The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street

This has to be my favorite Stones record. It's got everything on it. Grit. Sleaze. Laid back. Rockin. And it's the best Stones ever recorded. Produced by the late great Jimmy Miller (1944-1994). Jimmy Miller was a Brooklyn-born record producer, who produced albums for The Spencer Davis Group (in fact, he co-wrote the song I'm A Man with Steve Winwood), Traffic, Blind Faith, Bobby Whitlock, New York City's shock/punk rockers The Plasmatics and Motörhead.

And of course...The Rolling Stones. All the albums from Beggars Banquet to Goats Head Soup. But Exile remains his best IMHO - wino


Legend has it that the album was recorded in the basement of Keith Richards' new home, Nellcôte, at Villefranche-sur-Mer, near Nice, France. In reality, many basic tracks were recorded in 1969 and 1970 at Olympic Studios and Mick Jagger's Stargroves country house in England during sessions for Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers. These tracks, together with additional basic tracks recorded at Keith's villa in June 1971 (most probably only "Rip this Joint", "Shake Your Hips", "Casino Boogie", "Happy", "I Just Wanna See His Face", "Turd on the Run" and "Ventilator Blues"), were taken to Sunset Sound Recorders in Los Angeles and numerous overdubs (all piano and keyboard parts, all lead and backing vocals, all guitar and bass overdubs) were added during sessions that meandered from December 1971 until May 1972. Also some tracks (like "Rocks Off" and "Loving Cup") were freshly recorded in Los Angeles.

The basic band for the Nellcôte sessions is believed to have consisted of Keith Richards, Bobby Keys, Mick Taylor, Charlie Watts, Jimmy Miller, and Mick Jagger when he was available and/or interested. Bassist Bill Wyman did not find the ambience surrounding the Richards villa to be endearing and sat out many of the French sessions. As Wyman appeared on only eight songs of the released album, the other bass parts were played by Taylor, Richards, and on four tracks upright bassist Bill Plummer. Wyman noted in his memoir Stone Alone that there was a clear dichotomy between the band members who freely indulged in drugs (namely Richards, Miller and Keys) and those who more or less abstained (Wyman, Watts, and Jagger).

Producer Jimmy Miller, a notable drummer in his own right, covered for an absentee Watts on "Happy" and "Shine a Light". Thousands of dollars of heroin flowed through the mansion on a weekly basis in addition to a contingent of backseat drivers that included the likes of William S. Burroughs, Terry Southern, and Gram Parsons. Contrary to popular belief, Parsons does not appear on the album and was asked to leave Nellcôte in early July 1971, the result of both his obnoxious behavior and an attempt by Richards to clean the house of drug users as the result of pressure from the French police.

Although newlywed Jagger was frequently missing from Nellcôte, he immediately took charge during the second stage of recording in Los Angeles, arranging for keyboardists Billy Preston & Dr. John and the cream of the city's session backup vocalists to record layers of overdubs. The final gospel-inflected arrangements of "Tumbling Dice", "Loving Cup", "Let it Loose" and "Shine a Light" were inspired by Jagger and Preston's visit to a local evangelical church.

The elongated recording sessions and differing methodologies on the part of Jagger and Richards reflected the growing disparity in their personal lives. During the course of the making of the album, Jagger had married first wife Bianca Pérez Macías resulting in their only child, Jade, being born in October 1971. Keith Richards was firmly ensconced with partner Anita Pallenberg, yet both were in the throes of heroin addiction, which Richards wouldn't overcome until the turn of the decade. Even though the album served as an encapsulation of the "cosmic American music" theory so ardently proselytized by Parsons and is often described as being Richards' finest moment, Jagger was already expressing his boredom with rock and roll in several interviews at the time of the album's release. With Richards largely beholden to heroin, the group's subsequent 1970s releases—directed largely by Jagger—would experiment in varying degrees with other musical genres, moving away from the thoroughly roots-based sound of "Exile."

Released in May 1972, having been preceded by the Top 10 hit "Tumbling Dice", Exile On Main St. was an immediate commercial success, hitting #1 worldwide just as the band embarked on their famed 1972 American Tour, their first in the U.S. in three years, and during which they played many songs from the new album. "Happy", sung by Keith Richards, would be a Top 30 US hit later that summer. Although its initial critics considered Exile on Main St. to be a ragged record, its legend grew steadily over time and has since been considered by many as The Rolling Stones' finest hour. It is currently certified triple platinum in the US alone.

In 1998 Q magazine readers voted Exile on Main St. the 42nd greatest album of all time, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 3 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 1987 it was ranked #3 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the greatest 100 albums of the period 1967-1987, then in 2003 it was listed as number 7 on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Also in 2003, Pitchfork Media ranked it number eleven on their Top 100 Albums of the 1970s. In 2001, the TV network VH1 placed it at number 12 on their best albums survey. The album was ranked number 19 on the October 2006 issue of Guitar World magazine's list of the greatest 100 guitar albums of all time. [1]


pass: mud

No comments: