandem with this tour. However, since the Stones have not written any new material since their previous album "Emotional Rescue” in 1980, the band have their engineer and co-producer Chris Kimsey go their tape archives to see if there is any suitable unreleased material that can be used for the new album. Kimsey discovers a wealth of excellent tracks, some dating as far back the sessions for “Goats Head Soup” in 1972. The rest come from songs left over from the “Black And Blue”, Some Girls" and “Emotional Rescue” recording sessions. The albums first single “Start Me Up” (#2 Pop), originates from the “Some Girls” recording sessions in early 1978. The song is originally conceived with a reggae feel, but the final released take has a straight ahead rock arrangement. When “Tattoo You” is released, it is very warmly received by fans and critics alike. The albums iconic cover art designed by longtime Stones graphic artist Peter Corriston features images (taken from photographs by Hubert Kretzschmar and illustrated by Christian Piper) of Mick Jagger on the front cover and Keith Richards on the back with elaborately detailed tattoo designs on their faces. The album cover art wins Corriston a Grammy Award for Best Album Package in 1982. The album spins off three singles including “Hang Fire” (#20 Pop) and “Waiting On A Friend” (#13 Pop). Remastered and reissued numerous times over the years, it is most recently reissued on CD in 2009. In and out of print on vinyl, it is most recently reissued as a 180 grm LP in 2018 as part of the box set, “The Rolling Stones – Studio Albums Vinyl Collection 1971-2016”. “Tattoo You” spends nine weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 23, 1969 – “Honky Tonk Women” by The Rolling Stones hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it is the fifth chart topping single for the legendary London based rock band dubbed “The World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band”. The song is inspired while Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are on vacation in Brazil from late 1968 to early 1969. The two of them see Brazilian gauchos (cowboys) on a ranch Matão, São Paulo when they begin forming ideas for the song. Initially it is recorded with the title “Country Tonk” in February of 1969 during sessions for their next album “Let It Bleed”. Eventually, Mick and Keith re-tool the central riff of the piece as well as writing a risque lyric about a dancing girl (aka “prostitute”) in a western bar. The final version of “Honky Tonk Women” is recorded in June of 1969 at Olympic Studios in London with new guitarist Mick Taylor, having recently replaced Brian Jones in the band. Ironically, the single is released in the UK one day after Jones’ untimely death on July 4, 1969 (US release date is on July 11, 1969). The band perform the song publicly for the first time at a free live concert at Hyde Park in London on July 5, 1969 which is dedicated to Jones’ memory. “Honky Tonk Women” is an immediate smash upon its release. Entering the Hot 100 at #79 on July 19, 1969, it rockets to the top of the chart five weeks later. Initially released as a stand alone single, the song makes its LP debut on The Stones’ second greatest hits compilation “Through The Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2)” in September of 1969. Appearing on the B-side of the single is the ethereal and highly memorable “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (#42 Pop) which is also included on “Let It Bleed” when it is released in early December of 1969. “Honky Tonk Women” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 21, 1965 – “Out Of Our Heads”, the third album by The Rolling Stones hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 3 weeks. Produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, it is recorded at RCA Studios in Hollywood, CA, Chess Studios in Chicago, IL, Regent Sound Studios, and Olympic Studios in London from November 2, 1964 – May 12, 1965. The US version of the album differs from the UK release (issued on September 24, 1965) as it includes the recent and current singles “The Last Time” (#9 Pop), “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (#1 Pop), their respective B-sides, and different album cover artwork. Tracks not appearing on the US version of the album surfaces on the compilation “December’s Children (And Everybody’s)” in December of 1965. It is the first of nine chart topping albums for The Rolling Stones in the US. Both the US and UK versions of the album are remastered and reissued as hybrid SACD disc in digipak packaging. The SACD edition is discontinued by ABKCO, and is replaced by the standard redbook editions in jewel case packaging. The UK edition of the album is reissued on vinyl in 2003. It is remastered again, with both the UK and US editions being reissued as a 180 gram LP’s and CD’s in 2016 as part of “The Rolling Stones In Mono” box set. "Out Of Our Heads" is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: August 14, 1981 – “Start Me Up” by The Rolling Stones is released. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it is the twenty fifth UK and thirty fifth US single release for the legendary rock band from London, UK. Originally written with the title “Never Stop”, The Rolling Stones record the song formally for the first time in January of 1978 during sessions for the “Some Girls” album. The song is initially recorded with reggae/rock arrangement, the band cut and re-cut the song numerous times over the next two months. As they fine tune it, the song continues evolve musically and lyrically, taking shape along the way. Finally the band record two takes with a straight ahead rock arrangement. After this, with the song now re-titled “Start Me Up” is briefly considered for inclusion on “Some Girls”, but winds up being shelved when Mick and Keith write “Miss You” which becomes that albums first single. Nearly three years later, when The Rolling Stones are planning a major tour, the band decide to assemble a new album from various outtakes and uncompleted songs they have stock piled over the years. Engineer and co-producer Chris Kimsey finds the incomplete multi-track master for “Start Me Up” in the vault. Upon hearing it, he knows immediately that he has discovered a diamond in the rough. The Rolling Stones reconvene in the studio to add overdubs and record the final vocals between April and June of 1981. The track is mixed by frequent Stones collaborator engineer Bob Clearmountain, giving the track its distinctive punch and polish in the final mix. Issued as the first single from “Tattoo You”, “Start Me Up” is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #61 on August 22, 1981, it peaks at #2 on November 7, 1981 for three weeks, behind Christopher Cross’ “Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do)” and Hall & Oates’ “Private Eyes”. An instant rock anthem, it becomes the opening song on many Rolling Stones tours over the years. In 1995, Microsoft licenses the Stones original recording of "Start Me Up" (for $3 million) for a series of commercials advertising its then new software operating system Windows 95. It marks the first time The Rolling Stones have allowed anyone to use any of the original versions of their songs to advertise a commercial product, turning down numerous requests in the past. A remixed version of the track is also used in ads by Swiss watchmaker Omega during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. “Start Me Up” also becomes an anthem at sporting events, with the band performing live during the halftime show at Super Bowl XL in 2006.