ROLLING STONES: What is their most misunderstood album?

THOM H writes ...

Well, there actually three I can think of off the top of me ‘ead:

  1. Their Satanic Majesties Request ( 1967) - I really enjoyed this album when it came out and it is still, to me and enjoyable listen. I think that Stones fans were very much used to them recording a certain style, more blues based music, and even some pop excursions ( “Ruby Tuesday”, “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, “Dandelion”, etc), but this albums was more experimental and less focused. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t have some very nice moments. As an album of songs, it doesn’t stand up that well, but by the same token it seems unfair to compare it to their previous work. I know there is a comparison I can make with another band’s work, but I cannot cite one at the moment. I really love the fact that Brian Jones is turned loose on this album and his influence is rather significant. He was very interested in eastern music, particularly on his upcoming excursion to Turkey to record The Pipes of Jojouka ( 1968), a truly amazing album that has been overlooked. You can hear him playing horns on the opening track, ‘Sing This Song All Together’, and most famously salvaging “2000 Light Years From Home” with some great Mellotron sounds. Here is a list, courtesy of Wikipedia of Brian’s instrumental contributions to the album: Mellotron

(1-3, 5-10), flute (2,5), percussion (1, 5), saxophone (1), sound effects (3), acoustic guitar (4), vibraphone (5), jew's harp (5), brass (5), organ (7), electric dulcimer (2, 8, 9), recorder (8), harp

  1. (10) ( Wikipedia)

John Paul Jones ( Yes, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones) did the string arrangements, Nicky Hopkins played piano, organ, and harpsichord, Bill Wyman recorded and sang his first original composition, “In Another Land” ( kind of a B-side song), and the album had a 3-D Lenticular cover, now very collectible. The personnel were there, and the idea may have sometimes came off as “half-baked”- Mick Jagger was quoted as saying “There's a lot of rubbish on Satanic Majesties. Just too much time on our hands, too many drugs, no producer to tell us, "Enough already, thank you very much, now can we just get on with this song?" Standout tracks: “Citadel”, “2000 Man”, “She’s a Rainbow”, “Gomper”, “2000 Light Years From Home”

2. Black and Blue ( 1975) - In the words of the late great Lester Bangs, wrote in Creem

that "The heat's off, because it's all over, they really don't matter anymore or stand for anything" and "This is the first meaningless Rolling Stones album, and thank God". A mixed bag, it doesn’t contain the minor hit, “Fool To Cry” ( which I think inspired Cheech & Chong’s “Basketball Jones”- LOL!). “Hand Of Fate” is a good rocker, and the funky “Hot Stuff” is solid. Some of the funk/ reggae tunes work, some don’t, “Hey Negrita” being the worst of it. An uneven outing at best, it was a transitional album, the first without Mick Taylor, and the very beginning of the long, long, Ronnie Wood era. “Memory Motel”, the 7 minute ballad is another standout track. Not a great album, but perhaps misunderstood due the experimental nature of it’s musical variety.

3. Tattoo You”( 1981)- This album was considered a return to form ( as a pure rock and roll band), and did very well, but there are some that do not like the second side or the inclusion of Jazz Saxophonist Sonny Rollins, but along with “Start Me Up”, “Hang Fire”, Neighbors”, there are some more experimental tracks on side two that reviewers and fans alike were not thrilled about. It does end on a good note with the popular “Waiting On a Friend”.

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