The Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup (73)

This was the poster that came with the record. RRemeber those days when you got a poster with the LP?

Goats Head Soup is an album by The Rolling Stones released in 1973. It was recorded as the follow-up to 1972's critically acclaimed Exile on Main St. Goats Head Soup was a more polished production than the raw and ragged Exile. It reflected the resurgence of soul-pop and the rise of funk, while maintaining the Stones' distinctive rock sound. It spawned the hit single "Angie", possibly its best known track, and topped the charts in the United States and United Kingdom.

Recording would begin as early as 1970. Two tracks, "Silver Train" and "Hide Your Love", would result from these early sessions and re-appear in November 1972 when the band relocated to Kingston, Jamaica's Dynamic Sound Studios. Guitarist Keith Richards said in 2002, "Jamaica was one of the few places that would let us all in! By that time about the only country that I was allowed to exist in was Switzerland, which was damn boring for me, at least for the first year, because I didn't like to ski... Nine countries kicked me out, thank you very much, so it was a matter of how to keep this thing together..."[1] Richards was dealing with his drug arrests at the time which hindered the recording process.

Of the recording process, Marshall Chess, the president of Rolling Stones Records at the time, said in 2002, "We used to book studios for a month, 24 hours a day, so that the band could keep the same set-up and develop their songs in their free-form way, starting with a few lyrics and rhythms, jamming and rehearsing while we fixed the sound. It amazed me, as an old-time record guy, that the Stones might not have played together for six or eight months, but within an hour of jamming, the synergy that is their strength would come into play and they would lock it together as one..."

Jagger said of the approach taken to recording Goats Head Soup versus the previous album, Exile: "Songwriting and playing is a mood. Like the last album we did was basically recorded in short concentrated periods. Two weeks here, two weeks there - then another two weeks. And, similarly, all the writing was concentrated so that you get the feel of one particular period of time. Three months later it's all very different and we won't be writing the same kind of material as Goats Head Soup."

On the sessions and influence of the island, Richards said, "The album itself didn't take that long, but we recorded an awful lot of tracks. There were not only Jamaicans involved, but also percussion players who came from places like Guyana, a travelling pool of guys who worked in the studios. It was interesting to be playing in this totally different atmosphere. Mikey Chung, the engineer at Dynamic, for example, was a Chinese man - you realise how much Jamaica is a multi-ethnic environment."

The first track recorded at Dynamic was "Winter", which lead guitarist Mick Taylor said started with "just Mick (Jagger) strumming on a guitar in the studio, and everything falling together from there".

The album is best known for its lead single, "Angie". It was a departure for The Rolling Stones as a ballad, and an unpopular choice as lead single with Atlantic Records which, according to Chess, "wanted another 'Brown Sugar' rather than a ballad".[1] Contrary to popular belief, the song was not about David Bowie's first wife Angela, but Richards' lover Anita Pallenberg. Many years after its release, Richards' daughter with Pallenberg, Dandelion, would rename herself Angela after the song.

Despite its laid-back sound, many of Goats Head Soup's songs have a darker quality to them. These include the opener "Dancing With Mr. D" (D as in Death or Devil); the Top 20 US hit "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)," a rare political song criticizing the New York police for the accidental shooting of a ten-year-old who they claimed they had mistaken for a bank robber; and the band's infamous tribute to groupies, "Star Star," the original title of which was "Starfucker" and still features it as its refrain.

This was also the last Rolling Stones album produced by Jimmy Miller, who had worked with the band since 1968's Beggars Banquet sessions. Miller developed a debilitating drug habit from his years spent with the band.

Aside from the official band members, other musicians appearing on Goats Head Soup include keyboard players Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, and unofficial member Ian Stewart.

Recording was completed in January 1973 in Los Angeles and May 1973 at London's Olympic Sound Studios.

At the time of release, Jagger said, "I really feel close to this album, and I really put all I had into it... I guess it comes across that I'm more into songs. It wasn't as vague as the last album which kind of went on so long that I didn't like some of the things. There's more thought to this one. It was recorded all over the place over about two or three months. The tracks are much more varied than the last one. I didn't want it to be just a bunch of rock songs."

Preceded by "Angie" as the lead single, which sailed to #1 in the US and became a worldwide hit, Goats Head Soup was released in late August 1973 and also shot to #1 worldwide. The Rolling Stones' fall 1973 European Tour followed soon after, in which three slots in the set list were given to the new material. (The popular bootleg recording, Brussels Affair, would result from this tour.)

Critical reaction to the album was varied at the time. Bud Scoppa called the album "one of the year's richest musical experiences"[2] in Rolling Stone, while Lester Bangs derided the effort in Creem, saying, "There is a sadness about the Stones now, because they amount to such an enormous 'So what?' The sadness comes when you measure not just one album, but the whole sense they're putting across now against what they once meant..."[2]

Goats Head Soup is now generally considered to have marked the end of the Stones' "golden age", with Stephen Thomas Erlewine saying, "Sliding out of perhaps the greatest winning streak in rock history, the Stones slipped into decadence and rock star excess with Goats Head Soup... This is where the Stones' image began to eclipse their accomplishments, as Mick ascended to jet-setting celebrity and Keith slowly sunk deeper into addiction, and it's possible hearing them moving in both directions on Goats Head Soup, at times in the same song."[3] While it is generally considered to lack the energy and spark of their previous few releases, Goats Head Soup has endured as a popular seller and has gone triple platinum in the US.

The album cover was designed and photographed by David Bailey, an old friend of Mick Jagger's, who had worked with The Rolling Stones since 1965. The head shot of Mick Jagger on the front cover was approximately life size in the original 12 inch LP format.

The sessions for Goats Head Soup were abundant with outtakes, two of which, "Tops" and "Waiting on a Friend", would surface on Tattoo You in 1981, and feature Mick Taylor on guitar.

All songs by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Side one

1. "Dancing with Mr. D" – 4:53
* Features Nicky Hopkins on piano
* Mick Taylor on bass
2. "100 Years Ago" – 3:59
* Features Billy Preston on Clavinet
* Mick Taylor on backing vocals
3. "Coming Down Again" – 5:54
* Features Nicky Hopkins on piano and Keith Richards on lead vocal and bass
4. "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)" – 3:27
* Features Billy Preston on piano
5. "Angie" – 4:33
* Features Nicky Hopkins on piano

Side two

1. "Silver Train" – 4:27
* Features Ian Stewart on piano
* Keith Richards on bass
* The first version of this song to be released was Johnny Winter's cover from the album Still Alive and Well in early 1973
2. "Hide Your Love" – 4:12
* Features Mick Jagger on piano and Mick Taylor on lead guitar. Recorded during rehearsals at The Doelen in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in the summer of 1973
3. "Winter" – 5:31
* Features Nicky Hopkins on piano
4. "Can You Hear the Music?" – 5:31
* Features Nicky Hopkins on piano
5. "Star Star" – 4:25
* Features Ian Stewart on piano
* Original title was "Starfucker", but the title was changed for the packaging and radio play.


* Mick Jagger – vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, harmonica
* Keith Richards – vcals, backing vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass
* Mick Taylor – electric guitar, backing vocals, acoustic guitar, slide guitar, bass
* Charlie Watts – drums
* Bill Wyman – bass

Additional personnel

* Nicky Hopkins – piano
* Jim Horn – flute
* Bobby Keys – saxophone
* Jim Price – saxophone
* Chuck Finley – trumpet
* Jimmy Miller – percussion
* Pascal – percussion
* Billy Preston – piano, organ, Clavinet, percussion
* Rebop – percussion
* Ian Stewart – piano
* Nicky Harrison – string arrangement


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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