George Starostin's Reviews



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<> (15.11.99)

First of all, I wish to point out a mistake on your Introduction to the Rolling Stones regarding Brian Jones. Brian Jones wasn't their SECOND guitar player, he was their first. He, in fact, created the Rolling Stones. He was their musical genius, and it was drug problems and women problems that allowed Mick Jagger to climb into power. Also, Brian Jones didn't point the Stones toward pyschodelia, Mick Jagger did. After the Beatles released the Sergeant Pepper album, Jagger thought that pyschodelia was the way to go, hence the Satanic Majesties album, Brian Jones tried to convince them to stick to R&B, but they didn't listen, and the album flopped. This is why Beggar's Banquet was (is) so damn good. If that album wasn't their best ever, the Stones would have been gone. It would have been the end, all because they tried to do something that just wasn't them (Satanic Majesties). This, also, drove Brian to drugs.

[G.S.: On the other hand, do not forget that Brian Jones never wrote a single song. But it was certainly he who introduced the Stones to various psycho treatments - ever seen that Ed Sullivan show with Brian playing sitar on 'Paint It Black'?]

Glenn Wiener <> (04.02.2000)

I think the reason why I like the Rolling Stones so much, even more than the Beatles i that their music had a more raw and edgy feel than the fab gang ever put out. Maybe as a man, Mick Jaggers's crowing style of vocals and Keith's gritty street smart guitar riffs touch my soul just the right way. Their instrumental prowess is slightly better than the Beatles but not overly outstanding except maybe when Mick Taylor was a member of the band. Manits a damn shame Mickey T did not stay on longer. Mick T had a reserved way about him and I suppose he did not want to rock the boat too much. I wish Taylor would have told the Glimmer Twins, "Look dudes, I have some cool songs and want to contribute them to OUR band!" Who knows what the Stones would have been. They did have some spotty releases from the mid seventies to the end of the eighties. However, when you keep going to the well as often as the Stones have, you are bound to come out with alot of quality material. And over the course of their long lives, the Stones are fully loaded with great songs, riffs, arrangements, and more. I guess that fully explains my feelings about this great great band.

<> (21.03.2000)

Give it up( in all fairness)

The Stones are great, legends even....but u the other 10 stones fans are completely overrating them...Satanic majesties, no matter how hard you try to be fair, is in fact a RIP OFF album aof Sgt. Pepper, they simply couldnt handle the fact that they just couldnt beat the beatles. so they try to ride on the pepper bandwagon...and as far as lasting so long making them great...well then I will form a band with my little bro. and we will stay together 60 years and call ourselves the worlds greatest rock and roll band. in other words..longevity doesnt mean shit. ask the beatles and hendrix fans

ps. one more thing, how can you possibly put mr, charlie watts up there with greats like moon, and bonham, NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!

ever listen to ruby tuesday(to mention a few)

<> (02.04.2000)

Geez, I love em and i hate em! They have a huge catalog, and some of it is great, BUT alot can just as easily be thrown into the trash pile! I think they are overated. Alot of people think they are great just because they have survived for so long (and you have to admire them for that) however, longevity does not make them a great band. I like the early works, but would have to say they havent done anything decent since ' 81s TATTOO YOU ( a rare gem released in all the garbage from about ' 75 to the present). In there case, it would have been better to fade away. I dont mean to sound so negative though because the early tunes ('SATISFACTION' , 'UNDER MY THUMB' , 'HONKEY TONK WOMEN' , ect..) are great!

Chris Cormier <> (19.06.2000)

I have material from  pretty well every 'classic' rock band and I just don't see the 'huge' talent these guys are supposed to have.  Maybe as entertainers, they put on a good show.  And they have at least as respectable a catalogue as the byrds, clapton, grateful dead, etc, but overall the music is pretty boring and unappealing.  Maybe it's keith richards laughable arrogance, the overall looseness of playing (ok, they're better than sabbath), the scarcity of melody and vocal control (more like controlled hollering), the monotony of emotion imparted (have-a-good-time gets a bit narrow after a while, although it does impart a certain sense of direction)   If you want good blues, listen to something authentic, or at least better quality rip-offs like zeppelin or floyd.  They were in the right place at the right time, the kinks had about the same thing going but never caught on.  Let me put it this way - in 200 years will people be SINGING their songs?  Do their lyrics appeal to anything but rich 20th century kids pretending to themselves they can be stoned FOREVER and ever?

Kelly <> (28.06.2000)

I agree for the most part with your overview of the Stones, however, I disagree with your statement that Keith's guitar abilities have worsened over the years. I think that Keith's playing has only beccome better. One need only listen to the opening riff from "Love Is Strong" to hear that. Or, how about his work on "Thru and Thru"? Choppy yet still Keith and therefore a style an ability that any guitar player would be most happy to be able to carry off as only Keith does.

<> (30.07.2000)

I must say that Keith Richards, although i dont think hes the greatest guitar player, hes definately the COOLEST. Just watch the way he acts. I mean, he looks like Death.. and he weighs 45lbs soaking wet (with his Telecaster strapped on too).. but i wouldnt mess with him. I mean, have you see the footage of him un-strapping his guitar, and hitting the guy who ran onstage? And then KEEP PLAYING. What a great man.. and i love they way he explained it.. that if you mess up his gig that hes gotta "take the mother down..." Keith Richards is the man....

Morten Felgenhauer <> (21.12.2000)

I've just read your reviews of the Rolling Stones' "cover period". I mostly agree on the analysis of the songs. However I think that reviewing the American albums is a complete waste of everybody's time. They are not albums, just random collections of songs that were released as soon as London Records could get their hands on them. I will be the first to admit that their first three UK albums were not perfect, but they were actual albums that the group wanted to release.

I know that the American ones are the only ones for sale at the moment, but there are other possibilities: buy the LPs, if you can find them or make your own CDs - it shouldn't be too difficult these days. It's worth it. It is also rumoured that the UK CDs will be released next year (2001). Let's hope they get it right this time!

Some facts (I am a train spotting bastard am I not?):

"If you need me" and "You better move on" are referred to as Motown songs. They are not. They were both, however, originally released by black artists: Solomon Burke/Wilson Pickett and Arthur Alexander respectively. By the way, Arthur Alexander is not that saccharine. The original single version of YBMO is very similar to the Stones version (he did a re-recording for an album, though). He also has cool versions of "Anna (Go To Him)" and "A Shot Of R'n'B" - both covered by the Beatles.

"Pain in my heart" and "She said yeah" were originally done by Otis Redding and Larry Williams respectively. Again Beatles fans will recognize the latter artist.

Who plays what: there are books containing details of this, but I will present some general facts. Keith plays all Chuck Berry riffs and many solos (example: It's All Over Now). If there is only one guitar and a harmonica the instruments are played by Keith and Brian respectively. Brian usually does the slide work. Two guitars / harmonica: Brian+Keith and Mick. In the early years Brian was the best harp player of the two. I must agree that Brian was largely responsible (that's a good thing) for expanding the musical palette of the group. The sad thing is that when they returned to their "roots" (Beggars Banquet) he was more or less lost. The exception is the slide on "No Expectations".

By the way, the early live recordings are from 1965 - released on an UK EP called Got Live If You Want It. An exceptional record which must not be confused of the 1966 album of the same title.

For those who care - my ratings of the Decca years in brief (****** is top score):

The Rolling Stones ***** Mostly covers - Blues/R'n'B.

No.2 ****(*) Mostly covers - R'n'B/soul.

Out Of Our Heads ****(*) Mostly covers - R'n'B/soul.

Aftermath ****** All original compositions. Their Rubber Soul, if you will.

Got Live If You Want It *** Too messy. Check out the EP instead.

Between The Buttons **** Varied, but mostly good.

Their Satanic Majesties Request *** Very varied. From excellent to awful.

Beggars Banquet ****** Back to basics.

Let It Bleed ****** Where's the competition?

Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out ****** The Greatest Rock'n'Roll Band In The World

Metamorphosis *** Outtakes, but not very well compiled.

The singles Collection ***** Only The Beatles could match this. Only the UK singles on this one counts.

These should be re-released in 2001. Wait for them and buy them all.

Raghu Mani <> (01.01.2000)

Reading your introduction and the comments on the Rolling Stones page, I doubt if there is any thing intelligent I could add. However, I'll say something anyway ;-). I think one of the great things about the Stones is how every album of theirs sounds similar yet you never really tire of them. While you make a good case for diversity of the Stones' sound, you have to come back to the fact that regardless of what frills get added on, nearly all their songs are blues-based. The breathtaking diversity that characterized the Beatles is simply not to be found in the Stones catalog. However, if this is a criticism, it is a very minor one. I do not consider diversity to be all that important when assessing a band. It is far more important that the band make good music and the Rolling Stones did that in abundance. The area where the Stones' body of work really suffers in comparison with that of the Beatles is in how it is packaged. In the Beatles' case, the record company released the British versions of the albums on CD, collected the remaining songs and put them on 2 CDs. I can get all the stuff released by the Beatles with practically no duplication. For that, they have my eternal gratitude. The Stones' catalog is, however, a mess. Releasing the British albums on CD makes a lot more sense because that's the way the Rolling Stones had intended them to be released. If, on top of that, they had released a Past Masters-like compilation of the remaining singles/B-sides we would have gotten the perfect rolling stones catalog. What get instead is some American record executive's idea of what the albums should have sounded like. Songs deleted from albums to make way for singles, the number of songs on albums often reduced from 14 to 12, songs appearing on multiple "studio" albums and of course some singles that do not appear on any of these albums, forcing you to buy an entire compilation for maybe two songs that you do not have. None of this affects the music, of course, but it certainly does not make me feel very charitable towards the morons who put out this mess.

Michael J. West <> (23.01.2001)

I've had to revamp all my thoughts on Stones albums, at least on the '60s ones: I've gone back and cut-and-pasted all the original UK versions of their albums together. Having done so, what I've discovered is that they ALWAYS, from the beginning, had a real knack for putting together concise, cohesive, flowing albums. Though their singles (almost all non-album in the UK) are far better known in most cases, they were never really the singles band that so many contemporary critics dub them as having been in the early days.

The British version of Out of Our Heads, for example, is incredibly solid and, if not conceptual, does sound miraculously tighter and more cohesive than you'd ever believe from looking at the individual tracks. If you look at them that way, with the British albums, and think of the Singles Collection as the Stones' Past Masters (as you suggest yourself), the incredible abilities of the Stones are that much more clear. They were great songwriters, great interpreters, and knew how to weave it all together seamlessly into great albums. That's even before you consider the genius and power of the singles.

The only unfortunate part of knowing the Stones that way is that it makes me pretty much disqualified from commenting on any of your entries on them before Satanic Majesties. Awwwwwwww, Hell.

Michael Gechter <> (04.02.2001)

The Rolling Stones are one of the most overrated bands in the history of rock and roll. Mick Jagger is a terrible, terrible vocalist who lacks both singing ability (he completely ruins 'Ruby Tuesday' with his inability to sing in key) and any sort of writing talent. The lyrics are, almost without exception, terrible, on the order of 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' where he just repeats the same inane lines over and over again or 'Honky Tonk Woman' where the lyrics don't even match the beat. Nor does he compose intelligent music, though part of the blame here must fall on Keith Richards. The riffs, though catchy, don't have any sort of staying power and are, therefore, easy to get sick of. There is nothing under the surface, either lyrically or musically. Richard's riffs. They betray no actual ability to play the instrument (have you ever heard Richards solo?  It's technically atrocious). He is, at best, an average rythm guitarist. The painful stupidity of their music is probably the cause of years of excessive drug use as evidenced by Jagger's complete incoherency in recent interviews. I would be hard-pressed to give them more than a 2 overall band rating.

[Special author note: oh Lord, what a cruel, cruel, stupid and mercyless world we're living in! How low has the musical community of this little wretched planet fallen! We take a worthless band whose hopelessly drug-addled members can't sing, can't play, can't write, can't even enunciate properly, and put them on a pedestal second only to the Beatles! Respected musical critics are raving about them, supposedly 'intelligent' people (all hopeless phonies, of course) are describing their music as 'beautiful', the tasteless public keeps buying their old records in millions, whacked-out old hippies and brainwashed younger fans still come to their inane and cacophonous live shows... Apocalypsis is round the corner! Oh well, at least we have people like Michael to warn us of the impending doom. Hopefully, not all is lost.]

Palash Ghosh <> (21.02.2001)

Although The Rolling Stones put out some great songs, and Mick and Keith are clearly global icons, I would have to rate The Stones a distant third behind The Beatles and The Who as far as all-time rock supergroups go.

The Stones hit their peak between 1968 and 1972 (roughly between Beggars Banquet and Exile on Main St.) -- but the material before and after this golden period was generally sub-par. Moreover, while The Beatles were true innovators and lyrical geniuses and The Who (despite some later bombastic pretentiousness) were genuine hard-core working-class London rockers -- The Stones were, in a sense, 'fake'. That is, their whole act was an 'act' -- totally derivative and imitative.

Aside from 'Satisfaction' and maybe 'Jumping Jack Flash,' what did The Stones ever do that was truly and uniquely original? Their first songs (before Mick and Keith started to write their own songs) were limp covers of black American blues. After they realized this wasn't selling, they asked The Beatles to give them their first hit ('I wanna be your man'). When The Beatles went psychedelic with Sgt. Pepper what did The Stones do? They put out a lame record called Satanic Majesties Request (which featured a cover that was directly lifted from Pepper -- though it looked more like a cheap imitation thereof). And when The Beatles put out The White Album, The Stones likewise came out with Beggars Banquet, with a similarly sparse white cover and more back-to-basics music. So many Beatle songs have their inferior 'Stones doppel-ganger' that it's amazing! The Who, for all their faults, never sought to directly imitate The Beatles –- indeed, they even seemed to resist the lure of the Fab Four.

The other distressing thing about the Stones is that they... simply refuse to retire and go home! For the last 22 years or so, they've been such a grotesque dinosaur act that it's embarrassing and I have little if any respect for them at all.

I think that Brian Jones had lived (and didn't get seduced by drugs) and maintained leadership of The Stones, they would've avoided some of the vulgar musical excesses the group would eventually indulge in and would've likely disbanded long long ago.

Didier Dumonteil <> (25.03.2001)

During the seventies ,in every poll of the universe,the Stones used to occupy the third place after the Beatles and Bob Dylan.Now check the lists,particularly those of readers .Other acts have overtaken them:Pink Floyd,Bowie,REM,U2 .And the former trilogy has given way to Beatles / x/y ,x and y being a combination of Dylan and the four names mentionned above.Worse,they almost never have an album in the top  20  of all-time albums poll (check Q list (1997),HMS ,(1998),Virgin (2000)) That's certainly unjustified.THe Stones weren't sound pioneer,but they were great for rock and roll and rythm' blues;they were the keepers of the flame,they wrote timeless classics.They were even good at pure pop as "as tears go by" "ruby tuesday" and"sitting on a fence" testify.THe field in which they failed was,IMHO,the country."sweet Virginia" "country honk" and "faraway eyes" pale next to Hank Williams',Johnny Cash's,the Byrds' country ,to name but three.Historically ,they are not on par with the Beatles for the very simple reason that the Beatles were adored by almost everyone:from a six year old to Leonard Bernstein,their appeal was so universal anyone could find something in their stuff.The RS ,on the other hand,had a stronger cult among the "true rockers" and "pure bluesmen".They deserve the third place in the sixties hierarchy (Dylan ,IMHO,is the second).THey are well above the Who,because they had a singer that WROTE his material,such was not Daltrey's case.And after the two most influential groups ,why would the Who win over the Beach Boys,the Kinks,the Velvet,Procol,the Byrds,Pink Floyd or Procol?After the 2 groups without whom.....,the rest is a question of taste.

Joseph Marchant <> (31.07.2001)

".....the Stones are the pinnacle of rock'n'roll, having demonstrated far more creativity within the genre than almost any of their contemporaries or followers - the vivid, wonderfully syncopated, 'breathing', 'dangerous' guitar stylistics of Keith Richards is far more impressive than the technically perfect, but cold and rigid style of Jimmy Page, and is a near-perfect embodiment of the 'rock'n'roll spirit',"

Dear George,

Ahh fame is no more a thing than a pastiche of dangerous misquotation and innocent argument torn asunder from it's meaningful context.....Congratulations sir on a inspirational website. So why this particular quote from what surely deserves to be a classic benchmark in internet debate you ask? well I'm afraid the answer involves Mr Jimmy Page. Allow me to assuage any creeping despair at the prospect of a led zep related flame: I am no big Zeppelin fan. In fact, to declare a prejudice before I subconsciously display it, I am a far greater Stones man. My dispute with the above relates to your observations of playing dynamics of two of my very favourite guitaristas! I will qualify that this is true only for their R&B infused compositions; I would quite happily tell J.Page where to stuff his bow and Keef's reggae also does little for me.

My umbrage arises from the description of Page's style as cold and rigid. Throughout my days of playing, the qualities that I have most admired (eh erm..and wished to'be influenced by') come from playing that transcends technical boundaries and displays not improvisational brilliance but the ability to 'wear one's heart on one's sleeve.' Exactly the personal feelings that result in the 'breathy syncopation' that we both enjoy in keith's work. Into the realm of the solo guitar, to quote Ron Wood...."there's a great difference between scratching yer ass and picking it until it bleeds...." In terms of blues I would Jimmy Page is occasionally without peer, not to say that he is not flawed. For me he injects two qualities: originality and from the bone passion. Let's look at 'you shook me baby' from the BBC sessions, either version. Page displays the frenetic cross picking growls of the earlier blues legends such as Muddy Waters but does not borrow heavily from either their licks or their overall style.In my opinion in this song he displays more originality in his licks than any other white blues guitarist of the time (his achilles heel is that he will occasionally overuse them...) In practice, I find his playing displays just the same honesty that is so appealing in Keith's style. In every bend, in every hammer-on and vibrato at no time do I feel that he is playing for effect or resorting to blues cliché. I would also argue to his benefit that he is far from technically perfect: listen to the garbled picking and overbends - these are not intentional but purely what happens when we are truly excited and feeling what we are playing. Something that weighs heavily with me is blues cliché played with technical perfection, a heinous crime for which E.Clapton could be accused on occasion....

Now I'll struggle to conclude......I hope I've managed to explain myself with the required lucidity. It is often easy to come across as a rampant fan of this musician or that. It is less easy to justify this without establishing them as a benchmark for your own personal taste. All I can say is that with the guitar (playing or otherwise), we all develop our own personal styles and I'm hope past the point of wanting to sound like someone else. Although did you know that the 'quality control' for Joe Perry's Aerosmith riffs was Steve Tyler saying "Would you be happy to play that to Keef if he were sittin' in the room with us?"

And on that dubious recommendation..................

Special author note: Joe is right, actually. I apologize for that phrase - it's a very rough assessment of Jimmy's talents, and the comparison should have been stated in a different way.]

James Hitt, Jr. <> (05.12.2001)

I don't know what it is I don't like about the Stones. Well, actually I do: Mick Jagger's terrible voice, not to mention Keith Richards' very unremarkable guitar playing. But, I suppose I am biased against them. I can't deny their impact on rock n roll, but goddamnit, I am still bored as hell by their music. Funny: a few years ago, I would have said the same thing about the Beatles (yes, it's true, forgive me), but now I adore them. Could it be that I may become a Stones fan in the future? I shudder to think of that day.

Ryan Maffei <> (16.03.2002)

I'll never be able to like the Rolling Stones. They may have been for rock what the Beatles were for pop, but having been weaned on the Beatles and their artistic integrity, I find the Stones' good-timey rawk-n-raunch-n-roll just a tad hard to digest. And now that they're still so arrogant about themselves after 174 good years, it's even more sickening. Me not caring about men's physical appearance, I'll not point out the group's ugliness, but Mick Jagger is a ridiculously unattractive woman. (ahem...yes, I know, stop nudging me).

I'll admit that the band were always a fine group of musicians, and Mick Taylor was one of the more accomplished players in the pantheon of rockers that played in the late-60s/70s. And the very, very early tunes--at their best--were exceptional pieces of driving pre-punk. "Get Off Of My Cloud"; "Satisfaction", etc...all great tunes. Then, when they went artistic, the group faltered a little: most of Aftermath is accomplished and enjoyable, but on Between the Buttons, Satanic and such, the group sounds like a) they're unsure of what they're doing and b) they're trying to be the Beatles and Dylan all rolled into one. There were still good songs circa Flowers, etc., though...then Beggars Banquet came along, giving us a rootsier Stones, but a semi-admirable one. Most of the country-blues stuff went from great to frivolous and forgettable, but the Let it Bleed LP (Taylor's first, yeah) showed us a polished mix of said style and rock. Plus, the rootsy material gave way for the excellent, rowdy Chuck Berryisms of Sticky Fingers, which, at an A- in my home review collection, stands as the band's best album ever. But Exile was an overblown, messy coda to this potentially fruitful era, and since the great Goat's Head Soup, the band has been on somewhat of a downward slump. And they remain overrated as hell, with albums like Black and Blue, Undercover and Voodoo Lounge actually warranting good reviews in some places. A new book calls them Old Gods Almost Dead; I'd say they died in 1972. So yeah, I don't like them too much, and none of their records are great ones. But as I've found out, you kinda need to have heard them to be, like, a rock'n'roll fan. Go figure.

Jon Hurd <> (30.04.2002)

I love your reviews on the stones, I can tell you're a real fan. Please don't judge me too harshly if I point out a couple discrepencies, that's just what I do, I can't help it. The 'last time' riff believe it or not is Brian's, not Keith's. Mick did not play blues harp on 'look what you've done', it was Brian. Mick played harp on 'little by little'. Listen to the difference. Mick is a little tamer and safer because he couldn't play it like Brian. Brian played most of the harp and slide on the first 3 or 4 albums, then as he destroyed himself with drugs and alcohol he limited himself to doing coloring tracks with odd instruments such as sitar, dulcimer, vibes, mellotron, etc. Not to say he wasn't fabulous at this, because he was. All of the early harp solos that were hard, raunchy, wild and acrobatic were Brian. ('I just wanna make love'.....,etc.) Unfortunately, Brian petered out and faded into oblivian, but fortunately, Keith became better and better on guitar (although I think he always kicked ass, even on the first record) and became the one and only riff meister.

<> (26.01.2003)

What can one say about "the greatest rock and roll band in the world" that hasn't already been said? To me the Stones epitomize everything that is rock and roll. The look, the attitude, and the lifestyle. When the Stones finally stop, rock and roll as we know it is officially flat lined. They are the last remaining holders of the torch. In the early days, the Stones did try, like everyone else, to compete with the Beatles. They however stood apart from the pack. While the Beatles were wearing cute little suits and singing about holding your hand, the Stones were flipping off parents and saying what they were going to do to their daughters. That contrast made them the Beatles closest competitors. Of course when the Beatles released Rubber Soul the Stones released Between The Buttons. When Sgt. Pepper came out, the Stones countered with Satanic Majesties Request. But when the Beatles broke up in ' 69, the chains finally fell off and the Stones were free to run with the ball that had been fumbled. My favorite era is the Mick Taylor era and isn't it strange that the Stones recorded some of their best albums like Exile On Main Street while so fucked up they could barely stand erect? Keith Richards strapping on his Telecaster is like Thor picking up his hammer. Keith is still the coolest person walking the face of the earth and he and Mick still are a great songwriting team. Even on their worst albums you can still find some great moments. Bill Wyman hasn't got the respect he deserves for his bass playing, and the last time I saw them I missed him. In this day and age there are labels for every kind of music out there: Pub rock, classic rock, alternative rock, and my favorite...arena rock. That one always makes me chuckle. Whoever coined that one had to have been high. I don't give a shit about any of them as the Stones will always stand for the one and only, drugs, and rock and roll!!!!!! The heart of rock and roll is the Rolling Stones. Their musical legacy is untouched by anyone past or present and I don't see a worthy successor to their crown anywhere in sight.

Jeff Hendershott <> (05.12.2003)

Gee, I get all goose-bumpy watching the master of the drums Charlie Watts play! And the rest of the masters of their craft too. (Yes, that IS the toilet flushing after a gut-wrenching vomit!). A sad, sad collection of individuals posing as human beings, but let's give credit where credit is due. Keith Richard, he of the total blood transfusions because of too much heroin, is still alive (I think, he's posed as a dead man for years). Mick has somehow avoided AIDS after sticking his thing into everything that he can catch that walks or crawls. Yea, it's safe to say that I'm with you here who not only think, but KNOW this band is perhaps the most overrated band ever. In fact, they ARE. Aside from being low-lifes (well, I'd bet Charlie Watts is at least half-human), after making MANY honest attempts to actually "GET" it (after all, it's still cool to be a Rolling Stone fan), I still can't see what the attraction is other than a great excuse to crowd yourself in with 50,000 other stoned out freaks and worship Mick like the savior of contemporary culture. Damn, what BOARING music! So George, before you crucify me for taking a giant dump on your beloved Stones (as if they need any help), let me ask this - since every band you "review" copies someone, who did the Stones copy? Who's ideas did they steal? Oh, I'm sorry, Christ (Mick) and his decipels (rest of the band) had no peers, right?

Jeff Hendershott <> (09.12.2003)

You want comments? I'll give you comments. This band that you call "the most diverse ever" is a complete joke. Innovators? Revolutionaries? Phooey! Simply because they were one of the first off the block in their "genra" (God, using such sophisticated adjetives for a silly rock band!) you elevate them to some sort of "god" status. Terrible writers, lousy singers and musicians, hell, I doubt that THEY even give themselves this much credit! Just keep the dope and the whores coming their way and they will play.

David Dickson <> (05.05.2004)

Overrated, this band is. Overrated to the max. Meaning they're just a very good band with a good amount of classic tunes, a good amount of classic solos, and exactly one classic album. Just one. Not four, five or six. Just one. The thing is, I rarely get the impression that the Stones are actually trying to IMPRESS me. They're just "being themselves," whatever the hell that means. You know, playing the roots-rock, blooooooze, and roll and rock and spirit of America blah blah blah that they grew up with. They simply don't try to stand out. They're not pretentious. Not ambitious. Not even complete virtuosos--all four members of Led Zeppelin severely outclass their counterparts in this band. And both bands are about equal in songwriting talent--it's just that the Stones are more "authentic," which gives them the edge in rock critic circles.

Meh. So they invented hard rock, made the world safe for dangerous music, and embody rebellion. So what? If their MUSIC doesn't impress me enough, all the innovation in the world, nor the historical fact that the Stones were a greater influence on millions of baby boomers, stoners, and Russian rock fans than church, state, and family put together, is going to make me praise their virtues to the highest heaven. They're not a BAD band, and they DID release Exile on Main Street (a masterpiece of redneck rock if there ever was one), but there are at least half a dozen bands out there that have a more legitimate claim to the title of "Beatles runner-up" than they.

Matt Byrd <> (04.08.2004)

The Rolling Stones were lucky to be around when the Beatles were around, that is why they WERE signed, so the record companies could get more Beatle-like bands. But like the Beatles the Stones were not only innovators-they were GOOD, very good. The Rolling Stones are, quite simply, the greatest blues-rock that has come around. Led Zeppelin made some good albums (IV, Led Zeppelin, II, and Physical Graffiti) but none were as authentic as the Stones at their best (ok, Led Zeppelin, and Rock 'n' Roll are pretty authentic sounding). Page could really kick out the jams and could probably out-riff Keith but did his band ever have African samba-beats, honky tonk piano, blistering guitar solos and intelligent lyrics in the same song (Sympathy For The Devil)? Could Led Zeppelin make convincing country and then make convincing disco? I think not! There is probably no band that has ever played as tight as the Rolling Stones except the Who. Aerosmith is the other band who could have a legitimate chance at naming themselves the premier blues-rock band, but they only made a few albums that even came close to matching their boasting (Toys In The Attic and Rocks). Some people say that the Stones' lyrics weren't worth much (they were no Zimmermans or Lennons) but I would disagree  - the lyrics in 'tumblin' dice,' sympathy for the devil,' and 'gimme shelter' are intelligent lyrics. The truth is that few bands ever equaled the Stones in any one of George's categories. The Beatles may have been the most important band in history but the Stones pioneered the whole 'rock 'n' roll band' image.

David Sheehan <> (14.09.2005)

One of the reasons why I like this site so much is not only because it's really fun to read, explore, etc, but mainly because I've gained an appreciation of alot of very worthwhile music from it, music that quite possibly, I would have dismissed. The Rolling Stones were very hard for me to get into, I think mainly due to the bias of (supposedly) despising everything that was "celebrated" or constistently praised. I had a huge anti-Beatles bias (like John McFerrin once had), which is just stupid, and after a very minimal effort I suddenly realised how completely blind I could be to art (especially mass art) when I chose to be. After becoming a huge Beatles fan, I tried the Stones next, and it took me a long time to really start to appreciate them. I think I heard copius Beatles/Stones comparisons, and I heard claim after claim of how the Stones consistently ripped off ideas from the Beatles (which is false) and I already had a huge bias agaist them while thinking I was open minded. I expected one thing and got another. The first Stones album I ever heard was Beggar's Banquet, and I hated it. I thought, "This is supposedly regarded as one of the ten or so best albums of all time?" Then I heard Let It Bleed, which I thought was even worse, though "Gimme Shelter" piqued my interest. Next was Their Satanic Majesties' Request, and I was through. That was one of the most hideous, cash-in, junky-ass records I had ever heard (or seen, when you consider the similar to a certain famous album of the time). Interestingly, or hypocritically, at that time I really liked In Search of the Lost Chord... Time went by, and I continued to "study" on various web reviewing sites, and I thought I'd try them again. This time I tried Between the Buttons, and was impressed with its quality (I think that's because it's as similar to the contemporaty Beatles product as they got). After that I got into Satanic, and was hooked on it for a while, and then Beggar's Banquet. It's puzzling to look back on an old bias and try to understand what you were thinking. I still have only heard a small part of their catalog, but I think Banquet is their best work. For me that's their only 15. I still have trouble with Let It Bleed, and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" has always annoyed me for some reason (but, then again, so has "Salt of the Earth"), and unfortunately I thus far have failed to see what "Midnight Rambler" has going for it. Exile on Main Street, is good, but a very trying listen due to the production, to me it suffers from a very dry, tinny sound (see Metallica's ...And Justice For All). Anyway, enough of my yackin', suffice to say that if you're biased, you may not even know it, and an open mind is anybody's key to a more satisfactory experience in the realm of art. That is, if you're biased and stubborn, you don't know what you're missing! And it's your loss! So there.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (22.12.2005)

The earliest memory I have in life goes back to about Noevember '65 and it's the Stones singing "Get off of my cloud" on a programme here in England called "Top of the pops".I was 2 at the time! And at various times over the next 40 years, the Stones have played an important role in my life. I must confess that I rather do love their 60s output above any other period of theirs( although I think Black and blue is a fine LP) and from '65 to '69,they came up with songs that were definitely the equal of the Beatles[I say this as someone who loves the Beatles' stuff also] and perhaps surprizingly I'd say the the same about the Kinks......back to the Stones however. They may not have written as many greats as the Beatles in that period, but so what ? Who did ? The Beatles had 3 excellent writers. Every band of the 60s will always forever more suffer from comparisons to the Beatles that it can blind one to a) the tremendous amount of great stuff that was around then and b) the fact that the Beatles were also influenced by what was going on about them and by other bands.

Oddly enough,the one band that never seemed to influence them were the Stones....yet although the press had them pegged as great rivals they were in fact great friends,hanging together, generally going through the same things [drugs,groupies,America,media saturation,pushing the frontiers where LPs were concerned,never being heard in gigs,fan mania, psychedelia, sitars, mellotrons,managers, record labels etc, etc] and appearing on each others' records["Yellow Submarine", "All you need is love","You know my name","We love you"] and at each others sessions.There was even talk of them opening a studio together before Apple.

But despite the many overlapping threads, the Rolling Stones stand on their own as one of the greatest acts in the history of popular music. I think that John Lennon is in the main responsible for this view of the Stones as a 2nd rate Beatles["they were good once they stopped trying to copy us"] and much as I love and respect the Beatles, it's patently unfair,especially when one looks at the evidence. I saw the Stones live in '82 and they were fantastic. I may not be a huge fan of their post '71 output but I respect them for staying together because the fact is that they love making music ! Together ! As the Stones ! And if you take the last 35 years of music making, you will undoubtedly find some crap. You will also undoubtedly find some truly worthwhile stuff.All in all, the Stones have shown themselves to be diverse,innovative, melodic and catchy.And by george !They work so hard on their songs, even the fillers [an attitude they helped to pioneer back in the 60s].

It's hard to separate them from their huge social significance of those times,but sometimes the music must stand alone.Jagger was a great writer for the Stones and had one of the most distinctive voices you'll ever hear. So he isn't what ? When you're distinctive, you don't need to and besides, who sounds like Mick Jagger ? Keef is also a great writer and it's a good thing that he "overthrew" Brian as the leader of the band(smart, coz he's never been the face) because as valuable as Brian was, not being a writer, he could only take the band so far and Keith had the guts to try his hand at different styles.Bill Wyman was one of the bassists that inspired me to take up the instrument in the first place and Charlie Watts has long been possibly the most sympathetic drummer in rock.Always greater than the sum of the parts, to answer one of the comments earlier, yes, in 200 years people will be listening to the Stones. After all, we listen to Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Haydn, don't we ?

Linda Zerr <> (24.06.2006)

Despite statements that Brian Jones my favorite Stone and musician and person, he played beautifully. Considering all that he had been through with the other band members he did give it his all. Brian Jones was a brilliant musician, talented artist and could play a lot more instruments than Mick or Keith ever could. He was tired of the direction the band was going in and lost interest quickly. I have been a BJ fan since 1964 when I was 14 and they first entered the music scene. After Brian left their music has changed dramatically. In my opinion it all starts to sound the same. Brian loved the blues and that is what he set out to do when he founded, created and named the band. This sound from the Sixties was their signature sound. Their early Sixties album far exceed their present day music. The tapestry and musical color Brian added to their songs is incomparable.

My Name is Linda and I live in the USA in the State of Missouri I am 57 years old and I do remember the 1960's very vividly. Thank You for your time.


Tony Stewart <> (08.10.99)

George, this one is a straight 10. Your review lists one asset after another i.e. "Honest I Do", with an arrangment already pretty sophisticated for 5 British teenaged louts, the furor of "I Just Want To Make Love". with not only that harmonica ,but also that guitarriff, the smooth in-the-pocket of "King Bee", and the overall sheer joy of these guys finally in a studio getting to actually RECORD what they have been living for the las 2 years. It's so important to see the disc in context of it's times and Keith letting it rip on "Carol", which is ALL he wanted from life at the time, Jagger already sounding like Jagger on "Walking The Dog" and the Fun of "Now I've Got A Witness". Add "You Can Make It If You Try" , the unstoppable "Route 66", the charm of "Tell Me" (Come on everyone's first song went C-Am-F-G) and "Can I Get A Witness" which frankly I don't think sounds that unnatural as you paint it out to be and you have like you say the Hottest Disc of '64. Any Disc where I can unconditionally say to someone, withount thinking twice"Go and buy it right now!" is a 10.

Jeff <> (20.10.99)

Wow, this is really good! The only weak song is "You Can Make it If You Try," but the rest is incredible! I agree that there should've been more fast stuff, since some of those lightening-speed numbers on here ("Route 66," "Carol," I Just Wanna Make Love to You") are just mind-blowing. The Stones prove themselves to be the only band who can out-Chuck-Berry Chuck Berry. Listen to "Carol"!! They rip through that thing!! I actually like "Can I Get a Witness"-- the piano helps diversify the album a little. "Not Fade Away" is probably my favorite track, mainly because it's fast and it's got some fun harmonica. As for the original songs, "Tell Me" is fantastic, while "Little By Little" is good, but not great. It's amazing how much energy the boys had, though!

Glenn Wiener <> (14.01.2000)

Good for an album of almost all covers. But the style from song to song gets old after a while. The singing and guitar playing are all very good.

Jeff Blehar <> (09.02.2000)

Take a second to open up the liner notes to England's Newest Hitmakers and look at the pictures of those five adorable moptops, The Rolling Stones. You know what's cute? Keith Richards, looking all of 17, that's what. Like a guy who looks like that could end up a depraved smack junkie!

Anyway, about the music. You can probably guess by my ratings that I'm not exactly dipped in gasoline and set on fire by the Stones' early albums (with one notable exception). I guess that's just because I fear and loathe all black people and feel threatened by the savage rhythms of their fierce, sexually charged music. Sure. Actually, what my real problem is is that (aside from my distate for using the word "is" twice in a row in a sentence) I just can't get excited about stiff, half-hearted covers of R&B songs. Lots of people seem to love these albums, especially this one. Sadly, I ain't one of those clowns. I mean, sometimes it's brilliant, as on their rave-up take on Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" (guaranteed to induce mass body-shaking in any teenage crowd of any era, and rhythmically aggressive enough to send a chapter of Klansmen running for their white sheets) or the barely repressed sexual desperation of "I Just Want To Make Love To You." But man, that bulgy-eyed Jagger sounds like a complete moron attempting "You Can Make It If You Try." Lord, is he ever white on that one. And please, can we just eliminate all pointless instrumentals from every British invasion band's repertoire? "Now I've Got A Witness?" Now I've Got Filler. (Same goes for "2120 South Michigan Avenue" on the next LP.)

Raghu Mani <> (01.01.2000)

I cannot think of any other album that consisted mostly of covers that sounds as good as this. Highlights for me are 'Carol', 'Route 66', 'I just Want to Make Love to You' and 'King Bee'. 'Not Fade Away' is not exactly my favorite Buddy Holly song but that too sounds fantastic here. The only original, 'Tell Me', however, is a little disappointing - particularly give what they would achieve later. Still, it's a fairly good song and if that is the worst thing I can say about the album then I am needlessly nitpicking and had better stop :-). Definitely a 9.

Jesse Sturdevant <> (07.03.2001)

Actually, that story about Andrew Oldham locking up Keith and Mick in the kitchen until they wrote a song was true, according to the boys in the documentary 25 x 5 --the song they ended up writing, though, was "The Last Time".

Robert Tally <> (23.05.2001)

There really aren't any bad tracks on this album, although I'd be hard pressed to rate any more than a handful as big favorites of mine. The standouts for me tend to be the rockers (which is what most British bands from '64 were good for). 'Route 66' thumps along with great style, and 'Walking The Dog' is good fun. And if you want to hear an all-out rave-up, there's 'I Just Want To Make Love To You.' 'Carol' also rocks quite well, and 'Little By Little' holds up without being too great. Most of the other material fits comfortably into the R&B category, which raises at least one problem: these were booger-nosed little British boys instead of grizzled old black men from the delta. But nevertheless, each of these R&B tunes has some little catchy thing to grab you, even if there's nothing earth-shaking about them. At least one of them, 'I'm A King Bee,' is quite good, and 'Honest I Do' holds up pretty well. 'You Can Make It If You Try' is slightly less passable. The Motown tune, 'Can I Get A Witness' is fairly unexceptional, and 'Now I've Got A Witness' works well enough for filler. Then there's 'Tell Me.' This is one album where the inevitable comparison to the Beatles doesn't make much sense. The Stones were basically an R&B band in 1964, while the Beatles weren't. But in the case of 'Tell Me,' the Stones were clearly trying to stake a claim in 'ballad territory,' an area which the Beatles were simply the kings of at this point in time. 'Tell Me' is fairly enjoyable in my opinion, but I don't think it even comes close to the mastery displayed on the next album by the Fabs: A Hard Day's Night. (Incidentally, the edit used for the CD is the one from the US LP. It's shorter than the edit on the UK LP. A third edit - found on the Singles Collection - is from the US single and wasn't put out in the UK - and is the shortest of the three. If that's not confusing enough, the first pressing of the UK LP had a completely different recording of the song.)

So - is this album better with 'Not Fade Away' (like the US version, which the CD copies) or 'Mona' (like the UK version)? On the one hand, I think 'Not Fade Away' was one of the most exciting chunks of raw material to come out in '64. Simply put, it's a classic. But, on the other hand, 'Mona,' with its chugging rhythm and minimal song structure, is kind of cool. Side by side, 'Not Fade Away' should win the battle. But there's something amazing about a group putting out a debut album with absolutely no hits on it, and then getting to no. 1 in the album chart. And this is what the Stones did in the UK. Not to mention that I've heard 'Not Fade Away' a trillion times, so the UK version is more likely to interest me. In any event, either version is among the best albums of 1964, but perhaps, not of all time.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (27.05.2001)

By now all my early 60s fanaticism vanished away and I can't get many kicks out of this record. It sounds to me unprofessional and not very uplifting. Besides, I don't understand why The Rolling Stones is called the revolutionary album. I always thought that Please please me came out first. And why Please please me isn't a revolution? It had many covers many of which were fierce, and nice originals. Stones did the same (for one exception - the percent of originals in Stones' case was very small).

The only difference is cover. Beatles were standing and smiling like good boys while Stones turned their heads to you with expression on their faces asking: 'What the hell?'. But if we change the covers how can you tell that this is he fiercest record of 1964? By the vocal of Mick? Alright, I agree that he sounds a little bit fucked-up but it's only his imagination. I mean that they didn't sound frightening until 'Satisfaction'. All the time before that they were playing roles of bad guys. Verdict: I should have bought that album when I was twelve. Now it sounds too uninteresting for me.

George Starostin (28.05.2001)

I'm quite ready to clear up the situation a bit. "Unprofessional" this record might be, according to the standards of Metallica or Joe Satriani or Steely Dan. But 'unprofessional' is too hard a word for the tightest rhythm section in Britain in 1964, or for the best rock'n'roll guitar duo in Britain in 1964. Keith Richards might have expropriated Chuck Berry's style, but with fiercer guitar tones, better production and increased ass-kicking value.

Please Please Me was quite a revolutionary album, but didn't introduce a new evil-sounding type of conscience as the Stones' debut. The only cover on that album which vaguely approaches 'fierce' is 'Twist And Shout', and that's only because of Lennon's wild screaming - otherwise, the track was quite tame. Mick's vocals are an essential part of the Stones' debut, but the true strength lies in the music. I hope that given the chance, the record will grow on anyone, as I can't understand how on Earth anybody can not appreciate the poisonous guitar breaks on 'Carol' and 'Route '66', the wild harmonica blasts on 'I Just Wanna Make Love To You' and 'Honest I Do', the marvelous guitar sting on 'I'm A King Bee', Wyman's throbbing dangerous bass throughout (where's the bass on Please Please Me?), Watts' steady, unnerving thumping... ah, just too many pleasures for me to highlight. Like I said, one of the most hard-rocking albums ever released.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (01.09.2004)

A solid debut. Slightly overrated, but really groundbreaking for 1964. The main problem with this record is too many covers (some of them are played in a bit too similar and sometimes not that inspired way). Anyway, you can’t go wrong with such outstanding covers as “Not Fade Away”, “Route 66”, “Carol” and “I’m a King Bee”. But the main highlight of the record is obviously the Jagger/Richards song “Tell Me”. Now this is a classic! Most of the songs that I haven’t mentioned here are just decent. So, I give the album “only” a 12.

12 * 5

Tony Stewart <> (08.10.99)

Yeah George, you're right. This one isn't as good as it's predecessor. Frankly I think "Under The Boardwalk" is pretty bad. The one thing I really love about the early Stones is that when they fell flat on their face(see"My Girl")they were just so damn charming at it , so that this made them even more likeable. I have to disagree on the originals. "Good Times Bad Times" by no means one of my faves at least showcases Keith on his toy of the period which was his 12-String. I mean the Blues on a 12-String is just so....wrong, that it's funny. "Empty Heart" is a throwaway. Even the main riff sucks.But the originals I have to list among mt favorite all-time stones tunes are "Grown Up Wrong"(listen to where Charlie places that Snare within the bar) and "What A Shame" a very tight straight forerunner of Britblues to come.Now the gems are of course "It's All Over Now", with I think Brian playing the solo, and "Time Is On My Side" which is hilarious. I've noticed this on Beatles tunes too. It's amazing what harmonies these guys got by with. On "Time.." there are some real bad clinkers, but that Bridge solo and Jagger's performance alone make this a timeless classic. Actually I really liked what Keith did with it with the Winos about 35 years later. I've always liked "If You Need Me" eventhough it's basically a poor man's "Time Is On My Side"..Jagger really liked those middle eight raps at the time. "Suzie Q" needs about another 10 minutes and you are dead on with "Confessin' The Blues" and "Around And Around". "Around" to me is once again Keith confirming his own statement that he lifted every lick from Chuck berry. But if anyone can do it as well or sometimes maybe even a hair better it's Keef. My personal fave is "Confessin". Brian must have loved this one. To me I can never hear this tune and not think of Brian the purist wanting to play Chicago Blues. He gets all he wants here. Not a bad note on it. "2120 So Mich Ave" is the boys actually just having the time of their life. I mean they are 19 years old. they are in Chicago, USA for Chrissake and they're jamming with Muddy. It had to be the moment of their lives so far.So I'd give this one an 8. Mainly because I like what you say about the engineers probably playing around with the levels on "Empty Heart" and "Good Times Bad Times".

Glenn Wiener <> (14.01.2000)

Both you and Mark Prindle seem to like this record somewhat less than the debut. I disagree as this record seems to have more depth and less blues than the debut. Not that Blues is a bad thing. But 'Confessing' the Blues' is one stunning blues number. It is hard to believe that it was performed by five white British guys. This version of 'Time Is On My Side' has an interesting arrangement with the organ playing a prominent role. You are correct that 'Suzie Q' is too short and performed with little emphasis. CCR's version is considerably beter. Anyway, this is one excellent recording.

Michael Warren <> (30.10.2000)

Just a word: I love Chuck Berry ! I love 60's & 70's Rock with a passion; but I'm a hardcore Doo Wop, Rockabilly, and Rock'n'roll fan, as well. this case, with their version of 'Around And Around': the Stones top Chuck Berry !!!!! The heavier bottom and chunky rhythm guitar they add to the song make it hard for me to stop listening to the track. If I hear it once, I want to hear it a hundred times ! You gotta love these guys, they just ROCK !

Raghu Mani <> (01.01.2000)

Not quite as good as their debut and still mostly covers. There are more originals than the previous album but they aren't better than before - 'Congratulations' is the best of the lot. Some of the covers are disappointing too - 'Under the Boardwalk' is a pale shadow of the original, 'Suzie Q' is tame. On the positive side, the album does have the definitive versions of 'It's All Over Now', 'Time is On My Side' and 'Around and Around' - so that will make it a low 7 for me.

Robert Tally <> (24.05.2001)

It's too bad that Abkco hasn't put out the UK releases as CDs. It forces us to listen to these 'butcher albums' instead. But I'd rather focus on the individual components that make it up, most notably the UK EP called Five By Five. The Stones didn't seem to have broken any new ground with the release. 'Around And Around' is a decent rocker, if perhaps a little less intense than the first album rockers. 'Confessin' The Blues' is a good blues outing, but I'm not bowled over. 'Empty Heart,' I think, is a good idea for a song that just never became a song at all. 'If You Need Me' sounds fine to me, but again, not incredible. '2120 South Michigan Avenue' is fun and quirky (and much shorter than on the EP). The real meat of 12 x 5 comes from the single released midway between the first album and the EP. The A-side, 'It's All Over Now,' more than lives up to the promise of the previous A-sides, and is one of the best tracks of 1964. Notice also that the guitar solo anticipates the one on the Kinks' 'You Really Got Me.' The B-side, 'Good Times, Bad Times,' is, in my opinion, one of the best early Stones tracks. The 12-string sounds appropriate enough to me, and I like the fading harmonica (which I'm pretty sure is just Brian - or Mick or whoever plays it - moving out of mike range). Right before this US-only album came out, there was a US-only single released featuring 'Time Is On My Side' (one of the better early Stones tracks - although I prefer the second version - from the second UK LP) and 'Congratulations' (which I think is somewhat banal). To keep from having to title this album 9 x 5, the US label padded it out with three songs that would soon turn up on the second British album: 'Susie Q' (a good little rocker, isn't it?), 'Grown Up Wrong' (one of my favorite early Stones tunes - even if there ain't much to it), and 'Under The Boardwalk' (which I think is pretty useless in light of the vastly superior Drifters version). Song for song, I'm not sure there's much of a difference in quality between this and the first album.


Tony Stewart <> (08.10.99)

Alright George, Round Three! Thing is I have to agree with you on just about every thing you say about this one. "Down Home Girl" is also my fave on this one and I am elated to finally have found someone else in this world who recognizes the power of that cover. Only point I have to disagree with you here is that I believe it's Keith playing the chunka-style rhythm guitar and it's Brian stinging us once again with those Slide fills in between the lines. Jagger really pulls the Deep down South Gumbo-Lyrics off. It's one of his first great impressions of sliding into a character and pulling it off convincingly. "Everybody needs Somebody" is actually the version that is the shorter one of the two they recorded. I favor the other longer, softer one, but like you say this is a terrific Album opener."You Can't Catch Me" is what Lennon really wanted to do, alas he was stuck with the fate of being one of the greatest popsong writers ever born. "Catch" and "Down The Road" smoke. it seems like on those first discs Keith demanded (and got) at least one or two flatout Berry-Covers, so he could A)get his rocks off and B) show the Master himself that the scholar was closing in on him.'What A Shame" I already mistakenly reviewed for 12x5. Thumbs Up. I always think of "Grown Up Wrong" and "What A Shame" together for some reason. Same as i do with "Oh Baby..."and "Under Assistant" and "Ride On Baby". You put it well. They don't fit into any category really except for 'not very good'. I very much disagree with you re. "Mona". I think it's hilarious that the Boys, with a two tracker-live,pulled off all that percussion, the obligatory Vibrato Guitar, that nowadays the engineer would sync up to the BPM of the tune. The vibrato is so deliciously out of sync and Jagger's vocals SMOKE. "Can I come out on the front, listen to my heart go bump-e-dee-bump". Same goes for "Pain In My Heart". While not the greatest Solomon Burke it features jagger doing his "Time is on my Side-If You Need Me" Soul-Rap that he seemed to demand , as keith demanded his rockers. The writing takes a giant leap forwards with ,like you say,"Off The Hook". First good guitar hook. (Hook=hook).The standout classic off this album is"Little Red Rooster". And let's not forget that it is '65 and the Stones decide to release this one as the single and not "Heart of Stone", the one ALO obviously wanted to push. While a great song with a catchy, already slightly controversial hook, I think it came down to the question "What are we?" A Bluesband or a Popband. I think it's the last and only time Brian beat ALO in a crucial decision. What a perfect song. And let me add, to this day they do it perfectly. Leaves us with "Surprise". This is strictly a subjective choice. I just like the damn song. So I'd give this one a 9.

Glenn Wiener <> (14.01.2000)

Having borrowed this album for a few listens, I find it to be a step down from the prior two. It seems as if the band limited their style to blues and three chord rock. However, 'Down Home Girl' is one excellent tune. Gotta love those lyrics. 'Heart of Stone' and a few others are somewhat interesting as well.

[Special author note: 'limited their style?' Hmm... not that it was very diverse on the previous two albums.]

Jeff Blehar <> (09.02.2000)

Wow. I've never really been a fan of much of the output of The Rolling Stones' early, R&B-purity cover period, finding the songs uninspired, the musicianship somewhat undisciplined, Mick Jagger's singing stiff and overly mannered, and the recording quality absolutely atrocious. Forget all of that though, because The Rolling Stones, Now! made a believer out of me, at least for this album. It is, simply put, a marvelous collection of Chuck Berry reinterpretations, soul covers, gritty originals, and blues reworkings.

The album's patchwork nature (it was pieced together out of tracks from the Stones' first two British albums, The Rolling Stones No. 1 and The Rolling Stones No. 2, as well as some tracks that would be included a few months later on the British version of their third album, Out Of Our Heads) actually helps to make it almost perfect. Songs like "Mona" and "Little Red Rooster" would not have been on their UK counterparts ("Mona" was from No. 1, while "Little Red Rooster" was a single), and even though the songs on this album were sometimes recorded years apart, they all sound of a piece with each other.

Opening with that footstompin' 5-minute cover of "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" which gives Jagger an opportunity to monologue in his jive "preacher" voice, this album is pretty relentless. (Note: the original US LP accidentally substituted this version for a far inferior - and shorter - demo, but despite what the CD running time lists on the back of the album, the CD version is, thankfully, the correct version.) In that vein, the other covers are all pretty notable: "Down Home Girl" has some pungent little rhymes while "You Can't Catch Me" is one of the best Chuck Berry songs that Keith Richards DIDN'T simply rip off and rewrite as a Stones tune. Standing head and shoulders above this already distinguished pack are two covers: "Mona" and "Little Red Rooster." The first is a brilliant, vibrating attack on a Chuck Berry song. Originally the centerpiece of the Stones' first British album, I have no idea whatsoever why it was pulled for so long in the American market, but it's simply a throbbing piece of power soul. It encapsulates the vision of the early Stones - forceful rhythm over harmony and melody, paying tribute to their predecessors, etc. Equally as accomplished is "Little Red Rooster," possibly the best pure blues they ever released. (Its only competition, the exquisite "Love In Vain," was recorded by a much more sophisticated group in 1969, a tribute to how mature this early attempt is). To echo Mr. Prindle, that Mick Jagger can sure sing a song about a penis, can't he? Brian Jones also slips in his finest instrumental moment ever on a Stones record with his show-stealing slide guitarwork.

Even though The Rolling Stones, Now! doesn't have any of the classic early Stones singles in its lineup (the closest is "Heart Of Stone," a good song yes, but nothing compared to the other songs present), it's by far the best representation of what the group was like at its absolute pinnacle during its pre-Aftermath years. Take it from a real skeptic, this is worth your time if you like the Stones even the slightest bit. An easy 10/10.

Raghu Mani <> (01.01.2000)

A lot better. Jagger and Richards still haven't found their feet as composers but the originals are getting better and they manage to pull off one great song - 'Heart of Stone'. The covers are a little better too. 'Little Red Rooster' is awesome - maybe the best cover they ever did. There's a little filler but overall significantly better than the previous album. I'd give it an 8.

Robert Tally <> (25.05.2001)

Again, we're faced with a 'butcher album.' Only seven of the twelve tracks are in common with the contemporaneous UK release, The Rolling Stones No. 2. And that's where I'll start with my comments. The main difference between the first two UK albums is that the second one generally has longer tracks. But, even if the Stones hadn't progressed very far, they were still making good music most of the time. 'Down Home Girl' is my favorite track this time around, particularly because of the humorous lyrics and that hilarious guitar lick that keeps popping up. 'You Can't Catch Me' and 'Down The Road Apiece' are both well done in that Chuck Berry style so beloved by Mr. Richards. I'm quite partial to 'Pain In My Heart' if only because of the fuzz bass (almost a year before the Beatles did it). 'Off The Hook' and 'What A Shame' are both B-sides (UK and US respectively) that sound suspiciously like B-sides. Not bad, though. And 'Everybody Needs Somebody To Love' is pretty well done, if perhaps a little monotonous. (Incidentally, the CD contains the UK version of this song, which is significantly different from the one on the US album). The British album also included a new version of 'Time Is On My Side' (heard now on the Singles Collection and Hot Rocks) which I think is quite good. It also had three tracks already released in the US on 12 x 5: 'Grown Up Wrong,' 'Susie Q' (both of which I like) and 'Under The Boardwalk' (which I think is a great song done much better by the Drifters). Most significantly, perhaps, is the inclusion of 'I Can't Be Satisfied,' which is one of their strongest blues tracks from the period - with distinctive slide guitar - that is now only available on More Hot Rocks. The US release replaced these last five tunes with 'Little Red Rooster' (a great R&B outing - from the most recent UK A-side), 'Heart Of Stone' (another very strong bluesy tune - from the most recent US A-side and not released in the UK until Out Of Our Heads), 'Mona' (a pulsating Bo Diddley tune left over from the first UK LP), 'Oh Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin')' (an average outing that ended up on the UK Out Of Our Heads) and 'Surprise, Surprise' (another average tune which would soon be out in the UK on a various artists album, but not on any actual Stones records until the 70s). But even with only seven songs in common, these two albums are pretty much the same kind of listening experience. I'm not sure either is better than the other.

Federico Fernández <> (25.10.2002)

I only know the early Stones by this one and Out Of Our Heads (And the first volume of The London Years) and I agree completely that this one is quite superior. Unlike Out Of Our Heads the cover versions are still thrilling and the originals, if not as good as "The Last Time" and "Satisfaction" are surprisingly competent. In fact: all the originals are highlights in this album; "What A Shame" is their best, a great blues song with tons of excitement and an unstopable rhythm. "Surprise Surpirse" is also appealing, not because its fast, but because of its nice rhythm guitarwork. And the covers are brillant rhythm & blues, as tight and menacing as no other band could manage to achieve. "Downhome Girl", "Little Red Rooster" and "Down The Road Apiece" are total highlights. "Downhome Girl" thrills me with that swampy, terrifying "ping-pong-ping" guitar lines; "Little Red Rooster" is even better, with a perfect slide and a dark delta atmosphere. The cover of "Down The Road Apiece" is one of the most intoxicating and catchy moments of the entire Stones catalog. So catchy that you can forgive the fact that it's a virtual re-write of "Carol". Almost every song here is attractive; despite being generic rhythm & blues, the album doesn't bore me for a second.

There are some weak spots. The less remarcable number is "Pain In My Heart" which is enjoyable nonetheless, and I always found "You Can't Catch Me" a little too repetive. By the way... Am I the only one who finds "Mona (I Need You Baby)" a painful carbon copy of "Not Fade Away"???

David Dickson <> (08.01.2003)

This is the only album from the Stones' "early" era (aka pre-1968) that I have listened to. And. . . wow. It's actually pretty good. Not "spectacular", in the Dark Side of the Moon sense of the word, but damn good. It was released in 1965, about the same time that the movie Help! hit theatres, so we can't expect much more from it except lots of catchy songs and youthful energy. It almost certainly, however, is a better LP than most of the other rock albums of that year put together. Listening to this, I can easily understand why the Stones caused such a furor back in the day, long before they started singing about Satan, S&M, and drug overdosage. This is rock and roll rebellion cooked to perfection, all channelled through the bad boy persona of Mick Jagger. What is most surprising is how they managed to take all these covers, such as "Down Home Girl," "Mona," and "Down the Road Apiece" and play them so utterly convincingly that you would think they were originals. Sure, it isn't REALLY "hard" rock by today's standards, but it's certainly harder than most of the fluff endlessly rotated on the so- called "Oldies" radio station. My favorite songs are two of the originals, "What a Shame," and the speedy closer, "Surprise Surprise." "Heart of Stone" is moving, but it's never really grabbed me, even though it has a great vocal hook in the chorus. Same thing for "Little Red Rooster," but that's just because I'm not much of a pure blues fan. "Off the Hook" and "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" are the only two flat-out boring songs on here. Other than that, Now! is an impressive, solid rock album which doesn't reek of derivativity in the least--the original versions of all the covers were probably far more tame. And I'm not even a Stones fan. I even think that Beggar's Banquet is pretty average. Yet I like this album. Four stars out of five.


Jeff <> (06.09.99)

You're pretty much on-target here. The originals are all great, great songs; the best set they'd written up to this point, in fact. Where you're wrong is that most of the covers hold their ground when set next to the much-lauded original numbers. As you said, "That's How Strong My Love Is" and "Cry to Me" are probably the strongest, but the rest are equally entertaining. By the way, "One More Try" might be my favorite song on the album; it's short, incredibly catchy, and to-the-point. A letdown? I think not.

Tony Stewart <> (23.10.99)

Welly, welly as Alex would say. Overall I would say that we got a M*therf*cker of an album here. This is all pre-CD. So we do have Sides 1 and 2(Something I miss in the CD Age,although it is usually easy to find out where the gap would have been). Okay, we're opening with a Don Coway penned song,who was not really one of the Motown stable. I hear more Stax. I think it's very Stones-like to automatically favor Stax over Motown. What was BJ's favorite song of some 60's year?"In The Midnight Hour". We move right on into the Marvin Gaye No. "Hitch Hike" played very close to the chest. I liked the way they beefed up that riff in "Mercy" but "Hitchhike"is a little too similar and pointless. And it all ties in with what you mentioned. How many obscure classics a)rock and b)fit the bill for another potential Stones world hit. It's Time for them to write their own which they do surpassing even ALO's widest dreams."The Last Time" came, then the Monster and like all Monsters wasn't even intended. We all know the story about Keef in his sleep writing"Satisfaction", but I do think over 36 years the story has assumed mythical proportions, and I do think we have Keef himself to thank for that just a bit."That's How Strong My Love Is" just happens to be where Jagger in his early career pulled of a wonderful Soulballad;not overdone, not shy, spiritual. I hate the way Jgger is portraited nowadays as a businessman and a moneygrabber. That is bullshit. He wrote some of the biggest Stoneshits, and he singlehandedly carried Keith through his wild years, maybe even sacrificing some of his own wildness . Keith likes to say today"This thing is bigger than you and me , baby". Jagger made that happen. I wonder how much joy he got out of endless meetings with Allen Klein, negotiating the biggest grossing tours ever, making sure Keith got his fucking boots when he forgot them on the train and still kept his cool and NEVER said a bad word about his soulmate. I'm the biggest Keef-fan under the sun, but I was a Keithfan when people were writing him off, Deathlist NO.1, I always knew Keith would pull through. He is way too strong and anyone who can write music that spiritual has a powerful will to live. I guess I'm saying It's real 'in' now to dig Keith and to slag Jagger, but ask Keith and I guarantee you he will tell you no matter what he says to the press or how he talks about the Stones as HIS band, he knows it every day that it's a two way street. Keith needs Mick as bad as Mick needs Keith. Sure the Soloalbums told quite a tale. It took Jagger 3 times to get it right, whereas Keith put together Rolling Stones MACH II. But it's very hard being Jagger! Imagine you have made your trillions on being this androgynous Sex-Machine. What do you do when you turn 55? And lines are creasing down your neck. And you have forgotten how to smile. That's the worst! Keith is just gonna get more and more eccentric and that's what Jagger needs to do. Fuck Cricket! He needs to develop a timeless stagepersona.

I went off on a tangent there. Sam Cooke's "Good Times" I've always had a weak spot for. It's just a filler and nothing more, but they are enjoying themselves. Now here comes one of my ALLTIME FAVES BY THE ROLLING STONES. That screaming that announces the song ,the harp in sync with the Slide and Keith's(O/D) BU Vox make this a classic. I put this on every tape that I'm making for someone who wants to know about the Stones. Side 2 opens with "Satisfaction". Enuff said. After that the world was their playground. And Keith thought it wouldn't cut it as a single. (I guess this is my Slag-Keef review). "Cry to Me" always reminds me of David Johansson. That is how far that idiot got. He wants to be a soulman. Well it's 1999 and he has just conquered the Stones ca.'65. "Under Assistant" is a bit of a toss off. Good guitar hook, Stones singign about newly discovered DISadvantages to their new Lifestyle."Play With Fire" is a masterpiece. Way ahead of the beatles , as gloomy as only an empty British Mansion at 4 am can get. A.Conan Doyle's carriage click-clacking down the misty London Cobblers. A Harpsichord? A little perpubescent teen goes out and says "Cheerio, Mum. Just running to pick up the new Stones 45". Puts it on and has "Last Time" by J/R bopping and hoolahooping and doing the crawl, whatever they did back then;maybe even Mum can understand a LITTLE. Flip it over and "Fire" should bring on some more of that wild upbeat rock'n roll, but in typical Stonesfashion it just leaves little Teenie mouth agape. "Spider And The Fly" has lately received alot of remakes , been used in movies, appeared on "Stripped" and I think it deserves it. One of the first Blues the guys penned and the lyrics are hilarious. "One More Try" actually sounds like a quick demo for Chris Farlowe, who didn't want it. Sort of like "Surprise Surprise" they just stick it on the end of the album. Disc really ends with "Spider" in my mind, but I don't think "One More Try" is as bad as you paint it out to be.

Glenn Wiener <> (14.01.2000)

Their breakthrough recording. Although I do like 12 X 5 a wee bit more, this one has the big hits 'Play With Fire', 'The Last Time', and slightly overatted 'Satisfaction'. Don't get me wrong, I basically like the song but there are only three chords(E, A, B) in the entire song and its one riff almost throughout. But what a riff. There are many other snappy little gems on here so it gets my thumbs up for sure.

Jeff Blehar <> (09.02.2000)

Nothing better illustrates how frustrating The Rolling Stones' early inconsistency problems are than Out Of Our Heads. I mean, for the love of God, how on earth could any album have the songs "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "The Last Time," and "Play With Fire" and still deserve a 5/10?! The answer is, of course, that EVERYTHING ELSE IS FILLER. FILLER! Alright, "Hitch Hike" is damn good, (and Hey! The Velvet Underground shamelessly stole that riff from the Stones/Marvin Gaye for "There She Goes Again!") and "That's How Strong My Love Is" makes me shake my rump in rhythmic fashion, but lord almighty, I've heard this album about a gazillion times and I can't tell you a THING about any of the other tracks. I mean, I COULD tell you about "The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man" (and that's because "I'm smart, I'm really, really smart"!) but why bother? It's just a boring self-penned R&B song originally meant as a B-side. Whatever. This was their first #1 album stateside. And hey, I've heard good things about that "Satisfaction" song; there might be something to that one. But "The Last Time" forces me to submit to the Stones' grandeur&mdash;this is their best early single, not "Satisfaction," (made all the more Stonesy by the fact that they shamelessly STOLE it from some gospel group! How nasty! Like urinating on a gas station attendant! Which they also did!), with a riff that burns. And "Play With Fire" centers around the world's most cheerless harpsichord. We need more cheerless harpsichords, because that instrument is ususally too damn happy for my tastes. Anyway, you know the big songs here, and you've never heard of the rest for a reason. Buyer beware. 5/10.

Raghu Mani <> (01.01.2000)

Still more covers than originals but for the first time, the originals dominate. 'Play with Fire' and 'The Last Time' are both great. And then there's 'Satisfaction'. VH1 named it the best song in the history of rock & roll and I would have to concede that there aren't too many songs I have heard that come up to that level. That riff alone is probably reason enough. Hell, this song sounds good even when done by Britney Spears! The rest of the album is a mixed bag - mostly covers, some good some not so good. Overall a low 8.

Robert Tally <> (26.05.2001)

I agree that this album has been somewhat overrated. This is probably in part due to US fans who got the version with the recent mega-hits on it. The CD, of course, is the US version of the album, which came out a couple of months ahead of time, before the Stones had even finished the album. Only six songs are included on both versions, and they're all generally good - but not great - tracks. The twin tracks of 'Mercy Mercy' and 'Hitch Hike' are both enjoyable enough, while 'Good Times' is a reasonable reading of the (superior) Sam Cooke version. 'The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man' is a fun tune, if nothing spectacular. (Incidentally, the Singles Collection includes the full edit of the song - with some naughty lyrics.) 'That's How Strong My Love Is' and 'Cry To Me' continue in the long line of slow soul covers by the group, and are pretty decent, particularly in the intense final moments of 'Cry To Me.' The UK album also included two songs that had already appeared in the US on The Rolling Stones Now: 'Heart Of Stone' (an excellent blues tune - it was already an oldie by this time) and 'Oh Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin')' (which is a fairly pedestrian outing for the group).

In addition to these, there were four songs that the US wouldn't see until December's Children: the frenetic piece of chaos called 'She Said Yeah,' the somewhat cool but awkward 'I'm Free,' a somewhat uneventful version of 'Talkin' 'Bout You,' and an out of tune piece of filler called 'Gotta Get Away.' The US version was mostly filled in with the two most recent singles.

Personally, I prefer the B-sides. Aside from having a particularly great riff and some fairly good songwriting ideas, 'The Last Time' doesn't exactly blow me away. 'Satisfaction' has a classic riff and a level of maturity that the group hadn't reached previously, but somehow I just don't find myself getting that excited when I hear it. Maybe it's over-familiarity. I'm reluctant to recognize it as the moment that the Stones 'caught up' with the Beatles, even though the Fabs hadn't done any humorous social commentary as of yet. Personally, I think it would take a couple of years more before the Stones would get that good. However, 'Play With Fire' might make for a better argument. It's easily the best piece of songwriting Mick and Keith had come up with so far. 'The Spider And The Fly,' I think, is also very enjoyable in an amusing sort of way - one of my favorites from the early days. Also included on the US release was 'One More Try,' which I guess the Stones weren't proud of, since it was left off the 'real' version of the album. I think it's kind of catchy, though, if perhaps a little inane. Also, there's 'I'm Alright,' a live recording from the recent UK EP called Got Live If You Want It (which is an entirely different record than the LP of the same name). I guess there's something electrifying about the concert setting and everything, but the song is just a tad simplistic for my taste. Now, I'm not saying that the UK version is better song for song, but it's the one I'd rather hear, if only because I haven't heard the songs a million times. It doesn't really seem to be a step forward for the group, though, even if the accompanying singles are.


Jeff <> (12.09.99)

So it's not as good as the last one. That certainly doesn't mean it's not great anyway.

I don't see "She Said Yeah" as metallized jazz at all. It's just a good old fashioned rocker. Makes ya wanna dance. "Talkin Bout You" (thanks to the groovy backup vocals) and "Look What You've Done" (thanks to the harmonica) are more fun than a barrel full of headless chickens (they still run around, y'know!). You're right about "The Singer Not the Song," though; it sucks horrendously. Dull, dull, dull. "Blue Turns To Grey" is just lovely, though. Don't have anything else to say that you haven't already, except that "Gotta Get Away" is pretty good too. Like I said, it's not as good as Out of Our Heads, but only by a hair. Or a song, if you will. "The Singer Not the Song," in fact. Man, is that one a suckfest. Gotta love those live 'uns, though.

Tony Stewart <> (26.10.99)

Georgie! How COULD you? 6?6?SIX?SSIIIIXXX?? "She Said Yeah" alone would make this one an 8. I have recently heard that as far as BPM go "Rip This Joint" had been the fastest and was now replaced by "Flip The Switch". I don't know about BPM , but I listen to "She Said Yeah" and in 1:30 I get my socks knocked off, my skirt lifted, my trousers rearranged and a frontal lobotomy thrown in for good measure. The fury and Speedlightning of that one they never recaptured except for Live performances. Stinging Guitar by Keith at his absolute best. Not copping Chuck, but copping Keith.This is gonna be a long review. Lemme tell you about the first time I heard "Talkin' 'bout You". True story!!! I'd bought the Decca version. I lived in Europe then. I'm 10 years old. I began with the Stones at age 3. Never had an idea what they were talking about until stuff started to move in my trousers...Anywaythere is that opening minorish/bluesish riff that bends that note and slinks right into the groove of the verse and Jagger just comes prancing out"Well, lemme tell you 'bout a girl I know...". I SWEAR for 25 minutes I never got beyond that point. I kept having to move the needle back to hear the absolute coolest thing I had EVER heard in life. Listen close and you will hear Stu's Marimbas. "You Better move On" was huge in Europe. It satisfied the Dutch/German/French ultimately shmaltz market. They had to have their cutesy ballad and the Stones gave it to them on their own terms. They found A.Alexander. Now Arthur is sort of like Roy orbison. He was just so saccharine he was cool again. And the Stones really arranged that song. That sucker was produced! "Look What You've Done" ranks right up there with "Confessin The Blues". A little bit straighter. But then the budget was also bigger.OK. Here it comes. I wish they would do this one live today; just for laughs. It is the one time there is just absolutely NO excuse. Keith trying to squeeze as many chords as possible out of that 12-String. One Chord per word. And the harmonies....That Falsetto...Only thing: Stereo was just being discovered , so a lot went unnoticed. Listen to the "Masters"(the Beatles) do 'You Won't See Me' with headphones on and try not to laugh at the backing vox. Way up to SGT. Pepper these guys were getting away with murder.'Route 66' closes out Side A and tears the house down. Now this is the REAL GOT LIVE. Panties wringing wet! The follow-up single to 'Satisfaction' had to have been one of the toughest follow-ups ever to do, and that's why I'm glad the Stones were smart. They speedrapped through this one and about another 2 or 3 45's to make do. I mean what do you say after you've said it all? You go crazy for a while! "Get Off Of My Cloud" did just that. "I'm Free" is one of my most treasured tracks just for that first note in the Guitar solo and for the awful tempo mix-up that happens on one of the 'Love Hold Me Breaks'."As Tears Go By", we all know the endless stories so lets just say it's a wonderful song way to mature for two young British louts. Honestly, let's think. Is there anyone out there today ca. 20 years old who would/could/arrange/write a song like that. remember how YOUNG these guys were.Sadly enough we remember on the next track"Gotta Get Away", which is anything but stellar but has some cool guitar exercises if that's your bag, in it."Blue Turns To Grey" was written as a demo for Farlowe? Bean? Who cares? Because the best version is the final Stones version where for some obscure reason they add that extra line in the chorus. Good choice. Pretty, maturing songwriting. Nice guitars too. Now here I hear this 'ancient art of weaving'. I and they saved the best for last. Little did Hank Snow know what was to happen with his little ditty. Seldom, and I am including Mahler's 5th and Beethoven's 7th and Hendrix's Spangled banner, have i heard such power audio-unleashed. Not just the music,the steam,the sweat,the sex the feedback,the last song of the set, again the drenched panties(Word of the day). That WALL that hits you when the song starts made up of teenybopperscreeches, harmonica and slide and the Jagger jumping in "from time to time...". Agagin 2 minutes of pure bliss that ride home on the shrill whistle of a Diesel Locomotive guitarsliding it's way on down the track right into the dark tunnel of December's Children. Come on George , it's a make-up record if you count the fucking US. On its own it's a 8. Deductions for 'the Singer..' and'Gotta get away'

Raghu Mani <> (01.01.2000)

Another one of the American patchwork albums throwing together a bunch of early recordings, live tracks new studio material etc. However, in spite of my contempt for the way in which the Stones' catalog was handled in the US, I have to say this isn't all that bad. Certainly a lot better than what you make it out to be. The originals are all good (I even like 'The Singer Not the Song') and the covers are most definitely not boring. The opening 'She Said Yeah' is a killer, 'You Better Move On' is great and the live 'Route 66' is fantastic too. Yes, there are a few duds and there is nothing as good as 'Satisfaction' here (though 'Get Off My Cloud' comes close) but it really isn't all that much worse than Out of Our Heads. I'd give it a high 7.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (24.03.2001)

This grew on me, really. When I first heard it I thought that the only good song was 'Get off of my cloud'. However, time puts everything on its places and by now I nearly adore December's children. As I said, 'Cloud' is great; my next favorite of mine is 'Blue turns to gray' with Jagger using his young voice on 100%. 'As tears go by' is like a cold shower after terrific 'Cloud' (sorry, I can't stop praising it...). Live versions of 'Route 66' and 'I'm moving on' are solid, too. Cover of Alexandra's 'You better move on' cooks. The only weak moment is 'Look what you've done'. But that's all! I mean that I don't have extra songs that you've reviewed (though, they are present on Out of our heads) so my edition (which, in fact, could have never seen the light if not Russian pirates, our glory and pride!) gets 7/10. But if your version really has 'She said yeah!' then I rise my rating up to 8. Indeed, one of the best R'nB covers that Stones ever made!

PS. I'm not really sure if you got my comment cause I have really messy disc with cover just like yours but instead of 'December's children' it's written: 'Out of our heads', though, the label on CD says: 'December's children'. Brrrr..... Where's Robert Tally with his information?

[Special author note: I don't know about this particular Russian edition, but the original situation was as follows: the British edition of Out Of Our Heads originally featured this cover, while later on it was appropriated for the American edition of December's Children. The Russian pirated editions are great, but they only make the situation even more difficult, as some of them reproduce the American originals and some represent the British ones.]

Didier Dumonteil <> (25.03.2001)

This album is generally dismissed ,that's why I feel like writing about it.First of all ,pop takes here the upper hand:"you better move on" "the singer not the song" "as tears go by" "gotta get away" and "blue turns to grey" are good exemples.The album is a mess,and this jumble contains pearls

-"you better move on" is gloomy mournful sad to the umpteenth degree.Even if it's a cover,the RS make their song theirs.

-I don't agree for "the singer....";it's a marvelous titbit,that influenced the Flaming Groovies a lot at the end of the seventies.

-"As tears go by" ,I'm not ashamed of it,is one of my all-time favourite ballads.The topic was unusual for youngsters.M.Faithfull who scored a hit with it tells in her biography that she thought this song had been written by old people.Upright folks will say that they were aping the Beatles,using a string arrangement just after "yesterday".

Who cares? This song has stood the test of time hands down.

"blue turns to grey" is typically pessimistic Stones material and "gotta get away" and "she said yeah" are quite infectious.

Robert Tally <> (27.05.2001)

Another 'butcher album.' Song for song, I don't see much of a letdown from the previous releases. My favorite tracks are the live ones, from the UK EP called Got Live If You Want It. 'I'm Movin' On' is downright monolithic. That fuzz bass really does the trick, but everything else on the track sounds good, too. 'Route 66' takes the energy of the studio version and turns it up to 11. An excellent piece of controlled chaos. And speaking of chaos, I particularly like 'She Said Yeah,' which was left over from the UK version of Out Of Our Heads. Also left over from that album were 'I'm Free,' which should have been a good track, but is marred by whoever it is that sings those putrid falsetto notes, 'Talkin' 'Bout You,' which sounds okay to me, but it doesn't seem to be anything special, and 'Gotta Get Away,' which is a fairly uneventful pop tune. We also get the most recent A-side, 'Get Off Of My Cloud,' which has a terrific chorus, but doesn't otherwise send me into spasms of delight. There's also the UK B-side of that song, 'The Singer Not The Song,' which is pretty corny and terribly out of tune. Three of the songs included had not come out before at all. 'As Tears Go By' is the most celebrated, and is well-crafted, but it's way too corny for my tastes. It was put on an A-side in the US, but in the UK, it would soon be the next B-side. (And for the completists out there: you might want to seek out the Italian version: 'Con Le Mie Lacrime.') 'Look What You've Done' seems like a pretty average R&B outing for the group, while 'Blue Turns To Grey' is an uneventful ballad. Amazingly, a song from January 1964 was included - the Arthur Alexander soul ballad called 'You Better Move On.' It had been included on the first UK EP the group released, called The Rolling Stones. The Stones turn in a pretty good performance on this one. I guess the thing that strikes me about the group at this point is that they hadn't gone through very much artistic growth outside of a handful of songs. Things would be different in the near future, however.

P.S. to Sergey: I'm a little late, since George explained the cover photo situation quite well. Since the US Out Of Our Heads was put out early, they resorted to using an old photo - which came from the same session that yielded the 12 x 5 photo. The one from December's Children (and the UK Out Of Our Heads) sure looks better to me.

Glenn Wiener <> (21.05.2003)

Not one of the Stones better earlier recordings. 'Get Off My Cloud' is one awesome tune. There are some compelling blues tunes ('Route 66', 'I'm Movin' On') recorded in a live setting. 'As Tears Go By' is a nice ballad. The rest of the tunes are certainly not bad by any means. However, little new is explored here. 'Blue Turns To Grey' and a couple of the others have some cute poppy arrangements. However, as songs they are pretty unmemorable. 'She Said Yeah' and 'Talkin' Bout You' have some good guitar riffs but again have minimally memorable melodies.

Truthfully I surely would rate this Brian Jones era Stones recording on a par with Rolling Stones Now as the last ones to get from that era.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (02.09.2004)

This is a really good pop record. IMO, both “Get Off Of My Cloud” and “As Tears Go By” are among their best early songs. I’m also a fan of both “The Singer Not The Song” and “Blue Turns To Grey”. They’re just small catchy tunes. Simple but catchy. And I don’t get how one can dislike these songs but enjoy “Congratulations” at the same time. The covers are enjoyable and the live tracks rock. Unfortunately, my CD doesn’t have “I’m Free” on it. Pity.

The album gets a high 12.


Jeff <> (15.09.99)

Yup, it's their first truly great album. I mean, what a groovy little collection of pop songs! The hits ("Paint It Black," "Under My Thumb," "Lady Jane") are note-for-note perfect, and you're right about the filler being relative. "Stupid Girl" is the most vicious song they'd recorded at this point, and it was obviously the inspiration for Elvis Costello's "This Year's Girl." In fact, I seem to remember reading that Costello's This Year's Model was inspired by Aftermath, though I can't really hear it anywhere other than that song. Other favorite bits: the piano intro to "Flight 505," the goofy, rollicking "High and Dry," and the mega-jam "I'm Going Home." Nice to know you like that one too. No "Desolation Row," mind you, but it's really a lot of fun. "I Am Waiting" was used to great effect in my favorite movie Rushmore (rent it tonight!), and it's probably the most un-Stones sounding thing here, and I loves it. Especially those tempo changes and Mick's vocals. My only nitpick with this here review would be your assessment that Let It Bleed was their last great album. But I won't bother arguing that, since I'd rather not go off on an extended essay or anything. I'll just say I disagree and leave it at that.

Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

Probably the best record from the Brian Jones era. Brian's contributions are what is noticed here as whether its a flute, sitar, melletron,or a plain old guitar, everything works great. 'Going Home' drifts on a bit too long as Mick's moaning along with nothing special guitar riffs contribute to my boredom. Otherwise, this album is high quality stuff.

Tony Stewart <> (31.10.99)

Mom asks you:"what have you learned so far?" Stones-answer wouls have had to have been "Aftermath". Straight 15 across the board.We open with the minor-key current 45 "Mother's Little Helper". It's mid 60's and Jagger is about 10 years ahead of A.D.A. in realizing that there is a whole generation of women growing old addicted to tranquilizers. Set to an irrestistible boom-chaka beat and Brian's first attempt to get as close as possible to a Sitar as possible, coupled with a great major-chord middle eight it's a blast! Jagger has become Jagger now. "Under my Thumb" cements this in stone. The Marimabas that really are one of Brian's greatest contributions to his era are outstanding and musically speaking a great counterpoint to the guitarline and the vocals.Forget about the lyrics. If the Tipper Gores of the day hated him up till then, this should have put them over the edge. Same goes for "Out Of Time". Though lyrically not as strong, I think what Brian does here is downright astounding; weaving his way through the lyrics, but still being the actual glue that holds it all together. I'm gonna stick "Paint It, Black" in this review, even though it doesn't belong here. Since I'm doing the Decca version it should be omitted, but this was the right time. Again Brian VERY prominent on Sitar, Charlie just pounding that poor tom tom, Keith rocking it up straight during the chorus, and finally Bill and Mick providing that ominous low-end bass and vocal rumble, only to be interrupted by the screaming rock chorus. We all know about how the actual 'feel' of the song started as a joke by Bill on the Organ, who played a`la Frankenstein, when things still were not happening. There is the gorgeous"I Am Waiting" with Brian on Dulcimer (playing it the way he sees fit), of course the beautiful"Lady Jane" . Mick finally letting his tudorial blueblood do some talking, Brian again on Dulcimer. I used to wonder what those pretty sounds were. You might have noticed that so far I not have mentioned Brian and Guitar in the same sentence.Keith was the lone guitarrist and filled those boots very impressively. The Stones were now "The Stones". They had their own sound and identity. The second half of the disc you might want to say it belongs to Keith and surpringly enough Bill. It's the rockers. And on this record Bill ROCKS. I think the Fuzzbass had something to do with this but he used it wisely. "Under My Thumb","It's Not Easy", "Flight 505" all benefit from this new soundscape. "Flight 505"(great pianner), the totally underrated "Doncha Follow Me", with it's Slide and Harp reminds us where the Stones came from. Same with "It's not Easy", a forerunner to "Connection",and "High And Dry" an execise in minimalism. Wailing Harp, HiHat and a great Accoustic give Jagger the cushion to do his first timid 'Country' impression. But I myself do NOT see this song as a Country song. Maybe Jager had it in the back of his mind as a fleeting thought and thet was that. The Kitsch of "Take It Or Leave It"is so over the top that I think even the most daft record buyer 'got' it. Personally I love "Think". It just suffers from poor production, but there is a gem of a song in there. "Stupid Girl" is what it is. The drums say it all and that Farfisaswill doesn't help. Girl. you just plain ole dumb! "What To Do" is an odd one. Especially as Closer. It's one of those songs thjat just happen, they are not this , they are not that, but they're good. So you just tack'em on at the end. Which leaves us with the masterpiece "Goin' Home". 11:35 min. Unheard of during those times, especially since it was a rocker. They grooved for seven minutes on one chord. Jagger calling the shots, working the cage of wildcats; every shout and utterance of his immediately picked up by Keith. This is where the cut their teeth for future 12 minute"Midnight Ramblers". Brian's lips must have been a bloody mess after that work-out. Not an overdub on here, rest assured. This Disc changed the Stones for good. They wrote the whole album, proved to themselves they could do it and do it well, they produced it; they were the the real Shit and finally they knew it themselves. If only Brian...

Ben Greenstein <> (16.03.2000)

Wow! Do I ever dislike THIS album! The first four songs are all great, well-written, and unique pop singles, but the rest is your standard boring rock 'n roll, with the only exception being the hilariously stupid "I Am Waiting." I give it a five, but keep in mind that I'm an uncultured moron who doesn't like Beggar's Banquet.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (24.09.2000)

I bought it four days ago and now my head is cool so I can write letter to you. First thing I want to tell is that I have English version (with 'What To Do', 'Out Of Time', 'Mother's Little Helper' and 'Take It Or Leave It') which of course doesn't contain 'Paint it black'. Really nice album. That's what I call Sixties! 'Under my thumb' is thr best song on Aftermath without any doubt. The fact that there was no songs I didn't like changed my whole opinion to the Stones! This album came out in 1966. That's the year when Beatles were writing such songs as 'Taxman', 'Elianor Rigby', 'Yellow submarine', 'I want to tell you', 'Got to get you into my life' ... Stones sound like something primitive after that... But it's primitive COOL! My rating is 8/10.

John McFerrin <> (27.09.2000)

Hmm. Well, I do agree that it's a great album, worthy of all sorts of praise. But geez, a 15? Is this album really better than, say, Rubber Soul?

Don't get me wrong, there isn't a single song on here that I would call bad. I even enjoy 'Goin' Home' - you're absolutely right, it's funny as hell (and parts of it even get stuck in my head from time to time). But after the major onslaught of the first four tracks, the next six seem rather ordinary. They each have one or two very good aspects to each of them, but they have this tendency to blend into each other.

Again, I'm not putting it down. I'd give it a very high 13. But no more.

Raghu Mani <> (01.01.2000)

This is where things start getting really good. Brian Jones shows that he can play the sitar as well as George Harrison and Mick and Keith finally get enough confidence in their own writing abilities to dump covers altogether. Also, Mick decides he doesn't really like women very much (as evidenced by stuff like 'Stupid Girl' and 'Under My Thumb') and the stones decide to emulate Dylan and do an 11 minute song. That, in my opinion, is the album's only fault. 'Going Home' is not a bad song and may have been quite tolerable at half the length but 11 minutes of pointless jamming is too much for me to take. I generally turn the CD player off about 5 minutes into this. Still, the rest of the stuff is great and so this deserves a 9.

Jeff Melchior <> (18.01.2001)

Like it, love it, marvel at its greatness to the point where I'm almost tempted to frame it on my wall would that not defeat the purpose - listening to it. Wow, Brian Jones got more malevolent atmosphere out of that damn xylophone on 'Under My Thumb' than Tony Iommi did on the first Sabbath albums with all his power chords (not to dis Sabbath, of course - in fact, they may be the only ones who have ever come close to the Stones at their scariest). I gotta admit I find some songs, such as 'Dont'cha Bother Me', slightly generic, and I really don't like 'I'm Goin' Home' (maybe a "boring" guitar solo would have helped, because I don't find it that funny). I love 'Think', with those fuzzy guitars and such. 'High 'N Dry' is a hoot - one of the Stones' best country-ish tunes. 'I Am Waiting', in my mind, doesn't annoy at all - if anything it's a great continuation of 'Under My Thumb's malevolent vibe. Did I mention I LOVE 'Stupid Girl'? Wow, is this ever a misogynistic album, and I love it!

Didier Dumonteil <> (26.03.2001)

Aftermath doesn't seem up to scratch when compared to contemporary albums: pet sounds blonde on blonde fifth dimension and I don't even mention the B.Nevertheless,one should not overlook it."Lady Jane has a lingering appeal,evoking courtly love of the Middle Ages.In direct contrast with "under my thumb" and "stupid girl"what a strange dilemma!"paint it black" is morrocan roll (poor pun,isnt'it?)and the sitar,along with the dulcimer in "lady Jane"give  an exotic flavour to a record that would be monotonous sometimes:"I'm going home" epitomizes that:as a reader said,it would be nice as a four minute cut...

Robert Tally <> (28.05.2001)

This is clearly an important release for the Stones. And it's more than just a matter of having written every song or the instrumental experimentation. Song for song, it's just plain better than any of the albums that came before it - and I think this is true whether you look at the UK discography or the US discography. An entire ten songs made it onto both versions of the album.

But, if I were going to pick my favorite from either version, it would not be one of those ten. For the UK version, 'Mother's Little Helper' wins the prize. It's the only track that could have easily been released a year or two later and not sounded outdated. It definitely ranks as one of my favorite Stones tracks, and I can't think of anything at all wrong with it. For the US version, there simply isn't anything to compare with 'Paint It, Black.' And this is saying a lot in light of the general quality of the rest of the material. I really think this was the best track they had done so far. It never fails to bowl me over. Among the tracks common to both versions of the album, there are many standouts: 'Think' is a terrific pop tune; 'High And Dry' is an excellent little country ditty; 'Doncha Bother Me' is a strong bluesy country thing; 'Flight 505' is an enjoyable boogie-woogie rocker; 'I Am Waiting' conjures up a great mood; 'It's Not Easy' is hilarious in its near-parody of '60s beat music. The rest are generally the most popular songs on the album, but slightly less appealing to me. 'Under My Thumb' has some great stuff going on in it, but could use a middle section to break up the redundancy. 'Lady Jane' is very nicely arranged, but I can't help but remember where Lennon and McCartney were by way of ballad writing at this point (or, for that matter, back in '64). Jagger and Richards resort to an overly formal approach to their ballad-writing, and end up sounding slightly foolish. 'Stupid Girl' is another decent beat group kind of tune, which doesn't get to me quite as much as some of the others like it on the album. 'Going Home' is an enjoyable, if unimpressive piece of songwriting. The extended ending is fine with me if I'm in the mood for it. The remaining songs from the UK version are a mixed bag. 'Out Of Time' is basically a '50s-style tune, but arranged brilliantly. It's also very catchy, so it's definitely a highlight. (And, as George points out, the version on the Flowers CD is a shorter edit.) 'Take It Or Leave It' is a somewhat average ballad that somehow works pretty well. 'What To Do' is a somewhat average country-rock tune that is now only available on More Hot Rocks. Anyway, it's inevitable that I'd have mentioned the Fab Four in these comments, since there's always a controversy about the Beatles and the Stones and who's better and who copied who, etc., etc. I'll just say that I like this album a whole lot - that it's one of the best of '66. But I don't think the Stones had gotten quite as far as the Fabs just yet. Sure, 'Paint It, Black' seems to make mincemeat of this claim, but that's really only one song. If you look at half of the Aftermath tracks, you find a lot of really catchy mid-'60s style beat group tunes. And they're state of the art. But the Beatles had pretty much gotten past the beat group phase. In any event, this album belongs in the Stones' top ten (which, if you think about it, is saying a lot).

Ryan Maffei <> (05.03.2002)

Admittedly, an album of incredible growth for the band, and the record that would earn the Stones their critical props throughout the rest of their uncreative career. I actually like a lot of the early stuff, however (although the entirety of what I've heard can be found on Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)), and most of Aftermath's stuff is either intently, admirably more cerebral than the pre-'66 hits, or a tad banal in comparison. Maybe this is an unfit comparison--I'd be better off saying, Aftermath is good, but not without its shortcomings. High points come in the form of "Paint it Black", with some fiery Jones sitar work and a welcomely darker atmosphere than previous Stones material. Wicked. "Under My Thumb" is a great piece of writing with a neat vibe part, "Flight 505" is a relatively good piano rocker, and "It Ain't Easy" and "Think" rival the Beatles' Rubber Soul when it comes to pop songcraft (almost, I mean, and only the weakest Fab Four songs off of that album). I also like the semi-self-indulgent Jaggerfest "Going Home", and the excellent "I Am Waiting" (who saw this coming)?. But when the band either tries to be too creative--i.e. pretty much circulated on the ridiculous-sounding "Lady Jane"--or just doesn't bother at all--i.e. the more plentiful selection of "Dontcha Bother Me", "High And Dry" (??), and the banal "Stupid Girl"--results are less gratifying. (Is that everything?) One of the better Stones albums, overcoming most of its flaws with a handful of great cuts, but the Holy Rollers' full records rarely seem to please me, even when I try really hard to like 'em. Huh.

Federico Fernández <> (19.08.2002)

I can't really share your enthusiasm about this one George. Perhaps it is the best Rolling Stones record until that point and it sure is a prove that the Stones were musically mature but...

The first 4-track stretch is amazing; they are four catchy, cleverly written songs that I really enjoy... "Lady Jane" has a beautiful melody, "Paint It Black" is their greatest song until "Stray Cat Blues"; there are not completely irresistible hooks or demolishing riffs but the manic darkness displayed and the arabian feel to the vocal arrangements are simply great. "Under My Thumb" is also a favourite, with those catchy and dark marimbas. "Stupid Girl" is somewhat inferior but still great too.

Then, the filler. They are all good, decent, enjoyable songs but mostly generic and not very different from what they had been doing before this record. "I Am Waiting" is a lost gem and despite I don't hate "Going Home" it's not something I die for listening again. I give it an 8 because its fantastic first four tracks. A 13 in your rating system. It is still a pale shadow of the contemporary Revolver.

Imagine what this record could have been if the Stones would gathered ALL the great stuff they were recording at the time in an unique album, forgetting all that stupid british/american dichotomy: Imagine: "Paint It Black", "Stupid Girl", "Lady Jane", "Under My Thumb", "19th Nervous Breakdown", "Mother's Little Helper", "Out Of Time", "Get Off My Cloud", "Have You Seen Your Mother...?", "Sad Day"... Wow! THAT would be a very high 14.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (02.09.2004)

I’m happy to say that I bought a really great CD. It has the British version of the album, but the single “Paint It, Black” and some outtakes are presented as bonus tracks. The UK version of Aftermath is definitely better. “Mother’s Little Helper” is an amazing tune with a fine use of sitar. “Take It Or Leave It”, “What To Do” and “Out Of Time” are solid pop songs with fantastic melodies. These four tunes I’ve just mentioned can’t be substituted by just one song (even if it is as great as “Paint It, Black”). The length of “Goin’ Home” bothers me very rarely. I especially like that “sha-la-la-la” part at the end of the song. From the bonus tracks I would like to mention “Sittin’ On A Fence” and “Ride On, Baby”, which are really catchy songs. The songs that I haven’t mentioned in this review are quite good at worst. The US version – 14. The UK version - 15.

David Dickson <> (18.02.2006)

You gave this a 14 and Little Earthquakes gets a 11??? Yankee Hotel Foxtrot gets an 11 and this gets a 14??? Led Zeppelin IV gets a 12 and this gets a 14???? Abbey Road gets a 15 and this gets a 14??? Born to Run gets a 9 and this gets a 14??? Hysteria gets a -8,762 and this gets a 14?????

No, I'm just checking to make sure. My eyes aren't that good.

Neither is this album, though. Don't get me wrong, its first four songs are all wonderful. Three of them were singles and one was a B-side. Wotta coincidence there, right? Well, sorry to be offensive, but there's a reason nothing else on here was a hit. It sounds like. . . well, filler. Pretty good, energetic filler by the standards of pre-1967, but filler nonetheless. Others think it's brilliant, amazing stuff that all deserved to be hits. It's like Mark Prindle said: We're two different people. We're bound to think different things. Choose your friends! Make your enemies!

Now! was far better than this. Compared to what the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and even Frank Sinatra (yeah, I'm dead serious) were doing at the time, this is tiny turnips. Still, they're writing all their own songs. And four of them are good. Let's bend over and pat them on the head. Awww.

Apologies to Mark Prindle's imitation of Tim Eimeiller.


Tony Stewart <> (02.11.99)

Now I remember when that one came my way. It was early in my Stonesday and I was still fairly naive. So to me of course it was all one big happy smokin' Liveshow. Wrong. There is about 50% Live to 50 % studio on this one. But the thing was what Oldham pulled off here is quite astounding. He captured in those days of very limited technology the fury and jungle mayhem that was a Stones Concert in those years. To me it will always be an unconditional statement of raw power, no nostalgia and of anarchy in the UK 15 years before someone else had the balls to try it again. Got Live is the disc that shoes us, had it been technically possible at that time to capture the frenzy of a Stones show this is what it would have sounded like. And don't get me wrong! There is plenty of straight up Live performance here. To me this is still the official version of "Under My Thumb". The other one is brilliant, marimabas and all but it's the 'other' one.Speedrapping his Rubberlips through "Cloud" is a feat almost worthy for the Guinness Book of Records. Right into the haunting beauty of "Lady Jane". The screaming and screeching turn to outright sobbing and tears of sex and pain and worship for these lads that had been elevated to the status of golden demigods."Not Fade Away", "Last Time", "I'm All Right", "Nervous Breakdown" are the tracks. But it's the adrenaline that's being generated here that counts. They pull an old James Brown trick by taking two studio tracks and just filling the other side of the stereo spectrum with audience screams. I always thought that "Fortune Teller" actually sounded better this way.What I particularly like about "I've been loving you.." is the "We piss anywhere" attitude. They wanted to do Redding-they did him. And actually very well. Always thought Jagger sounded pretty convincing in his plea at the end of the tune. The absolute highlight and I think next to "I'm Moving On" from another record, is the final duo of songs. Only Hendrix, MC5 and the Sex Pistols come to my mind in generating such white-noised chaos, without once giving up control though. It's a paradox that only the Great ones understand. Controlled anarchy. That transition from "Have you seen your Mother..." to "Satisfaction" is one of the most beautiful uses of harmonics, overtones, feedback, energy and sheer volume ever recorded. Those few seconds ARE rock'n roll. Look no further. Towards the end of the album a sweaty Keith fights his way up to a microphone to chant "I can't get no" with Jagger answering him every time. That was overdubbed? No, no. You're wrong. Mr. Oldham told me that's the way it happened and he was there. Ya-Ya's is probably the best Livedisc ever recorded if it's Rockmusic presented in a Livesetting, but for sheer pandemonium, tambourines and Jagger rubbing it in how the rules had changed "", Got LIVE If You Want It.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (10.12.2000)

I like this album very much, though, the reasons for liking it so much are still unknown. Again we face the thing called atmosphere which is surely great here (by the way, girls' crying shouldn't bother you - there are no songs where girls shout from the beginning to the end). Everybody's happy here, Stones are in splendid form. So splendid that improved version (or should I say 'changed version'? It's you who decide which version is better) of 'Under my thumb' even beats the original. But 'Get off of my cloud' is surely worse than LP's version. Though, boys needed to connect 'Thumb' with 'Cloud' somehow and actually they succeed. Such covers as 'Not fade away', 'Fortune teller' and 'Time is on my side' are well played, too. And don't you forget about the closing 'Satisfaction'... Plus, I'd like to remark one thing: you wrote 'sound is poorly captured '... REALLY? Then something must be wrong with my player. I was carped at the quality of sound on every live album but here I can't find any faults... Excellent concert - I give it 8/10.

Didier Dumonteil <> (26.03.2001)

To put it mildly,let's say it's of historical interest only.Listen to the emcee's ridiculously hyperbolic intro.This little gem of "lady Jane" is barely listenable ,with the chicks screaming like in a Wes Craven movie.Like the Beatles hollywood bowl,reserved for sociologists and even,it finally leaked out that actually only four tracks are real live.At the time the proceeding was frequent as testifies Phil Ochs in concert (1966)that was,we've been said, thoroughly recorded in a studio.

Robert Tally <> (30.05.2001)

This album is of interest for two reasons. First, there's the historical significance - although, that's limited somewhat by the fact that it's not a particularly authentic live recording. The other is the sheer energy of the group and the screaming teenagers battling it out to see who could be the most cacophonous. In terms of musicality, there isn't too much to recommend here. It's one of the sloppiest-sounding things in the world. And, frankly, the Stones had made the same point in a much better way with the same-named UK EP from a year and a half earlier. Nevertheless, I will say that I find this version of '19th Nervous Breakdown' to be particularly exhilarating. Some of the others also hold up fairly well. One song that doesn't is 'Lady Jane.' The guitar is terribly out of tune, and the rhythm section reduces it to lounge music. And, of course, there's the two studio recordings disguised as live tracks. 'I've Been Loving You Too Long' simply doesn't hold up to the Otis Redding version. 'Fortune Teller' is the same recording the group made for the B-side of their second single, which was released (apparently) and immediately withdrawn in September 1963. The tune then showed up on a various artists album in January 1964. If you want to hear it without the overdubbed screams, it's currently on More Hot Rocks. (There are, by the way, three edits: the current CD of More Hot Rocks omits the repeating of the last verse, as does the even shorter live mix. The LP of More Hot Rocks has the fullest edit.) In any event, I've always found it to be an enjoyable, if unexceptional, track. Completists will need to look for both the original album (which I believe was copied onto the first CDs) as well as the remastered CD, since there are a number of differences. Also, this album didn't come out in the UK, and was substituted by the Big Hits album instead. This was several months after the US version had come out, so there were a few differences in the track selection.

Michael H. <> (26.11.2003)

MONO LP sounds very "Muddy"

STereo lp is a little improvement-but this is a 3 track recording-Vocals, crowd sounds, and the band.

I even have a 're-issue' stereo import album that sounds even a little bit 'better" (I got it a few years ago and its in mint condition) I also got a recording of the FIRST CD REISSUE (before the  SACD re-issues, I havent heard this yet in that form) and there is a considerable difference: the cd is longer, edited differently, sounds better, and is 'remixed'. Please listen to it , compare the 2 and hear for yourself. Also when I get some further research done, I will tell you some more when I get everything together. There is a bootleg I have of the Stones in Hawaii in 1966 that sounds way great. Later on, a number of selections, edited and equaled to take up one side of an album, was later mixed and edited together for the IMPORT COMPILATION album Gimmie Shelter which contains studio versions of songs that appeared in the movie, and side 2 contains songs from the American Version of Got Live if you want it which was never released in the UK (and the liner notes say its still from! Royal Albert Hall, but thats not true) There is an UK EP by the same name (which I have) and its infamous for a track "We Want The Stones" (composers credited to "Nanker Phledge" which "Nanker" is grosteque facial gesture, and "Phledge" is the last name of Mick, Keith, and Brian's roomate from there early days at Edith Grove, Jimmy Pledge, who they used to abuse, take advantage of, and he wore his stained underpants on his head. Jimmy later wrote a book about the whole experience "Nankering with the Stones", and the rights to "Nanker Phledge" composer credits-it was a psynonym for group compositions-were inadvertantly signed over to Allen Klein.) which is the recording of the audience chanting exactly that, it got copyrighted to collect royalties from it. 2 of the songs "Im Moving on" and "Im Allright" later appeared as tracks on 2 american albums (There is a strange import comp called Bravo which contains a strangly remixed version of all the songs on its album, including the live "Im Allright") and it seems that this live British ep of t he same name was recorded by microphones dangled over balconies, its surprisingly clear, in MONO only, and it was the only live release that was never overdubbed or fixed in the studio. When I get exactly more research done into the production behind Got Live... us version, I will e mail it in.

Francis Mansell <> (15.02.2004)

Well I hesitate to step into the surprisingly large correspondence about this fairly inessential album ... except to say, ignoring the two studio tracks overdubbed with applause, that I've always suspected the vocals are also studio overdubs over a obviously genuine live recording - the person who says only 4 tracks are live has not listened very hard because all but those two clearly originate from the same recording, but the original stereo mix (I have it on a 70s LP pressing) is very odd: the left channel features what sounds like a perfectly respectable mono recording with vocals, instruments and audience fairly well balanced, the right channel features the vocals mixed way upfront, with the band and audience in the background mixed way back and sounding like they're underwater, making the whole thing sound totally fake. This makes for a very unsatisfactory listening experience, the album is best experienced solely through the left channel. While the vocals are clearly the same on both channels - if they're overdubbed I can't hear any trace of the original vocals - on the right channel they sound so clear and, well, naked, with such a different ambience to the backing that it's hard to believe they weren't overdubbed, and if this is true one has to ask why - presumably either the live vocals were hideously off key due to Jagger being unable to hear himself over the screams of the audience, or for some reason they were so badly recorded as to be unusable - ironically it's a far worse recording than the earlier EP of the same name - I've always wondered how much more of that concert is languishing in a vault somewhere. Of course alternatively the vocals may be genuinely live and the huge separation may be a result of the 3-track recording that Michael H mentions above, with the vocals having a channel to themselves (and the distant sounding backing on the right channel just being the background leakage into the vocal channel) and the instruments all having to share one. Doesn't explain why they resorted to such a hideous mix though, even if at least some CD versions have a more sensible mix. It would be nice to get convincing details of the recording of this album and know once and for all whether the vocals are live or not.

Oh, and amusingly you can hear a recording of the UK national anthem start up at the end, as used to happen at any theatre/cinema performance in those days. People were expected to stand to attention, I remember seeing this in cinemas as a child ... roll on the Sex Pistols!


Ben Greenstein <> (28.08.99)

A very, very close second to Flowers as the best Stones album. There aren't as many hits (except, of course, "Ruby Tuesday" and "Let's Spend The Night Together," but those are on that album as well!), but the album only songs merge together to form a smooth, slick sound. And they're good, too! "She Smiled Sweetly" is a gorgeous tune, and "My Obsession," while a tad repetetive, has that awesome drum part and nifty melody. I even like the very out-of-place Little-Richardey rocker "Miss Amanda Jones."

I'd rate this one right behind the next one.

Tony Stewart <> (09.11.99)

This one is probably not the best record for me to review;simply because I'm going to be so biased about it. For several reasons. For starters it's the first Stonesdisc I owned and still do. You know, one of those huge Vinyljobs that weigh about a ton. So there's a lot of sentimental value attached to that on. Plus I think it's their most underrated disc to date and I think it's a masterpiece in the sense that it's the only time the Stones let their British roots actually rule. The Blues are so ingrained in them , they will never be able to shake them(good!), but this one almost gets away from them. This disc is often criticized for not having a complete feel to it; that it feels more like a bunch of not quite finished demos. That's what I really like about it, because it really isn't so. The full extent of possibilities of Stereo had just been discovered and for the first time the group conciously more than just toys with it. I love how on "My Obsession" the drums are panned far right, or how on "Miss Amanda Jones" the electric guitars are so separated it actually makes you turn your head to look for the guy in the corner. We open with an absolutely gorgeous song "Yesterday's Papers". If you have heard the outtakes, and know how the song sounded in it's genesis and grew and grew, it makes you celebrate the wonders of overdubbing/orchestration. The Vibes and the chiming guitar, the fuzzbass and the stacked vocals coming in from the left and the right make this a special song. "My Obsession" with it's almost comical repetitive Drumbeat rocks deceivingly hard. Once that piano and Bill Wyman's Monsterbass kick in there is some serious rockin' going down. I know Wyman whines a lot about not having had enough musical input, but in a band someone is boss and someone is a great bassplayer. I wish he could look at it like that, because he did some great things in the early days and contrary to what his book says, the fans are fully aware of his contributions. "Back Street Girl" is one of those songs that you want to use to prove the naysayers wrong. When they say the Stones couldn't write anything but 1-4-5 ripoffs. This is one of Brian's last finest moments and it's his beautiful accordion touches that flavor the whole song, and make us forget Mick's rather puerile lyrics. Mick was under marianne's spell and doing his reading, so I think he should be forgiven some of his earlier literary quotes. Shelley, Chaucer and Steinbeck?? At lest there was a hungry mind trying to digest it all at once. "Connection" marks Keith's first semi lead vocal and it's a cheerful rocker, but it's also the first time we hear about "my bags they get a very close inspection"; in other words the Stones were now officially targeted by the cops of the world, and they knew it. Now where did "She Smiled Sweetly" come from? This pompous Organ, again a very upfront Bass; other than that we have some drums and probably the most in-your-face vocals of the Stones ' career. It's verrry British, with a beautiful bridge. I hear Marianne all over this disc. Or let me paraphrase that "Look at me , Marianne! I'm debonnair, I'm oh so delightfully beautiful and stoned...". "Cool Calm and Collected" is a forerunner to Satanic. It's the Kinks, it's the Beatles, it's the Who. It's sort of the state of mind of the main Brit-bands who hadmade it big on the R&B and were now delving into their own backyard to see what treasures were buried there and what could hopefully be married to their existing collage of Blues, Pop, Poppers and Uppers, Swinging London and ART. Swinging London had after all been built on the plight of Deepsouth American Black cottonpickers' music. There had to be some payback, some justification. The days of openly acknowledging the source of 'rubber soul' had not quite come. Plant and Page wre still going to have to rip off Black for a few more years; fill their pockets before they could come out and admit that they didn't write a good 50% of their early material.

So we were talking about the ragtime of "Cool, Calm..". Ragtime, Sitar, muted piano, a crazy speed up at the get the picture. Not a masterpiece-a stepping stone towards marrying a lot of different styles. It would in time prove to have been a worthwhile experiment. It needed to be gotten out of the way. But at the time sometimes we saw some not so beautiful pics as our leaders would have liked us to believe."All Sold Out" was the type of Hard rock the Stones were dishing out at the time. Great guitars, great "hey hey". Just not that great of a song. "Please Go Home" is basically a Bo Diddley beat basic track with every psychedelic toy of the day thrown on top. But then you get this beautiful little ballad "Who's Been Sleeping Here?" wedged in between "Home" and "Complicated. It's just Mick and keith at their finest. Those swells of electric guitar. Wonderful production, great lyrics. Had Dylan just stopped in for a visit, maybe? Like I said "Complicated"! Now that's a stomper. Ranks right up there with the absolute best of them. Jagger could have turned this one into some tour's "Saint Of Me". That irresistible hook, the sing-a-long, the drum breakdowns. I don't know. "Miss Amanda Jones" to me sounds like all Keith, in one sitting and one bag of white powder. Which leaves us with a little droll closing number that packs a (for the Stones) surprisingly subtle sting set in a comfy little Tuba cushion. Keith and Mick trade vocals in another Dixieland number, lyrically bidding the disc a fond adieu with a great questionmark. Their innocence about Britain had been shattered, Hendrix was setting guitars on fire, Brian was fried beyond repair and they themselves were itching to challenge new artistic boundaries. So while many 'critics' mark this disc as a time making album I think it exactly sums up the state of affairs of the moment. We hadn't reached fullblown psychedelia yet, so artistically there wasa huge questionmark looming. The Stones danced around it and pondered...15!

Raghu Mani <> (01.01.2000)

Another 9. Regardless of how American record producers butchered their albums, the Stones' music was so good that the end result does not suffer much, if at all. This time they throw out a bunch of tracks to make way for the single/B-side 'Let's spend the night together'/'Ruby Tuesday'. The former IMO is a bit overrated but the latter is one the greatest ballads anyone ever did. The rest of the album is a collage of diverse influences and styles and they all work. 'Who's been sleeping here' sounds eerily like Dylan, 'Cool Calm Collected' looks like Mick is trying to turn into Ray Davies and 'Something Happened to Me Yesterday' is probably one of the best drug songs ever written.

Didier Dumonteil <> (26.03.2001)

I kept my LP that's why the listing may be different :for instance the lovely "back street girl" is included.The accordion has a Parisian feel in this unusual ballad.That's the problem of this album.Although good in several respects,it's a bit impersonal:"she smiled sweetly" mixes a doo-wop melody with a soul arrangement."who's been sleeping there" is dylanesque to the core.The same goes for"Miss Amanda Jones " and the Beatles,for "something happened...." and the Kinks.

John McFerrin <> (23.05.2001)

I think this was the third or fourth Stones album I bought, and dagnabbit, I love this album. It boggles my mind to read people say that the Stones had no talent outside of roots rock and their classic period when I'm sitting and hearing such brilliances as 'Connection' or 'She Smiled Sweetly' or 'My Obsession', not to mention the classics. I definitely agree with the 14.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (27.05.2001)

That's a very essential Stones' album. Not because it's their best or great tunes are captured here, but because of the fact that the band is very tight here. There are no pure Jagger or pure Richards - you can feel every member of the band here. And for me it's their peak of cowriting. Many influences formed Between the buttons (The Kinks and Dylan are main of 'em) but Stones weren't the Stones if they couldn't bring something from their hearts. And, indeed, this album became a turning point in their career - more piano and more psychedelic effects ('Cool, calm & collected' with 'Please go home' could have easily fit Satanic majesties). And the melodies are very memorable. OK, only if you haven't heard Kinks' Face to face - look, Jagger was so influenced by 'Party line', 'Situation vacant', 'Sunny afternoon' and 'Dead end street' that he couldn't help from rip offing Ray Davies. Though, again, even these rip-offs are very catchy (really, who can stand 'Connection' and 'All sold out'?).

Lyrics-composing skills are high here, too. Such examples as 'Yesterday's papers' and 'Who's been sleeping there' prove it, even though they deal with problems about girls. 'All sold out' is very strong in lyrical sense, too.

No covers, no failed experiments, no generic tunes or lyrics - what else can be wished? A very good album, which is usually forgotten for some unknown reasons. A must for 60s lover.

PS. And American version is even better - 'Let's spend the night together' (written by Mick after he spent a night together with Marian Faithful) rules.

Robert Tally <> (31.05.2001)

One thing about this album is that the songs are not particularly commercial (that is if you listen to the hitless UK version). My favorite is probably 'All Sold Out,' which I just think is one of the coolest things going. That seems to be the theme here. There are many cool songs on this album: 'My Obsession,' 'Complicated,' 'Connection.' The ballads are pretty cool, too, with 'She Smiled Sweetly' scoring high marks for me. 'Who's Been Sleeping Here?' manages to overcome its obvious Dylan influence and emerge as a strong song. 'Yesterday's Papers,' also, well, is cool. Then there's the fun stuff, like the all-out rocker 'Miss Amanda Jones' and the silly, goofy stuff like 'Cool, Calm & Collected' and 'Something Happened To Me Yesterday,' both of which are perfectly enjoyable. The UK version also has two songs that came out in the US a little later on Flowers: 'Back Street Girl' (one of their best songs from this period) and 'Please Go Home' (a somewhat bizarre early psychedelic Bo Diddley thing). I guess one could say that the US version easily compensates for those two tracks by replacing them with a double A-sided single. And it is a darned good single. But, as I've said in some of my other comments, it's nice to listen to an album without having to hear a song you've heard hundreds of times on the radio. And, frankly, I think the UK track listing is more cohesive. Anyway, I would still rate 'Let's Spend The Night Together' as one of my all-time favorite Stones tunes - or at least early Stones tunes. It's a simple song - but it's the arrangement and performance that count, and it just sounds downright exciting to me. 'Ruby Tuesday' is an excellent piece of pop songwriting - but I have to agree with John McFerrin that Mick doesn't sing this one very well. His vocal delivery on the verse has always sounded overly awkward to me.

So, why has this album been so unfairly maligned over the years? I think the underlying reason might have to do with the perennial comparison between the Beatles and the Stones. After all, the Beatles had followed up Rubber Soul with the even more groundbreaking Revolver. In between those, of course, the Stones put out Aftermath, which some fans considered to be the artistic equal of Rubber Soul. I'd describe it more along the lines of a worthy contender, but not quite up to that level. So what was the Stones' answer to Revolver? Why, it was Between The Buttons, which really wasn't much of a step up from Aftermath. The songs were a bit 'groovier,' but many of them still sounded like mid-'60s British beat music. And when we consider that the Fabs put out Sgt. Pepper next, it really looks like child's play by comparison. But the thing is, I think this album might be a little better than Aftermath. Luckily, these days we're not living right in the middle of all that progress, so it no longer matters much which album came out when. If the music's good, then that's the bottom line. And the Stones were still better than most of the other bands in late '66/early '67. But I still think their peak was still to come . . .

Ryan Maffei <> (06.03.2002)

An uneven mix of psychedelia and traditional Stones-y pop, both stylistic aspects of which are alternately good and bad. I'd really prefer that the Stones' would do their own, original thing for once, but these guys were never really original, so I guess I can't ask for anything like that...but then, it's sad, on this record, to see the old Gods of "Satisfaction" and "Get Off of My Cloud" howling out STUPIDSTUPIDSTUPID rockers like "Connection" or "My Obsession". There are a number of other flaws here, too: For one thing, this is one of the Stones' most blatantly Beatles-derivative album--all of those psychedelic influences come straight from the Fab Four's recent experiments, "Ruby Tuesday" is too obviously McCartney-esque to be totally admirable, and "Something Happened To Me Yesterday" is evidently patterned after "Yellow Submarine" and Sgt. Pepper, only less literate and banal. (What the holy living fuck is with these lyrics, that drop the words "Trippy" and "Groovy" without any basis, and contain all of these idiotic rhymes--"He don't know just what it was/...Or if it's against the law". ?!?!!??!?!?!?!?!? Jesus!). There are some great songs on here--"Who's Been Sleeping Here", "Let's Spend the Night Together" (which is imperfect from an instrumentation standpoint--damn you Charlie Watts, you cymbal-crazy bastard!), "She Smiled Sweetly", and my favorite, "All Sold Out"--but this is another inadequate Stones release in the face of what rock'n'roll was achieving elsewhere. These guys are so critically acclaimed--when in the Lord's name are they supposed to get good?

(And don't say on Beggar's Banquet or Let it Bleed--I've heard 'em, and they're no better than Buttons or Aftermath, respectively.)

Joe H. <> (02.10.2002)

One of the most underrated 'Stones albums and also one of my absolute favorites. I mostly love the more experimental songs, like "Yesterdays Papers", the beautiful Dylan-esque "Whos Been Sleeping Here" (sounds pretty Highway 61-esque), the organ-full "She Smiled Sweetly", the ragtime-y "Cool Calm & Collected", and hilarious brassy "Something Happened To Me Yesterday". Of course the 2 hits, one of the most perfect pop songs ever written "Let's Spend The Night Together" and the absolutely beautiful "Ruby Tuesday" are among my most favorite songs of all time as well. The other songs aren't too shabby either; the catchy as hell rockers "All Sold Out" and "Connection", one of the rare times Charlie Watts gets to shine like in "My Obsession" with his easy but great drumming, and the out of place but energetic rocker "Miss Amanda Jones". Only complaint i have is why wasn't "Backstreet Girl" on the US copy as well? That has to be one of my top favorite songs of all time! Beautiful, beautiful song that would of been an awesome addition to the album. Besides that, i couldn't ever give this album any lower then a 9. Awesome album, and the perfect represent of that early 'Stones sound besides Flowers.

Glenn Wiener <> (09.04.2003)

Amazing how I never sought this recording out earlier. Its simply excellent. The pop side of the Stones is explored here and there is some very pleasing and rollicking piano. Not too mention Keith Richards fine organ worked on 'She Smiled So Sweetly'. Some nice vocal arrangements on this record as well. Keith makes a nice solo vocal debut on parts of 'Something Happened To Be Yesterday'. Like the duo lead vocals on Connection. Nice energy on that track as well as 'Miss Amanda Jones'. Also appreciate the cabaret touches on several of the songs.

Certainly comparable with prime time material: Sticky Fingers, Exile, Let It Bleed. The difference is the pop tones and the emphasis on harmonies, keyboards, and songwriting as opposed to blues based guitar rock. Both styles are done well by the Stones but this Between The Buttons is unique.

Michael Bleicher <> (25.06.2004)

It's good, but I wouldn't give it a nine. Maybe an eight. It's one of those records I enjoy when it's on, but afterwards, it doesn't stick with me, and it's not something I put on as often as, say Beggars Banquet or even Exile On Main Street. The problem is that the Stones were sort of out of their element, I think. I applaud them for taking musical and lyrical risks, but that doesn't mean that the end result is as praiseworthy as the ideas behind it; the Stones were still learning here. Some of the songs are awkward, some depend too much on harmonies that aren't very good (come on, Mick and Keith could do a lot of things well, but harmony was not ever one them. Keith could add vocal "color" where needed, but that was about it…), and some of the lyrics are bland, stupid, or forgettable. Others, however, are very intelligent, apt, and/or clever, so it's a mixed bag. I agree with your point about all the Latin words, also notice all of the songs where everything rhymes with "-tion". Trying to be like Dylan, are we? Anyway, I don't mean to be as harsh as I sounded there: some of this is good, and the playing is really quite tight. I don't really care for most of Mick's vocals, though…he is definitely not in his element. The singles (LSTNT and RT) are great, but they don't belong on the album; "Backstreet Girl" is a great song and adds diversity to the album. Good, but for intelligent, artful psychedellic pop/rock, I would go with Revolver or Sgt. Pepper. Interesting though.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (02.09.2004)

The Rolling Stones tried their skill in almost every musical trend. Between The Buttons is a pure pop record. And a real masterpiece it is. All the songs are catchy, filled with breathtaking hooks. And what else do you need from a pop record? There is no need to list all the songs here as they are all equally great. But I have to say that for some reason I just can't give the album a 15. Count it as one of the highest 14s possible, though.


Ben Greenstein <> (28.08.99)

Golly - for me, this is probably the best Stones collection imaginable. It's got all of their poppiest songs, and they're all great! I'm not a big fan of the band's bluesy period (all thirty years of it!), and used to hate them altogether, but then I went out and bought this CD. I bought it for "Mother's Little Helper," I came back with "Ride On Baby," "Out Of Time," "Ruby Tuesday," and "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby...," which are among the best songs ever written. This is very, very pop, but will probably help convert you if you aren't a fan. A perfect score, for me.

Jeff <> (06.09.99)

Ick. Bonus tracks indeed. Seeing as how I already owned More Hot Rocks at the time I purchased this rip-off, I ended up spending my hard-earned cash for a total of four new songs. Not that they're bad, mind you. In fact, they're quite good, with the exception of the disgustingly derivative "my Girl" cover. It sounds exactly like the original, just with Mick Jagger singing it. Big fat whoop, sez I.

Tony Stewart <> (11.11.99)

I think other discs deserve to carry the title of "Worst Album Ever", but this one comes close. Strictly issued for the US Market, adorned with the silliest of titles (we are in Flower Power after all) and just a mumbled jumble of songs slapped on a record. Not even track sequence which could have made this a little better of a record seems to matter. This to me stands for all the problems the Stones were having. They virtually had no manager, they were constantly being harrassed by the Cops and Tabloids and they were broke. They couldn't go on tour because Live Technology had not caught up with what bands were producing in the studio so the were loath to go out and play them; so therefore they were broke. Brian had turned into a mess, an embarrassment to himself(God, do I know about that one...), so the answer was :"Quick make something up. Anything we can put out and make few bucks off. Because the Stones still are the Stones . Anything they put out is going to garner some attention.

We open wih "Ruby Tuesday",a GREAT song with Brian at his absolute finest. As a matter of a fact this is the only documented Richard/Jones Composition to date. Mick didn't even write the lyrics. Bill and Keith played 4-handed Cello. It's a true gem. But it had already been released. As a matter of a fact it had already topped the charts. "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby.." is next. Why do we not open the album with thatmonster I will never know. Jagger had discribed this song as the ultimate freakout. I think what he means by that, they pretty much used every bit of studiotechnology the times had to offer and more. Plus they were out of their minds from finally slowing down the touring pace. I LOVE this song, it's MY first Stonessong. I got it for X-mas when I was 2 and I've been a Stones fanatic ever since. That Bridge still gives me the chills, just writing about it. An early outtake has them starting the song with the Bridge."Let's Spend The Night Together" is about as true of a Popgem as you will ever find. This is not R&B anymore. This is straight Pop. Stonespop. Again with a beautiful bridge, Brian on Piano. Did Brian ever touch a guitar after '66? "Lady Jane" and it's barochial settings we have discussed ; same with "OutOf Time" and the incredible Counterpoint Brian plays against the Vovaltrack on the Marimbas. Now for one of the Lows. Many Fans cite this as their least favorite Stonestrack. I kind of like it. "My Girl". The question is more why. They probably liked the song and wanted to record it and that is fine, but Decca should have never released such an embarrassment.The strings are out of tune, Jager is no Ruffin/Kendricks duo. What in the US sounded absolutely astonishing, 5-part harmonies and soul to rip your heart out came off sounding like a German Beergarden song with English lyrics."Back Street Girl" we've been over. Popgem. "Please Go Home" we have talked about. Same with "Mother's Little Helper"and "Take It Or Leave It" which with it's silly la-la-ta-ta's somehow gets under your skin and stays there, because it just fits so perfectly."Ride On Baby" is the reason I got this Disc. I needed to have all the Stones tunes and this was the only place to find it. It's what they were doing best at the time. Accoustic flavored Popsongs, with great hooks.Closer of the disc is "Sittin' On A Fence". I love songs like that. About nothing really...I'm just sitting here, watching the wheels go round and round....I'm just waiting on a Friend...I'm just watching the world pass me by and I'm at peace.

Now you notice all the songs have received good to great reviews, but in the context of the Stones Discography this one sadly hovers around the lower end. I'm torn . It's an album filled to burst with great Popsongs, but they have all already been presented in their actual milieu. I have to give it a 5.

Glenn Wiener <> (14.01.2000)

This is an excellent record. Its not worth complaining about how this record somewhat duplciates previous releases. It offers so much for fans of the Stones before they got into their roots rock period. The cover of 'My Girl' is just fine, Thank You. No its not quite as soulful as the Temptations version. But at least they don't over amplify the song like they would years later when covering 'Just My Imagination'. These songs all have great song structure and catchy hooks most notably 'Out of Time' and 'Ride On Baby'. Something different exists for each of the twelve tracks and it is all very good.

John McFerrin <> (29.08.2000)

Ok, one thing before anything else. The pop-era stuff of the Stones is mostly fantastic, with one problem - Jagger, in an alarming number of cases, can't sing 'sissy pop' worth crap. His harmonies on 'Ruby Tuesday' are, er, strained, and his vocals in the 'tiiiiiime' part of 'Out of Time' kill my ear drums.

But other than that, these songs are absolutely fabulous. Regardless of the singing problem, 'Ruby Tuesday' is gorgeous, 'Out of Time' is an amazing pop number, the Buttons stuff is beautiful ... I can keep going, but I won't. They all rule.

A 14 - one point off for the singing.

Raghu Mani <> (01.01.2000)

After a couple of years of slicing and dicing the British releases, to further their perverse goals, the Americans realize they have a bunch of leftover tracks from the British releses that did not make it onto to the US releases. They added a few outttakes, a couple of already released tracks and made a new album out of it. Yet another dirty marketing trick! Of course, regardless of how you slice or dice it, the Stones mucic remains great - so this is a dirty marketing trick that sounds wonderful ;-). Overall a 9.

Kevin Baker <> (05.03.2001)

WHAMO! This is some primo stuff here. How can you go wrong with what this bad boy's loaded with? You know, I honestly can't decide if I like their pop period better than their harder rockin' stuff or vice versa. Coz it's all so frickin' great! Nobody but the Beatles could do pop as well as this, and I honestly think that this album conatins at least 3 songs on the same level with the absolute best Beatlemusic. 'Ruby Tuesday', 'Let's Spend The Night Together', and (my personal favorite on this album and my #2 Stones song overall) 'Backstreet Girl' are all special, perfect pop gems that ought to be required listening for every single person who plans on playing pop-oriented. 'Ruby Tuesday' is probably the best ballad the Stones ever did....wait, best except for 'Wild Horses'. Hot mama, do I love the flute (or mellotron whichever it is) on that one. It sends shivers down my spine. 'Let's Spend The Night Together's hard-hitting rhythm track just makes my day. It just ties my tongue. Doesn't dry my mouth out though. What a spectacular song. Ever hear the edited version from Ed Sullivan. "Let's spend some time together"....for a group of guys who seemed to revel in causing trouble and being rebellious, you'd think they'd have had the guts to pull a Jim Morrison and thumb their noses at ole Ed while they sang the song the way it was written. Oh well. And 'Backstreet Girl'. 'Backstreet Girl'. Oh, I love this song. It's one of my favorite songs period. Sounds and feels like Paris. So beautiful but so....twisted. Maybe the best Stones popsong of all time. Heck, MAYBE??? It is. And the rest of the songs are no slouches either. 'Out Of Time' has that cool marimba thingie in it. Far out-ness maximus. I love 'Lady Jane', too. The dulcimer is sooo beautiful sounding. I even like 'My Girl'. That's probably because I love the song sooo much. Easily the best song to come out of Motown and the Berry Gordy music empire. Flowers is great. Flowers is every bit desreving of that 9 and an overall 14.

Robert Tally <> (05.06.2001)

One thing I'm not going to do is place this album in some sort of hierarchy along the lines of best Stones albums/worst Stones albums. If I did, it would be somewhere in the upper half of the list, not far at all from the top, but let's face it - it's not a real album. Basically, the Stones' US label (London) decided that they needed a new album for the summer of '67, and noticed that the Stones didn't have any new recordings. But they also noticed that there was about an album's worth of songs from late '65 to early '67 that hadn't appeared on a US album yet. A couple of these, 'Mother's Little Helper' (one of the best Stones songs from the period) and 'Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?' (a rather mediocre tune with an unbearable brass section), had both been released as A-sides during 1966. Others had been left off of the US versions of Aftermath and Between The Buttons. And there were even three tracks that hadn't been released at all. If we're willing to excuse the fact that this was another 'butcher' album, then there still would be no excuse for the inclusion of three songs that had already appeared on the US versions of Aftermath and Between The Buttons, these being 'Lady Jane,' 'Let's Spend The Night Together,' and 'Ruby Tuesday' - all three of which do the album no harm in terms of song quality. But, the thing is, there were other songs that could have taken their place ('Sad Day,' 'What To Do,' 'Long Long While,' 'Who's Driving Your Plane?'), but which had far less commercial appeal. Perhaps the record label looked at the album in two ways: not only did it provide the fans with new material, but it also picked up from where the US Big Hits album left off. Anyway, the UK Aftermath provided not only 'Mother's Little Helper,' but 'Out Of Time' (a great pop song) and 'Take It Or Leave It,' (a fairly good ballad), while the UK Between The Buttons gave us 'Back Street Girl' (a great acoustic outing) and 'Please Go Home' (a somewhat awkward early piece of psychedelia). Among the 'new' tracks, the best for me is 'Sittin' On A Fence,' which suffers only from that irritating single-line acoustic guitar that keeps playing the same thing over and over again. 'Ride On Baby' is a decent pop tune, nothing spectacular, though. 'My Girl,' needless to say, sounds better on the Temptations record. It sounds almost morbid here. Song for song, I think this one's a little weaker than the last couple of studio efforts (even if we consider US track listings), but it's still an enjoyable record, and better than most anything the group has done in recent years.

David Goodwin <> (15.06.2001)

Everyone else has pretty much said it all, so I'll just chime in with a few points. Firstly, the other tracks could conceivably fit, but why 'Lady Jane', which was *universally* released everywhere else on After-math? Bah. In any case, the long version of 'Out Of Time', in all its 5+ minute splendor, *is* availible on official CD; the original London CD of After-math (one of the few that in the German catalogue corresponds to the British lineup, the other being self-titled...the Japanese catalogue had a few more) has it, and it's worth it. But then again, we already know that the London CD is far, far superior to the ABKCO one, so let's not get into that too much...

Ryan Maffei <> (08.03.2002)

A formally written comment, for lack of better prose: Flowers remains the most curious still-prominent Stones release; a bastard compilation of assorted rarities (and a few album tracks from the last two records) put together to give American listeners a taste of the Stones' artistically fruitful British accomplishments, this put many critics off in the fact that it repackaged a handful of previously released tracks under the guise of an official album. In that sense, Flowers is an irritating, incohesive hatchet job of a record, and the production hilariously ranges from dense to raw to murky between the tracks, which were, of course, culled from a number of different sources. But from a musical standpoint, the release is actually one of the Stones' best, ever, and that some of these cuts were outtakes from the inconsistent Between the Buttons makes one dream of what an incredible album that record could've been. From the bittersweet political ballad "Backstreet Girl" (the Stones at their most literate and moving yet) to the gritty drug abuse depiction of "Mother's Little Helper", few tracks on here would not rank among the Beatles' better tunes, and the resuscitation of notable singles like "Let's Spend the Night Together", "Ruby Tuesday", and "Lady Jane" is really nothing to argue about. A 7, or a B.


Jeff <> (06.09.99)

Yes, it's underrated. Everyone and their great aunt seems to agree on that. I have a friend who declares this to be the stones' best album, in fact. If you ask me, other than the tedious sound collage (which is actually about on-par with "Revolution 9"), it's a great little pop record. "On With the Show" is actually a really fun song, with the same kind of vibe as "Something Happened to Me Yesterday." Does seem a little out of place here, though

Glenn Wiener <> (14.09.99)

Much better than what the pciky critics say. Whereas the Stones will never be confused with Psychedlia, their one attempt at it is very very interesting. Only the second 'Sing This All Together' and 'Gomper' overstay their welcome. The rest of this record is very creative.

Tony Stewart <> (13.11.99)

This is and always be the big Oddball in the Stones' Recording career. Is it experimental? Is it a poor rip off of Sgt. Papper? Is it genius? Or is it a band living in their times experimenting with new sounds and rules in music? I think the kast applies. Of course they were influenced by psychedelia to the hilt, of course they were rippred to the gourd, and yes the Beatles did release a very similar looking and sounding disc earlier. So did the Beach Boys. So did the Animals, Jefferson Airplane and Hendrix. The point is : the times were a-changing and the Stones wanted change in their lifes anyway so this what they proffered. Take it song by song and it will bother you far less (If it indeed bothers you, or you think it's crap). There are many Outtakes from those sessions and those outtakes really changed my point of view on that disc. A LOT of work went into those songs."Sing This All Together" opens in a flurry of percussion and bells, very loud Brass a rhythm produced by more by heartbeats rather than drumbeats. A very catchy chorus invites us all to sing along. The verse lyrics are of course dated, but does anyone still wanna ride a yellow submarine? "Citadel" with it's echoing Guitariff and what sounds like a snakecharmer's flute in the chorus never really goes anywhere. "In Another Land" shows just how willing the group was to do something different. It's the only 45 released off an album penned by a different bandmember other than the Glimmer Twins.. Recorded with heavy vibrato on the vocals and except for overdubbed backup vocals I don't think another Stone in sight. Steve Marriott help their mate Bill out on this song that is one of the few that doesn't have the feel to have been made up on the spot in the studio.Bill snores for a while and then it's into "2000 Man"which could have been a better song. It's really just two ideas stuck together to make it a song. Each section is great but they leave you with that weird feeling of'Was that song Jagger lamenting the life of the Jetson's or was it a Drinking song about being proud of our planet."Where's That Joint?" as it has become known more and more by the fansis a 7-8 minute jam that starts out strong has a moment or two but ultimately does not deliver. There is the famous "Cosmic Christmas"tacked on the end which is the original "Sing This All Together" chorus recorded superslow. Side Two opens with the frivolous and wonderful "She's a Rainbow". You can't help it. You hear that piano and boom you're out there chasing butterflies. Kudos to John Paul Jones who did the String arrangment. "The Lantern" is one of those songs you just don't know what to do with. Does it want to fly or stay here with us? Plus very much like "Citadel" we have those start and stops that will drive you crazy. "Gomper" is twl verses and a little interlude that Mick or Keith had laying around and then we are treated to 5 minutes of Brian pretty much destroying a Sitar. Best song of the Disc coming up, "2000 Lightyears from Home". Brian shines on this one. Thay all do. The mysterious Keyboards and Spacesounds, the subsonic Bass, the slight slapback on that guitar , tom toms thundering and it never for one second comes off as sil;ly. It has stood the test of time well. Jagger floats in and out weaving his melody between the instrumentation. Great! They close it very much with the same feel as Between the Buttons with a Ragtime number where the whole thing just ends in total chaos, lyrically and especially musically. This one is a hard one to rate. Because there is an intangible involved here. There is something very likeable about the disc and the cover, costumes. They must have had a lot of fun with Michael Cooper shooting that cover. I mean you can SEE the string that the planet is hanging from. I give an 13.

Fredrik Tydal <> (19.12.99)

I don't really think this is underrated. No, I don't mean that it's a Sgt. Pepper rip-off, because it isn't. This is a "1967 record". And we all know how music wanted to be in 1967; far out, psychedelic, groovy, spaced out... Many artists did a "1967 record" (though not necessarily in 1967) and I certainly don't blame them for it. Like other "1967 records", there's not as much music on Satanic Majesties as you would like it to be. For me, there's three great songs on the album. First there's Bill Wyman's "In Another Land" (why didn't they let this guy write more?), then there's "She's A Rainbow" with Nicky Hopkins superb as ever on piano, and finally there's Keith's groovy "2000 Light Years From Home". Then there's some ok stuff, like "Citadel" and "The Lantern", but that's really it. It all sums up to a rather ok album, nothing more; nothing less. But I don't blame the Stones; the next year they were right back with a marvellous album. And after all; it was 1967.

Ben Greenstein <> (16.03.2000)

One of the more interesting pop-based Stones albums, I still think it's pretty weak. If you compare it to the solid, well-produced albums that the Beatles and, well, the Stones were putting out around that time, it sounds cheap and flat. "The Lantern," "2000 Light Years," "She's A Rainbow" and "Citadel" are great, but that's it. A seven, maybe, on my 1-10 scale.

Wipqmio Emizo <> (14.04.2000)

Although I agree that "On With The Show" sucks, it's not a "Pepper's" ripoff because it sounds nothing like the beatles. Overall, I think "Sing This All Together (See What Happens)" is what saves this album. It's quite hypnotic. Otherwise, this is just a Piper At The Gates of Dawn wannabe album. Listen to that for some *good* British psychedelic fruito-mysticism. This is nothing in comparison. It's fun, but it's kind of pathetic at the same time.

[Special author note: hmm... strange. I always thought 'STAT (SWH)' was a Piper wannabe track, but never thought the same of anything else...]

John McFerrin <> (24.08.2000)

Holy crap, this album rules. I don't have the slightest idea why people call this a Sgt. Pepper rip-off - there's NO RESEMBLENCE musically. This is dark, dark psychadelia done at a higher intensity than anything else I've heard from the era. The noisy reprise may drag just a wee bit too long, but it's still entertaining as hell. I only wish that fans of the group had been willing to allow them to experiment in areas like this rather than almost completely dismissing them.

I agree with the 13, of course.

Morten Felgenhauer <> (01.02.2001)

I refuse to comment on the American albums reviewed above (but I have a brief comment on the original British albums, filed under the introduction paragraph), so I'll start with this one. It's mostly the cover that makes all the Pepper-comparisons. They are rather similar, only the Stones took it even further and made a cool 3D-picture, included only on the original 60s release. And of course, as a reply to the Stones-sweater on the Pepper-cover, all four fabs are included on the Satanic-cover (one in each corner). They may be hard to spot on the CD-picture, though. In late 1967 the Stones were in trouble (drug busts etc.) and the music suffered. They were still writing brilliant songs, of course - some of their most original compositions were written in this period. But they hardly played live at all and they didn't exactly wear themselves out in the studio either. Satanic could have been a dark, psychedelic masterpiece if they had put more care in the production. Songs like "2000 Light Years From Home", "Citadel", "In Another Land" and the current single "We Love You" prove this. Both "Sing This All Togethers", "The Lantern", "Gomper" and "On With The Show" are good ideas, but they sadly aren't developed properly. "2000 Man", "She's A Rainbow" and the B-side "Dandelion" are more more upbeat and optimistic, but they are classics nevertheless. If I analyze this album mathematically, I would give it *** / 6, but there are some unexplainable underlying qualities that force me to give it **** / 6 (yeah, I know - in my short runthrough of the 60s albums I gave it ***). Just don't expect a typical Stones-album and give it time to sink in.

Didier Dumonteil <> (28.03.2001)

The most overrated album in history?IMHO,definitely rumours.The most underrated?this one,for sure.It matters little that the RS imitated theB.TSMR is a great album,full of tuneful tracks,brimming with "special effects".The low point is the overlong "sing this all together,part 2" :it causes the face to avert and the rump to shift restlessly in the armchair.But on the other hand the remaining tracks are groovy,cool and didn't deserve the thumbs down they got."In another land" is Wyman's best composition,far above the poor tracks of his solomonkey grip."Sing this all together",often dismissed as "the fanfare jealous of Sgt Pepper's" has a nice and catchy chorus even if the brass arrangement is a bit ponderous sometimes."She's a rainbow " is marvelous,JP Jones will remember his arrangement when he'll work on REM's automatic for the people ("Night swimming""the sidewinder sleeps tonight").A pop miracle,to rival the best of the Beatles.And like the fab four(see the end of "all you need is love""Sgt Pepper's inner groove'"the end"),they don't take themselves seriously:they deconstruct the beauty of the melody towards the end with discordant violins.Only great artists like them can do that.Have you ever heard ,say,Sting,being anything else but "meaningful" and "serious"?"The lantern" and "gomper" are offbeat,thus very interesting atmospheres."2000light years from home" is very very sci-fi;here it's much more the Byrds' influence than the Beatles'one.And with "on with the show" ,the RS kiss pop goodbye.The only pop cut in the years to come would be the -superb- Bside to "Jumping jack flash","child of the moon" and the maudlin "Angie".

Sergey Zhilkin <> (19.05.2001)

So, you think it was a joke, George? And have you ever seen Brian's eyes in video film about Stones in 67-69? There were expressed only few words: 'it's NO game'. And, in my opinion, this record tells many things about psyhedelic world - much more than Sgt Pepper, for example. Everything starts from 'Sing this all together', which is, as one usually thinks after first listen, a real chaos. Sounds like a band of drunken hippies are having a lunch on a lawn. Ok, not exactly hippies and not exactly on a lawn, but you know what I meant.

The song is a weak opener, compared with their two previous and next records, but, after all, every track of this set would have been a weak opener. What attracts me here is not the atmosphere, but an excellent piano work (in fact, the only good musical idea here was to use piano and many string instruments at the same time). Again, many thanks to Nicky Hopkins. The continuing of 'Sing this all together' sucks, however. No, not sucks... It SUCKS!!!! Together with 'Gomper', of course. But let's switch to the highlights. There're few terrific songs and many good ones ('good' only if you manage to ignore all these background noises), like 'Lantern', '2000 light years from home' (which was written by Jagger in jail) and 'She's a rainbow'. I know, there're many flaws (the main one - too much useless effects) but if after peeling the core of song listener will be satisfied. Ah, damn it, who can stand 'She's a rainbow' I wonder? Who can stand all these guitar chords, piano passages (and one of them was used in TV advertising of Nestle products later!) and Jagger's vocal? Not me. And 'Citadel' together with 'In another land' sounds very dangerous. Though, the songs has some performance flaws. The last thing that sucks here is the cover. What the hell they are trying to show? In fact, all of them look like feeling very uncomfortable. And these colorful caftans... ooh, horrible!

As for the rating, I'm really puzzled here. Comparing to the 60s, it's not really strong. On the other hand, Some girls or Black and blue definitely can't beat Satanic Majesties. Alright, I agree with 13. After all, an album with such title must get a Devil's dozen.

Robert Tally <> (06.06.2001)

The Stones on acid. I think that sums it up, don't you? Even though the quality of songwriting ranges from downright brilliant to downright banal, there isn't any wavering whatsoever in the level of trippiness on this album.

It must be shocking to anybody who isn't familiar with this period in the Stones' history to hear this album. And this, for the most part, is the only big freak-out in the Stones' catalogue. The previous albums merely hinted at this, while the next album had nothing more than a lingering memory of the acid-drenched excesses of this one. There are four songs that have always stood out for me: '2000 Light Years From Home' is simply brilliant - they are completely successful at conjuring up an aural picture of outer space; 'She's A Rainbow' is also brilliant - a song that fits its title with all of its colorful little details; 'Citadel' is another mind-blower - a hard rocker with a metallic aura surrounding it; '2000 Man' anticipates the next album the most during the acoustic section, which is (here I go again) brilliant - I also love the rock-out part, though they stumble a bit going back into the acoustic section. Then there are three more that I enjoy quite a lot: 'The Lantern' is ultra-trippy - lots of good touches in that one; 'Sing This All Together' is a catchy singalong with (you guessed it) a trippy atmosphere; 'On With The Show' sounds hilarious to me - I picture some kind of socialite party, but with a guy sitting in the middle of it tripping on acid and cracking up at everybody. Then there's the problem songs. 'Gomper' could have been better without the excessive free-for-all, and 'Sing This All Together (See What Happens)' is nothing BUT an excessive free-for-all. Not that these kinds of things are bad as a rule (in fact, I kind of like the one in the middle of the first 'Sing This All Together'), but in this case, they just aren't that great. They're not terrible, and they certainly are consistent with the mood of the album, but I really have to be in the mood to hear them. 'In Another Land' is also very consistent with the far-out aspects of this album. But as a piece of songwriting, I think it's a joke. Very interesting and enjoyable track - crappy song. It seems to me, in any event, that the Stones had reached that point when they no longer sounded 'early.' There's a certain intangible element of maturity that was setting in. It would be a lot clearer on the next couple of albums, once all the psychedelia had been swept away.

Well, I might as well put my two cents in regarding the comparisons to Sgt. Pepper. Needless to say, the Beatles got there first. However, I find this to be a much more way-out album than Pepper. The Beatles album is more consistent song-for-song, but the best songs on this album are better than most of the Pepper tracks (but not on par with 'A Day In The Life'). The cover was partially designed by the guy that took the picture for the Beatles cover (but not the guy who designed the Beatles cover). And yeah, it's over-indulgent and all that, but I just love it. Damn - the thing's in 3D, for chrissakes! It's a feast for the eyes. And generally, this album has a very dark quality to it that Pepper doesn't have. Satanic indeed.

Mattias Lundberg <> (04.02.2002)

I don't think that you should compare albums by different bands - even if they happen to be released in the same year and/or have extra-musical similarities - but since nigh on every single person on earth seems to compare this album with Sgt. Pepper I will conform to the paradigm: THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIES' REQUEST IS FUNDAMENTALLY BETTER THAN SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND! I don't regard the latter, which is still one of the best albums ever recorded, as the best album by the Beatles whereas this is in my opinion the best album by the Stones. This might seem like a bizarre argument for proclaiming it to be superior to Sgt Pepper but it shows the magic of the Stones captivated in a neutral context and contain several tracks that present 'the universe within a song' (or 'songs with an own entity', I don't know how to describe this, but I'm sure most of you have experienced it, albeit not with these particular songs) to me: 'The lantern', 'She's a rainbow' and 'Citadel'. This sentiment is something that the Beatles, even though they typically have a higher standard on their songs, very seldom can give me, but again, we shouldn't compare them in the first place. (I remember hearing a B.B.C. interview from around 64, where the interviewer tried to make Mick Jagger comment on his music in relation to the music of the Beatles, his answers being highly diplomatic. They tried to corner him with questions like "Do you think you do what you want to do better than the Beatles do what they want to do ?" whereupon he replied "I don't know what they want to do."

Ryan Maffei <> (08.03.2002)

In theory, this follow-up to Between the Buttons is really nothing more than even more trippy psychedelic bandwagon-jumping in light of the Sgt. Pepper's craze on the Stones' part (though not as blatant as was the Hollies' when they pulled Butterfly out of their asses), and Satanic remains the Stones' most bizarre and easy to put down album (hell, I do it all the time, just for fun). But in a way, it's not a bad album; it's just flawed in spots, but still the band's most incomprehensibly alluring and creative work. I'm not a big fan of the more 'cosmic' moments on the LP in general: "Sing This All Together" the first time around is all right, but the production doesn't really serve it well as a piece of music, and its reprise is just idiotic freakout noise without the daringness of "Return of Son of Monster Magnet" or the sweeping cerebral grandiosity of "Revolution 9" a year later. And then there's "Gomper", which is pure George Harrison stuff; it's no "Within You Without You", but you can choose to admire it as a parody or put it down as copycatism (not a word), and I choose to stand in the middle ground. And I'm amazed at how good the rest of the stuff is--no Flowers-level material, but some fine craftsmanship going on here. Especially on the majestic rocker "She's a Rainbow", the enticing groove of "2000 Light Years From Home" (the highlight of the album, in my mind), the classic "2000 Man" (suffering from iffy production as well, actually), and a good first effort by Bill Wyman. Huh. The veddy British closer "On With the Show" is delightful, too, and actually quite characteristic of a certain side of the Stones' personality. Overall, the effort amounts to a high B, or a 7. Jeez, these guys are so critically consistent, they should've just stolen one more idea from the Fab Four and called themselves the B-tles. Get it? "B" (as in grade) -tles. Ahem. Yeah.

Guillermo F. Vázquez Malagamba <> (24.10.2002)

The Rolling Stones are not one of my favourite bands, but this album is good. Psychedelic. The original cover art (with 3D effects) is one of my favourites. This album was recorded on and off during the legal problems of Jagger, Richards and Jones. Drugs were the reasons. In an interview published in David Dalton´s book "The Rolling Stones", Bill Wyman said that the reason because one of his songs ("In Another Land") was included in the album was that the day it was recorded, only Charlie Watts, Nicky Hopkins and him were in the studio. Steve Marriot was also recording with the Small Faces in the next door´s studio, so he was invited to play guitar. Engineer Glyn Johns asked Bill if he had a song which he wanted to record, so they recorded this song. Days later Jagger and Richards (and maybe Jones too) arrived to the studio, listened to the song, they liked it and recorded some backing vocals. Wyman said that he thinks that this song could have never been recorded for a Stones´ album if Jagger and Richards were in the studio. It seems that it was included because it worked with the rest of the songs of the album. The album is like it was recorded during an acid trip (I never have used drugs, so I don´t know how is an acid trip; I only have read descriptions of the effects of LSD; but I don´t have intentions to take drugs!)."She is a rainbow" is very good with J.P. Jones´orchestral arrangement and Nicky Hopkins´piano. Brian Jones contributed mellotron for "2000 years from home". Other good songs are: "Citadel", "2000 Man", "The Lantern" and "Gomper".

Alexey Provolotsky <> (04.08.2005)

A Beatles rip-off I’d say and a total rip-off. See for yourself. Cream’s Disraeli Gears more or less organically flowed out of Fresh Cream, Jefferson’s Pillow is just an upgrade of their debut (and the Doors?? Come on). And that’s it. The Stones did this record after Between The Buttons, which sounds nothing like TSMR, of course. Maybe I like the Who so much because they recorded a pop album in 1967. But I’ll say it again: the album is a Sergeant Pepper rip-off. Ha, but I don’t really care. I love this album. Wonderful melodies! Maybe the songs are a bit samey, but I don’t mind. My favourite is probably “The Lantern”, but the absolutely gorgeous “She’s A Rainbow” comes really close. Well, they are all good. Sure, “Gomper” is rather uninspired and lifeless and that instrumental is overlong (still good). But “On With The Show” is nice. Funny and catchy. Also, absolutely out of place.

A 13 and strong one.


Glenn Wiener <> (26.08.99)

Well, George since you say that my tstes are kind of eartheeeee mon, I should at least review the album which contains 'Salt Of The Earth' which happens to be one of my favorite songs on this record. What can you say? Acoustic, electric, rock, country, Lucifers, Jigsaw Puzzles, Parachute Women, Underage Women, Street Fighting Men, this album has it all and performed it an extremely tasteful manner. An album that one can not leave out of any substantial record collection.

Ben Greenstein <> (28.08.99)

Don't like it. I think that they had previosly been much better, and would go on to do some great things with the country blues formula. But this one just strikes me as too transitional - in fact, I heard an early version of "Sympathey For The Devil" where they tried to make it an accoustic, psychadelic epic - sort of a prequel to Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven."

But the album doesn't suceed in doing one thing - creating memorable melodies. "Sympathy" is an amazing song, but, sadly, also the only truly inspired moment. "Salt Of The Earth" is okay, but the rest sound like throwaways to me. Even when I'm in a bluesy mood, they just seem like half-assed blues tunes. Actually, my father borrowed this album, and lost it. I really don't care. If I could get that killer opening track on a compilation, then the whole album could just go out of print, for all I care. Sorry, that's just the way I feel.

Simon Hearn <> (07.09.99)

Quite simply a classic. In opinion better than Bleed for one reason - 'Sympathy for the devil'. This track is my favourite of all time - pure rock and roll. Also this album signifies to me the re-birth of a new more malevolent stones after their debacle that was Satanic majesties. Listen to 'jig saw puzzle' and 'stray cat blues' - utter class. It does not got better

Jeff <> (16.09.99)

Don't have much to say about this one that you haven't already, just that "Sympathy for the Devil," "Stray Cat Blues," and "Jiigsaw Puzzle" may be the three greatest songs the Stones ever wrote. Okay, maybe not, considering how many great songs Jagger & Richards have churned out over the years, but those three are pretty high on the list. I don't like "Street Fighting Man" as much as everyone else does for some reason, but it's a pretty good song nonetheless. All kinds of great stuff here: "Parachute Woman," "Factory Girl," "No Expectaions"-- all classics. "Dear Doctor" may be a bit on the goofy side, but I likes it anyway. Very good album, but not as good as the next one.....

Tony Stewart <> (13.11.99)

Well so there is no getting around it. We've entered the Golden Period. Jagger is fully wrapped in his"tattered minstrel" bit, Keith has discovered open tunings, Brian has been virtually eliminated from the band and down in the engine room Bill and Charlie are ready to light some fire. Plus whoever showed up on their chosen day got put to work right away shaking and clanking on something. Jagger and Richard had officially taken full control of the music and brought in Jimmy Miller as producer. Jimmy Miller had done some great straight Rockwork and was just a perfect choice. All of them together , they were hungry for the real stuff. They knew there were no elves and goblins in the fields of Mordor. They knew that what the little girls wanted. They had it right in their pocket and they were gonna give to them. Right? Quietly almost without much fanfare the Stones got to work, without many distractions it seems. From the Banquet period one hears very little gossip, but more about focused work. And it payed off. They also cleaned house. Oldham was gone, Allen Klein was on his way out and the taxproblem was going to be tackled. Before issuing the album the Stones pulled one of those genius moves that can only happen by mistake almost. They threw the fans a bone, a teaser, a 45 called "Jumping Jack Flash".It ranks as one of the greatest Rocktunes ever recorded. Jimmy Miller's influence was felt immediately. He was right on their wavelength. It's a one riff song with an unbeatable chorus, and some dynamite danger lyrics thrown in for good measure. It shot to No. 1.

Album: "This song just recently won a poll among hardcore Stoners for favorite all-time song. It's called "Sympathy For The Devil" and you knew right away Mom and Dad were not going to like this one very much. Jagger assumes the role of Lucifer and travels through history shouting it out, spitting, dancing the dance, and generally misbehaving. But these lyrics had taken a drastic turn for the better. Mick,s insatiable hunger for reading was paying off. The whole thing is set to the groove of a fierce Samba, an eerie ooh-ooh chant and interrupted only with one of the fiercest guitarsolos ever to be put on Vinyl. Lucifer in the meantime has been every where, killing the Kennedy's, igniting the Russian revolution, making sure Pilate washed his hands. Only the Beatles could compete at that level and they were having their own problems.

We slide right into "No Expectations". I don't think there is a brook as clear,a honeysuckle as sweet as the fragile Slide that Brian plays on this song. The song is just a great bluesy sad goodbye to ...things... "Dear Doctor" on the other hand is a hoot, Like "Factory Girl" we get the accoustic kneeslapping tongue in cheek country. Thing is, by now the Brits had developed their own brand of country. Where "Dear Doctor" draws on US influences "Factory Girl" finds it's roots more in the heart of the Black Country of Birmingham. "Parachute Woman" is astounding . How one accoustic, Bass, Drums and Harp can produce such a mean hard driving sound is a tribute to Jimmy Miller. It is followed by "Jig Saw Puzzle" another one of those (and I HATE this word) Dylanesque lyrical masterpieces. It is such an obvious Jaggersong, but what takes it to the level of greatness is the rest of the band with that piercing Slide, the Organ and again the deceptively simple Bassline.

"Street Fighting Man" was the first tune Jimmy Miller did with the Stones and what a baptism it must have been. They were hazing him, it seems like. We all know about how proud keith is that the only electric instrument of the track is the bass. Everything else was done by just sheer overdrive and in the very beginning recording the basic track onto a portable little piece of crap. What we get is a masterpiece of sound collage and also , I hope people realize what a rhythmic gem we have on our hands. They were to play this song many many more times live, especially during the Taylor era, but not until "Stripped" did they resort to the old feel again. Personally I'm very glad that Jagger changed the lyrics that really don't sound dated at all. It used to be called "Did Everybody Pay Their Dues?" and was not really about anything. With "Street Fighting Man" you have an anthem, because there is always a reason for us to hit the streets and march. I love the next two back to back: "Prodigal Son" by Rev. Wilson which is just Keith on Dobro, Jagger and Charlie on a seemlessly tireless Hi-Hat. The lyrics are very deepsouth Gospel and fortunately Jagger doesn't try to overdo it, or to try and come off as a Southern preacherman. It is done very straightforward. Now what had become 'straightforward' in jagger's world is another matter. The song goes right into the sexual charge of "Stray Cat Blues". This also they were going toplay many more times live and never did it capture the sexuality of the original. Musically the Piano is outstanding lending the backing a kind of rolling feeling. The guitars are so Keith-ian, they are impossible to top. And the lyrics and Jagger! What a great pairing on this one. "I can see that you're just thirteen years old..",Say you got a friend, she's wilder than you, why don't you bring her on upstairs", "Betcha Momma don't know you can scream like that" and it fades out with "I bet she never saw you scratch my back..." before Keith takes over and drives that hotrod home.

"Salt Of The Earth" closes this masterpiece in the bestway possible. An ode to the world; a toast to ourselves and life, actually breaking into a tent revival type feel with a whole choir that for me could have easily gone on for another five minutes.

It's a 15of course

Jeff Blehar <> (11.02.2000)

Funny, when I first bought this album several years back, I really didn't like it. Thought it was supremely overrated, with maybe two great songs ("Street Fighting Man," "No Expectations") and one completely inflated one which I never quite understood the appeal of ("Sympathy For The Devil"). Thankfully, now that I've removed my head from my ass, I see things much more clearly.

Beggars Banquet is really absolutely amazing. Not perfect, since I still think "Sympathy For The Devil" is overrated (and the whole Jagger "Boo! I'm Satan!" trip wears on me. They're so good at being naturally frightening, why mess with Lucifer?), "Parachute Woman" is unremarkable, and "Dear Doctor" is so bad as to laughable (thus, strangely, it becomes GOOD). But hell, they're all still good songs, (and in the case of "Dear Doctor" I'm going on that so-bad-it's-good vibe), and the rest of this album is simply stunning. Where they could have come up with this one after Satanic Majesties is beyond me (not that Majesties was bad, but just that it was so different). Chalk up to Jimmy Miller, I suppose, but don't chalk it up to Brian's "sudden" lack of involvement. Because, oddly enough, for someone who was supposedly falling to pieces at the time, he made more notable contributions to this album than to any other in the Rolling Stones canon! Really! That beautiful slide guitar on "No Expectations?" That psychotic, stabbing guitar solo on "Sympathy For The Devil" (as seen in Jean-Luc Godard's documentary of the sessions Sympathy For The Devil/One Plus One)? That wackily inappropriate Mellotron on "Stray Cat Blues?" (Listen for it! You'll never be able to ignore it again!) His abuse of the slide on "Jig Saw Puzzle?" All Brian Jones. Now methinks that's a quite a bit of star time for a guy who was about to be booted out of the group. I assume he wasn't involved in the cutting of the basic rhythm tracks, i.e. he was no longer part of the ensemble, but he became no less than a featured guest player.

Forget all that for now, because instead of reviewing the songs on this album, I'd like to talk about my favorite non-famous song here, "Salt Of The Earth." This has GOT to be the world's most amazingly insincere, unrighteous anthem to the masses I have ever heard - completely cynical, phony, and full of shit - thus it's absolutely brilliant. Nothing more perfectly encapsulates the Stones' discomfort with the "revolutionary masses" than this totally bourgeois hymn to them. Listen to those lyrics: "As I look out into faceless crowds, swirling mass of greys and blacks now, it don't look real to me, in fact it looks so straaaange..." This is so great; would we really want a truly compassionate anthem from The Stones? Of course not. So we get a song that sounds like a populist ode at first, but on closer listening turns out to be something quite different. And it has these wonderful images of rich people drinking wine trying to come up with toasts to the common people. They're "raising a glass" to the hard-working people. They certainly don't seem to be hard-working folk themselves. And as the song progresses, they seem to run out of good things to say about the common people, and start talking about stay-at-home voters, and those faceless crowds....a great, great song.

In fact, the entire album as a whole holds together lyrically much better than many of their other albums. All the songs seem to alternate between demonism ("Sympathy For The Devil," "Stray Cat Blues") and world-weariness ("Jig-Saw Puzzle," "No Expectations") and some seem to embrace both ("Street Fighting Man"). It seems to me that they're obviously becoming tired of that demon life that's got them in its sway...but for now, it's a 10/10 (15/15) all the way.

Fredrik Tydal <> (02.03.2000)

Well... To handle out the highest grade to this album is a bit exaggerative to me. No, don't get me wrong - this is a great album. Your average great album, in fact. I just can't see what makes this album raise to such heights and share company with albums like Sgt. Pepper or Highway 61 Revisited. Otherwise, I generally agree. I can't think of anything to say of "Sympathy" that hasn't already been said, "Jig-Saw" is great, "Street Fighting Man" has that riff... But I actually like "Salt Of The Earth" and think it's a good album closer (side note; up until just recently, I have always thought that they drank for the "heart-broken people"). This is just another great album, you know. And a significant improvment over the last one. I would probably give it 8.5 or 9.

Seth Edwards <> (09.09.2000)

Slightly inferior to Let it Bleed, which is, as you said, structured to be a ripoff of this album. A great return to form, even though I like Between the Buttons and Satanic all the same! "Dear Doctor" kinda gets on my nerves, same goes for "Factory Girl". But "Sympathy for the Devil" has that great guitar solo (only slightly inferior to the version on "Ya Yas"). I don't know why you don't go for 'Salt of the Earth', I dig Keith's voice on it, which can't be said for all Keith tunes and its a great prequel to "Cant Always get..." from the next album. A solid 9!

John McFerrin <> (27.09.2000)

When I first started pulling Stones albums off of ftp servers (this, Let it Bleed, and Aftermath) and listening to them, this album bored the hell out of me. And I think I know why - I was expecting generic 'chuck-berryesque' rockers and my mind was demanding that the music fit into my preconception, even though I didn't actually like the type of music of this preconception. So when I hit 'No Expectations', I was like, "wow, these guys suck." And I just didn't enjoy any of the other tracks.


Holy sweet mother of shit, I was dumb. This album is, like, the ultimate roots rock casserole. There isn't a single number on here that I consider the least bit weak (well, maybe 'Factory Girl', but it's still amusing). And Jeff was right - that mellotron in 'Stray Cat Blues' is hilarious!!! Plus, 'Prodigal Son' is a classic example of what I'm looking for in music that tells religious stories - "make it funny!!" I say, and they did!

A strong, strong 15 (though not quite as great as the one for Let it Bleed, which has quickly moved into my overall top ten).

Morten Felgenhauer <> (21.12.2000)

Some comments to Jeff Blehar: Although "Sympathy For The Devil" is written in the first person, it doesn't mean that Mick says "Boo! I'm Satan!" . To me the lyrics describe what the Devil would have thought while looking back on history: there's really no need for him! All he has to do is trigger the incidents and Homo Sapiens fuck it all up by themselves. Of course Mick had a rather "evil" image at the time - but he never said "I'm the devil".

Brian Jones: slide on "No Expectations" - yes, that's him. solo on "Sympathy For The Devil". On the album: Keith (haven't seen the film). On Ya-Ya Mick T and Keith does a solo each. Slide on "Jig-saw puzzle": Keith. Listen to it; it's technically not very good. It's Keith learning how to play slide. Good song, though.

I love Brians best work as much as anybody but on this album he wasn't able to contribute much (except for "No Expectations", of course).

Raghu Mani <> (01.01.2000)

A work of absolute genius and perhaps the best album the Stones ever did. Some incredible songs and some of Jagger's greatest vocals. There isn't a weak track on the album - not even 'Salt of the Earth'. A perfect 10.

Philip Maddox <> (06.01.2001)

A very good album - I don't like it as much as you do, but it's still great. "Sympathy For The Devel" is fantastic, of course. "Street Fighting Man" isn't any worse - great riff. My favorite on here, though, is the super-duper "Stray Cat Blues" - damn, that song just ROCKS! Sleazy lyrics, great groove, great everything. That's one of my absolute favorite stones tunes, hands down. That's how I LIKE my rock.

The slower numbers are pretty much just as fantastic, too. My favorites are actually the jokier ones, though - "Prodigal Son" and "Factory Girl" are stupendous! Mick sounds hilarious, the melodies are tops, and the mood is extremely charming. "No Expectations" is really pretty, too - I don't think it's really GORGEOUS, but it's still really pretty. I have to admit that "Dear Doctor", "Parachute Woman", and "Jigsaw Puzzle", while not bad at all, do less for me than the rest of the stuff here, but that doesn't mean they aren;t good. All it means is that I'd have to drop one point, giving this a 9/10. Very, very good album.

Kevin Baker <> (19.02.2001)

This one is my personal favorite Stones album as of today. No one could do roots rock like the Stones. Shoot, no one could rock like the Stones could. Heck, no one CAN rock like the Stones could. I consider 'Sympathy For The Devil' to be the finest lyrical exercise Jagger ever engaged in, and is in fact (lyrically speaking) on the same level as Dylan or Lennon. Why do I love the words so much? Because they are accurate. That is Satan, the Evil One, The Father of Lies, The Prince Of Darkness. Satan isn't the dude in the red cape with the pitchfork, folks. He IS real, and his favorite people are not the ones who worship him, but rather the ones who deny his existence. He loves to prey upon the unbelieving mind and soul. Muscially speaking, the song is fantabulous. I love a good samba, and this definitely qualifies. That solo is delicious; you can almost see the flames dancing around as Satan and his demons dance around in craven revelry. 'No Expectations' is a beautiful country song with extreme ability to move. The slide guitar really steals the show on this one, and Jagger sounds oh so sincere. 'Dear Doctor' is a very fun ditty; who'd have imagined the Rolling Syones doing a country song in waltz time? Not I. 'Parachute Woman' is a real highlight. The Stones could play da blues with the best of 'em, and this proves it. The production of it makes it sound like good vintage 40-50s blues. I can pull a similar stunt on my handheld recorder; I suspect that's probably how they got that sound. 'Jigsaw Puzzle' is good, and it has another set of well-crafted lyrics. 'Street Fighting Man' is kickin! This is one of my personal favorites; an all acoustic (except the bass) feast with some angry-as-all-getout lyrics. I recall hearing this was the Stones' response to 'Revolution' by the Beatles. 'Prodigal Son' is probably my least favorite on here, yet I still quite enjoy the song. I give it the nod for 2nd best lyrics; hearing Mick Jagger ACCURATELY tell a biblical story is certainly an interesting treat. 'Stray Cat Blues' one of those songs you don't sing along to, but is just so,,,,cool. It just has a cool adolescent vibe about it. A book I read described it as "hard-core sleaze." I love 'Factory Girl'!!!! What a fun little song! Better yet, the rhythm part only has 2 chords, so I can actually play it on my guitar! 'Salt Of The Earth' is a neat little anthem to close it all up with. Now, the album as a whole seems to truly be a "beggar's banquet." Satan is master of ceremonies and host, and the characters in the other songs are in attendance. You have a scorned lover, a heartbroken man who needs a doctor, an old bluesman singing about a whore, a violent brawler, a prodigal son, a pedophile, a man and his factory girl, and then all join together for a song praising the common man. What a truly fascinating listen.

Palash Ghosh <> (07.03.2001)

Beggar's Banquet is without any doubt The Stones' greatest album and one of the best 15 rock records of all-time -- and virtually all of it is just plain old country and blues! I think Keith's star shines the brightest here, he shows how truly talented and prolific he is with the guitar.

My only gripe with this record is that 'Sympathy For The Devil' doesn't really belong on it -– its 'Latin jungle beat' just doesn't fit the mood of the remainder of the record. I don't know if 'Sympathy' was put out as a single or not, but it looks like it was 'tacked on' to lure the public in. Don't get me wrong, 'Sympathy' is a massively great song, but it's a misleading introduction to a record that's mostly down-home, reflective and contemplative.

'Street Fighting Man' (another great tune) probably doesn't belong on this album either -- it has the words 'commercial hit single' stamped all over it. I always regarded this as The Stones' answer to The Beatles' 'Revolution' (both were, in fact, responses to the rioting in Paris in May 1968). If I'm not mistaken, I think that the weird-sounding 'electronic wash' on 'Street' was provided by Brian Jones on some kind of primitive synthesizer – and it might've been Brian's last important contribution to the group.

The rest of the album is just magnificent (Dartford meets Nashville meets Tupelo?).

'Stray Cat Blues' is one of the sexiest, nastiest rockers ever written -- and I agree that sexual themes in songs are more effective when they're disguised and subtle, as they are here.

I also agree that 'Jigsaw Puzzle' sounds much like a Dylan number, but it has the Stones' distinctive snarling, rasping musical bite to it. Just love that bit where he coos 'sit so patiently.'

'No Expectations,' 'Dear Doctor' and 'Prodigal Son' are all wonderful, Mick's vocals have never been so varied and entertaining.

'Factory Girl' and 'Salt of The Earth' are probably the only mediocre tunes here. And I am REALLY am offended by the notion of an effete, money-grubbing, decadent profligate like Mick Jagger celebrating the downtrodden working classes! Was he kidding us?? Mick is hardly in solidarity with the proletariat.

With Beggars I get the feeling that Keith (not Mick) is in control here, that is, these are the types of songs that Keith wants to record and that he feels The Stones SHOULD record. I've always felt that Keith should've had more control with the Stones musical direction and choice of material. In future years, The Stones' discography would have too much junk and crap that Mick probably chose to do.

Lisa Wright <> (09.03.2001)

Ben Greenstein, you dont think 'Street Fighting Man' is inspired?!? This is an album with a very "jarring " feel to it. I really like 'Parachute Woman'. It sounds very-"amphetamine." Beggars Banquet is one of the top rock albums of all time. I also think Aftermath is just as good, definitely Brians best work. Thanks

Don Briago <> (23.03.2001)

This album has three memorable songs. "Dear Doctor" is a very funny hillbilly sendup and "Factory Girl" is a relaxed, sweet ode to Our Sisters of the Assembly Line. And there's the much-celebrated "Sympathy for the Devil", in which Mick Jagger proposes, among other things, that Satan masterminded the Bolshevik coup - a view enthusiastically endorsed by that noted revisionist, Ronald Reagan. Narrating world history from the Evil One's point of view is such a great IDEA for a song people tend to get excited about the underlying concept and overlook its disappointing execution. Once you hear it, you immediately think about how much better it could have been. Musically, the Latin beat is infectious but the guitar solo is a bore here (but not on the terrific live Ya-Yas version), and so is the interminable fade out.

Lyrically, Jagger made some really lazy, uninspired decisions. The refrain is just plain awkward. (Hope you guess my name / But what's puzzling you is the nature of my game"? That sounds like it was translated from Esperanto. Maybe one of your linguist colleagues could give Jagger a lesson in prosody, George!) He starts the song with Christ's trial - okay, but why not kick it off with the Garden of Eden from the serpent's perspective? Then he just mutters doggerel about Nazis, Anastasia, and the Kennedys (what does he mean "after all, it was you and me" that killed the brothers? Are "you and I" Oswald and Sirhan?) without mentioning any other sinister upheavals or catastrophes from world history, such as the slave trade, for instance, or Hiroshima, or any other dire occurrence in the 3,000 years of recorded history. Finally, he totally insults us in the last verse by bluntly saying "call me Lucifer." Gee, thanks Mick, we could never have guessed the speaker's identity by ourselves.

I remember reading an interview with the American writer Norman Mailer that took place at a Stones concert. The interviewer was impressed by the line "Every cop is a criminal, every sinner is a saint" but Mailer wasn't buying the dime-store antinomianism. "What's so novel, so marvelous about that?" he scoffed, "Dostoyevsky used to go into an epileptic fit he grew so bored with that notion!"

I know it sounds like I'm out of sympathy with this famous song; actually, I like it a whole lot but just feel it doesn't come within light years of its potential. The boys should have spent more time on this one and created a truly awe-inspiring epic of diabolic intervention. As it is, it's just not imaginative enough.

Didier Dumonteil <> (28.03.2001)

I've always had a bias against this album.At that time,"street fighting man" gave the Stones a revolutionary swagger they didn't deserve at all.In her biography, M. Faithfull described her then partner and the gang trying to join the aristocrats and the English jet set.And anyway,only  concrete gestures are revolutionary:For instance,Joan Baez singing in front of a draft center during the vietnam war.

Assuming this to be the case, Beggar's banquet has really stunning moments:"sympathy for the devil" contains the best lines the RS have ever written.Inspired by "le maître et Marguerite",that Faithfull gave to Jagger to read,it includes such memorable lines as "I was here when JC had his moments of doubt and fear" or"killed the tsar and his ministers/anastasia screamed in vain"."The salt of the earth" seems more heartfelt and more moving than "street fighting..." and "prodigal song" will  take you back to your Sunday school days.But the rest of the tunes are just OK (stray cat blues,factory girl) or  indifferent(dear doctor,parachute woman).THe two next albums will be better,because less spotty.I certainly underrate this work,but the true reason lies in the fact that the "white album" was released almost simutaneously,and,like it or not,the white album is the white album!

[Special author note: I have to notice that I think Didier is way off on his assessment of 'Street Fighting Man' (and he assessed it in a similar way on three different sites - he's really desperate!). I don't really care in what way the track was judged by critics, the press or Marianne Faithful. It was inspired, yes, inspired by Jagger's watching the riots in Paris, and from the very beginning it was descriptive, not provocative: trying to put the feelings of the proceedings into song form, not faking a call-to-arms. Moreover, what about the lyrics? After all the rage and anger, you get 'Well, what can a poor boy do/Except to sing for a rock'n'roll band/ Cause in sleepy London town there's just no place for a street fighting man?' If somebody misses the irony and mocking atmosphere of the song, well, it's not my fault. The Stones themselves never tried to pass themselves for revolutionaries. They were just a guy with a theatrical flare and another guy who wanted to play rock'n'roll because he liked it. That's all.]

<> (05.04.2001)

While I'm a big fan of Brian's, I'm pretty sure he didn't contribute much on this album. He'd recently broken his hand (trying to punch out Anita) and it never quite healed properly. Also, he and Keith weren't speaking to each other due to Anita taking up with Keith, so there would be little, if any, guitar interplay between the two, even if Brian was physically able to play (as well as he once could). I believe they brought Ry Cooder in to teach Keith some country blues, and naturally they stole everything he laid down for them, in particular the slide work. So while the guitar work on the album is practically all Keith, the ideas and tone are pretty much Ry Cooder. The sitar on 'Street Fighting Man', some percussion on 'Sympathy For The Devil', and maybe a (very) little piano is Brian's contribution. He almost never turned up at the sessions. It's still a great album.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (08.04.2001)

Few notes.

Firstly, you are making fatal mistake, saying that 'Salt of the earyh' has boring lyrics and is an 'anthem of the working class'. The lyrics are nothing but fun! In the beggining Keith is pulling out from himself the line: 'Let's drink to the hard working people' which sounds very strange but then I can't help laughing when Mick says that he's sick and tired from all this working class. This is just a great joke. Pity you didn't get the hint. Secondly, as you probably know, 'Sympathy for the devil' was inspired by Bukgakov's 'Master & Margarita' (especially the first lines).

And, to end with it, Stones were sued by many people for ripping off the cover of White album (in fact, the original cover of Banquet wasn't a toilet - it was a white cover with the name of band and album, though you know it yourself).

Robert Tally <> (06.06.2001)

This is probably my favorite Stones album (although sometimes I think it's the next one). With Aftermath and Between The Buttons, I was having trouble finding even one bad song in the batch. With this album, there's barely one or two that aren't downright brilliant. The Stones had fully arrived at this point. I can't think of any song in the world that could top 'Sympathy For The Devil.' If rock 'n' roll is the devil's music, then the Stones established themselves as the ultimate bad boys of rock with this song. 'Street Fighting Man' conjures up images of violence and dirty streets with amazing clarity. 'Stray Cat Blues' is drunkenly lurid. It was no longer a matter of 'would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone' - now it was more like 'would you leave them alone with your kids'. 'Parachute Woman' shows that they had taken the blues into an entirely different dimension. 'No Expectations' is delivered with utmost patience, and great slide guitar by Jones. 'Prodigal Son' successfully presents Mick Jagger as a black slave from the 19th century, something he couldn't quite pull off a few years earlier. 'Factory Girl' is another of the best acoustic pieces they ever did. 'Dear Doctor' is downright hilarious - easily the best country parody they ever did. Let's see - that leaves two songs. I will say that 'Salt Of The Earth' is a good tune, but seems like safe territory, and doesn't excite me that much. But it is the first of several ballads the group did in this style. 'Jig-Saw Puzzle' is kind of a neat tune, but not too incredible - a bit quirky.

So, were the Stones as good as Beatles now? Well, the Beatles put out the White Album, which is my favorite by them - and I think Beggars Banquet is just as good. So, yeah, I'd say they finally caught up. In fact, after this album, the whole issue of Beatles vs. Stones dissipates. The Beatles soon broke up, and shortly after, the Stones stagnated. It does seem that in 1968, both groups had achieved a level of maturity in their sound that hadn't completely existed earlier - although it was already formulating under the acidic excesses of 1967. But what about 1969? Well, Abbey Road isn't my favorite Beatles album, so as far as I'm concerned, the Stones topped the Beatles that year. But that's a different story. . .

Completists should be on the lookout for the original single mix of 'Street Fighting Man,' which is noticeably different, and the German single edit of 'Sympathy For The Devil,' which is worth hearing if only because of its bizarreness. The song fades out in the middle of the verse following the guitar solo. (And, of course, with any of the Stones albums through 1969, mono mixes exist of every song.)

Note to Sergey: The toilet cover was the one the Stones wanted to release, but the record company wouldn't go for it. The album was supposed to come out in August '68 (when the 'Street Fighting Man' single came out), but was delayed until December, when the Stones finally gave in and allowed the white cover. That cover, of course, is supposed to look like a formal invitation to the banquet. I've never heard of anybody suing them for this (and I'm sure they couldn't be successful with a lawsuit, since no copyright was infringed upon), though obviously many people thought it was a ripoff of the White Album. The toilet cover wasn't released until much later, when the record company was less strict. In fact, I think the white cover may have still been in effect when the first CD copies came out. My CD has the toilet cover, however.

Joe H <> (06.12.2001)

Amazing record! Really simplistic acoustic bluesy stuff that sounds really beautiful and melodic like "No Expectations", "Salt Of The Earth", "Prodigal Son" ya know, you get the idea. Then the rockers, man do they rock! "Stray Cat Blues", "Street Fighting Man" (no electrics involved! All acoustics!), and that classic everyone loves "Sympathy For The Devil". Definatly a 10 out of 10, but they just got better from here!

Ben Kramer <> (25.12.2001)

I can't decide weather I like this one more than Sticky Fingers or vice versa. Both are inferior to the masterpiece, Let it Bleed, but both are better than the overrated, yet still excellent Exile on Main Street. If I had to choose one over the other it would probably be Beggar's Banquet even though both are worthy of 15's if not very high 14's. The opener of Beggar's Banquet is arguably my favorite Stones song, 'Sympathy For the Devil'. Contrary to popular opinion, the song isn't satanic (although, the first line - "Please allow me to introduce my self" is supposed to be the opening line of the Satanic Bible or something like that, but the lyrics don't imply that Mick Jagger was a devil worshipper). Another favorite of mine is 'Stray Cat Blues', despite the opening being a distinct rip off of the Door's cover of 'Back Door Man'. It is a powerful song, like most of the songs on the album. 'Street Fighting Man' is another awesome song with a riff that was second only to 'Satisfaction' (ofcourse their next album would produce a couple that were better, but not by much). 'Jig Saw Puzzle' takes a lot of crap for being over 6 minutes and you know what, I wish it were longer. Another song that I like a lot and that many people write off as crap is 'Salt of the Earth'. I don't see why it gets the crap because it is a very strong song and it is probably the best song they could have used to end the album. 'Parachute Woman' is powerful with a great riff (ok, so 95% of all Stones songs are built from great riffs, Keith Richards is the riff - master, no one in history will ever surpass his talent in coming up with catchy riffs). 'No Expectations' is another fan favorite and another favorite of mine (well, I am a fan). The only song that seems to show any signs of weakness is 'Dear Doctor' and that's fillerish the way 'Dr. Robert' is fillerish to Revolver, it is good, but not up to par with the brilliance of the rest of the album. I award it a 10(15) and the honor of being tied for the second best Stones album ever (well, I have to listen to Ya Ya's again but it is tied for the second best studio album they ever did). However, Let it Bleed still gets the honor of the best Stones album ever and the best rock and roll album ever (the Beatles were too diverse to be called rock and roll at their peak) but this would be up there in the top 10. Screw the 65th best album crap or whatever the number was that VH1 gave it because it deserves to be higher than Never Mind the Bullocks, Here's the Sex Pistols.

Jaime Vargas <> (28.02.2002)

About Brian's contributions:

Don't forget the harmonica!! It's fabulous in 'Dear Doctor', and if you listen closely, it's playing in 'Prodigal Son'. Why on Earth they mixed it so low I don't quite know. By the way, what is that 'sliding' sound in 'Jigsaw Puzzle'? Heavily treated slide guitar? Synth? Both? In any case it's surely played either by Brian or Bill Wyman - the only two who had at the time experience with using non-fixed pitch instruments (fretless bass in the case of Bill, slide guitar, theremin and trombone in the case of Brian)

Ryan Maffei <> (10.03.2002)

Not as great as people say it is, and people give it a lot of kudos...for some reason, a lot of critics think that "Parachute Woman" is a great song. It's not. Anyway, there are a lot of good, solid recordings on this album--"Jigsaw Puzzle", with its earnest, satirical observations in the lyrics and pleasant melody, is probably the record's highlight, while "No Expectations" and "Dear Doctor" are excellent pseudo-country tunes. I also like "Sympathy for the Devil", although it's kind of like the Doors' "Do It" in the respect that it's just a vehicle for the group's demonic image...but then we have some absolute crap and mediocrity, with the frivolous "Street Fighting Man", the slight, somewhat silly "Salt of the Earth", and the ultimately forgettable "Factory Girl" and "Prodigal Son". With those last ones in tow, a lot of people cite this as being revolutionary for it's country-blues elements...if so, they falter at times with these styles, but when it works, it's reall quite effective, although there's too much dobro carried out throughout the record. A 7 overall.

Federico Fernández <> (10.08.2002)

This one's a very good album but not a perfect one. For me it doesn't deserve the 15; a 14 would be a lot more accurate. I've already posted my point of view on Prindle's site and actually my opinon didn't changed a lot since then. I managed to enjoy it a lot more than when I first bought it, but it seems to my that it remains one of the most overrated records ever.

Why? Simply, the songs are all quite good but is not difficult to see that they are NOT GREAT songs. Not great BIG songs like the ones on Sticky Fingers and Let It Bleed. "Stray Cat Blues" is a terrific rocker with some of the best and harshest lyrics about sex ever writen, and "Street Fighting Man" is a fine political anthem. The rest, though a consistent set, are not great classics. Of course, "Sympathy For The Devil" IS a classic but I just can't get why some people regard this as the greatest RS song ever. For me is just OK and it turns really boring at times. As I was saying the rest of the songs are pretty enjoyable but let's not forget they are all MINOR gems, MINOR entertainment, all first quality perhaps (The are ths STONES after all), but still nothing completely unforgettable: "No expectations", the cute "Dear Doctor", the hardcore blues "Parachute Woman", "Prodigal Son", "Salt Of The Earth", "Factory Girl" and the overlong "Jig Saw Puzzle" fall in this category for me: good but no great by any means.

So: this is a 14 mainly because everything is very so well performed and crafted. Still it is superior to Aftermath, Tattoo You and Flowers which also deserve 14 for you!

Michael Danehy <> (28.01.2003)

This album along with Revolver are the two CD's in my collection that I could listen to forever and never grow the least bit tired of either. For starters, has any lyricist been more unjustly underrated than Mick Jagger? 'Sympathy for the Devil' is intelligent, poetic, and not as opaque as Dylan's stuff. I dig it immensely. 'Jigsaw' also knocks me out. As a whole, I think this is a stronger album lyrically than its successor Let it Bleed and that's saying something.

Musically, it's all straight rock/country/blues and it's all stunning. 'Street Fighting Man' and 'Stray Cat Blues' are probably my favorite rockers in the Stones' catalogue. The latter is like the kind of raunch-and-roll that bands like Aerosmith and KISS would be doing, but the Stones are a good band and pull it off. Mick sounds like a genuine perv and the lyrics are quite risque for 1968. As for the former, SFM might be the only accoustic song that you can headbang to. 'Dear Doctor' uproariously spoofs country music cliches and 'No Expectations' is slow blues that soothes the listener after the Latin-tinged Satanic onslaught of 'Sympathy.' Even the weaker songs are good. 'Factory Girl' isn't the greatest number in the world yet its blue grass tinged music is interesting. 'Parachute Woman' is generic blues with silly lyrics but who plays better genetic blues than the Stones?

The only track that I could live without is 'Salt of the Earth.' Sure it's ambitious, it's just that the ambitious tracks from Let it Bleed absolutely kill it. May have been more impressive at the time. Anyway, if you haven't heard Beggar's Banquet already then go buy it. The remastered version has immaculate sound quality to boot.

Rating: 15/15 on George's scale

David Dickson <> (04.05.2004)

Uh. . .

Jesus, I must be crazy, but I can't give this album the ten. Or even the nine. What is UP with the majority of critics on this unpretentious, mostly uninteresting roots-rock excursion? EVERYONE seems to rate this album as a masterpiece. Now, I understand that it's a "classic" in the "this influenced a lot of other bands and marked a new trend" sense of the word. But "masterpiece?" I just don't see it. At all. Only five of the songs seem to be any good ('Sympathy for the Devil', 'Dear Doctor', 'Jig-Saw Puzzle', 'Stray Cat Blues', and 'Salt of the Earth'). The problem is, the Rolling Stones just don't seem to be that good with MELODIES. They can be sleazy, raunchy, rootsy, tootsy, and fruitsy all they want, but unless they write something that sticks in my head, I'm not going to bow down to them like everyone else does. Maybe it's just that I didn't grow up with them--that's the problem. I grew up with Boston, Metallica, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and a smattering of the Presidents of the United States of America. All melodic, bombastic, pretentious bands (with the exception of that last one), which the Rolling Stones most certainly are NOT, never have been, and never will be. Some people consider "authentic" sounding country, bloooooooze and a smattering of happy sixties vibe to be superior to all that pomposity. Maybe I will too when I hit 28. You can never tell with the "greats".

In short, this is one overrated motherf&%$@! of an album. You want REAL memorability, however, check out Exile on Main Street. THAT has some real hutzpah. AND pretentiousness. In other words, better than this.

<> (02.06.2004)

'Jig-Saw Puzzle' isn't Brian's only important contribution on this album. Most people also love his slide guitar on 'No Expectations', even though I must say, that Keith's guitar and Bill's bass on it are as beautiful.

Back to 'Jig-Saw-Puzzle', I don't find it too long at all, my current favorite Stones song, and I could play it over and over without getting bored. By the way, its slide guitars might be both Keith and Brian. The bass is great too, I guess Keith plays it. One of the few songs, from which I have even compared different mixes (I got bootlegs with alternative ones). The version on the (yet out of print I guess) 1986 abkco release is downright awful: The instruments don't stick out, but kinda fall together. I never got any of the Stones' 2002 remasters and don't know, whether I ever will. My bootlegs with different mixes of the Beggars songs (the digipak mono edition of the whole album -which has got a replica of the white cover you talk about- especially recommended) sound just fine enough.

Talking about covers, I got the really great decadent photograph in the booklet of the mentioned abkco copy and on the artwork of every Beggars bootleg I got my hands on as well.

'Factory Girl', one that many Stones fans don't like, is the overlooked gem on this record and a favorite of mine.

I don't find 'Salt Of The Earth' stupid. Interesting thing: the first and the last song of the album are both anthems, and to good effect. Moreover, 'Salt' gives us a rare opportunity to hear Keith on slide guitar, an instrument he only plays on two albums (this one and Bleed).

Beggars gets the best rating I give to any Stones albums, a 13.

Matt Byrd <> (27.06.2004)

Hats off to you, George! I have looked around and many of the newer generations of people that have come along since the 60's have really only regarded the Stones as a poorly aging instititution which really wouldn't stand up to Nirvana or Oasis..... I don't agree and I'm glad you don't either. From the wild samba-beats that open 'Sympathy For The Devil' to the delta blues of 'Salt Of The Earth' this one is really one of the greatest recordings that has ever been produced. This an absolutely grand album that, sadly, was equaled only once (Exile On...) but Let It Bleed and even the glamour of Sticky Fingers came close.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (04.08.2005)

Their best. Their very very best. Acoustic guitars, solid riffs, memorable melodies… “Sympathy” is truly evil, engaging and effective. “No Expectations” is simply very beautiful. “Dear Doctor” is an unforgettable fun. “Parachute Woman” is facsinating blues. “Jig-Saw Puzzle” is a wonderful Dylanesque ballad. “Street Fighting Man” is a pulsating and catchy rocker. “Prodigal Son” has amazing acoustic guitar playing. The aggressive “Stray Cat Blues” is my favourite; it’s so mind-blowing! “Factory Girl” is simple, yes, but oh so pretty. The closing “Salt Of The Earth” is so great and has such an emotional singing that I cried the first time I heard it. Soooo nice!

Really, an undisputed classic. Closes my Top 10. Ha-ha, it’s that good! Ha.


Jeff <> (06.09.99)

I know it's a rip-off, but at least it's chock-full of unreleased material, unlike the previous Stones rip-off Flowers. The Stones' set here really cooks, too, with the exception of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Salt of the Earth." "Parachute Woman" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" both rock HARD, with the former actually surpassing the original studio recording. "Sympathy For the Devil" is every bit as devistating as the studio version or the one on Get Your Ya-Ya's Out.

Other arguments for this album: The Jethro Tull and Taj Mahal songs are a ton of fun, "Yer Blues" is a truly blistering performance, and as you said, "A Quick One" is nothing short of awesome. Of course, how could it not be? Sure, the circus music is dumb, but it's supposed to be. The only real suckfest here is that God-awful Yokosong, but even that at least starts out well. Honesty, I think you've seriously underrated this one. Maybe it's because I haven't seen the video....

Tony Stewart <> (16.11.99)

I have to agree with just about every single thing you say here. The Disc is really not that bad, but it certainly should not rank up there as an official Stones Disc. Plus it was so much more than an audio experience that I can't even imagine going and buying the disc, unless you're a hardcore Yoko fan or you have to possess every note Jethro tull ever played live. The Video is actually quite entertaining, more for seeing the little games going on that we've read so much about. I always thought that the Stones should have released it. So the Who kicked ass. The Who also put out two singles in support of the Stones while Mick and Keith were locked up. Plus the Stones probably (and I have nothing to base this assumption on)would have come off a lot more fresh and straight forward, had Jagger not been such a perfectionist and recut every song ad nauseam. I bet that's why Brian can barely stand on "Sympathy". He hadn't sat down in over ten minutes. Hehee! To Jagger's credit we have to say that he did wantto give Britain a flawless X-mas present, he was pretty much premiering some of their new hits to the nation and wanted the showmanship for "Sympathy" to be just right. He just wore everybody else out. The Video is highly recommended though.There are actually several versions of the scene between Lennon and Jagger. Each time they play it differently. You gotta hand it to lennon : it's only '68 and he's already calling Keith mick's soulmate. The man just always was a step ahead. Most ethereal moment? Marianne Faithful full of heroin, almost transparent in her beauty with a knowing smile on her lips singing "Something Better". Forget the Disc and get the Video.

Robert Tally <> (10.06.2001)

I think you're being too harsh, George. The video may be a better way to experience this performance, but that doesn't really have anything to do with whether or not the music is enjoyable. Nor does the presence of non-Stones material. Considering the Stones' less than stellar performance, the contributions of the other artists should actually bring the rating up. In my mind, the contest for best track is between the Who and the Dirty Mac. I think the Who wins, since 'A Quick One While He's Away' is thoroughly entertaining and played very well. 'Yer Blues' in some ways is better than the Beatles version (at least during the rock-out part). Keith excels on the bass. Most of the other non-Stones tracks hold up quite well, particularly 'Ain't That A Lot Of Love' by Taj Mahal, which stomps along really well (which it could hardly help but do since it sports the 'Gimme Some Lovin'' bass riff). 'Song For Jeffrey' sounds like a standard Jethro Tull outing - I can't say it sends me head over heels, but it's enjoyable enough. 'Something Better' is interesting in that Marianne Faithfull had already started sounding like a fragile junkie. Even 'Whole Lotta Yoko' is worthwhile from the standpoint of the jamming. However, if Yoko's routine had any hope of fitting into the picture, it would only have been if the band had played something way-out, rather than rhythm 'n' blues. The Stones portion gets off to a sluggish start ('Jumping Jack Flash,' 'Parachute Woman'), but has a certain intensity. 'No Expectations' holds up fairly well. 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' is a little wobbly at first, but then the band kicks in and it starts to sound pretty good. 'Sympathy For The Devil' is a little too fast, but is otherwise played pretty well, and is the highlight among the Stones tracks. 'Salt Of The Earth' hardly counts, of course, since only the vocals are live. Apparently, the Stones didn't get around to doing their set until sunrise, and everybody was exhausted. They were happy with everybody's performances but their own, and so the film wasn't released. This didn't keep fans from wanting the movie released, however. I, for one, have always been curious about it. I realize Allen Klein probably just had money in mind with this release, but he makes money off of all the other pre-1971 Stones recordings, too, so what's one more? He'll be dead within the next couple of decades, anyway. Then all the Stones fans can celebrate. The circus stuff, I should say, doesn't detract from my enjoyable of this CD at all. If anything, it adds to the atmosphere. I also didn't get the feeling that things weren't integrated from band to band. It works well enough in a variety show kind of way. It was obviously meant to entertain, and that's what it does for me.

<> (07.06.2004)

I agree on this release being a rip-off. All we get is six actual Stones songs, from which five are live versions and one a semi live-version. In addition to this, I'm not a big fan of live-albums by anybody. Tracks 1)-13) don't interest me at all, because I have never been into any of the acts featured on them. As you may guess, the live albums are the ones I only buy from bands I like very much, and I buy them after getting all the studio stuff. So I find very little use in live material from a band with which I have hardly anything to do at all. My original abkco copy comes with a special paper and plastic case and a thick booklet including illustrations, photos and extensive liner notes. I'm not that impressed by it. Consequently, unlike you are one of those fanatics who either love having albums physically or love any/all of the featured musicians, I highly recommend you to download for free instead of buying. By the way, I don't know, if this is still in print. All abkco Stones-albums were re-released in 2002, this not.

Talking about the music by the Stones, it's not as bad as many say. Truth be told, I find only one song really bad: 'You Can't Always Get What You Want', which is way sped up in comparison to the studio version, and it doesn't work at all. 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' and 'Sympathy' are not that intriguing either, hardly different from the studio versions.

The strange tune is 'Salt Of The Earth', and I gotta point out, that also apart from the vocals it's obviously not completely the same as the album version: There are some guitars, which are faster than the one on the Beggars closing track. Plus, only here we got more bass, which should have made it onto the studio album, maybe my only complaint about Beggars.

While still not on par with the Beggars versions, 'No Expectations' and 'Parachute Woman' show Bill creating bass sounds not to be found anywhere else. The latter, a song I just learned to appreciate recently, lacks Charlie's constant drumming of the studio cut, though.

George, you miss a solo from Brian. The information I got is second-hand, but reportedly, Brian played solo as rarely as Keith did the slide. One might consult pages or books with detailed playing credits, which I don't feel like doing right now.

With all the myths going around saying that all Stones live albums are overdubbed, I can hear something sounding like a mistake: It's to be heard somewhere on 'Salt', perhaps a mistuned amp. Still, people in knowledge with the bootlegs (I'm not of them) claim, that Keith wiped and overdubbed parts of Brian's guitar. This might be true, as we know what Keith thinks about him. Those fanatics say, that bootleg videos showed a lot of Brian, while the official video shows mainly shots of Keith, and that the official video sounds better than the official CD. Is it any wonder, as the video was released by the Stones themselves, the CD by that money-hungry... yes gangster?


Ben Greenstein <> (26.07.99)

How can you say that there's no "standout track on here that overshadows the others"? There are two! "Gimme Shelter" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" are amazingly memorable classic rock radio hits, whereas the rest (except for maybe "Midnight Rambler") have NOT gone down in history as classics. Those are your standouts, mister - like it or not.

And, in all honesty, they're the only songs I like on here. I'll confess something - I've never been much of a fan of the Stones' bluesy stuff. It's okay, but doesn't compare to the cool pop-rock that made that 66-67 period so delightful (for me, at least). The rest of this album is, to me, unmemorable - except for "Rambler," which I actually find to be quite repetetive and boring. The rest just don't grab - know what I mean?

Of course, my aunt and former high school history teacher always raved about it, so maybe I'm missing something. I really like those two songs - and the rest are certainly better than most of Beggar's Banquet. I can see how you'd like this album, but personally, I don't.

[Special author note: well, guess it all depends on what you count down as 'obvious classics'. I personally wasn't meaning snubby, Dark Side Of The Moon-obsessed classic radio stations at all - what I was talking about were solid compilation albums, fan favourites, live staples, etc. In that respect, 'Midnight Rambler', the title track, 'Love In Vain', even 'Monkey Man', all qualify. And if they don't grab you, well, what can be done? One of us probably has got bad taste.]

Glenn Wiener <> (11.08.99)

A strong country influence exists here. None the less this still ranks as a premiere recording of the band in transition. I prefer Beggars Banquet, Exile, Sticky Fingers, and a few others to this. However, a solid recording it is. I kind of agree with you that I don't know if I have a particular favorite. 'Gimmee Shelter' one day, 'Live With Me' Another, on Saturdays maybe 'Midnight Rambler'.

Jeff <> (06.09.99)

The Stones' best album? Yup. That's all I have to say.

Simon Hearn <> (07.09.99)

Great cover and the contents are as delicious as the cake. 'Gimme Shelter', 'live with me', 'you can't always'......... and 'monkey man' stand out for me. 'Love in vain' is vastly over rated as is 'midnight rambler'. However, a great album by a band that would never be QUITE the same after the loss of Brian.

Tony Stewart <> (17.11.99)

I was all set for Let It Bleed about an hour ago when I bumped into that inconvenience of a Circus on CD. So I did that one. But I'm still in the mood for Let It Bleed. I don't have a 'best' Stones Disc, but would I, this one would be one of the frontrunners. You know it's silly, but the only thing I have never liked about this album is the cover. I actively dislike that cover. For housing such a wall of power the design, the motif seems trite. But la musica. There are two songs in Rock that for reasons unexplained reduce me to a scared kid. they make me feel like I've lost all selfwill and i'm following the pied piper. One is Lennon's "Come Together", the other is "Gimme Shelter". They harbor a draw so strong and scary; it's an intangible. This is on top of "Gimme Shelter" just being a monster, a call to arm ourselves for the advent of Armaggedon. Keith's orchestration of guitars(because that's what it is) I think is underrated even by his most ardent fans. We are in the year 1969, and we are playing and writing Rockmusic,but were Ludwig van alive rockin' on guitar with the Stones I think his score would have looked much like this soundscape Keith creates. I actually debased myself once by letting myself get into an argument with an idiot who declared that the Solo(what Solo?) in"Gimme Shelter" was easy to play cause it was just one lousy note.

This song goes beyond music; it's a painting, an atmosphere. That overdrive in the harmonica , the distorted howl of Jagger at the onset of verse 2 that sends the VU arrows flying into far red for a second , the absence of a lyrical hook that make the one time you actually hear the words 'gimme shelter..'give you goosebumps,the drums in the intro and of course Merry Clayton, the African Queen visiting and taking us higher all pay homage to the Spirit not of Death and Gloom, but to the celebration of life,toart, to music.This is just the first song. "Love In Vain" was mistakenly credited to the Twins for a while until someone fixed it; probably the Stones themselves. Ry Cooder lends a hand on Mandolin and contributes to a Blues Masterpiece. Anyone who's heard Johnson's version will have to agree that the Stones made this song completely their own. That song was to be played magnificently on stage in the years to come many times with Mick taylor just downright owning it. "Country Honk" is the original version of the Classic Single, before they did it in that choppy, less is more style with Brass and Taylor. On this one Keith is having a blast on Accoustic, we hear a Carhorn from the street outside , Byron Berline adds fiddle.Guest musicians abound on"Live With Me"; Leon Russell on Piano, the first time we hear of a certain Bobby Keys in the Stones Camp to this day still blows that Solo. Title track openly invites you to indulge in a little 'Coke and sympathy' set to a shows off once again what Keith had learned in the last few years. We'll have an Accoustic and Slide going; Keith perfecting the 'ancient art of weaving' with the only one who was around: his own self. Same goes for "Midnight Rambler" Just like "Love In Vain" this 9 minute epic with it's tricky tempochanges and horrifying lyrics about the Boston Strangler, was to find it's true strength on stage. Unlike "Love In Vain" this one became a showpiece; a vehicle for Jagger to strut his bad self 'down our throats''and baby it hurts'. Beltwhip, humping the monitors, the bulge in his Jumpsuit growing larger and larger this song during the '70's Tours helped very much to cement Jagger's position forever as the ultimate androgynous Rock Icon. Knowing all this the Let It Bleed version at first seems tame until that Harp and those whispered evil lyrics start crawling under your skin. "You Got The Silver" with Brian's last contribution as a Rolling Stone on Autoharp and with Keith singing is another lesson in stacking guitars. Accoustic this time; lots of Slide with a wonderful instrumental break. If you ever feel like shedding a tear just put that song on. There is a version kicking around with Jagger singing it and we would have loved it that way too, but we have heard Keith sing it, and we know we got the better deal. Oh God, what can I say about " Monkey Man"? Here Keith really pulls out all the stops and puts it all together. We get the choppy , rhythmic riff, two Slides and a chiming clean guitar. Jagger meanwhile is in top-form. and the lyrics ain't half bad either. I heard it ws ronnie who insisted on them dusting it off for the Voodoo Tour and it immediately turned into one of the highlights of the show, with Lisa and Jagger dueting. Jagger has a knack of singing about his own Stage personas"I'm a monkeyyyeeeecch baby...". Can't beat that one. We fade out, we're a first time listener; the last thing in the world we expect is to hear the Angelic Voices of the London Symphonic Choir.They intro another classic"You Can't Always Get What You Want".It builds from there after Al Kooper plays the main melodic motif on the French Horn. Slowly the accoustic fades in and from there for the next 6 or 7 minutes we are treated to just a great song. Let's not forget the production of that one ; the way there are more and more instruments added. But it never sounds cluttered. No one steps on another one's toes. We have one last great break with a truly memorable scream by Jagger. The choir comes back in and just rises and rises and intensity rising right with it. Underneath percussion and Drums (Jimmy Miller BTW on Drums) grow until they break into a Gospel-like , where you hit the Crash with every beat. Driving it all the way home back to where it all started. In Church and in the Blues.

15 of course.

John McFerrin <> (04.08.2000)

First things first, I have to confess something - I can tell that the Stones and I are, while not totally incompatible, aren't exactly _immediately_ compatible. I guess I'm just not that big a fan of 'roots music' or plain 'straight-up' rock and roll - maybe I need to get me Flowers.. To be perfectly honest, I've had to work my ass off (if listening to music can be considered hard work) to try and figure out why I should like these guys. And to be honest again, if it weren't apparent to me that not liking these guys immediately was more likely to be a defect in my soul than a mistake by everybody else, and since I don't want to be a freak, I've kept listening.

And I think I'm starting to get it. It's taken me a while to figure out Beggar's Banquet (though it finally happened, I think), but the process has definitely been made easier by this here gem. Yes, I liked Let it Bleed almost immediately, and I've come to absolutely love it. There isn't a single bad melody on here, and I truly love an album filled with solid melodies. The tracks which bookend the album are fantastic, of course, but I dig the title track, 'Love in Vain', I'm amused by 'Live with Me' and 'Country Honk', and 'Monkey Man' is hilarious. I'm even coming to 'get' 'Midnight Rambler' - for some reason, the hectic nature of the song through me off at first, but I really enjoy it.

It's not the greatest album I've ever heard, but it's still damn, damn, damn good. Which is good enough for a 15.

Rich Bunnell <> (09.08.2000)

As much as I don't really like rootsy music very much either, I think that Ben's being a bit of a tight-ass regarding this album. I didn't like it very much at first either, only going for the two hit singles, but repeated listenings really brought out the raw power of this album - the production is so bleak-sounding and doesn't jump in your ears at all, but it really helps this material achieve its full effect. This really helps with cool blues-rockers like "Midnight Rambler" and "Live With Me," both of which don't have very interesting melodies (except for that cool guitar lick in the former) but manage to get by on vibe alone and still sound as good as possible. "Love In Vain" is a nice cover which isn't as banal as I originally thought it was, and I know it's the single, but "Gimme Shelter" is my favorite Stones song ever. That song absolutely DEFINES tension. What I don't agree with, though, is Tony Stewart's assertion that the song gets by without a lyrical hook - what do you call "IT'S JUST A SHOT AWAY! IT'S JUST A SHOT AWAY!"? Still a wonderful song, as is of course "You Can't Always Get What You Want"(quit picking on Phil Spector, people, the slickness of the song sounds really cool in contrast to the rest of the album). Still, I can only give it a nine, largely because I see absolutely no reason why the hell everyone loves that crappy country version of "Honky Tonk Woman." That kind of crap should be relegated to Stones rarity albums that nobody buys anyway. But it's otherwise an awesome album!

Seth Edwards <> (09.09.2000)

Right there with ya on this one being the finest album made by the Stones. The only criticisms I've got are that "Country Honk" doesn't really stand up to its hard rock counterpart, and the choir introduction to "You can't Always get what you Want" doesn't really blend with the feel of the album. The rest of the songs are roots rock and fit with the stereotypical Stones sound of the 1968-72 era, and then there's this big choir introduction? Bleh. I agree though, none of the songs are true stage favorites (like 'Satisfaction' or 'Brown Sugar' for example), and there isn't really a representative song for the whole album, except MAYBE 'Gimme Shelter'. But they're all so great, I just don't know!

Sergey Zhilkin <> (17.10.2000)

Let it bleed, let it bleed, let it bleed, oh, let it bleed. Whisper words of wisdom:'Let it bleed'. Ah, don't take it serious, I don't suppose that album title is rip-off of Beatles' 'Let it be'. Well, let's return to this record. Hmm... Maybe it's even the best Stones' album (at least the best one from which I have). It's incredible, but 7 out of 9 songs have unique strong drive which makes you listen to them for many times. In my opinion two weak songs are 'Love in vain' and 'Country honk'. Though they are still listenable and some people even enjoy them.

I can't say more. You have to feel this music whith your heart. Let it fill your body! Though I gave it two full listens until I liked it. 10/10!

Raghu Mani <> (01.01.2000)

This would be another 10, if it were not for a couple of slightly half-hearted efforts. 'Monkey Man' is a mediocre song and country-fying 'Honky Tonk Woman' was not a good idea. Still, it contains 'Gimmie Shelter', 'Midnight Rambler' and my personal favorite Stones song, 'You Can't Always Get What You Want'. Still, because of the above-mentioned flaws, I cannot give it a perfect 10. A very high 9 is what it would get from me.

<> (03.01.2001)

i think 'gimme shelter' is one of their best songs of all time, they even named a movie after the title.

Auberon Suger <> (18.01.2001)

I hate to say all of this, but 1969 did see the release of King Crimson's first, and for most of us who were of the record-buying age at that time, the Stones looked pretty pale in comparison. By 1970 this album could have been easily forgotten except for the big hit ('You Can't Always Get'...). This was essentially hippie-music, and 'Gimmie Shelter' is the quintessential hippy anthem (if I don't git some shelter, oh I'm gonna fade away ...). The hippies identified with the lonesome traveller (or "tattered minstrel" as someone else here said) in 'Midnight Rambler' and they wanted shelter from the "pigs" as well as from the draft-board. But it's also a classic hippie pretense to hear Jagger's phony country twang and lame attempt at blues ballads. It's lame mostly because the Stones were essentially an art-rock band that only knew how to play r&b and some folk songs. Admittedly, Jagger & Richards were tasteful in their choice of rip-offs, but they couldn't produce an atmosphere beyond the barroom rock & roll that everyone seems to love so much. It's interesting that they never experimented with song structures or harmonic elements like other English bands were doing at the time.

Speaking as an old geezer who was alive and well during that era, by the time ELP, Genesis' Foxtrot, Gentle Giant and a few others came around, nobody wanted to sit around listening to Stones records. It doesn't mean that they weren't talented, but it does mean that it was mostly disposable except for teenagers who wanted to swagger around like Mick Jagger. For sheer power and air-guitar potential, the first few Led Zep albums blew all of this away.

The Stones had some good r&b tunes in the early years but they could never transition out of that mode.

George Starostin (18.01.2001)

Sorry, I just feel a desperate need to reply here... after all, Let It Bleed is one of my favourite records of all time and if this here letter was a dumbheaded flame, I would have left it as it is, but it makes some serious points and presents well-written arguments, so pardon me...

I think Mr Suger is really speaking for himself and some people of his era - to make globalizations like 'nobody wanted to listen to the Stones by the time ELP, Genesis and Gentle Giant appeared', when, in fact, the Stones were selling more records in the Seventies than all of these three bands put together, is a wee bit offbase. Of course, I know that speaking in terms of record sales isn't exactly the best thing on Earth, but I just wanted to point out that at least within the 1969-71 period, the Stones were as actual and edge-cutting as ever, and their audience was certainly not limited to 'hippies'. For the life of me I can't understand how 'Gimmie Shelter' can be the quintessential hippy anthem, unless Mr Suger understands 'hippies' in a VERY broad sense (i.e. people that don't wear neckties to work). 'Gimme Shelter' was a glorious apocalyptic statement with obscure references at Vietnam and beyond - perfectly written and performed, and not any worse than any given ELP, Gentle Giant, or Genesis song. The 'shelter' is a metaphor and not an exact call for evading the draft. As for 'Midnight Rambler', the 'lonesome traveller' that Mr Suger mentions is actually a blood-thirsty sexual maniac (the song referred to Edward DeSalvo, of all people!) and the only hippies who could identify with him were those in serious need of medical aid (unless, of course, according to Mr Suger ALL hippies needed medical aid). Therefore, the claim that Let It Bleed was essentially 'hippy music' seems rather pale to me. Putting this stuff on the same level with Lovin' Spoonful and Donovan doesn't exactly help understand why the album is still so universally revered thirty years after its release. Besides that, I could actually care less whether it's 'hippy stuff' or not as long as the melodies are fine.

I don't have anything to say about 'Jagger's phony country twang and lame attempt at blues ballads'. Personally, I consider the arrangement of 'Love In Vain' as beautiful, if not more beautiful, than anything ever put out by any given prog-rock band, and I think that the tongue-in-cheek, parodic arrangement of 'Country Honk' actually beats the stuffing of ELP's 'humorous' country-western sendups (although those were good in their own way), but I admit that is a matter of taste. However, claiming that the Stones' atmosphere was nothing but 'barroom rock & roll' seems to be a serious misunderstanding of the boys. Again, there's nothing wrong with barroom rock'n'roll as long as it's well-written, but I don't see any barroom rock'n'roll in 'Gimme Shelter', 'Midnight Rambler' or 'Monkey Man'. You try performing 'Midnight Rambler' in a standard barroom and see what happens. As for not experimenting with song structures - 'Midnight Rambler' and 'Monkey Man' both have some experimenting with song structures, not to mention stuff like 'Can't You Hear Me Knocking' on subsequent albums, for instance. Plus, experimenting with song structures is not necessarily a good thing.

I am not a teenager, and I don't want to swagger around like Mick Jagger, but I still revere Let It Bleed as perhaps the greatest 'rock'n'roll' album of all time. I also love well-written progressive rock, but I have yet somebody to prove that lengthy suites, complex chord changes and endless 'experimentation with song structures' automatically places the band who does that above any given band who doesn't do that. Bah! 'Nuff said.

Auberon Suger <> (19.01.2001)

First of all, I didn't intend my comments to merely dismisss the music or certainly not to flame anyone, and I'm very glad that Mr. Starostin took the time to offer such an insightful reply (and thanks for giving me space to respond -- I know this is not a place for long arguments, but I would appreciate offering a few more thoughts that could be of interest to readers here). I'll just add that this is the only web-review site that I participate on and without giving offense to the others, I've just found this one to have the most accurate and balanced reviews of them all. I also enjoy the clear logical (Russian) style without the usual excesses of blind fanaticism one finds elsewhere. I'd love to see some reviews of Russian pop here, (or even Russian liturgical chant but now we're way off topic). So, it's a credit to this site that we can look at a divergent opinion without wanting to kill each other.

Additionally, I take as my starting point the same thesis proposed by Mr. Starostin, that rock is essentially a dead artform much like jazz that came before, and everything (with a few exceptions) that has come after 1975 has been a feeble attempt to keep the music alive somehow. So, looking back from that perspective, one can see the peaks and valleys. I didn't realize that this was your favorite album, or that the Stones were a favorite band (but I can see that they are praised by a lot of people), but I still wouldn't put them at the peak. That I would reserve for the tunes of lyrical and musical brilliance that appeared only occasionally, but were never matched by others.

So, to answer I'd just offer four points:



Barroom music

The metaphysical structures of it all

So, first of all, you're absolutely right to point out that the Stones were huge commerically. Of course, Peter Frampton sold even more records in one year and so did Michael Jackson and the Backstreet Boys (for a one year period). I admit that Jagger and Richards were tasteful to some degree and without that element of intelligence (which is certainly much higher than any punk band has ever had) it would be hard to distinguish the Stones from Grand Funk Railroad.

So, yes I should stand somewhat corrected, or at least modify my statement. Instead of saying "no one wanted to sit around listening to the Stones", I should have said that "no one who was interested in where music was heading wanted to talk about the Stones as an example of brilliant music by musical geniuses. " Again, as one looking at the music from an historical vantage-point, it is very important to know why the music was created and what impact it had then as well as its power and quality today. I would say also that no one today wants to sit around listening to Dizzy Gillespie, and unfortunately, that is a comment about Mr. Gillespie's music. No, the Stones were not cutting edge at all at that particular time in history, but that's only one part of the criticism I made, not the entire part. Most of the people who had a keen interest in popular music, beyond the high school dances and teen-radio, were not interested in the Stones very much. I was in the music business for many years during that time, and it was true of musicians and fans alike.

I did offer, however, a thesis that the Stones were essentially an art rock band, perhaps capable of matching some of the work of their contemporaries, but certainly not skilled enough to try. No, their preferred mode was blues-based or folk-based 4/4 music. There's nothing inherently wrong with that at all. The Beatles did a lot within that structure (but the Beatles were far more adventurous and melodically gifted). But I suppose one could say that blues-based music is done by people who *have* to play that kind of music. We'd start with Muddy Waters or Robert Johnson. They somehow *had* to play that kind of music -- it wasn't really an artistic choice. The same would be true for Hank Williams, or even for the Beach Boys' surf music. The music is what they were. The Stones, however, were art-school graduates who could have chosen other approaches. So, I categorize them as an art rock band and within that category, they're pretty lame. They were contemporaries of David Bowie and Procul Harum and the Beatles and the Yardbirds and the Who. In the category of beery, blues rock, they're very good.

I'd just say also that the greatness of the band can be measured by its imitators, and there have many imitators of the Stones. So, they were loved enough to have imitators -- that's good. Unfortunately, they were also imitated because anyone could sort of sound like the Stones, and a lot (of the most ignorant bands) did. Was there anything really unique there? Again, I'd say that there was a lot of talent funneled into bluesy r&b while others created some monumental works of creativity. In my mind, a waste of talent at least after a while (the initial burst of energy was quite interesting and original).


No, I couldn't say that they were simply Donovan or the Mamas and the Papas, but I was talking more about the hippie ideology which I've always found obnoxious -- and no, that would not include everyone who wore jeans and long hair back then. It was the music put to the service of the hippie credo and that has dated very badly, and it was boring even back then. On a side note, yes I do believe that many hippies were very much in need of medical aid and one of the greatest of them all, Syd Barrett is still convalescing, but that shouldn't affect the judgement on the music too much (I like Syd's P. Floyd). I guess, as an example, I'd cite Peter Gabriel's brilliant sound and he even wrote an anti-war tune, but it was not co-opted by hippies as a hymn to social progress. I think people like Zappa and Beefheart, and Townsend didn't play into the hippie ethic. The hippies were mostly attempts to adopt various personae, and the Stones' attempt to act like rough bluesmen was comical at times, but always completely artificial. Whereas unlike Bowie and Tull and others, the Stones believed that they were the inheritors of Robert Johnson and Willie Dixon and that was utterly bogus from the beginning (the others knew they were just actors). Clapton tried the same thing but he could get away with it because of his instrumental genius.

Barroom music

Of course, there's nothing wrong with good barroom music. It's a lot of fun. It's grungy and simple and you can stomp your feet or dance or act cool. It's usually not completely embarrassing. But it's a fairly low-grade of entertainment when it all comes down to it. The Stones hits are like that. As I've grown older I've recognized the great value of time, and I guess I'd just say that it's too precious to waste on some things. I don't know if the Stones can challenge a person musically or otherwise. I'm sure they must because they have millions upon millions of fans. I'm not about to convince any of them other wise so I'll end this point here. The metaphysical structure of it all As I've mentioned elsewhere, music is written for a purpose and that affects how one reviews it. Beethoven's 9th was written to enshrine Enlightenment principles, Wagner for the triumph of Empire and the triumph of the Will, Palestrina's Papa Marcelli as a reflection of the heavenly kingdom. These are great pieces of music which will be remembered and loved when the last Uriah Heep CD is ground into dust. The best rock music emulates some of the moments in the great masterpieces of old -- but in my opinion, only as it captures a majestic and soaring quality -- lyrically and musically (and that doesn't mean just loud music -- but songs like VU's 'Sunday Morning' or 'Tomorrow Never Knows', or 'Firth of Fifth' would do it).

Is the music a lasting work of genius, or is it just a cheap thrill? 'Little Deuce Coupe' is a fun song and so is 'Peggy Sue' and 'Jailhouse Rock'. 'Brown Sugar', 'Monkey Man', 'Bitch', 'You Can't always get' ..., 'Tumblin Dice' -- those are fun songs also. Are they brilliant works of genius? Is any of the Stones catalogue at that level?

Certainly, if one puts the arrangement of "Love in Vain" at the highest pinnacle of the rock era, then the Stones must have had several works of pure genius. I guess I'm just one music fan that doesn't see it that way. From my perspective, I think back to the days when Tarkus, and Yes' first, and Selling England, and Quadrophenia, and Procul Harum's Grand Hotel, and Ziggy Stardust, and even lesser bands like Roxy Music were on the radio and the Stones were just an ordinary rock & roll band.

"Lengthy suites, complex chord changes and endless 'experimentation with song structures' do indeed place any band who does that in a higher level of sophistication, competence, originality and creativity than other bands who cannot do those things. True, it doesn't mean that those bands are necessarily better than bands who are only capable of simpler works. But the bands that attempt more original and creative works are capable of achieving higher quality results in the end. I don't think anyone will ever say that the Stones attempted music of high sophistication and creativity. What they did they did fairly well, given the modest goals they sought. Great music is sophisticated and complex, as is great literature and architecture and fine art. It may sound simple, as do some of Mozart's melodies, but it is not so.

Anyway, after a long essay here, I'll close by saying that I don't want to insult anyone's taste or intelligence with my remarks. I'm sure everyone has their own good reasons for liking the Stones or other bands that I'm not interested in. But the discussion has been interesting and I hope it was worthwhile reading all of this.

George Starostin (19.01.2001)

This is not going unanswered either. Let's turn the Let It Bleed review into a discussion of rock'n'roll aesthetics! It will be a fine homage to one of rock music's greatest (and as it turns out - most controversial) records.

Speaking of rock'n'roll aesthetics, I am not, of course, willing to remind Mr Suger of something like the standard take on rock'n'roll aesthetics upheld by the majority of rock critics (i.e. rock'n'roll has to be taken according to values absolutely different from those of classical music, and elements valid and crucial for classical music are invalid for rock music and vice versa, etc.). However, it goes without saying that you can't really judge rock music on the same scale as you judge classical, which is, I think, the main mistake that Auberon makes; the principal difference is that rock music was a product of mass art, a pure invention of the XXth century that couldn't even be hinted at at the time when Bach and Mozart were composing their masterworks.

The question was: is the Stones' catalogue brilliant in any way, and can any of their songs be revered as 'lasting work of genius'. My answer is -YES, YES and YES. I couldn't agree more that music is written for a purpose. But while Mr Suger cites me examples of timeless music written for grand, triumphant purposes, I could equally well cite him examples of timeless music written for exactly the same purpose as the Stones' music - ENTERTAINMENT. What do you make of, say, Mozart's 'Little Night Music'? So far, it has combattled time not any worse than Beethoven's 9th, and I, for one, could wreck my brain trying to think of a 'grand, triumphant' purpose that composition was written for. It was written for entertainment, and it was the prime analogy of 'Tumblin' Dice' for the XVIIIth century.

In fact, all music - all good music, at least - is written primarily for entertainment. Music is not a value in itself, as I wrote in one of my essays; it only becomes valuable as far as it means something or is 'usable' for the listener (and not for the composer, which is another important point: any music that is being offered to the public becomes obedient to public opinion). You can insert any grandiose 'purpose' into the music, but as long as it's poorly written, unoriginal, unmemorable, etc., this 'purpose' is just energy wasted. The music of such a band as Kansas, for instance, might be ten times as 'serious' as the music of the Rolling Stones, but it's such a poor and cheap rip-off of superior progressive bands that I'd easily trade in the entire Kansas catalog for just one previously undiscovered Stones outtake.

Not to mention that, like I already said, the Stones' music actually goes far, far beyond basic barroom boogie, apart from special intentional cases like 'Rip This Joint', for instance. And the fact that the Stones music is still played on classic rock radio today - unlike ELP and Genesis - goes to show that. Of course, it's a crime that ELP and Genesis have been mostly forgotten by classic rock radio, but unless you think of it as an intentional plot on the part of corrupted radio programmers, this really says something. Taking Mr Suger's approach ("the Stones have been rendered obsolete by the early Seventies by more sophisticated, grandiose and meaningful music"), I can easily continue in that direction and give the argument that "by 1975 progressive rock has been rendered obsolete as a clumsy and overblown attempt at a stupid marriage of ripped-off classical values with the form, and not the spirit, of rock music". I, however, prefer to refrain from such venomous statements. True, by 1971 or 1972 the Stones pretty much said everything they had to say and were no longer on the cutting edge. But how long can you stay on the cutting edge? For the Stones, it was eight years (1964-1971), nine if you accept the theory that Exile On Main Street was 'cutting edge' as well, which I do not. For most progressive rock bands, it was something like three or four years. ELP went from 1971 to 1974, same goes with Genesis, etc. After that, these bands passed the baton to New Wave and lost the 'cutting edge' power themselves. That doesn't mean they ceased producing good music after 1974, but hey, the Stones didn't cease producing good music after 1971 either.

Therefore, arguing that 'by the early Seventies the Stones weren't actual any more' is just about the same as arguing that 'by the second half of the twentieth century classical music wasn't actual any more'. 'Nuff said.

Let us take a simple example. Which is better - ELP's 'Tarkus' or the Stones' 'Brown Sugar'? For Mr Suger, the answer is obvious. 'Tarkus' is longer, more complex, more sophisticated, more professional and competent. These are all well-argued points. But I will never accept 'sophistication' and 'complexity' as the ultimate criteria for rock music, or for music in general. The main thing is a) the entertainment value and b) the emotional response one gets while listening to a musical piece. The entertainment value of 'Brown Sugar' is hardly less than the entertainment value of 'Tarkus' - what's not to like about the melody and the power and the excellent recording? The emotional response of 'Brown Sugar' is even higher, because 'Brown Sugar', taking on the shocking - but not wholly unactual - matter of 'slave rape', actually makes far more sense than 'Tarkus' (which doesn't make ANY sense and whose subject matter is, in fact, quite laughable).

And actually, Mr Suger is betraying his own cause when he says 'it may sound simple, as do some of Mozart's melodies, but it is not so'. What does 'it is not so' actually mean? Mozart did write simpler melodies than Bach or Beethoven, didn't he? It is a well-known fact that Mozart is, in general (with a few exceptions) a simpler composer than those other two. So you do make an excuse for 'genial simplicity' after all. That's what the Stones music is to me - genial simplicity, far more acute and meaningful than ninety-nine percent of progressive rock that followed it.

That's not to say I despise progressive rock. Many of my favourite albums of all time lie in that category - from Genesis to King Crimson to Renaissance to Jethro Tull, etc. But let us not tip the balance. If somebody tries to denigrate progressive rock, I'll say that this person's perspective is way too restricted and limited because he can't visualise a merger of classical values with rock values. But if somebody tries to denigrate 'classic rock'n'roll', I'll say that this person's perspective is way too restricted to fully understand the basic values of rock music - which are, in fact, pretty similar to those of classical values, only freed from the shackles of formalism and pretentiousness. Music entertains, and I could really care less in what way it does that entertainment, as long as it finds new, original and exciting forms of entertainment. And Let It Bleed certainly offered a new, original and exciting form of entertainment. If you see nothing in the combination of Keith Richards' masterful and unmatched guitar syncopation, Charlie Watts' steady jazzy drumming, Mick Jagger's light touch of humour, menace and psychedelia, and an amazing stylistic diversity (from the apocalypsis of 'Gimme Shelter' to the hilarity of 'Country Honk' to the spookiness of 'Midnight Rambler' to the beauty of 'Love In Vain' to the goofiness of 'Monkey Man' - barroom rock? P-L-E-A-S-E! Like I said, Lynyrd Skynyrd are barroom rock), I'll just have to shrug my shoulders.

As for the 'popularity' issue, and the statement that the Stones were an 'art-rock' band 'stuck in the blues', my only answer is: 'So what?'. The Stones did offer their own take on the blues that was certainly different from the old bluesmen' take on it - and it couldn't be otherwise - but the day somebody proves to me that this take was obviously inferior I'll go out of music reviewing. What's the deal with the statement that the Stones 'considered themselves inheritors' of the blues tradition? This is an excessive and unargumented assumption. Perhaps Mick Jagger does like to think of himself as an 'inheritor', but I have never heard the Stones proclaim themselves as 'inheritors of classic blues music'. 'Greatest rock'n'roll band in the world', yes, but not that. Did Mick Jagger try to growl like Muddy Waters? Did Keith Richards try to play guitar like Hubert Sumlin? (For that matter, when they really tried to cop their predecessors, they usually succeeded: Keith Richards played Chuck Berry-style just as good, if not better, than Chuck, and Brian Jones played Elmore James-style just as good as Elmore James). They had their own style, inserting a little bit of 'whiteness' in the originally black music, but what's so wrong or 'phoney' or 'lame' about that? There's not any more 'phoneyiness' here than there is in Keith Emerson copping his classical predecessors or in Robert Fripp copping neo-classical composers.

And I don't really get that approach that forces to categorize the Stones as an 'art-rock band'. Just because they finished art school? What a strange thought. The Stones were a rock'n'roll band that never really tried 'serious' art-rock, with just a couple of exceptions. Within the 'rock'n'roll band' category, the Stones are absolutely adequate and one of the best.

Finally, one MAJOR disagreement: the Stones never wrote music 'put to the service of the hippie credo'. It is absolutely the same as saying 'ELP wrote music put to the service of weird early Seventies' potheads', actually, you'll find plenty of people believing that. The Stones wrote music that they deemed good - okay, sometimes they wrote music that they deemed commercial (which is not a crime in itself), but they never wrote special hippie-appealing music. Songs like 'Street Fighting Man' or 'Midnight Rambler' are, in fact, totally incompatible with the hippie ideology of the day. And while we're at it, might I also add that back in 1969-70, it wasn't really relevant what kind of music was played as long as it was good. The exact same 'hippies' and 'potheads' were listening with equal admiration to bands like the Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival and even Free, on one hand, and Jethro Tull and Emerson, Lake & Palmer on the other hand; at music festivals like the Isle of Wight everybody was given a chance.

That's pretty much everything I have to say and I will not post any more of my own responses; however, maybe somebody else would like to have his or her say? I do think there might be more sides to the matter than either Mr Suger or me have pointed out.

Rich Bunnell <> (20.01.2001)

I personally don't think that the argument is really worth discussing in great detail. Progressive, brainy rock and bluesy bar rock are on -completely- opposite ends of the rock spectrum, and when people who only like one genre try to clash with people who only like the other, chaos ensues. Just look at the bottom of Prindle's Dylan page. It's just not an argument that can be resolved.

Auberon Suger <> (20.01.2001)

I'm glad that Mr. Starostin started by talking about rock'n'roll vs classical or other forms of music. Yes, it's true that rock cannot be judged with the same standards used for classical (because classical is judged by much higher standards). I would say that the Stones produced basic rock & roll and pop music. It's a basic beat with guitar riffs and mostly-idiotic lyrics. No, we usually don't call that sort of thing "genius" but there could be exceptions to that I suppose. Rock'n'roll really is not music written by or performed by musically brilliant people -- nor is country & western music, or folk music. It's simple pop music for the people (and in the case of 90% of rock'n'roll, geared for a teenage mentality. e.g. picking up chicks, acting cool, rebelling against school teachers, fantasizing about sex, and basically acting very stupid). This doesn't mean that it is all bad (there is the 10%), but only that it should be viewed within its genre.

My one point was that rock'n'roll at its greatest "emulates" some of the truly great music of all time. It catches a glimpse of great music, and sometimes creates entirely new things that approach greatness. So, the music is written for a purpose, and one should decide whether the music achieved the purpose, and also if the purpose was worthwhile in itself.

So, I'll disagree with this one point raised by Mr. Starostin: "In fact, all music - all good music, at least - is written primarily for entertainment."

No, I would disagree with this absolutist statement. Most of the greatest music in the West was written for religious purposes -- that is, the worship of God and usually within a Christian context, although it started with Hebrew chant in the Jewish rituals. That is the foundation of Western music --- strictly religious (spiritual) with no entertainment purpose at all. So, from Hebrew chant, Gregorian chant (in a single melody) emerged and was sung from the 2nd century (probably earlier). In the early middle ages, polyphonic chant developed with the addition of harmony and that moved to the masterpieces of Palestrina, Tallis, Byrd, De Pres and Victoria. True, there was folk music during this time with a lot of experimentation (and some of the "medieval" rock tunes use that style to great effect -- Genesis, Tull, Renaissance, Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, and even some Pink Floyd). We keep that point in mind when we think about all the English schoolboys who were instructed in Anglican chant and then used those harmonies in their pop creations -- or Wakeman and Emerson's church organ, etc.

The same is certainly true of gospel music which is the precursor of much of the rock'n'roll used by the Stones and thousands of others.

I do agree that music must be "usable" for the listener. If the listener can find entertainment in the music, then it has value for the listener. But that is true of the most cornball country tunes, or the lounge music of Tony Bennet, of Guy Lombardo, or other horrible music like Kansas. Now, on that point I'll have to say that it was a bit of a red herring to mention Kansas because I find them to be utterly nauseating and impossible to listen to, although yes, they probably have some musical talent. No, I wouldn't say that Kansas is serious either because they would be hilarious if it wasn't so painful to listen to.

So, there are some aspects (and you've outlined a few in your rating system) that we look at such as creativity (unique use of the form or structure or instrumentation, etc.), style, lyricism (and I've avoided a discussion of the poetics of the lyrics thus far), and other things that we wrap-up in the concept of "beauty".

I have not seen where the Stones have gone far, far beyond barroom r&b, and in fact, their first few albums are great examples of that style when they were at their best. As for pop songs, one would expect striking melodies, great lyrics and gorgeous instrumentation. Usually these are lacking in the Stones. It's your basic rock'n'roll -- and I'm not knocking it for that but just pointing to the limitations. Yes, it's true that the Stones are still played on classic rock radio today, (right alongside of Kansas, Styx, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rush, and Bad Company) and it is true that ELP and Genesis are not played. But I question the taste of the classic rock DJs for that imbalance in the playlists.

Now Mr. Starostin has perhaps undone one of his most significant arguments by trying to look at the Stones outside of the historical context in which they performed (since they weren't cutting edge they weren't significant). No, this would mean that music produced after 1975, even if it was a slightly modified copy of earlier rock'n'roll, would be reviewed as if it was written in 1969. No, that's not possible. For example, a band like the Police would have been brilliant innovators in 1969, whereas today, they are just a good band. In fact, they might be able to compose much better music than many of the groups in the "golden era", but because they came 20 years later, they are not as interesting.

I'll have to say also that there are hundreds, if not thousands of good rock'n'roll bands playing music today that I've never heard and I'm sad to say that I have no interest in listening to unless they can come up with something truly unique because even a brilliant remake of Tumblin Dice, Brown Sugar, or Honky Tonk Women is not going to have any interest for me. And think about this, if those songs are brilliant in themselves, can other artists do a brilliant performance of those songs? Would anyone really want to try (yes, Bowie did a few Stones covers)? Those are simply your basic rock'n'roll perhaps a little better than old Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes, but not much more.

As for the cutting edge period for the Stones I would move it back to 1968, so 6 years, and the progressives were working in an accelerated environment where the limited rock structure was stretched and pulled and warped beyond all recognition by a throng of would-be-rock'n'roll-stars and after that there was no hope for it to ever be a vital sound again (unlike 1964-1965 where there was a relatively small number of rock bands).

A simple example between Tarkus and Brown Sugar -- actually, it's not simple because both songs try to achieve a different purpose. But I will concede one important point to Mr. Starostin, namely -- the lyrics of Tarkus are idiotic and abysmal and even a fairly mindless song like "Brown Sugar" is superior on that score -- but what are we really talking about here? " ... ooh, just like a black girl should ..." Yes, true it is better than Tarkus in the lyrics ... and again, some people will even call it poetry. No, I don't think Tarkus is a work of genius, but the instrumentation is original and captivating. I like Endless Enigma from their Trilogy album and the lyrics are a slight bit better there. Stones lyrics are another topic entirely, and I'm fairly sure that no one listens to them for the poetic lyrics -- Monkey Man, " ... I'm a cold Italian pizza ... I could use a lemon squeezer ..."; Can you hear me knockin, " Hear me growlin', yeah, I've got flatted feet ..." , Bitch "Feeling hungry, can't see the reason, Just had a horse meat pie, Yeah when you call my name I salivate like a Pavlov dog ..."

You might think I'm truly crazy but I'll take Yes' pseudo-mysticism over this stuff any day (and Yes' nonsense lyrics attempt to create a mood or atmosphere in a poetic form).

Now, when it is mentioned that Mozart wrote simpler melodies we recognize that Mozart's simplicity takes a lifetime to master in performance -- I will return us to the initial point that we should not compare classical and rock because it will end looking very bad for the entire rock genre and we don't want to get into that at all and again, I'm not trying to denigrate all rock music or even the Stones (although it might sound like I'm too negative), I just think they belong in a fairly limited category, and they are very good in that category (keep in mind that I repeated that before -- not that they are terrible or unlistenable).

"Within the 'rock'n'roll band' category, the Stones are absolutely adequate ..." Yes, I asserted that before. There are good country and folk acts, and there are good be bop jazz acts and good lounge acts. I think I could name at least 20 rock songs that are better than anything that the Stones ever produced, but perhaps others could try to do that or else come up with a challenge to say that Love in Vain, for example is better than any progressive rock song ever produced. There are some good progressive rock stations on and I think you'll find some very high quality music there. As for basick rock'n'roll, I think even the lowly Van Halen has better guitar solos and Steely Dan has better lyrics than the Stones. Also, try Pere Ubu's Modern Dance for a unique rock album from the late 1970s. Thanks again to George for opening up this interesting topic.

<Bryan Boyd Jackson Jr.> (20.01.2001)

Can I say something? You must really really really like The Rolling Stones to trade in all of Kansas's stuff for one outtake. That is plain crazy! Also, Emerson, Lake, And Palmer are still played on classic rock radio's! Why did you say they aren't? I'm not picking sides, you and Mr. Sugar both have valid points in your discussions, but I will say one thing. I like Sticky Fingers, but don't like "Brown Sugar". Sorry, never cared for that song. I don't know why, just never did. It's a good song, I just don't like it. My personal taste. I know, you are probably pretending to kick my ass right now George, but I'm sorry. Ask God why I don't like it! You are right. Let It Bleed did offer something new, and original, but exciting lies in your own personal tastes, and unfortunately for me, it was not as exciting as the masterpieces before it. The Rolling Stones are still one of the greatest bands ever. I believe that they are overrated, and at the same time underrated. What I mean by that is that radio stations seem to play the same stuff over constantly without supplying us (the listeners) with the opportunity to make an opinion on a band when they play the same songs being repeated over again. Personally, I don't care for the 70's Rolling Stones songs that radio stations play, and besides, I'm more of an album person. I like listening to everything in album form, that's why I quit listening to the radio stations. Also, Dirty Work is drastically underrated. After all the complaints, after all the derogatory remarks, I must say I enjoyed every song on that album. I'd give it a 12. That's just my personal taste though. I have to say though, out of all the rock bands in the 60's who had the blues/rock formula (mostly everybody), the Rolling Stones are easily my favorite. I'm sorry for jumping off of the subject a little bit, but to answer the million dollar question, of what is more relevant, barroom rock's roll, or progressive rock, I'd say........................I'd say......................................Damn, I don't know! I will say that I enjoy them both about the same, and usually I just listen to what I am in the mood to listen to, and right now, it's barroom rock, but tomorrow it could be progressive rock, it's a "what do I feel like today" game. Okay, I'm done. Sorry for any spelling mistakes, but that's my, MY opinion. I'll be ready for you to cuss me out.

George Starostin (20.01.2001)

I agree with Rich that this discussion is essentially useless, as the two main participants here speak from entirely different positions and use entirely different types of arguments and paradigms. I, personally, would never try to argue that rock'n'roll is better than classical music or that classical music is better than rock'n'roll, as Mr Suger tries to do. This might eventually lead to absurd - like that "I Hate Music" page where all music is condemned as something stupid and harmful. If we condemn rock'n'roll for being simplistic music about chicks and getting out of school (a very limited and socially distorted view, but I'll pass), we can also condemn classical music for being drawn out, pompous, boring 'pseudo-spiritual' bollocks. It all depends more on the attitude and the good will that somebody extends to these genres than on any kind of objective judgement. It is impossible to prove either of these points. It is impossible to disprove them. It is essentially a matter of religion, and the question is in the general scope of a person's religious interests. It is impossible to prove that Mozart or Bach are OBJECTIVELY better than the Rolling Stones, or vice versa, as the music of Mozart and Bach, on one hand, and the music of the Stones, on the other, is grounded in two entirely different foundations.

I fully accept and revere classical music. I fully accept and revere classic rock'n'roll. I fully accept well-written progressive rock, but tend to view it as slightly inferior to both classical and rock'n'roll for a simple reason - it is a hybrid of the two, and hybrids do tend to be less convincing than originators. Any limited classical fan will deride Yes or ELP for 'bastardizing' classical motives, just as any limited rock'n'roll fan will deride them for betraying the true spirit of rock'n'roll. I do neither - I like that music, but consider it somewhat secondary. When Mr Suger goes around saying that prog-rock put the Stones in the past, he is actually doing that same mistake that I pointed above. Basically, prog-rock is 'better' because it brings in values more actual for classical music; therefore, any music with 'classical' values is better than any music with 'rock'n'roll' values. And this cannot be proved.

What this all stems from is the basic prejudice that "classical music is complex and high and spiritual and rock'n'roll is something simple and lowly and oh so cheap". But somehow nobody ever explained to the people why 'complex' in art should be revered more than 'simple', and nobody ever explained to us what are the criteria for defining 'spiritual'. Like I already said, if we judge music on the base of complexity, then Kansas sure outbeats the Rolling Stones; and while we're at that, it will also mean that Mozart is like a little talentless puppy compared to, say, Gustav Mahler, not to mention lots of neo-classical stuff that nobody listens to anyway. And as for 'spirituality', you can find spirituality everywhere. I find a lot of spirituality in the beautiful Mellotron passages on 'Jig Saw Puzzle', for instance; that stuff always makes me cry. I can't say the same for much of J. S. Bach's music. Other people feel the contrary. So?

Who are 'musically brilliant people', I wonder? Are 'musically brilliant people' those that receive musical college education and can play church organ? Or maybe 'musically brilliant people' are those that write interesting music? In this case, the Rolling Stones had at least one, if not two, 'musically brilliant' persons in the band. The 'basic beat' is a foundation for rock'n'roll, I suppose, but jazz and blues also have their 'basic beats' - what's wrong with that? Classical music also has its standard tempos. 'Guitar riffs' - what's wrong with that? How is a guitar riff inferior to a nice piano melody? 'Mostly-idiotic lyrics' - since the lyrics aren't really all that important for rock'n'roll, I really couldn't care, but I suppose many people - and quite intelligent at that - would prefer these 'mostly idiotic' lyrics to overblown opera librettos, which, might I remind you, aren't always 'great poetry' either. You see, it's all notions that Mr Suger deems self-obvious, but as soon as you start digging into it, it turns out they're not as obvious as he would like to think.

I won't present any more 100-page arguments in favour of the Stones - I fear it's of no use, as, for one, too much injustice has been done to the band here. Somehow, their great instrumentation on albums like Flowers and their excellent pop melodies of 1965-67 have been forgotten, and I have absolutely no problems with any of the lyrics presented above, because all of them at least make sense - 'Monkey Man' excluded, but 'Monkey Man' is just a funny dadaistic piece; also, I could care less about Van Halen's wanky solos - the solos of the Stones are far more effective and convey far more depth, not just being some guy showing off how fast he can play, and while Steely Dan might have had better lyrics than the Stones, it is not fair to make that comparison because Steely Dan, in a large part, were about the lyrics, and the Stones always treated lyrics as secondary in respect to the music. Plus, the Stones are not 'basic rock'n'roll' - the Stones are the pinnacle of rock'n'roll, having demonstrated far more creativity within the genre than almost any of their contemporaries or followers - the vivid, wonderfully syncopated, 'breathing', 'dangerous' guitar stylistics of Keith Richards is far more impressive than the technically perfect, but cold and rigid style of Jimmy Page, and is a near-perfect embodiment of the 'rock'n'roll spirit', which is not so much about picking up chicks and rebelling against school teachers as it is about the idea of inner and outer freedom in general. So far, I haven't yet found anything in rock music that would match the power, genial simplicity - and at the same time, relative complexity - of the mind-blowing riffage which starts 'Can't You Hear Me Knocking'; for my money, it is simply one of the most beautiful and expressive moments in the entire music of the twentieth century. And that was 1971 - when the Stones were not 'cutting edge' any more, although I do think they were. But here I go again... anyway, when a person is biased from the start, any argument in favour of somebody can eventually turn into an argument against somebody. I'll just say that, yeah, the Stones' lyrics suck, the Stones' music is simplistic and ridiculous, they can't play their instruments worth shit, they can't sing, they're stuck in barroom R'n'B (performing perfectly ordinary barroom R'n'B tunes like 'Sympathy For The Devil', 'Midnight Rambler', 'She's A Rainbow', 'Satisfaction', 'Lady Jane', 'Shine A Light', 'Can You Hear Me Knocking', '2000 Light Years From Home', 'Child Of The Moon', etc., to the drunken rattle of Lowenbrau cans), they stink, they're overfed rich bastards, they're overrated by radio performers all over the world, whatever.

I still love them, and even though I never lived in the Sixties and never caught the Stones at the time when they were 'cutting edge' and never shared the 'hippie ideology' with them, they still mean more to me - and many other people like me - than J. S. Bach ever could. Not to offend J. S. Bach, of course. Now sue me. My criterion is simple: the Stones made music that was emotionally resonant (for me, at least), well-performed, and original (what album before Let It Bleed could one name that sounded even remotely close)? I could care less about further philosophizing on the subject. This is my last response - I'm glad we had a chance to offer this discussion anyway, but I fear that further interaction will be just rehashing points made above, and that's hardly of any interest to anybody.

Auberon Suger <> (21.01.2001)

I didn't want to offend anyone with my comments. George raised some good points, as usual. I'm sure there's lot more to say about music theory and the aesthetics of rock'n'roll, but I agree that we should do that at another time and place. Again, I'm sorry if it sounded like I was trashing all the Stones fans -- I didn't mean it that way at all. Thanks again for a good discussion. I'll keep quiet now.

Tarjei Vatne <> (02.02.2001)

Hello. This is Tarjei Vatne from Norway. First, let me congratulate you on a superb site. Next, I'd like to add a comment in the Let it bleed-debate between you and Auberon Suger. Well, what I'd really like to talk about is not the record Let it bleed, which I haven´t even heard, but the interesting topic you touched upon in your correspondence, namely the so-called "simple" vs. "complicated" music contoversy.

As I read Suger's remark about Mozart ("Great music is sophisticated and complex, as is great literature and architecture and fine art. It may sound simple, as do some of Mozart's melodies, but it is not so.") I anticipated Starostin's answer, and as I scrolled down, there it was: "It is a well-known fact that Mozart is, in general (with a few exceptions) a simpler composer than those other two (Bach and Beethoven, my remark). So you do make an excuse for 'genial simplicity' after all"

First, let me say that I agree wholly with Starostin, but in some strange way I find Suger is correct in spite of himself. Could it be that music could be complex and simple at the same time? A Mozart piano tune sometimes seems to dance gracefully along in the simplest manner, like a feather floating on the wind. It is beautiful, we say, it's simple. And yet...

And yet it isn´t simple at all. Not by a long way. Let me just say here that I work as a musician, and have been writing songs since my teenage years (I am now 31). I say this not to impress, but how else can I reveal to you that I personally have had hundreds and hundreds of ours with intense, frustrating experience by the piano or guitar, tearing my hair out over that one fundamental fact: The simple is almost always so immensely difficult.

Before I proceed, let me distinguish between music that somehow feels "simple" when one listens to it, and the actual inner dynamics of the piece, which may not be simple at all. On the other side, one has music that "sounds complex", but often is just chaotic, and in fact is very simple in the sense that the dynamics, the structure and the inner coherence of the piece is lacking. Broadly stated, one then has four permutations:

1) "simple sounding, but subtle, elaborate structure and dynamics" (Mozart's "Elvira Madigan" (when played well), Beatles' "The long and winding road")

2) Simple sounding, poor struct.&dynamics (Most Bob Dylan wannabees, barroom performances of classic rock hits, where important chords, dynamics, melodic subtleties etc. very often is missing)

3)complex sounding, subtle struct.&dynamics (f.ex. Beethoven Sonatas, bebop jazz)

4)complex sounding, poor struct.& dynamics (bad Yes, bad bebop)

It should be clear that 1) and 3) is what we all want to hear, yet we often dismiss 1) by linking it to 2) (which is what Suger to a certain extent did, I feel). The thing about music of type 1) is that it is simple in the sense that it is oh-so-transparent. But being transparent, the rough edges, the misplaced rythmic accents, the badly delivered playing also stick out like weeds among tulips. Or let me give another metaphor:

I sometimes think of music in category 1) as being in essence a kind of hologram composed with the aid of a dozen mirrors or so. The mirrors stand round it and reflect the light that makes up the hologram. Change the position, however slightly, of just one of them, and the hologram, the "central essence" of the music is in fact completely changed. In music like this, the balance between chords, phrase lenghts, melodic figures, rythmic accents, dynamic variations, lyrics(for non-instrumental music), voicings etc. is very delicate. And although the music seems like entering our feelings in an instant, there are so many things going on at once! In this respect, music can never be "simple". The bad barroom piano player sounds bad because the rythm in his piano is fighting against the phrasing of his voice, the volume in his accompaniment is going down and up(mostly up) with no concern for the yearnings of the melody, and so on and so forth. Stones, Beatles Mozart (played well) sound incredibly good because they are masters of the difficult art of, first in composition, then in arrangeing and performance, holding all those separate mirrors at the right angles, so that the hologram, the illusion of musical simplicity and unity that shines in the middle and speaks to our feelings, can shine forth. But the job they do in the wings is very complex indeed.

To elaborate: When I tear my hair out by the piano, it is sometimes because I have a simple-sounding melody that, let's say, needs a proper ending. Because of the said melody's ability to make our feelings respond with instant recognition, a misplaced tone or chord in the last phase of it, can destroy the whole thing, like a Shakespeare sonnet ending with "and Bob's your uncle". But playing safe is often just as bad, because the music has to live, to progress, the question it has started with must be answered, in a manner that is both original, but that displays continuity as well. In an article I read about Beethoven, they went through his famous main theme in his "ode to joy" (seid umschlungen, millionen) in his 9th symphony. The guy had spent many months and notebooks perfecting this simple(-sounding!) theme, as he often did in similar instances. He knew the destorting effects of the misplaced note. Similarly, Mozart once complained, in a letter to his father, about fast playing. Anybody can play fast, he wrote, so fast that the notes blur into each other. "But is that music?" he asked. In a similar vein, it is possible to see that the tempo is not the only thing that can clutter things up to the point where we may ask "is this music?" There exist music where the key and tempo changes, and/or the sudden shifts in melody, harmonisation and rythm, is nothing but confusing. One cannot see the wood for the trees. Sometimes I feel like nothing is simpler than writing a quasi-complex piece that seems sort of impressive, at least for a little while (although some people will look right through it instantly). This is because the music is not transparent, it has no penetrating structure, no real continuity or inner coherence, it just keeps on churning away. People who compose such music has an easy job when it comes to hiding a lack of ideas, just as fast guitar players can confuse their audience (and themselves) by not really presenting anything but some kind of buzz. Let me hasten to say that I love good complex-sounding music. I dig Stravinskij, bopjazz (and swing!), good prog-rock etc. My issue is just to warn against hating category 3) because of 4) and 1) because of 2). In the end, wether your leanings are towards the brilliant structures carried forward by 1), or the ditto by 3), this may be more of a personality issue. (although after four beers I may start to waver on this point...."so the prog rock lovers are a bit cold hearted you say? A bit pretentious? Well, you may have a point there..." (another two beers) "OF COURSE YOU HAVE A POINT THERE!")

Palash Ghosh <> (07.03.2001)

Let It Bleed is the Stones' second best album (after Beggars Banquet) and that's no put-down! I fully agree that the music here is (as you say) 'dark, dreary, but oh so beautiful' -– but let me also add that this record pretty much single-handedly nailed the coffin on the love/peace/hippie generation of the 1960's! Beneath all the flower-power and love-beads are the guts of a violent and cruel world and The Stones are celebrating it with an exhilarating fury. I think that Mick Taylor HAD arrived already and his contributions were extremely significant.

'Gimme Shelter' makes me cringe it's so bloody menacing and exciting and chilling.

'Love In Vain' (which would've been a perfect addition to Beggars) is a cover of an old Robert Johnson blues number from the 1920's -- and at the risk of sounding blasphemous, The Stones' version is an IMPROVEMENT over the original! Keith really brings out the beauty of this tune, he 'refitted' it to his particular strengths and this version is so vastly different from Johnson's that I practically consider it a Stones original.

'You Got The Silver' is a little weak, but has its own charms.

The most spectacular track on this album is the incredibly sexy and exciting 'Live With Me' –- the wild lyrics, the hyper-masculine and snarling vocal delivery, the raucous sax solo, the savagely pounding bass, the brutish lead guitar (by Mick Taylor, I think) -- this might be my favorite Stones track ever. Once again, I 'feel' this song reflects Keith's aesthetics more than Mick's.

The title track is another triumph -- I just LOVE that lazy, drunken, but menacing vocal delivery; the strangely disturbing piano backing and great lines like "a place in my parking lot."

I know many people prefer 'Honky Tonk Women' to 'Country Honk' but I prefer the latter! It works much better as a countrified number.

'You Can't Always Get What You Want' is the one song I really dislike here. It TRULY doesn't have a place on this album, and that chorus just sounds absurd!

What if The Stones had made a double-album of Beggars and Let it Bleed? Wow! Would it be their 'Black Album'?

Nick Karn <> (11.03.2001)

There's been some very great points made in the argument spawned within this album's comments. Basically I feel that a song or album's entertainment value and emotional impact on the listener is different for everyone. If people can say the Stones are talentless hacks with sloppy, incompetent musicianship, awful vocals, stupid lyrics and derivative music, well, I suppose there's not much you can do to convince them otherwise, just the notion of Yes being toneless, ugly sounding and inadequate. It took awhile for me to warm up to this album, but after a few listens, I really began to see its' appeal, and I can recognize it as one of the greatest rock albums ever made, probably in my top 10 of all time. And I vastly appreciate the absolute beauty of Close To The Edge even more with each listen, enough to declare it also 15 worthy. The best progressive music in my mind is right up there with the best Beatles, Who, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin albums. It's impossible for me to tell objectively what's 'best'. :)

But anyway, like I said before, this album RULES. I don't think there's any song here that's less than really good or great, much less mediocre. I even love "Country Honk" - I don't know, maybe I just instinctively fall for those laid back, rootsy songs that sound like they're being performed on a front porch somewhere. The most well known tracks, "Gimme Shelter", "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Midnight Rambler" are absolute classics, of course, for obvious reasons, but like you said, no song here really overshadows the others.

In fact, my current pick for favorite song here (as tough as that is to do) may surprise some people - "You Got The Silver". It just seems to work PERFECTLY to relieve the tension of "Midnight Rambler" that preceded it, and it's just absolutely gorgeous. Keith Richard's vocals are quite a pleasant contrast to hear after Jagger's howling (not that Jagger's howling isn't great). And I'd also have to mention "Monkey Man" - from the chilling piano notes in the beginning to the perfect riff, it's just incredible. I'd give this album a 10(15), of course.

Kevin Baker <> (14.03.2001)

Mein cold Italian pizza, this album is FRIGGIN' AWESOME!!!!! What doesn't it have? Rockers, moody numbers, stunningly gorgeous ballads, scarefests, word games, absolutely everything a good rock album should have. And nothing that a good one shouldn't have. 'Gimme Shelter' is my absolute favorite Stones song of all time, hands down. It's an absolute masterpiece. The creepy guitar lines, the desperate vocals, the hard hitting lyrics, the mood, everything about it just sets it on a pedestal for me. But everything else after it is magnifico, as well! 'Love In Vain' is absolutely beautiful. I have never heard a blues song done so gorgeously. I bet ole Robert Johnson would have been proud if he'd been alive to hear it. Then, coming down off of the emotional rollercoaster of the 1st two songs, we have 'Country Honk', which cracks me up every time I hear it. Mick Jagger could really be a good redneck if he wanted. Continuing the funny streak, we have 'Live With Me'. The verse about the servants is hilarious. Then, we have our title track, which granted is totally gross, but still a cool song. Then the infamous 'Midnight Rambler'. Who else would have done a song like this in 1969? Creepy, eeriely rockin' out, spooky vocals, classic cut. I like the live version from GYYYO a little better, but this one has an eerie edge that the more ferocious live version lacks. 'You Got The Silver' is a good ballad, despite the fact that I really don't care for Keith's voice. 'Monkey Man' is a weird one, but I do adore the riff. "I'm a cold Italian pizza?" Where the heck did that come from...maybe I don't wanna know. The song kicks some major butt though. And of course, we have 'You Can't Always Get What You Want'. In this case, we can. Perfect album.

Chris Papadopoulos <> (20.03.2001)

I'm with you on this one: it's their best album, and there can't be many better by anyone. The opening track is one of this planet's greatest rock songs, and the closer is almost as good. 'Live With Me' and 'Midnight Rambler' are other obvious standouts, but let's not forget 'You Got The Silver', featuring a heartfelt Keith vocal, and 'Monkey Man', with its blazing guitar and throat-shredding screams. I actually prefer the Ya Yas version of 'Love in Vain' because Mick Taylor's slide playing and tone are so jaw-droppingly fantastic. I'm not crazy about Country Honk' anymore (like the Beatles' 'Revolution', the rocking version makes it obsolete) but I still give this an unequivocal 10.

Didier Dumonteil <> (01.04.2001)

No need for summoning the classics for the Stone.They've got nothing to to with Wolfgang and co.They never claimed to be "progressive"either.THey're simply a rock band.And on this album,a first-rate one."Gimme Shelter" is mind-boggling,describing the end of the hippie dream(it's fascinating to watch the last scene of the eponymous movie ,all this debacle and that song,that song!)On "street fightin' man" (gulp,will I come through all right this time?),the Stones are only Paris riots witnesses.Here ,they really become part of the plot.This song is not contrived at all,it does come from the guts,don't forget either that B.Jones passed away in 1969. "Love in vain" is a marvelous cover,it can be either a plain love song or a P.S. to "Gimme shelter".

"Country honk" shows,one more time ,that the Stones -it's a quality they share with theB.-don't take themselves seriously:they laugh at the country craze,that was rampant at the time,but they laugh at them as well.All is not great in this album though:"monky man" is silly,in spite of a very nice arrangement,and "let it bleed" stretches and nothing really happens .Genius is back on the last track.A lot of people deplored the choir,but the finale is astounding and much too short:it deserved to last at least three or four minutes more since it has such a soaring transcendence.The message is clear:"the sixties are over,now move your ass and learn to swim."

Nathan Walters <> (17.04.2001)

I recently got the album "Let it Bleed" from the Rolling Stones, and I decided to hop over to your site to see what you and your readers thought about it.

I'd like to add my 2 cents' worth to the debate, and also to comment on the album (the album *is* still an allowed topic, isn't it?)

As far as the debate as to the types of music goes, it's pretty ridiculous. The two types of music are radically different. Judging the Rolling Stones by their mastery of scales, intervals, and counterpoint is as silly as judging Bach by his jams and boogies.

My next statement is going to get me flamed, I'm sure, but I don't really think that Classical music (taken as a whole) is any 'higher' than Rock, even though Classical tends to move me much more. This is basically because Classical musicians put a lot more stuff into their music. I think music is *good* if it moves me more than I'd expect for the amount of complexity put into it. A complex piece has more potential to move me, but unless it fills that potential, I'm likely to think that it's overblown hogwash. An example of a 'great' piece would, under my definition, be JS Bach's "Tocatta." It's a simple piece--I can sightread it [I play the Harp] no problem, even from the full, unsimplified score. On the other hand, it moves me deeply. The Rolling Stones (and any Rock Group) don't put too much complexity into their work. So it doesn't move me as much (there's just less potential than in a full orchestral piece, end of story), but they do enough with what they have. So they're good. Remember, not all Classical is the immortal greats: the geniuses that wrote the earthshattering symphonies came about 1 per generation, and Rock is still young. Just my thoughts.

Oh, yeah: then there's the album. It's one of only two albums I own that I've listened to 3 times the day I got it (when I can, I listen to music pretty much constantly), the other being Rumours. Furthermore, despite it being very linear music (compared to Classical), I got very different things out of each song each time I heard it--in the title track, I paid attention to the melody first, the baseline second, and vocal dynamics last--and each left a different (but positive) impression on me. My general opinion on the album? It's great, but wait until I've had it more than two days! "Gimme Shelter" is easily my favorite song on there, and I don't mind this version of "Country Honk" like most people seem to. A 15 is definitely not out of line.

Auberon Suger <> (11.06.2001)

OK, I guess I'm outvoted here, but keep in mind that I'm an old man who lived through the late 60s and 70s and there will never be a reason for me to put on a Rolling Stones record for as long (or as short) as I live because it is essentially idiotic teenage music with no real substance (you'll learn that when you get older and toss all of that junk that you're playing now in the garbage).

I'll even suggest that the English bands couldn't play American blues and rock & roll anyway because they have no real understanding of the American landscape or culture that formed that music.

Listening to the Stones for me is like reading old comic books (some would then ask how I could listen to early Yes, Genesis and King Crimson which are not much more than soundtracks to teen-fantasy-sci-fi comics), but I would at least give the old prog groups credit for *trying* something adventurous and creative while the Stones just kept plodding along with their ripped-off riffs as they still do today.

There are some good moments in Stones history and someone perhaps will want to dust them off for a listen once in a while.

Personally, I find it more humorous and interesting to hear Stones imitators like the Chocolate Watch Band or the Remains. It all has the same legitimacy (none) but with a better attitude and less professionalism. Once again, this is a jaded listener who spent years in the music business. I don't want to spoil anyone's fun - I'll go back to my bottle of Geritol now.

Robert Tally <> (15.06.2001)

Another great album, perhaps as good as the last one. 'Gimme Shelter' is simply sublime. One of the all-time great rock songs. Heck, it's even a worthy candidate for best-ever Stones tune. And then there's 'Midnight Rambler,' which successfully conjures up feelings of claustrophobia and paranoia while it deals with the subject of serial killings. I just might be the only person on earth who prefers the studio version. 'Live With Me' really makes debauchery sound appealing. The vocal harmonies are of particular note, since they present us with a completely different style of harmonizing to those of, say, the Beatles or the Beach Boys. And yet, I really think they're just as effective, among the best in the world. Seems to me that the sax solo is a bit anticlimactic, though. Unlike a lot of readers, I really like 'Country Honk,' and think it's one of the Stones' best country tracks. 'Monkey Man' is downright excellent, at least until the rather unfocused middle section. 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' is a very strong ballad, as are 'Love In Vain' and 'You Got The Silver.' 'Let It Bleed' for some reason has never done much for me - don't know why. Overall, I think I prefer the previous album on a song-for-song basis, but the overall impact of this album is just as big.

Tarjei Vatne makes the best point in the big argument. When I was first learning to play the guitar (back when I was a wee lad), I first learned to play Rolling Stones songs because the chord changes were easy to pick up by ear. So, I can't argue against Auberon's point that 'anyone could sort of sound like the Stones.' Emphasis on 'sort of.' One thing I realized as the years went by is that the Stones did more than just play their songs correctly. Now, of course, in the early years, they were more along the lines of beginners themselves, often playing things in a somewhat blunt manner. But, by Let It Bleed, they were taking very simple musical ideas and playing them in a way no beginner possibly could. Take the slide guitar on 'No Expectations' - there's a world of complexity within each note. All of the players on that track display an utmost amount of patience. A beginner would grow impatient waiting for the next chord to come along and start hurrying through it, sacrificing any sense of subtlety. A musician doesn't need to be a technical virtuoso to master this aspect of playing. This is why I don't buy into the argument that progressive musicians are necessarily better. As far as 'great music' being 'sophisticated and complex,' this may be true, but there are a lot of ways to be complex. In the case of Let It Bleed, the notes, chords and rhythms are fairly simple, but the emotions put across through the music are pretty complex. There's more than meets the ear, so to speak.

Ben Kramer <> (15.11.2001)

Ok, I'm not gonna write an essay, I'll save that for English or European History. But, I will say that this is, by far, the greatest Rolling Stone album in existence. Don't get me wrong, I love a few of their other records as well, but none can set the mood, match the sound quality or scare you into liking it than Let It Bleed. This is definitely one of the top 10 albums ever released and it makes the top 5 on my list (which changes daily, but this one is always there, sometimes at #1) of favorite rock albums. The Beatles were a great band, but they were not there to set the mood (Abbey Road is an exception) and draw the listener into the music the way The Stones did here. One of the main reasons that this was possible was that no song stands out and each track is an experience by itself. I don't see any song being better than the others for the most part (I like a couple more than the others but that doesn't make them better). 'Gimme Shelter' is probably my favorite on the album, thanks to the best Rolling Stone's vocals on a song, but they got a little help from a friend. I don't know how Mary Clayton didn't make it big after her brilliant performance on 'Gimme Shelter'. Mick Jagger is good, but when you bring in one of the best female blues singers around, the duet can take you to heaven. 'Midnight Rambler' has an AWESOME riff, downright scary lyrics, superb vocals (I'm going to stop bragging about the vocals on this album, they are pretty much some of Micks best throughout the album), and quality work by Keith. Another favorite of mine is 'Monkey Man' which might seem surprising to some people, but I LOVE the opening of this song! (I just threw it in my cd player, just writing about it make me desire hearing it again). The last song, 'You Can't Always Get What You Want', is probably the most memorable song. It opens with a chorus and has some of Mick's best lyrics ever. Ok, I have to stop or I will end up writing an essay. I will leave you with these words: a.) Buy this album and prepare yourself for one of the best musical experiences of your life, b.) make sure this isn't your first Stones album because the rest doesn't compare to this masterpiece and c.) Play this album loud (correct me if I am wrong, but I think this is the album where on the cover it stated that the buyer should play this album loud. Obviously, I give it a 10(15) with out any doubt in my mind that this may be the greatest record ever made.

Joe H <> (06.12.2001)

This discussion about rock music is really silly! Not to mention very irrelevant! This is a page about The Rolling Stones and we are supposed to be commenting about the awesome Let It Bleed album for gosh sakes! Anyways, its amazing of course. "Gimmie Shelter" is indeed, a dark ominous song, and man is it ever good. The rest of the album follows in sort of the same vein, but they add some great diversity! Like "Live With Me" with its awesome groove, "Let It Bleed" with its drunken anthem humor, "You Cant Always Get What You Want" with the epic feel like the aforementioned "Gimmie Shelter" (that female chorus intro is boring and pointless though! Sorry!). Whatever! George already reviewed this album i cant say anything new. Although, whats wrong with "You Got The Silver"? Man thats a great song too. I really like Keiths vocals for some reason too. You can hear the sincere pleading in his voice on that song, sounds really nice. I never liked "Country Honk" but now i will misplace that feeling with "Love In Vain" instead. "Country Honk" is a fun lil' country-blues song, "Love In Vain" is just a not bad cover though. I agree with the 10!

Ryan Maffei <> (11.03.2002)

The best one yet. The rockers are still kind of frivolous, but they're more assured and focused. Even "You've Got the Silver" is great. The only one I'm not too fine with is the "Honky Tonk Women" rehash "Country Honk"'s kind of a messy tossoff. But certainly, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Gimme Shelter" more than make up for it. A high 8. Good stuff.

Federico Fernández <> (19.08.2002)

If I don't really enjoy Beggar's Banquet that much then... THIS is the one. Let It Bleed is more or less the same that Beggar's, you know, roots rock, blues, country and all that stuff... but this time around the rockers really rock and the rock HARD.

OK, there were some rockers on Beggar's, but except the great "Stray Cat Blues", they were odd ones, with strange stuff as bongos ('Sympathy'), intoxicating slides ('Puzzle'), and weird sounding overdubed acoustic guitars ('Street Fighting Man'), instead of those awesome riffs the Stones were famous for. Here in Let It Bleed we have the fascinating progression of "Gimmie Shelter", a scary and dark epic that is really much, much better than that "Devil" stuff. I have chills every time I listen to it loud. We also have "Midnight Rambler" with that tremendously catchy riff, "Monkey Man" with another great intro and infectious riffs by Keith...

Apart from this, I consider Bleed much more diverse. I don't know, I just find things like "Gimmie Shelter", "Midnight Rambler", "Monkey Man" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" more distinct than, for example "Jigsaw Puzzle", "Parachute Woman" or "Prodigal Son". I compare it to Beggar's because their structure is quite similar albums but I also think it's better than Exile and at the same heights as Fingers.

Great album, and unarguably the best of this band ever. I'd also say that it should be included in the top ten rock albums of all time. Just love it, and never get tired of it.

Dan Zozula <> (02.09.2002)

I feel like im always talking about an albums "atmosphere".....but this is one is very unique. Unlike the similar atmosphere of Exile that runs through the entire disc, this album seems to vary from track to track. "Gimme Shelter" is anthematic, breathtaking, and makes me feel like im in the middle of an extremely crazy anti-Vietnam protest. funny. But the next track is completly different.....Can't u just picture mick and the boys laying back in a field, pants rolled up, bottle in hand, lounging about, singing "Love in Vain"? And "Country Honk"......i love for some reason. Another complete shift in feel to a bar room The changes in face Mick goes through is incredible. Can't you picture him in tattered old brown clothes, missing his teeth, sipping a bottle (thats a given), peering about at you from below the brim of his old worn hat, telling the tale of the midnight rambler? What a great frontman. what a great album.

Andy Slater <> (15.10.2002)

When I came to school last week and people were asking me what I would do if I were drafted (I'm almost 17), the first thing that came into my mind, even before I responded, was the Stones' 'Gimme Shelter'. The desperation in that song perfectly captures my feeling of dread as the impending doom of WAR hit home to me. With Congress giving Bush total power, war is really "just a shot away" and that is extremely scary. "Gimme Shelter" is exactly how I feel, because sometimes you just wanna escape the horrible things going on in the world. This is rock music at its best: expressing both a personal emotion and a deeply held grievance with society. Only Dylan, the Beatles, and the Stones have ever reached this level.

<> (24.03.2003)

Dammit, man, this sucks. I went all happy to Kazaa to get this one album after reading your review, and my reactions were something close to " 'Gimme Shelter'! Yaay! 'Midnight Rambler'! Yaay! 'Monkey Man'! Yaay! 'Love In Vain'! Yay. 'Let It Bleed'! ... uhm, yeah. 'You Can't Always Get What You Want--' Eeew!" Really, this sucks. Now I'm wasting precious space on my HDD with stuff I don't really care for just to say I have a good knowledge on classic rock. How convenient.

Ok, let's go slower. 'Gimme Shelter' is one absolutelly friggin' amazing song, and one I'm really really proud to possess, and 'Midnight Rambler' and 'Monkey Man' are two tracks I'm very fond of too. But... the rest? Rest is a good word here. Dismissable, totally dismissable. Of course there's one exception, and it's called 'You Can't Always Get What You Want', that might rank as one of the most disgusting and ear-destructive songs I've heard. Yeeargh, it hurts. The others are just average stuff. Love In Vain is alright, but nothing else sticks with me. 'Live With Me' is absolutelly bland and tasteless. "A terrific rocker with simply crazy lyrics." Oh, great, that says a lot. If I want crazy lyrics, I'll turn to Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, which you dismiss. And the title track 'Let It Bleed'? Boring to the core. It's no wonder you didn't say one word about the music in it, only about the lyrical message. 'Country Honk' and 'You Got The Silver' are very much pointless. I might enjoy them if I'm in a very good mood. But not if I listen to them now, especially surrounded by that swamp of lame music.

What astonishes me about this review is that you praise melodies. ????? I hear no melodies here. Maybe a few of them in 'You Got The Silver', 'Country Honk' and 'Love In Vain', but that one's a cover. I hear no melodies (or "hooks" as you prefer) in 'Gimme Shelter', nor in 'Midnight Rambler', absolutelly nothing in 'Live With Me', and one short "hook" in 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' repeated till my brain explodes. Magnificent. If that's what the Stones have to offer, sorry man, you did a great service of making me very biased against them, especially after I read the Rush page. I mean, if you friggin' don't care about the 5 minute bore of the title track 'Let It Bleed' and say 'Cygnus X-1 Book II Hemispheres' is unmemorable, just admit you don't like Rush and don't make any effort to like them, and I won't care about one sentence you say about Rush and we're done. And maybe, maybe I'll give a shot on Beggar's Banquet, and I might like it, but this Let It Bleed is just waste of megabytes for me. Yuck, I'm already having nightmares on that cursed 7 minute closer on there, that song. Yeech. But since 'Gimme Shelter' is such a magnificent song, I give this album a 5 out of 10. The same 5 you gave to Tales From Topographic Oceans.

And BTW, before you can say a word about it, I'm no Rush fanatic, but they happen to be one of my favourite bands. And I do thank you for introducing me to Selling England By The Pound. I can't live without it now.

E <> (03.01.2004)

I definitely have to question your Let It Bleed review. It's an easy 15, one of the very best albums of all time, but no particular track stands out above the others? It has 'Gimme Shelter', probably my second favorite song of all time (after 'Sympathy'; yep, I'm a Stones fan). And after 'Gimme' 'YCAGWYW' and 'Monkey Man' stand out above the others. If what you meant was that there're no weak tracks you'd definitely be right; they all rule. But I can't say that the album's entirely even.

I might call it the Stones' best, but then again that honor might fall to BB or SF, and as much as I love all those I'm not sure I like them better than the Beatles' peak output. I can never decide which group I like better. Somehow the Beatles have a magical quality that no other group could quite duplicate, even though I'm partial to the Stones for rocking more.

Francis Mansell <> (15.02.2004)

Well only 3 years late, my fairly brief response to Auberon Suger's bizarre putdown of rock'n'roll: I can understand if something about the Stones (Jagger!?) seems somewhat inauthentic, but we love him for it, it's part of what makes the Stones what they are, he isn't Muddy Waters and has never expected anyone to believe he is. And his fake country-isms can almost be seen in the same light as Can's "Ethnological Forgery Series", certainly they're always entertaining.

But at the risk of revisiting some of George's (and others') very well made points, it sounds like:

1) AS is a bit scared of enjoying the music of his teens - plenty of others of his generation still love "bar-room rock & roll" and it's just as valid a musical form as any other, which is not to say that I think most of Let It Bleed is plain BRR&R;

2) he can hear the "sophistication" of the complex structures of classical-oriented prog rock but evidently can't hear the sophistication of Keith Richards's awesome and unique timing, which above all else is why no one has ever successfully imitated the Stones, though thousands have tried - it isn't easy to play like that, it's what's played and the way it's played that matters not the structural complexity - Eric Clapton is not a better guitarist than Keith Richards, just a different one - they're both at the pinnacle of their respective styles and I would go so far as to say that Keef is more versatile;

3) a man who dismisses all the Stones' lyrics as "idiotic" and apparently reveres ELP's Tarkus has a very strange sense of humour - what's idiotic about 'Gimme Shelter' or 'Satisfaction' or 'Street Fighting Man'?They may not be comparable to Shakespeare or Keats or even Dylan or Lou Reed at their best, but they've got something to say and say it well, it's not banal and gauche 5th form poetry (a frequent ingredient of rock lyrics, prog particularly) especially compared to meaningless tosh like 'Tarkus'.

Enough already. Let It Bleed is the Stones' joint best album with Ya-Yas, which as George says makes them pretty close to the pinnacle of rock music, certainly 1969 style.

Brian Adkins <> (26.02.2004) and Mr. Suger need to ask your mothers to give you your Ritalin and relax. Can you not just be grateful for music? Must people not like one thing because another thing is better? That same thought process is the abomination of most marriages and relationships, but anyway.

If you don't like absolute rock n roll, you're probably not going to like this album. If you do like absolute rock n roll, I don't see why you wouldn't like this album. As for me, my mind gladly welcomes classic albums like this to touch my soul and is my favorite Stones studio album :-)

Just one question though: How do lines like "War, children, it's just a shot away" and "Rape! Murder! It's just a shot away" correspond more to storms and floods than they do to the Vietnam war? If I had to guess (which I don't like doing but will anyway), I'd say the use of the word storm in the opening line "Oh a storm is threatening my very life today" is a metaphor to represent war and forthcoming bloodshed.....*shrugs*

David Dickson <> (04.05.2004)

Oh, good Lord. I know I'm going straight to hell for this, but. . . why? Why why why? Why am I the only one who thinks the Rolling Stones had only ONE classic album of their entire career? And not this one?

Don't get me wrong, it's got its moments. It's a lot more calculated- sounding than Beggar's Banquet, and I mean that in a good way. They sound like they took at least two weeks to write the songs (as opposed to the traditional three days that most sixties artists seem to adhere to), and the good songs are REALLY good, but the fact remains--"Country Honk", "Midnight Rambler", and "You Got the Silver" all kinda suck. Well, not "Country Honk"-- it's based on a classic, remember--but still, why must we have TWO versions of that song? Isn't one enough? "Midnight Rambler", as "dangerous"-sounding as it is, is. . . well, JUST a generic blues jam. Betcha ten dollars they took less time to write it than the seven minutes the song lasts. And "You Got the Silver" is just inexcusable. I can forgive Keith Richard's bad vocals, but I can NOT forgive the uninteresting melody. Which reminds me-- where IS the "unbelievably creative" melody on this album? Is it buried in the guitars? Reversed and disguised as feedback? Where, George? I can't find it.

The rest of the songs are decent. "Live with Me" is a booty-shaking stomper, (not to mention an awesome tune for getting chicks into bed), and "Let it Bleed" and "You Can't Always get What You Want" are positively transcendant. Plus "Gimme Shelter" and "Monkey Man" are great classic singles, etc., blah blah blah. Still, all of that don't make no classic album by itself in my book. And whose bright idea was it to sequence the album like this? Two acoustic tunes in a row on side one--BAD idea. This is the Stones, dawg-- they aren't called the rebellious voice of a generation for nothing. If we want tasteful, laid-back ballads featured prominently on the album, I'll take the Eagles over this, thank you.

Overall, I give this a low, low nine out of ten, simply because, as unhooky as the Stones are, they DO have the right mojo, which is more than I can say for, say, Cream. And as to all the Stones fanatics who will read this and cry "DICKWAD"--well, let me just say that I WISH I could agree with you. I WISH I could listen to this and hear one of the greatest pinnacles of rock and roll history. But I don't. It's beyond my comprehension; I just can't find the "classic" on here, no matter how hard I try. I apologize for not sharing your opinion; because honestly, I really, truly wish I did. It is so much more orderly when everybody agrees on everything, don't you think?

Alexey Provolotsky <> (04.08.2005)

A fantastic album, no doubts about that. Like the previous record, it has so many classics it’s terrifying. The sound differs from that on BG (doesn’t rely that much on acoustic guitars), but that’s hardly a complaint. I’ll admit that “Country Honk” is only very good and “You Got The Silver” is not very spectacular, but that still wouldn’t prevent me from giving Let It Bleed a solid 15. What really prevents me is the closer, the famous “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. It’s good, but a bit too repetitive for my tastes. Overrated. I’d rather take my “Salt Of The Earth”. But the rest!!! “Midnight Rambler” is, like, their best song ever. And that guitar on “Monkey Man” after 2:30 is pure Heaven. Hell, it’s all first-rate material.

A high high high 14!

<> (25.10.2005)

Well, it sure has taken me some time! Here I am, in the sixth decade of my life. For this elitist, brainy, arrogant Prog Rock fan the Stones have of course always been there, right from the start, but always somewhere else, in the background, as the band that 'the other kind of people' listened to. Sheez, how deaf can a guy be? So now I finally picked them up, most of them at least, from Let it Bleed to Tattoo You, and my God...what can I say? Ce n'est pas la Musique, mais c'est magnifique!

So these are the Roots then, or at least what the roots turn into when transported across the ocean back to the Old World, left in the gutter and picked up by a bunch of testosterone-OD'ed male pigs that actually happen to have more musical feel in their fingertips than the entire Prog Rock scene has in their combined brains. Forgive me for not sitting still as I type this - feet tapping, body swaying, head nodding and hands flapping, the physical response to hearing a Stones record is rather overwhelming.

Is this a review? More a revelation! Ouch! It physically hurts to realise that I lived throughout the existence of the Greatest Rock 'n Roll Band on Earth and somehow managed to never notice it! Zut! Let it Bleed, then!

'Gimme Shelter' - now that is as good a start as any for a Prog Rocker to get into the Stones. Superbly atmospheric, daring in its simplicity, absolutely freakish, it makes all the hairs in my neck stand up. Mary Clayton anticipates Claire Torry and Charlie Watts sounds a bit like Nick Mason on speed - kind of a gentle introduction, then! Is this the Dark Side of R&B? I don't think they ever made anything quite like it again, except perhaps 'Heaven' that also draws on atmosphere instead of deep-seated tradition. But it does open the door for me, and in I go...

'Love in Vain', talking about atmosphere. This gorgeous Blues song evokes sunset over the prairie, bittersweet farewells, loneliness and longing. Time to hit the bottle, perhaps? But then 'Country Honk' turns the table, is a hoot, with fiddle and car horns, you can almost smell the hay and hear the chickens. Shame about that cowbell, though :)

'Live with Me' has this superbly driving tight bass/drums foundation overlain with short, snappy guitar chords and Mick's vocals, alternating with some gorgeous sax work, the whole thing fading out like a bus just drove by. And so into 'Let it Bleed', opening with acoustic guitar and a couple of Charlie Watts gunshots. What's up with the weird accent, though? Is it to somehow disown the filthy lyrics? Maybe they were still a bit shy about that sort of thing at this stage in their career? It wouldn't be a big deal later on, once they discovered that it paid the rent, and a bit more probably...but the song works well as an up-beat Blues and has exactly that effect on all of my limbs that makes typing this so difficult. It eases straight into the 'Midnight Rambler' with its great question-and answer conversation between Mick's harp and Keith's guitar, always urged on by that tight Wyman-Watts rhythm machine, go on, go on, don't stop or something awful will happen to you...and when it does stop, the awful thing does happen, of course. How does that feel, baby?

'You got the Silver' is a straight-up rocker of moderate interest, except perhaps that Brian Jones plays on it. Keith on vocals shows what the Stones would be without Mick - a second rate blues band at best, if you ask me. 'Monkey Man' is heavier, not quite a wall of guitars and probably saved by the honky-tonk piano. Was Mick too busy puking over the mike to play the tambourine himself? To be honest, neither of these last two does much for me. But not so the Grand Finale, with its opening that would make Rick Wakeman proud, and that mellow horn that brings tears to my eyes every time...and then it starts, simple acoustics developing into a Mad Dogs & Englishmen-like swingfest with female backing, organ, piano, and percussion, the works, round and round it goes, the party goes flat-out and may it never end! It may not always be what I want, but it sure is what I need right now! Is this the best Stones record? Not for me, I suspect, but it is not a bad place to start, so you won't hear me complaining.


Simon Hearn <> (07.09.99)

'Sympathy for the devil' again, I'm afraid. The re-arrangment is genius and possibly this album contains the definitive version - although flashback's (Flashpoint's? - G. S.) version is cool too. I would love to have been there..................... The best live album ever, live in leeds eat your heart out.

Jeff <> (16.09.99)

HOOOOOOOOOO DOGGIE!!!! Now this is a great live album. From the first guitar licks of "Jumpin Jack Flash," you know what kind of album this is: a pull-no-punches, down'n'dirty rockfest. Any claims the Stones have made to being the world's greatest rock & roll band can be confirmed here. Listen to those guitars!! Mick Taylor proves himself a more-than-worthy successor to Brain Jones, and Keith is, well, Keith. But yes, he does sound meaner and harder here, and it's all for the better. The longer songs ("Sympathy for the Devil" and especially "Midnight Rambler") are the record's high points, and the pace is maintained throughout. This has got to be the Stones' hardest rocking album, and it's my personal favorite live album of all time, Live at Leeds being a very close second.

Tony Stewart <> (23.11.99)

Live this time. Great pastiche of Sam Cutler's announcements gives an idea of the atmosphere of an impatient Madison Sq. Garden Crowd after the lights have just gone out. The excitement at a Stonesshow at this point is so palpable you can cut it with a knife. Great Mixing ideas. Now we all know that there are many edits , studio overdubs, different shows spliced together, but it is done so seamlessly and with the intention of "This is what the Stones saw in their minds and even more so the fans; this is the crown jewel of a '69 Rock'n Roll Show - Live!". "Jumping Jack Flash" right away . Charlie's snare onthe whole disc sounds so tight and on the money. One Two. Taylor has become comfortable in the band and the division of Lead vs. Rhythm that would happen later on with him and Keith id not present yet. "Carol" chugs along with superb Guitarfills totally Keith in his element. One of my all-time faves is coming up. "Stray Cat Blues" on that tour sounded so majestic, so huge. It lost the sexuality but gained a magnificent 'feel'. In Taylor's guitarsolo you hear Keith just sounding like a tank on rhythm down below. Bill Wyman is in top form and Jagger is Queen of the night (or is it King?). "Love in Vain" with taylor I think NEVER was played badly, Jagger's vocals are magnificent, no other drummer could play crash cymbals on a ballad like Charlie and Taylor's solos just rule! Later on he would do the first one Slide and the second straight. Here he is all Slide in the fills. "Midnight Rambler" of course is legendary. The crowd's frenzy. "Goddamn" screeches one chick, while Jagger moans rolling on the stagefloor"don't hurt me'...The jam is a Steamengine coming at you fullblast .Richard and taylor , Wyman and Watts all on one not, Jagger blowing harp and chanting gibberish to himself like a derwish. This is such a radical departure from the much slower but haunting "Let It Bleed" Version. Same goes for "Sympathy For The Devil" which like Keith points out, has found what kind of song it actually is after being taken on the road and played night after night. The two solos are so diverse . they really showcase the two guitarrists talents and differences in style. They drop the 4th verse. "Live with Me" vibrates and ooh it's funky, but not near as in the pocket as "Little Queenie". The beauty about the Stones is , they are contantly, ALWAYS just a hair away of falling completely apart. But they don't. They walk the highwire and therefpre stay tight tight tight. Keith is in heaven on the solos. Jagger sings with so much joy. Wenowadays have the image of Jagger the businessman in our minds but Jagger, make no mistake, is foremost a great musician. And it's his main love. And Charlie's great tonight isn't he? That line became a classic. Introduces a much looser "Honky Tonk Woman" than they ever played before OR after. But we get the REAL backing vocals of only Keith. Great! The crowning jewel is "One more an' we gotta go..." while Wyman checks the tuning on his bass. What starts gently on just two chords; clean sound very soon turns into a giant, the rhythmic game of Jagger/ Richard , Taylor's Leadlines full of natural Tubedistortion weaving in and out and Wyman's famous closing Bassline. Charlie builds and builds , finally gives up and just bashes on every beat, Houselights are up , everybody dancing in the aisles (the days before security guards who make you SIT) ,Jagger throwing's perfection. And that is what we should remeber from the '69 tour: How the Stones lost one of their key members , had not really played live since the days of the screaming chicks, but were undisputed Kings of Rock. But this was the tour all were waiting for , and for them to prove it. They rose and overrode the challenges. Eveything was beautiful, but when you think about the '69 Tour you think about Altamont. What a pity! Ya-Ya's? 15.

Jeff Blehar <> (09.02.2000)

Man, this sucker is overrated! I initially bought into the hype as well, thinking "Hey! Critics like it! It must be good! Critics won't mislead us!" Well fuck the critics, they won't even give Genesis the time of day anyway. And Mr. Snooty Dave Marsh refuses to even acknowledge David Bowie's right to exist, so screw him as well! Look out, Bobby Christgau, I'm gonna set your ass on fire again! (And watch your back, Mr. Anthony DeCurtis!)

The point here (and I do have one) is that this album, while alright - heck it's pretty good - sure looks weak as hell mixed in with the four masterpieces which bookend it, two to a side. I mean, NONE of the live renditions of the songs here improve on their studio counterparts! (Okay, "Midnight Rambler" sorta does, but that one always rubbed me the wrong way to begin with.) "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is lacking the sweet 'n' gritty guitar harmonics that made its riff so impossible to forget, and while the reworking of "Sympathy For The Devil" is pretty nifty (man, I'm gonna feel let down if I find out that Mick Taylor overdubbed that guitar solo in the studio!) the two Chuck Berry numbers do nothing for me except shave a few more wasted minutes off of my all-too-precious life. The sound is weirdly sterile; perhaps a function of the studio overdubs which were applied to it. One thing I DO like is that crazy mama who's either in the front row or in the wings of the stage, and tanked as hell. You get to hear her yell wacky things like "PAINT IT BLACK, YOU DEVILS!" and "FUCK JESUS!" just before the boys kick into "Midnight Rambler." But she's the most spontaneous thing on this disc for me.

If you gotta buy a Stones live album, make it this one. But maybe you should buy some Who instead.

<> (08.08.2000)

I wanted to say that my freinds and family have played this record and live at leeds since it was released. It is the best live music on record and has only been joined by King Crimsons 81 video release as an example of tear enducing ,euphoric,music that really gives you a rush. My life has been cheered along by the memory of the riffs in the ya ya album. Thanks for your fine review.

Seth Edwards <> (21.09.2000)

Mick Taylor really does shine on here. I don't know whos idea it was to speed up 'Midnight Rambler' slightly, but the version here is so good it almost overshadows its album counterpart. That one works on Let it bleed, this one works here. Speaking of Mick Taylor, I'm right with ya on his solo for "Sympathy for the Devil" being his best ever with the Stones. I really dig the riffs Keith plays through that one also. "Live With Me", not a highlight? I think the opening riff sounds far cooler on here than on Let it Bleed. The chords sound gruffer, meaner, which really adds to the song as a whole. I don't go for the Chuck Berry covers, I would've preferred 2 Stones Originals ('Gimme Shelter', 'Under my Thumb' maybe?). Still, this is a great portrait of a rock band reaching its full live potential, along with Live at Leeds and Kick out the Jams by the MC5.

John McFerrin <> (14.10.2000)

Well, it's good, even great. But I don't think I would give it such an exclusively high grade, for a couple of reasons.

1. The sound. When I listen closely, especially on headphones, I'm able to start to realize that, in fact, this album kicks ass. But the sound does _not_ jump out at you and wallop you over the head in the way that, say, 'Heaven and Hell' from Leeds does. The sound is just weak, with far too little bass.

2. None of the songs (well, except for 'Midnight Rambler', obviously) are improvements over the originals. This is just me talking, of course, but for me, the most important function that a live album can serve is to bring to the attention of the listener a previously hidden dimension in the sound. None of these songs do that, mainly because they were so perfect in the first place, and the 'normalization' of the sound eliminates much of the charm. When I listen to 'Sympathy', I want my bongos! When I listen to 'Street Fighting Man', I want the acoustic overdrive! When I listen to 'Stray Cat Blues', I want my fast tempo and wacky mellotrons!

And, as a side note, I'm probably the only person in the world that prefers 'Country Honk' to the 'regular' version of 'Honky Tonk Women'.

I'd probably give it a 12 or 13, just because the performances are mostly terrific, but the way they are presented is not.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (09.12.2000)

When I was putting Get yer ya-ya's out into my Cd player I smiled - I was 100% assured that nothing could beat Concert for Bangla Desh. But after 20 minutes... Well, I fell in love with this album. It's definitely the best live album I've ever heard to. I don't even know what makes it sound so good. Guitarwork? Jagger's jokes? The excellent Stones' form? I don't know. Here we face only ten songs but what beautiful songs. 'Midnight rambler', 'Sympathy for the devil' and 'Live with me' are great improvement over originals while others are very well played.

Bangla Desh was charming concert because of many stars and more wonderful songs than we get on Ya-ya (by the way, compare 'Jumping Jack Flash' on these two concerts - they are different and it's really hard to define the best version cause it all depends on your mood) but Ya-ya can pin you to chair by it's atmosphere. The only song here I don't care much for is 'Street fighting man' and I get tired sometimes from Berry's numbers. Still, atmosphere is wonderful here and that's something. 9/10!

Didier Dumonteil <> (01.04.2001)

A splendid time is guaranteed for all!Forget the lousy got live... and get this one.You will find a cover of "little queenie " much better than the original,ditto for "Carol"!The original material is strong too: the exciting solo on "sympathy for the devil" the tender "love in vain".A regret:"gimme shelter" should have been included.

John McFerrin <> (10.05.2001)

Alright, as penance for "copying" your site by using the same boardhost (whatever), I offer this additional, more favorable comment on Ya-ya's.

It is a great, GREAT live album. The band is incredibly tight, the guitar interplay is fabulous, and even the Chuck Berry covers are enjoyable as hell. I could probably even give it a 15 at this point (a low 15, but one nonetheless).

THAT SAID, the 15 would contain an asterisk with it, for the following reason - depending upon the ears that hear it, it can seem INCREDIBLY sluggish on the first few listens. That, more than anything, is probably what initially put me (and probably several others) off to this album. JJF, both of the Berry covers, STB and MR, for some reason or another, seem to be plodding, slow and cumbersome brontosaurs the first time through. Eventually, your ears somehow filter out whatever it is that makes this so, as well as exposing the incredible amount of energy that is actually coming from the band, but until then, this album is just not that enjoyable, hence remarks putting it down like those from Mark, Jeff and myself.

Robert Tally <> (08.07.2001)

I'm sure glad Jeff Blehar said what he said. Otherwise, I'd be the only one. I don't think this album is nearly as good as the four studio albums released directly before and after it. I still like it, though. These alternate arrangements on 'Midnight Rambler,' 'Stray Cat Blues,' and 'Sympathy For The Devil' are all outstanding, even if I still prefer the studio versions. The other rockers ('Honky Tonk Women,' 'Live With Me,' 'Jumping Jack Flash', 'Street Fighting Man') are significantly less incredible than the great versions heard on the original records. 'Carol' and 'Little Queenie' are enjoyable enough, but not too much so, and are carbon copies of each other. 'Love In Vain' is pretty nice. Again, I like the album. It's not that there are any bad tracks. I just think everybody's getting a little too carried away by it.

<> (15.09.2002)

First off, debating over which is better, Ya-Ya's or Leeds, is like having a debate between a Christian and a Muslim over which is greater, God or Allah. In other words, it is completely pointless as neither side will ever agree with the other. I, being a massive stones fan, and only a casual Who fan, prefer Ya-Ya's. This in no way professes that Ya-Ya's is better. That being said, Ya-Ya's IS rock and roll, defining it in every way: Energetic (at times), Angry, Sleazy, Sloppy, etc. I personally am not one of those people who "didn't get" Ya-Ya's at first. When i heard JJF rip into my head phones i thought "Holy Shit! They made it so heavy! This kicks ass!" When I heard "Live With Me" I thought "Holy Shit! Listen to that riff growl!" I marvel at the silky-smooth Sympathy solo (notice the fluent alliteration to accentuate my point).

This is rock and roll on a cd.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (04.08.2005)

Man, is this wonderful! Everything rules. Well, I’d still rather hear a fast version of the great “Stray Cat Blues”, but this slow rendition is a true stunner. What do you want? I think, whatever they did at that concert would be fantastic. And “Midnight Rambler” is even better than the original studio version (which means much).

A 14. Why? “The greatest rock’n’roll band in the world!”... That’s the reason. Gimme something like “Ladies and gentlemen, a nice rock’n’roll band from…” Well, “from Shepherd’s Bush, London!”. Ha!


Jeff <> (06.09.99)

What's that? "I Got the Blues" does what? It sucks? Mick's singing is fake? Geez, I hate to get ya down, but you are so incredibly, immeasurably wrong. "I Got the Blues" is fantastic. Listen to Billy Preston's organ work. Wow. Mick's vocal's are heart-wrenching, and there's absoutely nothing fake about them. Unless, of course, I'm letting myself be "decieved." Bah. You're right on about the rest of the album, though. But I'd give it a 10 just like the last three.

Tony Stewart <> (07.12.99)

There are days if somoeone would ask me for my favorite Stonesdiec I will say Sticky Fingers, others another Album. SF did one of these things that that journalists love to say:in the Stonesworld it "heralded" a new era!!!! It began the 70.s, with their own brand new label and all the promises, they fired Klein and finally saw some dought roll in, Altamont was over and although forever tainted by it, after that '69 Tour they were undisputed Kings of rock and taylor was very entrenched in the Band. Nothing better than a tour, a drowning and a murder to bond a group of guys together. But his and Richards sound was at it' peak;not even close to the radical division of Lead vs. Rhythm that it later would aquire.

What I like most about this record is that it is tight. There is not one weak second on it. Although it is heavy on the 'drug' references they are stated so obviously, which leads me to believe"yes, the drugs were there and a lot(with Anita in her seat of power), but still rather new. Face it: if you were a paranoid REALLY strung-out Junkie-Exile with a pile of heroin in the Kitchen and a pile of Cocaine in the bedroom, are you gonna go out and sing about Sister Morphine, Cocaine eyes and needles and spoons? There was still the romantic chic, in spite of the busts and Brian attached to being a Junkie. That is what made so many kids want to emulate Keith and Mick, thinking if I do all these drugs I will be just like my heroes. Keith was never stupid and Mick for all we know never even smoked a joint.

Kick it off with "Brown Sugar", a great song that would NEVER be put out these days. In this politically correct world Jagger would laugh off those lyrics and say "yeah, cool, but now for real...". I hate that even Jagger has fallen victim to this curse(e.g. all of the sudden it's "white" girls just wanna get f*cked all night).Now one of their Hot Rocks section, with the fist-pumping "yeah, yeah' finale. Next is "Sway", which all Taylor-ites invariably mention as his masterpiece. And it is. It is Jagger and Taylor (a lot of that in the future) who did that one, with the engine room and some great strings. The lyrics, once again, beautiful and perfect for Taylor's masterful Slide epic. He hardly needed those strings. "Wild Horses" has been claimed by both Mick and Keith as their song and if we are to believe Marianne Jagger's ode to her and his last grasp at her. The chorus:Keith says he wrote it in Muscle Shoal's bathroom; Faithful says they were the first words she spoke after coming out of a suicidal coma in Australia to Mick. Even though in the Maysles' Bros. Movie, the playback of that incarnation of "Wild Horses" stands out as one of the best moments of the film, I tend to believe. Faithful. She doesn't lie very much. Chet Flippo has a great account of the actual recording of the basic track with Jim Dickinson in one of his books.

"Can't You Hear Me Knocking" is way too special of a piece of work to deserve virtually the same verbatim description by every "critic" nowadays. Here we go:"A tight open tune workout, which wanders of into a Santanaesque Taylor led Solo..""blah blah! This was 1971 and Jimmy Miller probably had once again really a true reason to pat himself on the back. The Stones Mach II were very much HIS creation too. True, he dabbled freely in the dope, but that was Stones MachII.The raunch of that opening riff and only Watts and Jagger, to step in and screech over it. Taylor is in thre already,but true to alot of Keith tricks you just notice that at some point there is another guitar playing the clean version in the other channel. Never heard when it came in. One trick the Stones use a lot and it is one of their best kept secrets is NOT to bring the Bass in until maybe, the 2nd verse. The listener picks up something, but what was it? The Percussion switch, after the rousing vocals is so tight it sounds like an edit, is not and goes into just a great jam with Bobby shining, throwing it to Taylor who plays (for him( a very tasteful, restrained solo and Keith was playing Rhythm the way, that earned him the mantle he wears today."You Gotta Move" supposedly was a tough one to putdown and turned out one of the best. After just not getting it right with full-band setups, they choose the other route and we get a Slide Accoustic and a Kickdrum(or a Box), Mick and keith and really not much more. Right up there with "Prodigal Son". Lesson in restraint."Bitch" is one of the Stones tunes that actually improved with the the digital overhaul. It gets even tighter , if possible. Where george smiles at jagger's lyric, in the 2nd verse I always played exactly that part again and again. The trick is to add those lyrics to the Baritone grunts and to Jagger's obscene sockstuffed crotch in a Jumpsuit and you got the Stones summed up right there. Add Keith on Lead and what else do you want?"I Got The Blues", is one of the few songs I can tolerate Preston on and the day I figured out those chords I will never forget. A great Blues, which has nothing to do with 1-4-5. Sad Bridge. "Sister Morphine", is the Jamming with Edward crowd. Shows you why they were there in the first place. Ry Cooder is phenomenal, Hopkins piano grand and Jagger who wrote it (and Brown Sugar and Moonlight Mile)delivers Marianne's lyrics bery convincingly . I always thought he did it betterthan her, exactly cause he had NOT been there. She overdoes it."Dead Flowers" ispure Keith. It is such a lovely song that Jagger could never write. Keith loves Country, he understands it. It's NOT funny, and Jagger must make a mockery or assume every countrysong and almostruin them through their whole career. I mean Taylor is playing those tinkling golden notes...why does a needle and a spoon have to ruin or beautiful day? On the other hand the Closer "Moonlight Mile" is a No-Keither. They are very rare and you very seldom see them live. And when you do Keith will usually do his best to turn up as loud as possible and maybe decide he DOES need a SuperfuzzWahWahhPhaser after all. On Disc again often cited as the beginning of Taylor's No-Satisfaction in the Credit Dept., cause Jagger although he knew that it was all him and Taylor, Strings, Watts Wyman and Jim Price that create this very Non Stonesy Mastersymphony, always stuck with keith and vice versa on the credits. It is Jagger/Richard, boy. You don't likeit : Goodbye. Jagger shines in one of his best vocal performances. A tune like this will be a lot bigger in Europe than in the US cause Europeans like this type of Wagnerism. But that outro that settles like a Debussy score after the storm is wonderful. 10!

Special author note: I just wanna note that I fully agree with Tony's disappointment at Jagger's lapsing into the world of PC nowadays. If the song says 'black girls', 'black girls' it should stay. Was the world really a more liberal place in 1978 than it is now? Or is it just not 'cool' to be artistically free and independent any more? What would Frank Zappa have to say about that, I wonder?]

Glenn Wiener <> (14.01.2000)

A true classic from start to finish. The record does end a little slow but it really isn't a bad thing. Mick Taylor is "the man" on this record. Its jsut a damn shame that he wasn't utilized better. Mick was undoubtedly their best instrumental virtuoso. I guess his style and personality did not fit well within the band for the long haul. None the less his solos on 'Sway' and 'Can't You Hear Me Knocking' are awesome.

As it pertains to 'I've Got The Blues', its a great song with the vocal and horn stylings being nothing like any Stones song before or since. However, I can understand your reasons for not liking it as its hard to believe the philandering Mick Jagger would sing such love sick lyrics.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (12.10.2000)

Average great album. I mean there're such great songs ('Brown shugar', 'Sway' or 'Bithc') that kicks you out of the window but at the same time there's some filler like 'I Got the Blues' or 'Wild horses' (why do you like it so much? To me it's boring). 'Can't You Hear Me Knockin'' is too long and it looses drive completely in the end. Though there's another good song (I don't know why but it reminds me 'Jumping Jack Flash') called 'Bitch'. Could Beatles ever think about writing such songs? And thanks God there's good cover at last.

In my opinion Stones are rolling down. My rating is 7/10.

John McFerrin <> (12.12.2000)

A great, GREAT album. But overrated in a lot of ways.

What are the problems? Well, besides the fact that I'm not very fond of 'You Gotta Move' or 'I Got the Blues', it's that ... I dunno, how do I put this? This, to me, is one of those albums that tries to be 'self-conciously classic,' if you get my drift. Like, I dunno, Who's Next or Zoso. Know what I mean? Or is this just me?

Either way, though, the songs kick way too much ass on their own to get less than a 14. But it just hasn't latched onto me the way that BB or LIB or Exile have.

Raghu Mani <> (01.01.2000)

This for me is the second best Stones album (behind Beggars Banquet) and like that album a perfect 10. I would agree with George that the 'I Got the Blues' is a somewhat weak track but the rest is nothing short of perfect ... and dark - man this album is dark! 'Brown Sugar' (which is Mick's take on slavery) might be the lightest thing on this album along with the sad, yearning 'Wild Horses'. The rest of the album is depressing and sometimes positively scary. Most terrifying of the lot is 'Sister Morphine' which could be the flipside of 'Something Happened to me Yesterday' (from Between the Buttons). It is hard to imagine two songs on the same subject that are so different from each other.

Ben and Michele <b&> (11.01.2001)

This is one of three albums I consider my fave from the boys. Truly deserving of a 14. I always listen to it from start to finish, including "I Got the Blues".

If "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" doesn't make you wanna groove, you must be dead!!! Kudos to Tony Stewart for picking up on the blah blah review of it.

The "dirty image" was just another prank that bands use for show, I don't feel it took away from the quality of their music, just their image.

Jeff Melchior <> (28.01.2001)

I totally agree on your point about the Stones self-consciously "dirtying" their lyrics in the '70s. The Stones were a lot more fun when they hid their dirty messages behind innuendo. This in-your-face approach to sexual lyrics hit an all-time low with 'Star Star' from Goat's Head Soup. If I wanna hear those kind of lyrics, I'll listen to gangsta rap. But when I listen to the Stones, I expect a little intelligence. Sorry, I guess I haven't yet said anything about Sticky Fingers itself - raunchness aside, great album - one of their best.

Palash Ghosh <> (07.03.2001)

Sticky Fingers represents the transitional moment when The Stones decided to leave country/hard blues behind and dive headlong with Jet Set Decadence (both musically and personally). Forget the gimmicky Andy Warhol zipper cover, this record is chock full of great songs, unforgettable riffs, exciting arrangements and sex, sex, sex. I really don't mind obscene or explicit lyrics if the music behind it is good -- as it is 'Bitch' and 'Brown Sugar'.

I usually dismiss most Stones' attempts at tender love ballads, but 'Wild Horses' (which I think was an ode to Marianne Faithfull, who was by now a hopeless smack addict) is truly touching and moving.

'Can't You Hear Me Knockin' is a spectacular jam groove (whatever you wanna call it). Mick Taylor might be the greatest unknown rock guitar soloist of them all (I have no idea what he looks like or if he’s even alive!)

Didier Dumonteil <> (01.04.2001)

My favourite Stones album.The last track alone would make it:"moonlight mile" often overlooked ,is the Stones at their best.THey hired Elton John's arranger,and his contribution enhances Jagger's fabulous vocals -on the final,he impressed me as never,recalling Van Morrison,when he comes from a scream  to a whisper (or vice versa).An oriental feel adds something mysterious in this masterwork.Such a track might have influenced Led Zeppelin (Kashmir)The rest of the tracks are all good,this is one of the few Stones albums that doesn't feature any dreck."Brown sugar" and "bitch" are solid rock although their misogynist lyrics might repel.But Jagger laughs at the male that "salivates like a Pavlov dog "as well!"Wild horses " is wistful,and features superb guitar lines."Sister Morphine " is a timeless classic with harrowing words and a haunting melody.Marianne Faithfull claimed the lyrics.On her live "blazing away",her rendition almost cuts the Stones'one.She's never been a bimbo.Lend a ear to "broken English'(1979)."I got the blues" reflects the Redding influence and "dead flowers" ,although enjoyable, nevertheless indicates that they don't totally master the country(-rock) .It's minor quibble.Sticky fingers is a perennial delight.

Robert Tally <> (25.08.2001)

I think I'd rate this as my third favorite Stones album, with only Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed ahead of it. This may be partly due to the presence of Mick Taylor, who I admire greatly, but nevertheless doesn't carry the aura of a Rolling Stone. Somehow, he's a bit too much of a virtuoso to really fit into this band. This doesn't diminish the quality of the music - I just think an album like Let It Bleed, which is dominated by Keith, represents the Stones more definitively, since Keith, I think, embodies the soul of the band. Once again, the Stones give us a solid collection of tunes without a stinker in sight. My favorite is "Moonlight Mile," because I really enjoy the imagery. "Sister Morphine," too, is full of imagery, but of a much more harrowing type. Is it my imagination, or was this the last album to contain 'trippy' songs like this? They seem to have abandoned the 'artsy' way of creating music after this. Not that they didn't have other ways of making great music, as evidenced by "Brown Sugar," one of the best rock songs ever, which is nicely complimented by the lesser, but nevertheless outstanding "Bitch." What a riff Keith came up with for that one! Also, I really think "Wild Horses" is the best ballad the Stones ever came up with. "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" kicks some mighty ass during the first half, so much so that I'm always a little surprised when people dwell on the Santana part. Not that the second half isn't really well-done - it's just that the first half is pure Stones - and isn't that why the record's on the turntable in the first place? Then there's the rest, which are all good, but don't necessarily blow me away. "Sway" sounds a bit unfocused, but maybe that's what they were going for. It's a good sloppy thing to listen to, but I'm not overwhelmed. "You Gotta Move" works quite well in an ultra-traditional blues style. I will agree that "I Got The Blues" seems fairly standard, but the Billy Preston solo alone makes it worth the price of admission. "Dead Flowers" is a decent country parody, but doesn't compare to "Dear Doctor" among others. Once again, the worst tracks are actually quite good, which is probably as good an excuse as any to rate this album as a classic. Completists should be on the lookout for "Let It Rock," a live version of the Chuck Berry tune which appeared on the "Brown Sugar" maxi-single in the UK. Stylistically, it's very similar to "Carol" and "Little Queenie" from the last album, and captures the Stones still at their peak as a live act. Also, the original pressing of Hot Rocks contained an alternate version of "Brown Sugar," also heard partially in the film Gimme Shelter, and an alternate mix of "Wild Horses."

Joe H <> (06.12.2001)

What!? No! This is ANOTHER 10! This is my favorite Stones album! Ohh well, guess i can see how you like Let It Bleed better. On this here album, the emphasis is more on electric guitars, with such god-like rock 'n roll songs like "Brown Sugar", "Sway", "Cant You Hear Me Knocking", and "Bitch". And then some absolutely beautiful ballads mixed in like "Wild Horses", "Sister Morphene", "Moonlight Mile" and whats wrong with "I Got The Blues"? It may be pretentious and bombastic but i think its awesome! "Dead Flowers" is an awesome country song too. Only song that i can do without in my life is "You Gotta Move", but its short so who cares! A definate 10 here.

Cosmic Charlie <> (11.03.2002)

Maybe my favorite album of all time, for many reasons already stated. All the tunes are outstanding, the playing super tight, a true rollercoaster ride of styles and emotions that gels nicely due to the uniform quality of the songwriting and his majesty, King Mick Taylor. I say "maybe" my fav, because a few of the tunes aren't quite holding up to repeat listening. "Wild Horses" is one, and "Sister Morphine" which just seems to languish in murk until rescued by "Dead Flowers". Not that "Flowers" is so great but it pulls the listener's ear out of the near comatose groove of "Morphine" and sets the stage for a most disarmingly beautiful song, the perfect "Moonlight Mile." It's a shame to quibble over a few minor bumps in an otherwise glorious road, and Sticky Fingers truly delivers one thrilling ride.

Ryan Maffei <> (12.03.2002)

I like it. So much that I'm gonna insert a formal, kinda pretentious comment here (ahem, ahem): Making their formula a bit bluesier, and upping the swagger and raw, loose-limbed intensity to a powerful extent, the new Stones sound-essentially gritty, boisterous Chuck Berry-is certainly innovative, and it works as an effective musical characterization of the band on this entertaining album (their first for the newly founded Rolling Stones Records). Rowdy, borderline offensive tunes like "Brown Sugar", "Bitch", and "Sister Morphine" broke new thematic ground for rock'n'roll, and brought back the good-timey feel of early, 50s rock-with a new, decidedly Southern tinge-in the wake of the genre's being corrupted by more cerebral, artistic tendencies. In that respect, Sticky Fingers tries to be nothing but frivolous and affable (a style that would unfortunately influence meaningless caveman bands like Free and Kiss), and at times even comes across as messy, but for the most part, the album maintains the focus and craftsmanship of the previous career highlight Let it Bleed. Which is something that actually helps it rise above that particular album in terms of accomplishment and enjoyability. A high 8/A-.

Federico Fernández <> (19.08.2002)

This one's so goooood. I read your reviews lots of times and I still can't get how you can put this masterpiece at the same heighs as Aftermath, Tattoo You and Flowers. No way!!! this is a MAJOR ALBUM and a very close second to Let It Bleed in my personal scale.

Look George! This is the best produced of the "Four Great" Stones album. Unlike Bleed or Exile which recordings are murky and distorted, here every sound is so smooth and clear... you could hear a needle falling in any part of the record. But that's not an argument, it's just a fact that grabbed my attention. Apart from that... Check out the songs!!! I don't like "You Gotta Move" that much but you do... "I Got The Blues" maybe is filler but "Salt Of The Earth" also was and "Beggar's Banquet" is still a 15. "Sway" is not the best one here but it is better than most of the country ditties on Beggar's and then... "Brown Sugar", "Wild Horses", "Sister Morphine", "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", "Bitch", "Dead Flowers", "Moonlight Mile"... all classics!!! all first rate songs!!! all thilling and amazing listening experiences!!! "Brown Sugar" is a complete classic, "Bitch" has that funky, heavy and absolutely catchy riff which grooves madly along the whole song, "Wild Horses" is their best ballad ever next to which "No expectations" and "Lady Jane" would be filler... Why would I go on?, YOU KNOW what I mean. There's no a single dull moment here, all nice riffs, catchy grooves, awesome melodies and amazing climaxes. Even "I Got The Blues" has a TERRIFIC organ solo that makes it worthwhile. You know, the music is so, so, so great that I consider kinda silly to lower a point for the "obsenity of the lyrics" or that stuff that buggers you. I read them and I feel they are not so offensive: "Bitch" maybe silly but not obscene, "Brown Sugar" is very indirect to be really offensive... I think you should quickly avoid those intellectual prejudices and enjoy the music in its purity which is arguably MUCH BETTER than the music of Aftermath ot Tattoo You. Tattoo You is good, but compared to this one is plainly mediocre. A 15.

David Dickson <> (08.02.2003)


That's the sound of me unclodding my dose. I'm surrounded by cats and dander.

Now--for the best Rolling Stones album I've ever heard! I really haven't heard all that much of them--just this, Beggars' Banquet, Let it Bleed, Tattoo You, Forty Licks, and Now! The cooooolest thing about this one is the sequencing. Every song is in its proper place. There's a very very "calculated" atmosphere to this LP that seems mysteriously absent from the Banquet, and even, to a certain extent, from Bleed. (If "Midnight Rambler" was not made up on the spot in the studio, I'm Ian Stewart) Most Stones fans would consider this "calculatedness" a liability. I don't. If anything, they need more of it. They may be bluesy and revolutionary, but unless they treat such material with the respect it deserves (by sequencing their albums appropriately) I can't take them as seriously as everyone else. And on this album, they've managed to create a unified statement like no other.

SO. . . I hate to be predictable, but "Brown Sugar" is definitely the best song on the LP. Overplayed or not, it DOES contain the ultimate Stones riff sequence. "I Got the Blues" is the second best song--calculated or not, it does have a super melody, great Richards guitar line, and appropriately bombastic soul arrangement. "Bitch" is third; wonderful riffage, great lyrics, and a beat sure to get the kids dancing. "Wild Horses" comes in a distant fourth. Beautiful song, but I just never got into it as much as everyone else. Then there's the other two hits: "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'" and "Dead Flowers"--super lead guitars on both of those.

Finally, there's the "filler"--the obligatory blues of "You Gotta Move", the piledriving guitars of "Sway", the haunting lyrics and distorted harp of "Sister Morphine" (bad melody on that one. Still a decent atmosphere, though) and the orchestral weary tired country ballad closer "Moonlight Mile"- -that actually must have been a moderate hit, I guess, 'cause its title's become a catch phrase here in the States since then. There you are. Not a single bad song on the whole album, and at least seven of them are outstanding. Contrast this with the two albums that preceded it--only five awesome songs on Beggars Banquet ("Sympathy", "Expectations", "Jig- saw", "Stray Cat", and "Salt") and one butt-ugly one ('Parachute Woman'). On Bleed, we've got just three awesome songs ("Shelter", "Let it Bleed" and "You Can't Always Get")--actually, no outright bad tunes on there, but it doesn't hold up to the standard set two years later on Sticky Fingers.

So there we have it: the best Stones album ever. That is, if Aftermath, Between the Buttons, Some Girls, and Exile on Main Street aren't better. The only truly bad thing about it is the back cover. GAH. My eyes are forever soiled. Andy Warhol, you bohemian idiot, what were you thinking?????

Kartikeya Misra <> (25.10.2003)

Am I going nuts at 3:00 AM in the morning or does "Sister Morphine" have the same vocal style as Bobby Dylan's on "Visions of Johanna"...We'll probably never know...

Another interesting thing: As that incredible riff to "Cant you ..." begins, we hear Mick mouthing "Yeah"...Were they enjoying themselves or what!!!!! A great great album, George has described it well, though I really don't see anything particularly wrong with "I Got the Blues"....

A 14 is correct, as "You gotta move" defines filler..But man, what an album

Bill Slocum <> (02.05.2004)

This is when the 1970s really got going. In fact, Sticky Fingers is not just the Stones' most Quintessential Album, as you put it, but also their best, and one of the decade's greatest joys on disc, right there with Ram, What's Going On, and that stretch Steve Wonder had between Innervisions and Songs In The Key Of Life.

Not only did the Stones provide a template for what rock would sound like in the 1970s, with Aerosmith being the most obviously influenced, but they managed to make an album that manages at once to be as glammed out as the era that produced it while simultaneously paying homage to rock's country and blues roots. "Dead Flowers" is a tasty honky-tonk morsel, very funny in its low-key way, while "You Gotta Move," "I Got The Blues" and "Sway" were all very effective workouts in the muddy direction of the Stones' next blues-centered opus, Exile On Main St.

About the only negative thing to be said for 1972's Exile is that it lacks the discipline the band shows off here. Except for that second part of "Can't You Hear Me Knocking," which loses me especially at the end when Mick Taylor runs out of melodic steam and just wings a stupid coda, there's nothing on this record that sounds less than completely thought out, yet it is played in such a cool, hangdog, devil-may-care way as to totally sucker you in, whatever your reservations about the obvious druggy context of it all.

"Brown Sugar" is the best track, like you say, and a take-no-prisoners killer, but it's no standout, not with "Wild Horses," "Bitch," "Sister Morphine," and "Moonlight Mile." The great thing about those songs, other than that they're great, is they really hang together well. After you've been blown away by the fury and dynamism of "Brown Sugar" for the umpteenth time, you are primed for the low-burn grunginess of "Wild Horses," the primordial power of "Bitch," the shimmering menace of "Sister Morphine," and the strange, succulent unearthiness of "Moonlight Mile." They all sound of a piece, not separate, though each quite enjoyable on its own.

This is really Mick Taylor's record. He debuted for all intents and purposes as the Stones' first major replacement on this record, and all bets were off as to how well he'd do. The incredible thing is not that it works, but works so well. He adds a whole new dimension to the Stones, updating in the process the tired '60 cliche of the "guitar hero" by seeing to it all his virtuosity served the song rather than called attention to the player. If he never quite fit into the Stones' scheme of things after this (and the outlier "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" kind of tells you why), he still managed to give his bandmates a new lease of life they are still cashing in on to this day.

No one else has noted how great this album sounds on headphones. The separation is incredible, like the way the rhythm section kicks in on "Sister Morphine" and the jangle of the twin guitars on "Dead Flowers." The Stones were raunchier in the 1970s, they were meaner, they were less literate and flowery. But they were better than ever on Sticky Fingers, and the decade wouldn't have been nearly so good without it.

Christoph Stross <> (27.05.2004)

While not a favourite of mine (even though still a good song), 'I Got The Blues' features some of the most clear, harmonic guitarwork by Mick T. and Keith working together perfectly.

I don't think that 'Moonlight Mile' overdoes the coda or anything else. It's just perfect as it is. Keith doesn't appear on it, even though the legend says, that he wrote the riff and played it on an earlier, never-released recording. Some people think, that the song would have been even better with Keith on guitar. I doubt it, but as I said, it could hardly be still improved at all.

Yet slightly less memorable, 'Sway' is another nice one. I wonder, whether Mick J. was thinking of Brian writing those lines: 'Ain't flinging tears out on the dusty ground / For all my friends out on the burial ground'.

'Sister Morphine' doesn't do that much to me. Jagger might be overdoing his Bob-Dylan-imitation on this tune a bit. The slide guitar is good, even though it is Ry Cooder instead of Mick T. (maybe another reason I don't find the song that great). I'd at any time prefer 'Too Much Blood', if I want a shocking song (more complex, less predictable), yes you read it correctly. And if I want a thoughtful song, I'd prefer... well I guess there are many in the Stones' catalogue. Anyway, still not that bad as all of the songs on here.

On a sidenote, Sticky Fingers is the only Stones album since Satanic Majesties featuring Wyman on every song. All the basses are him, as is the electric piano on 'You Gotta Move'. The mentioned is the only Fingers tune that usually gets bashed, but definitely not by me. Only, where the fuck is the bass on it? It would have fit in with the atmosphere that well. Then again, overarranged songs don't belong to the strengths of those guys. You can't always get what you want, but what I get sounds fine enough. So I give this album a 13. Many Stones fans would give it a perfect rating. I don't, because some of the songs sound quite similiar ...something, which is said about the whole Stones catalogue and might contain a grain of truth. For that reason, I doubt, that any Stones album will be rated higher (even though a few might get the same rating). This speaks for Sticky Fingers and makes it one of my first recommendations to buy (and I'm definitely not the only one giving it). You already need it, because you would not find that cool Moonlight tune on a single compilation.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (04.08.2005)

Their second best. The record immediately blows you away with the unforgettable riff of “Brown Sugar” and almost manages to stay on that level of brilliance till the end. Unfortunately, the cover “You Gotta Move” is rather plain (although short) and the nice ballad “I Got The Blues” is a bit far from what I call “great”. Otherwise, it would be their best. “Wild Horses” is so gorgeous, you won’t laugh; “Dead Flowers” is the catchiest and “Sister Morphine” is the creepiest (the atmosphere is fantastic; one of my favourite Stones songs ever). Hell, even those two I called letdowns are solid. They are just overshadowed by the Heaven-like material.

Quintessential, that’s for sure. A 15!


Jeff <> (06.09.99)

I'd agree with just about everything you said, except that "Let it Loose" is a weak song. It's one of the finest songs on the album!!! The way those vocal twist around each other and Mick's voice cascades through it all-- man, what a song!!! Oh, and "Torn & Frayed" is way above average. Not exactly "Sweet Virginia," but a good country tune anyway. Other than "Just Wanna See His Face" (which is at least amusing), I don't see a truly bad track on here. A few may not stand up to, say, "Shine a Light," but then again, what can?

Simon Hearn <> (11.09.99)

Come on George, this is a 9. There really aren't any fillers in my opinion. The album is put together so well the tracks meld into each other creating 18 tracks of pure bliss. I admit it does not deserve a ten, like their output from banquet to sticky fingers does, but a 9 is not out of the question. I do think the best songs are actually at the end of the album: 'let It loose', 'all down the line', 'shine a light' and 'soul survivor': all unjustly forgotten (bar 'Shine' .... Which appears on stripped). A document from a band just starting to go into decline: they would return with a vengence with some girls though

Jim Sheridan <> (08.10.99)

Have to disagree with the points that some songs go on for too long ("Loving Cup") and as for "All Down The Line" being EXTENDED - it's still a rather short song!! To wish the EXILE songs to be shorter is like saying "Sex is only good if it is 30 seconds or less." Sorry but I have to say when you are grooving to a song, it should be allowed to groove. Play this CD at a party - LOUD - and see what I mean. I could see applying that complaint to some of Black and Blue though!! And "Let It Loose" is one of the most majestic moments of music the Stones ever made.

<> (21.11.99)

I'm sorry, but I think you underrate this album a lot. I think a lot of the songs you call 'fillers' are great, especially 'Torn And Frayed'. This whole album is great, and I think it's the last good album before the dip, correct, but it was right up to the level of Let It Bleed and Beggar's Banquet, in my opinion, and it was FAR superior to Goat's Head Soup. Sorry.

Tony Stewart <> (12.12.99)

I have not been looking forward to doing exile because it's the best Disc in Rock that exists. Take Sgt. pepper and trip out , but if Rock stood the test of time(which it did), and Psychedelia has to rely on occasional Nostalgia come-backs, then Exile stood the test of time. As a matter of a fact we all know about the bad reviews it initially gathered. Lenny Kaye, who I never could stand, is eating his hat nowadays for several reasons. His criticism of that album being one of them. So much has been said. i don't want to add more melodramatic shit. I don't even want to go into the songs. It's such a package. The great photos in LIFE Magazine during the ultimate tour in rock. USA'72. STP Juggernaut touches down in a vortex of confusion, drugs, metallic clangs and Ladies undergarments, there is the show that no one in their right mind will dare to touch, OD's, Riots, Americana of robert Frank's GREAT cover of the album, Wolfman Jack in L.A. pumping it out 48 hours straight: nothing but Exile, Stevie Wonder's troupe, Charlie's ruffled shirt, all the Bob Gruen classic Photographs - all that is encapsuled in this little disc where the Stones were at the peak of their career, and it is also interestingly enough by far their most American Disc. I don't think one is the result of the other. They were Exiles, they were ina house, a commune , a n outlaw world and (I was NOT there) but a lot of people were a we know that a certain Anarchy reigned: Drugs, free Sex and many other boons. but it was like a Utopian Rock'n roll Heaven. It was bound to crash and burn or, end in a silent, sad wave goodbye. I have had many crazy nights where you are insane with a group of people for the night. And then like blinded rats you come crawling out of your glittering circus into a drab daylit REAL world and it's these awkward handshakes and "Ill call you's" which will never happen, and everything still has a slightly surreal glint to it. You just devoured this girl and she devoured your drugs and then twelve hours later in the daylight you can't look each other in the eye. Keith's BU Vocals on "Dietich's Movies, close up boogies, kissing cunt in cannes", the beauty of the choir and the very clever arrangement of'Tumbling Dice", one of my all time faves "Rocks Off", with it's strong melody,the frenzy of "Rip This Joint", Jagger's only posturing of the Disc well placed on Slim Harpo's "Hip Shake", but see I,m already saying this stuf we all know. It's the greatest. It's what Rock'n Roll IS. It's a band being a bandand not some jetsetters flown in for their overdubs. It's mistakes turning into high points of the album lie Jim Price's Organ on "Torn And Frayed". It's what Jagger tried sooo hard to recapture with "Continental Drift" and "Moon Is Up" years and years later, the spontaneity of"Just Wanna See His Face" and finally it has the greatest anthemic Pianobreak in Rock,during the last surge of "Soul Survivor". I will never understand why the Stones never have played that one out. They used that riff on three different songs. Loved the Photos and don't get the '99 Re'issue. I'd give this one an 11.

Glenn Wiener <> (14.01.2000)

Another classic. There are many great songs and some which could be classified as filler. However even such filler pieces as 'Casino Boogie' and 'Just Want To See His Face' have at least one striking thing about them such as the saxaphone solo and the rhythm guitars on 'Casino' and the vocal stylings on the later. The fact that four of my favorite Stones songs of all time('Rocks Off', 'Rip This Joint', 'Shine A Light', 'All Down The Line') are on this release makes it a jewel to my ears.

Jeff Blehar <> (09.02.2000)

A 10/10, possibly an 11. Okay, so that 11 is a bit of hyperbole, but so forkin' what? Hyperbole is good, if it isn't overused, darn it!

Trying to explain this album without a degree on Rock Critic Pretention is about as easy as trying to explain why Neil Young made that atrocious techno album back in 1981. I'm not going to wax philosophical about how The Rolling Stones were exiles on main street, recapturing their spirtual roots blah blah blah when all that matters to me is that these songs define their career. When Exile came out back in 1972 lots of critics knocked it, saying that the sound was muddy, the vocals were absolutely inaudible, and that all the songs sounded the same compared to the relative experimentation of Sticky Fingers. I've said it before, but I'll say it again because, frankly, it gives me a kick: THE CRITICS, AS ALWAYS, WERE FULL OF SH*T. I don't know why I put an asterisk in that word. Like removing the "i" makes it less of a vulgarity? Especially when a preponderous of the other reviews around here are peppered with hilarious curse words. But I digress again.

Maybe the greatness of this album was only apparent in retrospect, but Exile, a double LP that those wonderful folks at Virgin/EMI have managed to cram onto one shiny CD, is the Stones' finest moment. At this moment in time they were the utter masters of their music: this album mixes country, hard rock, juke-joint R&B, gospel, soul, blues, and pretty much every black form of music and does so utterly convincingly. While there are some slow spots on the album ("Shake Your Hips" and "Sweet Black Angel" doing particularly little for me) nothing sounds false, forced, or affected. This is honest-to-goodness, down-home all-American music made by five British drug addicts. (Again, stealing shamelessly from Prindle, but it's such an appropriate sentiment.)

And it's brilliant. When it rocks, it ROARS. "Rocks Off" and "All Down The Line" chug along like enormous freight trains, and the speed-R&B of "Rip This Joint" is - and I mean this without exaggeration - utterly breathtaking. It's the fastest the Stones have ever played, and while it's on you're not sitting listening to a CD, you're in the middle of a Birmingham night club, packed to the gills and jumping in 110 degree heat, the band wailing and thumping, spit pouring out of the saxophones. That song is primal therapy the likes of which everyone needs. "Tumbling Dice" was the only hit from the album, and for once I agree with Dave Marsh when he says that this may be the best thing the Stones have ever put onto a 45. The lyrics are completely incomprehensible, just a blur with a few words popping up now and then, but the sound; oh, does it ever roll you. "Happy" is Keith Richards' spotlight, and it's a goddamn great performance for a guy who can't sing. Or rather, sings like he's constantly falling off a cliff.

The other great aspect of Exile is something fairly new for the Stones: gospel. Sure, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" had some gospel aspects, but those were somewhat perfunctory; here, it's a lived-in, comfortable sound, on songs like "Loving Cup" and "Let It Loose." And what's this? Mick Jagger being emotionally HEARTFELT? All I know is that "Shine A Light" was written back in 1969-70, and that those lyrics sound like the most touching he's ever sang, so I'm going to assume it's a tribute to Brian Jones and let it move the hell out of me. Don't anyone go correcting my misconceptions, either!

There are no "epics" like "Moonlight Mile," "You Can't Always Get What You Want," or "Sympathy For The Devil" on this album, and that's appropriate, since the songs here all sound of a piece. That's one of the complaints levelled against the album: everything sounds the same. Well alright, "Sweet Virginia" (as convincing a country song as they ever did) does kinda run together with "Torn And Frayed" but WHO CARES? Look, one of the only problems I had with Sticky Fingers is that it was all over the place: "Sister Morphine" followed by "Dead Flowers" doth not a good track sequence make. On Exile many of the songs sound similar, but that's because they're produced similarly. Exile On Main Street is a mood piece for me. And if the sound is this GOOD, why complain? And while everyone is complaining about how hazy the production is, did they notice that this was INTENTIONAL? In fact, Exile is one of the best produced albums I have, in the sense that it sounds beautiful. The vocals are buried deliberately, but the sound of the ensemble as a whole is crystal-clear. And to be honest, the fact that the vocals are obfuscated isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it prevents you from realizing too quickly that "Soul Survivor," the album closer which kicks my ass six ways from Sunday, is all about sailing. I kid you not.

Stadelman <> (09.06.2000)

How anyone can say that some of the tracks on this disc are overlong while not finding the same fault in Aftermath's 'Going Home' is beyond me. Actually, I would switch the ratings of the two, giving Exile the 10 and Aftermath an 8. On Aftermath the Stones were still developing their sound, and while there is some exceptional stuff (primarily the tunes augmented with exotic instruments), the album has some "close but not quite" numbers as well. On the other hand, Exile finds the Stones at their most mature (musically speaking, of course). Here they ingest all the ingredients that went into Rock n Roll, make it their own, and spit it back out with a distinctive Stonesy flavor. To me this CD is more about feel than sound. This feels like authentic, original American music. So what if the production is muddy, this is rock music after all, party music, music that MOVES. The Stones reached their peak on this one.

[Special author note: okay, so maybe that's exactly what rubs me against this album. I don't feel the 'edge' in it, see - there's no gritty danger like on their previous three studio releases. The problem is that Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed, and Sticky Fingers is much more than just party music - they are, at the same time, daring and experimental, flashy, and powerful social statements. Exile shows us a band that intentionally relinquishes its edge. Where 'Going Home' was revolutionary and threatening (a very bold move at the time), the codas on Exile just show a band that's going back to the pub and not giving a damn about the consequences.]

<> (08.08.2000)

Im pretty sure that you are not right in the enduring songs presented here, I cant think of any song being deleted and it has always been a standby with nary a clinker.

John McFerrin <> (25.08.2000)

Ooh, I'm gonna have to disagree with you here George. Now, granted, this album does not quite measure up to the 68-69 standards (both BB and LIB have moved into my top fifteen of all time), but I think that to give this any less than a perfect score would be a crime. And it's not even that the individual songs are necessarily 15 quality.

You see, this album strikes me as the Stones equivalent of Blonde on Blonde or Electric Ladyland - albums where, in addition to mostly terrific numbers, the 'sprawl' factor actually works to the _benefit_ of the album, and where the numbers interact with each other to create a definite overall image for the listener. If Blonde was an excourse into the 'mystical' nature of America (well, not always explicitly, but I can't think of a better short summation) and Ladyland was a trip into, well, 'Electric Ladyland', Hendrix's psychadelic fantasy world, then Exile is a journey into a world where life is nothing but one giant drug-filled Mardi Gras party. This album breathes _decadence_ - it's the aural equivalent of a giant Devil's food cake. It might seem monotonous after a while, but dammit is it good.

That being said, the main disadvantage of this is that it is one of those albums that must be listened to as a whole to get the full effect. I'm not sure that I will listen to it that much, for the same reason that I don't listen to Blonde or Ladyland much - it's difficult to get oneself into a mode where one feels like hearing it. But when the time comes, ooh man, it's sweet.

Hutzley Jonathan D <> (12.12.2000)

I just have to say that the reason I believe Exile on Main St. is the best Stones' album is that i think its the album that works best as a cohesive whole. Perhaps this has only come to light with the release of the single CD. Since you don't have to get up after every four or five songs to flip/change the record, it really becomes evident as to just how well-oiled the Stones were at this time. They were able to do all those styles of music they loved from the get-go (blues, country, gospel), and rather than just be impressive imitators of those genres, which is what I think they were up until Aftermath or maybe even Beggars Banquet, they were able to appropriate those genres as their own.

It's funny, but it seems to me that this is the one album where they were able to do these uniquely American styles of music better than any of their American counterparts at the time.

<> (29.12.2000)

I want to start off by saying that you're right about the production, the first time I listened to Exile it all sounded the same. It's an album that you must listen to carefully before you can enjoy it. First side one is great except I'm not fond of 'Casino Boogie' and think they could have left that one off. Side two is perfect and I love 'Black Angel' but it's all good. The good news is side 3 starts with 'Happy' my all time favorite Stone's song, the rest however isn't bad but does not grab my attention (And I like Van Morrison!). Then we to side 4 which makes up for side three's mistake by having some more great songs like 'Shine A Light' and 'All Down The Line'. All in all a pretty good album.

Raghu Mani <> (01.01.2000)

Almost completely agree with George on this one. It is considered the Stones Magnum Opus nowadays but I think it isn't quite as good as the previous three albums. And there is some filler here but I don't see as much of it as George does. I just love 'Torn and Frayed', 'Lovin Cup' and 'Let it Loose' and rather like a couple of other songs that George puts into the category of filler. I agree however, that 'Just Want to See His Face', 'Casino Boogie' and 'Shake Your Hips' are mediocre. Overall, a 9.

Ben and Michele <b&> (19.01.2001)

Another great start to finish album by the Stones. The fact that they kick it off with sone of their fastest tempos is great.

Interesting how you don't feel the 'edge' on this one George. I would say it was just less hype at the time (whereas Sticky Fingers was over-hyped, as you say). Weren't they in fact living dangerously close to the edge during the making of this one. I mean, doing an album in Keith's basement on the Riviera. No holds barred! On 'Ventilator Blues' they just let the tape run in the middle of the night when they were jammin, singing about their noisy ventilation fan.

Flawless production is not always necessary in my opinion. They have their share of well produced sounds. Let this one pass as a little rough around the edges.

I'm glad it's a double, glad they got it to market.

My opinion is proudly biased, I am a hardcore fan, don't fault me for that.

Palash Ghosh <> (07.03.2001)

Some folks regard Exile On Main Street as the penultimate Stones album -– I think it's an overrated, bloated, tiresome mess. As a single album, it would've risen in my estimation, but there's just too much boring, forgettable crap here –- they're so dull that I can't even recall their titles!

The best numbers here, however, are some of my all-time Stones favorites, 'Happy,' 'Sweet Virginia' and 'Tumbling dice.'

I also agree with you that the production and mixes on this album was shockingly poor and Mick's vocals are often inaudible. Much of this album sounds like a poorly recorded bootleg of half-finished songs.

The Stones had the same level of energy as in the prior two releases, but something got lost in translation to disc.

Lisa Wright <> (11.03.2001)

'Just Want to see his Face' is more of a weird interlude, not to be really considered a total song. Jaggers vocals are amazing on Exile. Hes almost "speaking in tongues." You said you thought 'Shake Your Hips' is boring. Listen how Keith starts jamming those chords a little after 3/4 of the tune.  Man, that is awesome! Its climactic, not boring! I really believe this is the peak for the Stones. I think one of the reasons it is great is because of the bulk of material. Its certainly amazing to put out a whole dbl. album based on a feeling of "release" and kicking out the jams with the softer songs(shine a light, Let it loose). Listen closely to the guitar figures on 'Let it Loose'. Its a really cool cycle of chords with that watery sounding Fender Twin amp. Your rating of a 9 is way off-base. Like your website though.

Didier Dumonteil <> (01.04.2001)

Now ,in almost every poll of the web,it's THE Stones album.Does it deserve such a honour?I don't think so.THere's too much stuff on Exile that should have been discarded.But on the other hand,the good stuff is vintage Stone.

As "Rock's off" -a brief return to the psychedelia of Satanic Majesties- and "all down the line" which rock harder than ever.

As "Sweet black angel" that wins hand down over Lennon/Ono's "Angela".

As "shine a light"  a soulful Van Morrissonesque incantation.

And as "let it loose,that you don't seem to like ,George,and that happens to be my favourite.Here again,it's Morrison that comes to my mind again;that kind of atmosphere that turns an erotic song into an almost religious one.(see for instance "the healing has begun" on "into the music"1979)

<> (14.04.2001)

George, I agree with you on a lot of music, but I have to say, I think you are really way off on this one. Exile On Main Street is, in my humble opinion, the greatest Rock album ever. It's not that it's a collection of songs. It's the way the songs flow into each other. Sometimes, I fail to even get it myself. I find the best way to listen to it is on my headphones really loud late at night while reading along with the lyrics. There's just something about this album. Every note is magic, although I did share you view of it when I first got it.

Keith Camacho <> (04.05.2001)

You are totally off base on your analysis of Exile On Main Street. It is one of the best albums ever created. To state that there is too much filler and should not have been a double album is the same as saying that the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is too busy, therefore Michelangelo should have painted on a canvas. There is a smooth flow from one song to the next, creating an incredible album (YES - album, not a few individual songs here and there) that is a pleasure to listen to from beginning to end.

[Special author note: boy, if I get one more E-mail saying "You are way off on this one, dude! Exile On Main Street flows so smoothly!", I'm gonna sue the entire music press for zombiefying Stones' fans. What Stones' album doesn't flow smoothly, I wonder?]

Robert Tally <> (28.08.2001)

I would rate this album as only slightly less satisfying than the three (studio) albums that preceded it. And in this respect, I would agree with George inasmuch as the style of production is part of the reason. Not that it's a huge problem with me, but I do prefer a clear, distinct style of production over the sort of loose, random nature of this one. In any event, it only amounts to rating the album as my fourth favorite, so it's still pretty great. My favorite tracks on this album include "Rocks Off," with its slovenly approach and bizarre middle section, "Loving Cup," a very-much overlooked ballad, "Torn And Frayed," which may be a country tune in the technical sense, but transcends that label entirely, "Sweet Black Angel," which is perhaps the most infectious song on the album and features very effective percussion, and "Sweet Virginia", a simple, but certifiable classic. All of the other songs sound at least okay to me. Obviously, "Tumbling Dice" is a solid piece of work, but I think I've heard it enough times for one lifetime. "All Down The Line" is just about perfect. "Happy" is very catchy, if not too impressive, but I love Keith's voice on it. "Ventilator Blues" is a very enjoyable piece of blues. "Rip This Joint" is good fun. "Soul Survivor" took some time to grow on me, since it isn't overtly melodic, but I enjoy it well enough. "Casino Boogie" puts across the sleazy nature of the band pretty well. Of the two overtly gospelish tunes, I prefer the atmospheric "Let It Loose" over "Shine A Light". "Stop Breaking Down" is another fairly decent blues outing.

There are, of course, a few tracks that seem to be mostly there for mood, and I think this is an essential part of any great double album. I personally really like "I Just Want To See His Face" because the atmosphere is so vivid. To a lesser extent, I also enjoy "Shake Your Hips," and to an even lesser extent, "Turd On The Run," which may be a little too one-dimensional and hyper. The general underground and uncommercial nature of this album should also be considered when rating it. Some things are bigger than the sum of their parts, and I think this is a good example. It certainly doesn't sound to me like the beginning of the 'great decline.' Completists may want to find the single mix of "All Down The Line," in which the background harmonies come in right on the first verse.

Ryan Maffei <> (13.03.2002)

Sticky Fingers was good, charismatic, energetic, rootsy, and focused, and thus, the most admirable album of the band's career. But after that peak, the group took this style to the excessive, difficult extreme, and threw out this double-set that really does rather little for me. People call it the greatest rock'n'roll album of all time--oui, it is rock'n'roll, but it's all kind of repetitive, with a bunch of tracks that aren't even that good. And the production is absolutely terrible, burying certain instrumental parts that are drastically important, and even, at one point, a whole track ('I Just Want To See His Face'). I like a lot of these songs, and there's a good share of solid, fluid, boisterous rock'n'roll, but this is another record that hangs by a thread for me when it comes to critical forgiveness. A 7, a low B, etc...

Ben Kramer <> (13.04.2002)

Well, I have to agree with you on this one for the most part, but I don't think I could even give this a 13. A 12 sounds more appropriate. As mentioned by many commentators in more or less words, this is party music. It is great for what it is, but nothing more. I can't call any of these songs a classic, not even 'Tumbling Dice'. I mean, it is a good song and everything, but to compare it to 'Brown Sugar', 'Sympathy For the Devil', 'Paint It Black'... is absurd. There are no other really memorable songs on the album (except for maybe 'Rocks Off', and 'Ventilator Blues', both have wonderful riffs and the rawness adds to their greatness). As for the rest of the songs, they just seem to blend in together as a nice big heap of riff rock. Now, this of course isn't a bad thing (Sticky Fingers is mostly riff rock and I love Sticky Fingers), but like I said above, they aren't memorable, which means the riffs are not great. You don't find anything like 'Satisfaction' on here, do you? There is no level of maturity on the album either. It seems too much like they just wanted to put out a double album (to sell more records of course) and not pay as much attention to individual songs, which is why everything from 1966 to this point is classic, nothing under a 13 and that would probably be Satanic. I still give it a 12, because the songs I mentioned above are very good and there is nothing hideous about the album. If you're just looking for a plain old raw, dirty rock and roll album, than this is definitely for you, but then again, so is Aerosmith.

Dan Zozula <> (02.09.2002)

I think that this album is controversial in that you love it or you hate it. I feel that the main strength of this entire album is it overall atmosphere. Yes, the tracks do "flow together well" as, it seems, everyone loves to point out (to the ire of George). But its not the flow, but the feel of the tracks. They're so loose and free, they seem like they could collapse at any minute. In my opinion, this IS in fact a plus, though it is conceivable that some might not like it. Can the individual tracks stand up to, say. Let it Bleed or Sticky Fingers? No. Not even close. There IS filler on here, one cannot deny this fact. But atmospheric wise, can it compete? Yes. I feel that the free-flowing atmosphere rivals (but does not surpass) the spooky atmosphere of Let It Bleed, and DOES surpass the atmosphere of Sticky Fingers. Being a Dylan fanatic, i can easily compare this disc to John Wesley Harding, because even George himself claimed that the sum of that album was greater than its parts. Same with this album. An 8? Maybe a high 8, or a low 9. Jagger sums up the entire album in the first 10 seconds of "Rocks Off" when he goes "Ohhh yyeaaah" in the background in a sleazy voice. Side Note: Sing "Sweet Virginia" when your 17 and drunk with your friends like me, or just when your drunk with your friends.

Federico Fernández <> (25.10.2002)

I read this review before actually listening to the record. I was aware of Exile's high reputation though, and for some time I believed: "This George must be missing the point". Then I bought the record, listened to it and found that I was TOTALLY identified with your review.

The primitive production, with all the vocals and instruments buried in the mix like a very bad Phil Spector wall-of-sound experiment really annoyed me and still doing so. And the songs are mostly filler, loaded with some riffs and melodies that sound like a complete parody of the ones present in Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers (I haven't got a high praise for the riffs and melodies in Beggar's Banquet)

I just can't add anything to your quotes: "Production which really makes everything sound the same" or "The guitars somehow all manage to stick together in a lump, rather than sound polished and distinct as on the previous record, and Jagger's vocals are a disaster - always buried under the instruments and horrendously convoluted." or "They're okay, I guess, and I never skip them while playing the album (except for that silly 'Wanna See His Face' embarrassment) but they're all not very catchy". And I can't add anything because they express exactly what I feel about the record.

See my point: most of the songs are pretty good, but compared with previous gems like "Paint It Black", "Mother's Little Helper", "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Child Of The Moon", "Gimmie Shelter", "Stray Cat Blues", "Monkey Man", "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", "Bitch", "Wild Horses" or "Brown Sugar" they turn out pretty dull, weak, generic and not very imaginative. The mood, the vein of the album is always the same, and that prevents Exile from being a totally blistering experience as Sticky Fingers is. I get the feel that nothing unexpected or fresh is going to appear on the next track: when you listened the first two couple of songs you know what the whole Exile is going to be about.

That said, there are some good tunes here. "Tumbling Dice" and "Rocks Off" are the only true gems. "Sweet Virginia", "Happy", "Soul Survivor", "All Down The Line", "Stop Breaking Down" and "Casino Boogie" (YES, "Casino Boogie") are the other satisfactory though not outstanding tracks (Mick's vocals in "Sweet Virginia", for instance, are atrocious). I don't get my ass too kicked by the fast n' furious "Rip This Joint" which I find EXTREMELY generic to be really pleased with it. Also, "Ventilator Blues" is downright monotonous despite its interesting riff. "Shine A Light", "Let It Loose", "Loving Cup", "Torn And Frayed" and "Sweet Black Angel" are the kind of fillerish songs that sound nice while they're on but I can't recall and don't feel an irresistible urge to play them again as soon as they're over. "Shake Your Hips", "Turd On The Run" and "I Just Wanna See His Face" are the most boring and forgettable ones.

Complete agreement. I'd go farther and rate ir with a 12 instead of a 13.

Phillip Hutcherson <> (25.01.2004)

Ohhh boy. I've now got quite a few of the Stones' albums since my last review, and I gotta say, I don't really like this one at all. A grand total of three songs - 'Tumbling Dice', 'Happy', and 'Shine A Light' really stand out to me, and all three are excellent tunes, by far the best on here. The rest? Meh. It sounds like substandard country roots-rock to me - far from what the Stones have shown that they were capable of at the time. It's not really my cup of tea. *shrugs*

Christoph Stross <> (28.05.2004)

I don't think, that the production is bad at all. Of course it does sound like your raunchy garage band next door, but this is rather an advantage than a disadvantage to me. Sticky Fingers had a great production, too, but was a different matter. Fingers included a lot of Mick T., this one is mainly Keith.

Matthew Byrd <> (09.07.2004)

well, I used to think that this was, perhaps, the most overrated album in rock 'n' roll........ but now, I would say that I disagree with THAT statement.  I really do like the country-blues, dirty-boogie feel of this album... really, a nice blues album. 'Tumbling Dice' may be their best song.

Michael Bleicher <> (06.08.2004)

Eh. Yeah. An "8" for the complete album—there's too much filler, and too much repetition of song types! Unlike the previous three albums, every decent type of song (country, r&b, Chuck Berry rocker, or something more diverse) gets repeated at LEAST once, usually twice through the course of the album. Sure, it's a double, and sure, Blonde on Blonde doesn't contain 14 different styles of song, but Dylan's lyrics make each song a completely different world (plus the production on that album is much better than this), and the White Album…well, no one can make a rock album more diverse than that. Anyway, the other problem with the record is that, for the first time, we have some real stinkers (you named them right in your review). The plusses? Temporarily, at least, the lyrics are a bit better…sure, nothing is hiding behind those great metaphors anymore, but at least we don't get too many sets of lyrics quite as bad as those for "Bitch" on Sticky Fingers or any number of songs on all future albums. Plus, some of these songs are absolutely excellent. ("All Down the Line" is better than any rocker off of Sticky Fingers, for example.) My solution to Exile on Main Street was to burn a CD with the best tracks, in this order:

1. Rocks off 2. Rip this joint 3. Tumbling dice 4. Sweet Virginia 5. Torn and frayed [some light country to balance it out] 6. Loving cup 7. Happy 8. Ventilator blues 9. All down the line 10. Stop breaking down 11. Shine a light 12. Soul Survivor

A couple of weaker tracks (Torn and frayed, Soul Survivor), but in all, I think this is a much stronger album that still highlights all the major types of music on the album without all the irrelevant songs. I'd give this a 9, maybe, maybe a low 10.

David Dickson <> (18.06.2005)

Whoa. For all the zero people who read my comment on Sticky Fingers, ignore it. Back in the day, I was impressed by the Stones recording anything that even approached the level of Led Zeppelin II. But in the words of Krusty the Clown, approach don't suture my colon. And neither does Sticky Fingers, try as it might. Believe it, kid.

So. I'm here to give my review of Exile on Main Street. And I just finished my final Western European Democracies paper, you cretins! Mwa ha HA, ha ha!! Bow DOWN before my boast about trivial accomplishments!!!! YEAAAH!! (Howard Dean intonation)

. . . . . . My friends. I'd just like to let everyone know what a phenomenal, incredible, masterpiece of an album this is. If you've listened to Beggars Banquet, Let it Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Aftermath, Voodoo Lounge, Emotional Fescue and Dirty Work and were not that frickin' impressed, listen to this. It will change your opinion of the Stones for good. They may be generally overrated, and sometimes not be able to find a good melody with two hands and a flashlight, but. . . damn it, this album RULES. And it's the longest studio album they ever released. That just goes to show you what a roots rock band can do if you just let them STRETCH OUT. Some of the songs may be individually sub-par, but the whole thing just blends into one big sloppy juicy continuous work that, for my money, stands as the pinnacle of bar-band music. Don't be looking for Beatles-esque hooks in here, or individual pop gems. Let the drunken booziness of it all run you over like the behemoth that hooked up with the Russian-American girl I liked last weekend. It is indeed a behemoth, and just as brainless. Who needs brains when you're listening to music like this? This is the STONES, dawg! FEEL their fat guitar tones, their accompanying brass session musicians, and their bad-ass pianos! And hook up with THEIR groupies! To the EXTREME!!

YEAAAH!!! (Rick Flair intonation)

Ah. . .

So, how about them Russians--*hic*--I mean Red Sox?

Alexey Provolotsky <> (04.08.2005)

Even though I tend to worship long albums, this one is really packed with some unnecessary filler. To cut a long story short, here is my perfect Exile On Main St.:

Rocks Off

Rip This Joint

Tumbling Dice

Sweet Virginia

Torn And Frayed


Ventilator Blues

Let It Loose

Shine A Light

This collection truly kicks butt. But who needs the absolutely bland “Casino Boogie”, the forgettable “Turd On The Run” or such generic numbers (still decent) as “All Down The Line” or “Stop Breaking Down”? I sure don’t. “Sweet Black Angel” is at least catchy. And “I Just Want To See His Face” is at least kind of charming.

I could give this monster a 13.


Jeff <> (06.09.99)

This is even more underrated than Satanic. Okay, maybe not. "Can You Hear the Music" is the only weak track here by my estimation. "Coming Down Again" is good. It's a little slow, but how can you compare it to crap like "Thief in the Night"? There are a few outstanding tunes here ("Heartbreaker," "Angie"), and the rest of it is better-than-average Stones, so that would deem it a great album in my book, despite the murkiness.

Simon Hearn <> (07.09.99)

One comment - mick taylor destroyed the stones sound on this album. He was allowed too much control on solos and this was no doubt because of keith and micks drug dependance. After the next album he departed - hurrah!

Simon Hearn <> (26.09.99)

I know I have previously said I thought M taylor spoilt this album, but on closer and more critical listening he may have actually added a certain amount of professionalism that was lacking from keith and mick at that time. I like 'Dancing with Mr D', '100 years ago' and 'Star Star'. The other tracks are fillers and 'Angie' doesn't particularly do much for me, but 'HEARTBREAKER' is one of the best and most underrated stones songs EVER. Why it is not in their stage act is beyond me. I simply love this track - easily the equal of brown sugar. The arrangements are superb. Don't deride Goats Head. Just because it followed their best period and was a disappointment - buy it and hear for yourselves they never lost it in the 70's. Great mystical feel to the album - grab a copy

Jim Sheridan <> (08.10.99)

I feel bad for people who cannot enjoy Keith's soulful vocals on the ballads. From "Comng Down Again" to yes "Thief In The Night," Keef has more soul in his burnt rasp than a million and one note-perfect singers could ever aspire too. Some people do not "get" Neil Young or Tom Waits either. Ah well, stick to yer smooth smooth pablum then. As for the feedback letter declaring that Mick Taylor "ruined" the Stones or this album - PLEASE. Compare the Stones live boots OR studio stuff with him and after. Mick Taylor had too much control on the solos?!?! Spare me! Mick Taylor should've been given MORE room to wail.

Tony Stewart <> (26.12.99)

I've always felt GHS got a bad rap, it doesn't neccessarily deserve. It's all relative. We're comparing it to the former outout from the Stones. GHS also had the misfortune to be the disc to have to follow Exile. That's a tough slot for anyone. In '73 the Stones were primarily a Liveband once again. They had just completed the ultimate Rocktour, as befits the ultimate Rockalbum. The STP now hit Europe after a break that consisted of recording a new disc, trying to absorb a whole new direction and infatuation called Reggae, and it also involved a LOT of drugs. By now the crew was paying the price of thinking themselves a "Rolling Stone", trying to keep up with them. It had done many a strong man in. Andy Johns, Jimmy Miller, Keith Harwood and Bobby Keys lived the life. The Stones will never deny you excess. It's up to you to take care of your own ass though. They will not provide the nurse.

So Soup didn't quite measure up to its predecessors. Some intangible missing. They'd done miracles before with unfinished songs, but this time the energy wasn't there to turn songs like "Hide Your Love" into a "Stop Breaking Down". Keith was very drugged out, which shines through on many songs where his performance IMHO is found 'lacking'.

We kick it off with "Dancing with Mr. D.". Jagger tried his very best to make this one a hit. He saw the Disco trend coming and the "dancing, dancing" chant was right up there, but the rather lyrics when put side by side with "Sympathy"are a parody. GREAT video though! "100 Years Ago". The perfect 2nd song. There are some songs that fit just right into that medium tempo groove. Not too strong, not too weak. It's carried by Taylor and Billy Preston on Clavinet. Jagger writes some fine lyrics, great bridge and a cool jam which you already knew was gonna work out great in concert. Why is it so flat then? "Coming Down Again" is one of my favorite Stones songs. (Sorry G.) I agree that Keith has slid into this balladeer on "his" songs on the later discs, but this one, very long, repetitious stays with you. I can see Keith nodding out on the piano. It's good to hear Jagger still singing on a Keith song. That was the last time they sang together on one of them. Beautiful lyrics in the verses. "Heartbreaker" rocks. Another one dominated by Preston and Taylor'c Clavinet/Wah Wah sound. Whoever wrote that Hornchart-Kudos! You know Jagger is reading his papers by addressing the right social problems e.g. 'inner-city druguse' and 'guncontrol'. Again it's a great song, written to rock live but...

"Angie" of course stands on it's own. Never had the Stones put out a shmaltzier tune, but Keith just sat down and wrote that sucker and that was that. You can tell it's one of those songs that must have flowed out in just one sitting. Where you just pick up the guitar and play it. It's already here just waiting for you. And Jagger did the song justice, wrote beautiful lyrics and there wasn't a hint of parody in his vocal delivery. It was such an obvious single. For any band but the Stones.

"Silver Train" with great Slide guitar by Taylor and built on a very "Keithian" riff sounds like the little brother to "Happy", "Hide Your Love" is essentially Jagger doing a demo, with him on piano and Taylor again Sliding all over the place. Once more no Keith. Same on the gorgeous "Winter", which is Jagger and Taylor, plus strings really taking it home. Now this one is right up there with "Angie". Just wonderful. Keith's one guitar contribution comes in the form of a Leslie'd phrase. Very hypnotic with Flute and Organ combining to make it quite a monster. The verses are a brief glimpse into what he was still capable of,if he wanted.

To me the most baffling tune on the disc is "Starfucker". This is the kind of song that the Stone own. And it was the first time the Stones imitated the Stones. It's a 1-4-5 Berry style tune all the way. Hilarious lyrics. Nice controversy with the censors. Actors suing. Oh, you could not ask for more. It even tually became great in concert.

It sums up what is wrong with the whole disc. Trace it all the way back and you will find the culprit is drugs. Jimmy Miller wasn't producing, Andy Johns was miking and mixing very correctly, but there was not one spark of adventurism in the whole affair. What had happened to the fun and to the loose jams? Dirty Mixes and chaotic brilliance? What was REALLY missing was Keith. This was the beginning of the period where Jagger had to carry the Stones alone for a while. H e had to rely on partners sometimes good, i.e. Taylor, sometimes bad,i.e. Preston. Mainly he had to rely on the person he always has relied on:himself. But a band like the Stones needs both Jagger and Keith.

So where Buttons was a great "unfinished" album, Soup was not. It has aged VERY well though, surprisingly enough. Some songs found their identity in Liveshows, others are kept alive through Taylor's great Slide guitar, but mainly I think Jagger really deserves a great thank you for getting a disc out at all. And let's not forget: we are still talking about the Stones here. Watts and Wyman kick their usual ass and Keith, when he dropped in always left an "Angie" or something behind...

Michel Franzen <> (12.01.2000)

The DRUGS finally overtake the creativity of the band.

Jeff Blehar <> (09.02.2000)

Disappointing as hell coming on the heels of Exile, but not really nearly as bad as people might tell you. The problem with Goats Head Soup is that there's just no ambition in it, really; I mean, they're experimenting, but it's with PSYCHEDELIA! What the hell is "Can You Hear The Music?" doing here? Wasn't the heyday for this music six years previous?

So the album is pleasant. Pleasant. That's not exactly an exciting description, I know, but this album certainly isn't edgy like the previous four. And yet it's not a bad listen by any means. Songs like "Dancing With Mr. D" and "Star Star" are excruciatingly juvenile, to be sure, but that's about it. "100 Years Ago" and the Keef smack ode "Coming Down Again" are feather-lite and soothing, and "Winter" is almost as triumphant as "Shine A Light" or "Let It Loose." The big hits, which were "Angie" and "Heartbreaker," are also two thumbs and three legs up. "Silver Train" is a good song about a silver train, and...look, I don't want to explain every song on this album to you. Those kinds of comments suck; I should know, I've written a bunch of them elsewhere. George does that job for us already. But Goats Head Soup is an intriguing and uncharacteristic collection of songs (with the exception of "Heartbreaker" and "Star Star" which are as Stones as the Stones got), and it's one which I've grown pretty fond of as the years have passed. Just don't expect Sticky Fingers or Exile, and you've got a solid collection on your hands.

Glenn Wiener <> (01.03.2000)

Like the previous listener, solid but not quite spectacular. 'Star Star' is a fun rauncy rocker. 'Heartbreaker' and 'Angie' were deserving singles. '100 Years Ago' has an excellent guitar solo courtesy of Mick Taylor. The rest is OK with the exception of the slightly overlong 'Winter' and the somewhat annoying 'Can You Hear The Music'.

Matt Reyes <> (28.05.2000)

I have not heard this album yet but how do you only give one sentence to 'Angie'? and its a bad one. All you can say is "Angie is one of Mick's most popular but unsincere ballads". 'Angie' is in the top two stones songs. Along with 'Under my Thumb'. Whats not to like the melody, the guitar its great.

Joel Larsson <> (14.09.2000)

This album seems as the fans like more than necessary. The only really good songs are 'Angie' and 'Heartbreaker'. The rest are fillers, maybe 'Star star' is a little better than the rest.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (04.12.2000)

Why people hate it so much? I'm not Stones' fan (at the right moment) but it seems to me that ther're so many great tunes here and so little filler. 'Do-do-do-do', 'Angie', '100 years ago' and 'Dancing with mr.D' are among my favourite Stones' songs. I fell in love with this album from the first listen. Songs are so open and it's really hard not to notice such gems. By the way, 'Angie' is Stones' 'Yesterday' which I hate as much as I like 'Angie'. My rating is 8/10.

Jeff Melchior <> (28.01.2001)

Myself, I kind of LIKE 'Coming Down Again', except for some of the gross lyrics ("Stick my tongue in someone else's pie"? Any takers, ladies?). I honestly can't say I like this album that much, but there was a time in my Stones fandom that I played it quite regularly. I'm not a fan of 'Angie' - too drugged-up and maudlin for my tastes (but then, this is coming from a guy who likes 'Coming Down Again'). 'Heartbreaker' sounds too much like something from a '70s blaxploitation flick for me to take it seriously. '100 Years Ago' is a nice enough song but somewhat confounding as to its purpose. Never had much use for 'Silver Train' or 'Hide Your Love', sorry all the same. I really like 'Winter', however - a song that successfully relays through music the actual feeling of winter. It's possibly the Stones' best ballad ever. 'Dancing With Mr. D' is just dumb, IMHO. 'Can You Hear The Music' is kind of interesting but overlong. I must say that, as much as I condemned it for its lyrical approach in the Sticky Fingers section, 'Starfucker' is the most rocking thing on here.

All in all, not a bad album but certainly not deserving of a dark horse classic designation either. Of the Stones' post-Exile output, only Black and Blue deserves that title.

Palash Ghosh <> (07.03.2001)

With Goat's Head Soup The Stones are on the precipice of their long and sad decline. Perhaps, Exile wasn't a fluke after all, that they really HAD run out of original ideas and just decided to push the envelope further on images of sleaze, violence and even voodoo.

There's little to recommend here. The only track I really enjoy is the tragic tale of 'Heartbreaker-Doo doo doo' -– it really kicks right from the get-go.

'Dancing With Mr D' and '100 Years Ago' are passable. And I thoroughly agree that 'Angie' is an 'insincere ballad' (as opposed to the more touching 'Wild horses'). I don't know what it is about tender love songs, but Mick just can't pull them off without sounding fake!

This is overall a very disturbing album, everything about it reeks of menace and confusion (including the grotesque imageries arising from the title as well as the album cover which seems to combine Mick's face with Marianne Faithfull's -- or is that Bianca? I'm not sure).

I never play this record anymore, it just unnerves me for some reason.

Rob <> (12.03.2001)

GHS had to be a letdown. Exile was an incredible experience for the band with the 72 tour as well.  It might have been a little more "to the point" if Jagger and Keith were living in the same country and not doing their "strum for hours while i mumble" on the telephone.  Goats Head Soup has aged well. Its a classic because it is what it is-the "big comedown". When folks get high(Exile), they come down(GHS). 'Coming Down again' is a great song! "Stuck my thumb in someone elses' pie" is so hilarious. The guitars on CDA are really great.  Its really a good album and better than most stuff at the time. Everyone should check out the bootlegs Brussels affair and/or headin for an overload. Both 73 tour shows. really good stuff, so they hadnt totally burnt-out ....

Didier Dumonteil <> (01.04.2001)

The slump begins here,we hear.The problem  is that the songs often resemble former ones.

"Winter" is a remake of "moonlight mile","dancing with M.D" tries to rekindle the hell furnace,but wouldn't scare a child,"Angie " is a return to pop ballads but it's a bit maudlin and corny,and one regrets"as tears go by" "she's a rainbow" or "ruby tuesday"."Coming down again" is boring,and "hide your love" a throwaway."star star" "silver train" and "heartbreaker" rock,but are echoes of the three previous albums."Can you hear the music" is original if not completely successful.Some said it was the music B.Jones would have done,had he lived.Why not?All in all,GHS is not a bad album.It's simply that the Stones have ceased to be true creators.

<> (09.05.2001)

I think anybody who bashes this, hasn't listened to it. No, it's not as good as the 4 that followed, not even close. It's still a great album. 'Dancing With Mr D' just has that cool guitar riff and the lyrics are really funny. '100 Years Ago' might just be the best song here. Certainly has the best lyrics. It's a complex tune with one of Mick Taylor's best solos. George, you were right about them fading out the solo just before he picked up steam. I have the live verison of it from Vienna in 73, Taylor wails unbelieveably. I love 'Coming Down Again', Keith just pores his soul out and Taylor plays some tasty and surprisingly minimalistic guitar lyrics with the piano. And oh that sax solo! Beautiful. 'Heartbreaker' has a funky riff although it's not one of my favorites (I don't really care for the horns). Angie is overplayed and overrated but the acoustic guitar intro still leaves me jaw hanging. 'Sliver Train' is basically 'All Down The Line Part II'. 'Hide Your Love' is dull and boring with shitty vocals but Taylor manages to save it with some great guitar solos. Winter is gourgeous but 'Can You Hear The Music' is bizarre. 'Starfucker' rocks. Great riff, the lyrics are fun if obscene, and just take a listen to that solo. I mean, a really close listen. Listen to the interplay between Keith and Mick T. It's incredible.

Matt Reyes <> (05.06.2001)

I love this album so much. I was going to give it a nine but I realize that is to high, so an 8 is fine. I am still baffeled at why you hate 'Coming Down Again', I love it so much. I really feel it does have a melody. The hits are great and 'Star Star', '100 years ago' and 'Winter' are all minor classics! In my mind this album sounds very much like what Tattoo You would be in 81.

Robert Tally <> (08.09.2001)

There are two reasons this album has such a bad reputation: firstly, the album isn't that great, and secondly, rock critics tend to exaggerate, so they say it sucks. The Stones were simply too good a band to make a terrible album. They couldn't have if they wanted to. But they were capable of making a mediocre album (and years later, making a bad one was no longer beyond their reach). I personally think this is a fairly good album, which is disappointing after the previous few releases. So what makes this album less than its predecessors? Well, there are actually a couple of bunk tunes on here, for one thing. Also, the album sounds a little hung over. It simply doesn't build up much excitement.

Two tracks stand out for me: "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo" is funky, glossy and gritty all at once, and is the most intense track; "Coming Down Again" is relaxing enough that I wouldn't mind it lasting the whole album - and Keith simply has a very moving vocal delivery. "Can You Hear The Music?" is probably the most interesting track on the album, but somehow doesn't quite stand out. "Star Star" suffers mainly from having a limp backing track, with the background vocals having to bear the responsibility of adding much-needed meat to the chorus - otherwise it should have been a standout track; "Dancing With Mr. D." has a good, funky groove, but sounds a little too lackluster; "Angie" has plenty of nice touches, but pales in comparison to "Wild Horses," among others; "Winter" is an interesting idea that pales in comparison to things like "Moonlight Mile"; "Silver Train" is a good song idea that never develops into anything substantial. Two songs just don't do much for me: "100 Years Ago" has a good arrangement, but the song ideas vary from mundane to downright silly; "Hide Your Love" is just Mick doing an uninspired blues. I think one of the reasons Stones fans were turned off by this album back in '73 is that the group went for a more polished, funky approach, rather than the garage band quality of the previous releases. For me, the change in style is far less serious than the change in quality - but again, it wasn't the sharp decline that many have said it was.

Completists might want to find the censored edit of "Star Star" (yes, I know that's not the REAL title) from the UK LP.

Ryan Maffei <> (14.03.2002)

Not bad at all. In fact, I think that coming after their continuous honing of their creative style, the Stones have come up with one of their best, most focused and solid albums yet. I don't like the sonic oddity of "Can You Hear the Music" or the dumb "Hide Your Love", but the rest of the material is just great: "Winter" and "Angie" are soaring, accomplished ballads, "Dancing With Mr. D" and "100 Years" are fine rockers, "Heartbreaker" is enjoyable, driving pop, "Coming Down Again" is some good country-rocking, and "Starfucker" (Why bother calling it "Star Star"?) is absolutely one of the most downright fun recordings the band ever did. A good album, up with Let it Bleed and Sticky Fingers, if a bit more frivolous. Why don't people like it, then?

Federico Fernández <> (08.09.2002)

I bought this record some days ago and I know many people are saying things like "Yes, this is a big dissapointment as a follow up to Exile On Main St. but not so bad after all". I won't agree. In fact, I'll go and say; "Exile was a freakin' dissapointment after Sticky Fingers and Goats Head Soup makes AN IMPROVEMENT over its predecessor"... YES I like this one more than Exile. Why? Too simple: Whereas Exile was a one hour bunch of monotonous, uniform, plain and claustrophobic filler (with exceptions like 'Rocks Off' and 'Tumblin Dice' which are really great tunes), Goats Head Soup is a not so long bunch of fresh air, diversity and fun. I mean; Exile is good, but all the tracks are in the same vein... and so it gets boring very often and offers me very few thills with its boring and repetitive riffs. Instead, Goats Head Soup displays things like the wonderful "100 Years Ago" with that hellish guitar solos by Mick Taylor and Billy's clavinet; we're not gonna listen to anything similar on the rest of the album; there was nothing as fresh and unique in Exile. (Yes, I agree this is the best one here). And of course, there's Angie, one of the few Stones ballads which showcases melodic competence (Together with "Ruby Tuesday" & "Wild Horses" as the best Stones ballads). I don't know if its sincere or not, I don't care... after all "Ruby Tuesday" isn't and its great. I also love "Heartbreaker" with its fantastic guitarwork and awesome horns. "Can You Hear The Music", "Dancing With Mr. D.", "Star Star" and "Winter" are also great songs and the most important thing is that they are quite different from each other; different moods, different instruments, different structures... And sorry George, but I can't hate "Coming Down Again". I admit that it hasn't got a memorable melody but what about the atmosphere? Its great, relaxing, soothing, smooth. And Keith vocals don't get irritating at all. The "great" "Heaven" from Tattoo you is also melodyless (and somewhat similar) buy you like it...

Good album, a well deserved 12, but a 13 wouldn't be wrong also.

Guillermo F. Vázquez Malagamba <> (24.10.2002)

This is a good album despite some of the songs are very simple (3 or four chords). I don´t know why many people considers this band as "The Greatest Rock´n´roll band". [Is "the greatest rock'n'roll band" supposed to be "the most complex rock'n'roll band"? - G.S.] Anyway, they have some good albums. I like a lot Mick Taylor´s lead guitar. A real professional musician who did a very big difference between lead and rhythm guitars in the Stones. I like "Coming Down Again", with very good lead vocals from Richards, who is a better singer here than in his solo albums. "Angie" is a very good ballad, with very good piano by Nicky Hopkins. "Winter" is another good song, with a good orchestral arrangement and Taylor´s lead guitar. "Can you hear the music?" has a very good flute and percussion arrangement. The rest of the songs are also good, but are more "traditional rock´n´roll" in style. Billy Preston influences some of the songs with his playing, as Jagger and Richards said in interviews: "How can you play a song slower when you had Preston´s happy rhythm in the keyboards?". !

Maybe Bill Wyman didn´t play in some songs, because Taylor and Richards are also credited playing bass guitar. I can´t say that Charlie Watts shines on drums, but his drums are very good in "Angie".

Nicholas Rogerson <> (27.01.2004)

I agree with you that this album receives some unfair criticism. Admittedly it is a little bit of a come down after the string of fine albums they produced in the late 60s and early 70s, but the songwriting is still very strong. In some ways I like it more than Exile because the songs on this one are so easy to get into. Perhaps this is the album's major flaw - it lacks depth. Ian Stewart, the Stones' pianist was wrong to call it insipid. It is good catchy stuff and features some great Mick Taylor, particularly on 'Winter' and '100 Years Ago'. This is an overlooked little gem in my view.

Christoph Stross <> (27.05.2004)

You seem not to like 'Hide Your Love' and don't even mention it in the review. To me it is the overlooked gem on this record. A perhaps a bit simple but uncommercial blues tune. Jagger plays a rare yet melodic piano upfront in the mix, while Taylor does all the masterful guitarwork. Richards is missing, but truth be told not missed.

ruben teitler <> (27.10.2005)

Great site you have! Just wanna say that the 'Angie' was written not by Mick, as you say in your review of Goat's head soup, but by Keith. I don't know how I know that, you'll have to look on the internet for sources.

However, a couple of weeks ago I saw a tv interview with Mick and he was asked if there ever existed a 'real' Angie. Mick laughed and said he didn't know, because that song was written by Keith. Well if Mick himself says so, it's probably true!


Jeff <> (06.09.99)

So what if it's a dumb album? So what if it goes nowhere. It's so enjoyable that you really don't notice. "Luxury" is the only weak point; it's a cheap attempt at reggae that's unfortunately too long for its own good. "Til the Next Goodbye" doesn't suck-- it's got that memorable accoustic guitar playing, and it's as good a ballad as the Stones ever recorded. For that matter, "Short & Curlies" is the catchiest thing on here. It's stuck in my head right now. The Stones weren't trying to be "dorky." They were trying to have fun, and it shows. Though it's not by a long shot their best record, it's one that I listen to a lot and enjoy every time.

<> (21.11.99)

What in the hell are you talking about in this review? Sorry, but this album is great. 'Luxury', 'Time Waits For No One', 'It's Only Rock n' Roll', 'Ain't To Proud to beg', they're all so great. The only ones I skip are 'If You Really Want To Be My Friend' and 'Till The Next Time I Say Good-bye' (or whatever it is).

Tony Stewart <> (10.02.2000)

Once again I must say that these 70's discs that are supposedly a little weak have ALL aged very well and are standing the test of time. More and more are we realizing what a great output of songs these guys have put out and when we were calling them "over the hill" back then I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that they were at a crossroads in their career and therefore their fans with them were too.

"If You Can't Rock Me", the perfect opener that suffered the fate of the entire album. The rough mixes are ALL better than the final product. This one had Taylor wailing, Keith rocking hard, that break turned into a monster live and really should have been played up a lot more, since it's a great groove. "Ain' Too Proud To Beg" has one of Keith's toughest solos on disc. It might only be 4 bars long but it's enough. Other people need 12 Strings, a Doubleneck and 15 minutes. Give Keith twenty seconds and five strings and he'll tell you what's going on.

"It's Only R&R" the slogan, the Stones' credo in 3 words. (And by neither Mick nor Keith. Ouch!) The basic track, no matter what cheap books say does NOT have Charlie on it; the basic track which is Ron, Kenney Jones, Willie Weeks, Bowie and Jagger is VERY much what we hear. What sounds like the obvious overdubbed guitars are Taylor and Keith. I think it was a very good move by Keith especially to not re-cut the tune and realize that he already had a gem here. It's a decision that reminds one of the attitude with which they approached "JJF" and "SFM": whatever works use it! And all three of those tunes are right up there as three of their greatest hits. "Till The Next Goodbye" I have always had a soft spot for. I just plain love this song. If anything the line "Your Louisiana recipes let me down.." alone would do it for me. But somehow the New York City streets covered in snow just stir up echoes. Well, the next one is probably one of the strongest points Taylorfans have, when they stack him up against Wood. True, Ronnie could never play a solo like that. But neither could Keith and neither could my Grandma, so what does it say? Why not just enjoy this gorgeous piece of music, where Hopkins follows Taylor soaring (I hate this word), but there is no other way to describe what Taylor does. It is undoubtedly one of his finest moments. The lyrics also are surprisingly candid and revealing for Jagger. I think these are the crossroads i was talking about. Time was coming a-knocking for the first time. He was getting ready to hit 30. "Luxury" to me has always sounded a little labored. The Reggae groove this song is supposed to have is plainly not there yet. Keith would get a lot better at it. The misgivings I have about this tune are strictly based on production and technical aspects. Love the lyrics, hate the way the guitars were recorded.

"Dance Little Sister" comes dangerously close to the Stones doing the Stones. I do believe about two minutes could have been shaved off that one. "If You Really Want To Be My Friend" is a true gem though. I never understand how it gets overlooked so easily. I think it ranks right up there with the great Soulballads like "Let It Loose" or even "That's How Strong My Love Is". Beautiful bridge with Jagger singing"I know you think life is a thriller..", and the crescendo at the end with jagger weaving in between Blue Magic's intricate arrangement is breathtaking. Nicky, Taylor, Keith and Jagger in absolute top form are all there. "Short And Curlies" I will never understand. Either it was added to please Stu or "she's got you by the balls" was just too strong a piece of poetry to pass up, but we know today that they had gems like "Drift Away" and "Living Is A Harder Love" in the can. They surely would have made a stronger statement.

They did save the best for last though. Charlie finally gets a chance to shine. he is surpringly subdued on this disc. Again I don't attribute this to performance but to production. Wyman sounds like he's been listening to Ron play the Bass a lot. But the star of the song is Jagger who first rides a true Monster of a Riff and the Funk groove, only to end up in a paranoid whispered telephone conversation with himself and the FBI.

"Who's listening???.....

This disc I honestly believe needed a producer, and it would have taken it's place in the pantheon along with the great ones. 8.

Glenn Wiener <> (01.03.2000)

Actually its more than rock n roll. 'Fingerprint File' borders on funk. 'If You Really Want To Be My Friend', 'Time Waits For No One', and 'Till The Next Time' are ballads with a little bit of Rock. And 'Luxury' is a Rockin Regaae number. Therefore, the album is somewhat mistitled and not totally accurate. Quality wise this is on the same level as its predecessor with the two lead off songs, 'Time Waits For No One', and 'Fingerprint File' being the best of this lot.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (15.01.2001)

I don't agree with you completely here but there is truth in your words, of course. No doubt about that It's only rock'n'roll is too easy way for such band as Stones. It sounds more like...hmm... rockabilly band (sorry, Stones fans). If Jagger is replaced by anyone else you could never tell that THIS is Stones' album. Some songs (like 'Dance little sister', 'Ain't to proud to beg' (though, it isn't Stones' song...) and 'Till the next goodbye'(I never liked such sweet and sugary songs) ) even make this creation sound more poppy (I'm not sure if this word is correct but, anyway, you understood what I wanted to say).

To me, 'If you can't rock me' and 'It's only rock'n'roll' are very fascinating songs because somehow they take my breath and, in the end, I start to jump all over the room until hitting something really hard with my head. 'Time waits for no one' with 'Luxury' are cheap tunes which could be written by some average songwriters. 'If you really want to be my friend' and 'Shot and curlies' are good piano songs with catchy melody but somehow they manage to make me sleepy at the end.

Not very rich list, eh? Oh! I forgot about the best song here (what a shame!) - 'Fingerprint file'. It reminds me 'Midnight rambler' much but, after all, 'Rambler' is good so this one is good, too (though, I don't like the second part of the song (this awful whispering in the end)).

Yes, all songs are listenable and it's good but not all of them are so enjoyable as previous efforts. No, no!!! don't get me wrong - I tend to like this album more than hate and that's why my rating is 7/10. Well, I know it's only rock'n'roll but I like it, like it, yes, I do!

Bryan Boyd Jackson Jr. <> (06.02.2001)

Regarding It's Only Rock And Roll by The Rolling Stones, I don't know what to say except how disappointed I am with this album. With the exception of one or two songs, nothing really catches my attention like the previous Stones albums. A matter of fact, this could be my least favorite Stones album ever. Some of these songs just drag on and on, for what seems like an eternity. Granted, it still has some great gems on it. "Time Waits For No One" and "Luxury" being my favorites. "If You Can't Rock Me" is good too. But that is it. The rest is just long, and very boring. The title song, which is everybody's favorite, might be the worst Stones song ever to me. I am skipping over this release when I buy all the Stones stuff on CD. Just doesn't do it for me. I'll give it a 7, maybe 8.

Palash Ghosh <> (07.03.2001)

I actually like It's Only Rock'n Roll -– it's a vast improvement over Goat's head Soup but taken on its own merits, it's still pretty mediocre. Mick (or Keith?) have by now forgotten how to write good lyrics, but the guitar interplay between Keith, Mick Taylor (was he still around?) and Bill Wyman are still superlative, especially on the riff-heavy 'Dance Little Sister,' 'If You Can't Rock Me' and the great title track.

'Till The Next Goodbye' is actually a nice bluesy number; and 'If You Really Want To Be My Friend' isn't too bad either.

But, where's the originality? Where is the innovation? Where is the sincerity? I must wonder, why didn't they break up the band by now?

Didier Dumonteil <> (01.04.2001)

The title itself tells it all:ambition has deserted the RS and now all they wanna do is boogal.. sorry rock and roll.The strong tracks are few and far between but they are here:

The eponymous song has not worn well.The video showed the group disguised as sailors;the connection escapes me,I fear... Four songs are worthy:

-The ballad"till the next goodbye" that avoids the sugariness of "Angie".

-The reggae-rock "luxury" that is a genuine belter.

-"dance little sister":the Stones have got nothing more to say,but their exciting riffs could wake the dead.

-"if you really want to be my friend" ,a bit sixties,with dylanesque innuendoes.

Robert Tally <> (24.09.2001)

For me, this is a marked improvement over Goats Head Soup, and actually comes close to reviving the band to its former glory - but not that close. The polished direction of the previous album continues on this one, but the level of inspiration is consistently better. The band has regained some of the energy they had lost. At least two songs are downright superb: "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" is simply one of the best pop songs of the '70s - even if it's patterned almost entirely after "Bang A Gong" (not that they copied it, it's just stylistically close); "Fingerprint File" is one of the most interesting listens in the entire Stones catalogue, and probably the best piece of funk they ever did. Virtually every other song has something going for it: "If You Can't Rock Me" almost lives up to its album-opening predecessors; "Time Waits For No One" is solid, if perhaps a little overly slick, with a nice contribution from Taylor; "Dance Little Sister" is a fun rocker; "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" is a strong cover version; "Luxury" is infectious and enjoyable; "Till The Next Goodbye" is also decent, but pales in comparison to previous similar efforts. I also enjoy "If You Really Want To Be My Friend" for the most part. "Short And Curlies" is a bit of a problem tune, but not seriously so. The Stones were definitely losing some subtlety here, but generally the tune is still appealing. It always surprises me when fans don't point this album out as one of the better Stones releases. I remember when Some Girls came out, it was hailed as their best since Exile On Main Street (or, in some cases, one of the three albums before it). Personally, I think this one is virtually as good as Some Girls.

Completists should be on the lookout for "Through The Lonely Nights" from the B-side of "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll." It's a fairly decent ballad apparently left over from the Goats Head Soup sessions, and is currently available only on bootleg. Also, the remastered CD gives an extra 30 seconds to "Luxury."

Ryan Maffei <> (15.03.2002)

Continuing to refine their sound to the point in which intelligence is no longer needed, the Stones come up with this album, about as aurally attractive as the band themselves, on which they are very little better than a third-rate cock-rock group like KISS. There are some captivating, driving musical moments ("Time Waits For No One"), but overall, the record a far cry from the respectable raunch-rawk of Sticky Fingers. A 6...pity.

Christoph Stross <> (28.05.2004)

You're right, 'Till The Next Goodbye' sounds reminiscent of earlier Stones. The comparable song, that always comes to my mind is 'Wild Horses', just listen to the acoustic guitar, the way the verses and the chorus (first going up, the down) are sung and played. Anyway, 'Goodbye' is a beautiful song and my favorite of the bunch.

Concerning the disco experiments on 'Fingerprint File', the bass on that song is actually played by Taylor and the synthesizers probably by both Wyman and Taylor. The only time, Taylor tried something like that on a Stones record (never got my hands on his solo stuff so far).

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