England's Newest Hitmakers (1964)
'The Rolling Stones are more than a group, they're a way of life'
Andrew Loog Oldham wrote on the cover of the first Stones-CD. Oldham did everything he
could to give his group a bad-boy-image. The Stones hardly had any own material and thus
played songs of names like Willie Dixon, Slim Harpo, Jimmy Reed, Rufus Thomas, Bobby
Troup, Gene Allison and Buddy Holly. Mick's sharp voice and Keith's
"Berry-riffs" were already the signature of the group. The small technical
knowledge was compensated by a double dosis energy.
Or 12 songs by 5 musicians. The Stones stick to their black roots and score their first
number one hit with "It's All Over Now", lend from The Valentinos. They will
soon do the trick again with a ballad, "Time Is On My Side" (Norman Meade). The
group covers Chuck Berry, The Drifters and Dale Hawkins, but Jagger and Richard start to
write own songs. The groupcompositions, with some help of Oldham, are signed with the nom
de plume 'Nanker Phelge'. And though the first Stones-CD's sound a bit dedated these days,
they were revelations for white teenagers.
The Rolling Stones, Now ! (1965)
Already 4 compositions by Jagger/Richard, but The Rolling Stones keep supporting on
Leiber & Stoller, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. With their interpretation of Little Red
Rooster they proudly take the lead in the British hitlist (+the only time in history a
true blues-song was at the top the pop-charts), thanks to Brian Jones' brilliant slide
Out Of Our Heads (1965)
The group shows intrest for soulmen like Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and
Solomon Burke. But above all, this CD carries the immortal "(I Can't Get No)
Satisfaction", the Stones song par excellence. The classic riff is probably the most
famous one in rock history. Anyway, The Stones gradually become poppier and more melodic,
cfr. The Last Time and the beautiful ballad Play With Fire.
December's Children (and Everybody's) (1966)
Apart from a good version of Arthur Alexander's You Better Move On, this record
contains a live version of Route 66, a Bobby Troup song that previously decorated the
first Stones CD. But real classic are the aggresive Get Off Of My Cloud and the present
for Jagger's girlfriend Marianne Faithfull, As Tears Go By, complete with string
arrangments. The Rolling Stones prove they can also make subtle songs.
A milestone ! Aftermath only contains Jagger-Richards compositions. The band begins to
play fresh, new music here. Thanks to Brian Jones, who is fascinated by Morrocon music,
The Stones do some experiments, just like The Beatles. Cfr. sitar on the oriental
('Turkish sound', Jagger) Paint It, Black; marimbas on Under My Thumb; haprischord on Lady
Jane. I Am Waiting, Out Of Time.. really, this record only carries good music. One of
Got LIVE Of You Want It ! (1966)
Recorded in the Royal Albert Hall, this is the first in a row of records where we can
follow the live-exploits of the rock'n'roll outlaws. In the press, the group is described
as treath for the establishment. Good publicity, Oldham must have thought. Anyhow, this CD
cannot be compared with Ya-Ya's.
Between The Buttons (1967)
The Stones carry on in the style the preferred since Aftermath. Ruby Tuesday becomes,
thanks to a nice exotic instrumentation and arrangement, one of the highlights of this
record. The other pièce de résistance is called Let's Spend The Night Together. The
explicit lyrics forced Jagger to sing Let's Spend Some Time Together in the Ed Sullivan
Show. But there were bigger problems in 1967 for the Stones. Richards and Jagger were
being arrested for possession of drugs and had to appear in court. Brian Jones alienates
from the rest of the group. Between The Buttons therefore is not a master- piece at all.
It was first recorded in London on 4 tracks, but loads of overdubs ruined the original
sound. But Let's Spend The Night Together; Ruby Tuesday; Connection; Yesterdays Papers and
She Smiled Sweetly made it Frank Zappa's favorite Stones record.
British and American versions were not quite the same, also, some singles were not
released in Europa/America. This compilation partly covers Between The Buttons, but is
interesting for Out Of Time which would become a hit for Chris Farlowe; the fantastic
Mother's Little Helper, the radio hit Sittin' On A Fence and a coverversion of Smokey
Robinson's My Girl. The stressing Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadow ?
is known because of the booklet, where the five Stones are shown as transvestites.
Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)
The Stones' reply to The Beatles' Sgt Peppers. It's one of the worst CD's the band has
ever released. They were constately stoned, even when the coverphoto was shot. In Another
Land deserves attention, written by bassist Bill Wyman, his lead vocal on this song gives
it a obscure sound. The only good song is She's A Rainbow. The psychedelic 2000 Light
Years From Home was on the setlist during the Urban Jungle Tour. Anyhow, this CD was
simply a mistake. Also, The Stones get rid of Andrew Loog Oldham and choose for Allen
Klein. They'll regret this...
Beggars Banquet (1968)
The Summer of Love is over and The Rolling Stones successfully return to their blues
and country roots. With their single "Jumpin' Jack Flash", released during the
may-revolution, the band regains the sympathy of their first hour fans. This is the best
music The Stones have produced so far. Jaggers lyrics are better than ever, song like
Street Fighting Man and Sympathy For The Devil instantly become classic. Beggars Banquet
is a reaction to the flowers and bees nonsense of the hippie generation. The acoustic
songs, with harmonica and slideguitar, like No Expectations and Factory Girl are
fantastic. In Prodigal Son, Jagger sounds like an old black blues singer. Beggars Banquet
is an eclectic CD, but eventhough, it sounds as a coherent masterpiece. A peak !
Let It Bleed (1969)
June, 9th 1969. Brian Jones, founding member leaves The Rolling Stones (the name of the
group was his idea), officially because of musical reasons. In fact, it was his serious
drug addiction that caused problems, he didn't show up for rehearsels, so Keith and Mick
decided to dump him. Bill Wyman remained a good friend of Brian. Within a week, Jones is
replaced by ex-Bluesbreaker Mick Taylor. A month later, Jones is found at bottom of his
swimming pool. The decadent single "Honky Tonk Women" is released the day of his
funeral. In this sad story, one thing is clear: The Glimmer Twins played a dirty part in
it. The day Brian died, the real Rolling Stones died with him. Meanwhile, Mick Jagger
starts an actor-career and can be seen in the Australian movie Ned Kelly and also in
Performance, by Nicolas Roeg. An open- air concert of The Stones in Altamont ends in a
catastophy when a young black fan is stabbed to death by Hell's Angels, the hired security
guards of The Stones. The Golden Sixties are over; Let It Bleed therefore is a brutal,
provoking CD, sex and death play a big part in it. It has the same style of Beggars
Banquet. You should listen to the bluesy "Midnight Rambler" or the acoustic
Robert Johnson song "Love In Vain". Keith Richards makes his debut as lead vocal
on the sweet "You've Got The Silver". "Gimme Shelter" is sharp as a
razor, and for the bitter "You Can't Always Get What You Want", The Stones got
help of The London Bach Coir. Also extraordinary is the country-dipped unplugged version
of "Honky Tonk Women". Let It Bleed will not only enter history as the best
Stones CD of the sixties; it's one of their best CD's 'tout court'.
Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out ! (1970)
At the beginning of a new decennium, The Rolling Stones make their last CD for Decca: a
raw, strong live CD, recorded in Madison Square Garden. It's the Stones' reaction to
various bootlegs that reached fans. Mick Taylor is simply brilliant and Berry's
"Little Queenie" becomes a hit.
The Sixties Compilations
For those who have no CD's of The Stones and are intimidated by their huge discography,
there are numerous compilations-for-beginners. For instance, we've got the Big Hits CD's,
respectively "High Tide and Green Grass" and "Through The Past
Darkly", they contain 24 essential Stones-songs. The Hot Rock series consists of 2
double-CD's and digs a little deeper. The best compilation eventhough is the London
Years-box (singles collection). This box contains 58 songs, spread over 3 CD's. Even
Jagger's solohit "Memo From Turner" is included. This is the collection that
every musiclover should have, and a perfect starting line for those who want to explore
the whole Rolling Stones-oeuvre.
Sticky Fingers (1971)
Once again a masterpiece, and not only because the LP was wrapped in Andy Warhol's
famous jeans. The drug addictions of Taylor, Jagger and Richard ironically lead to
fantastic songs. "Sister Morphine" was copenned by Marianna Faithfull, excellent
song. "Wild Horses" (Sheryl Crow favourite song) and the explicit "Brown
Sugar" (Ian Stewart's favourite Stones-song) became classic. Excellent !
Exile On Main Street (1972)
A milestone in rock history, belongs in the exclusive row where we also find The Beach
Boys' "Pet Sounds", "Astral Weeks" and Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club
Band. 'Rip This Joint', 'Rocks Off' and 'Casino Boogie' are Berry-Stones, but there's also
gospel ('Let It Loose'), Stax-soul ('Loving Cup') and country ('Sweet Virginia'). Richard
buys a s and becomes Richards. An essential CD.
Goats Head Soup (1973)
I needed to listen to this CD for a few times before I could really appreciate it.
Strong are the classic "Angie", "Winter" and "Coming Down
Again". Surely less good than Fingers and Exile.
It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (1974)
The cover design of the Belgian Guy Peelaert is nicer than most songs on this CD.
Exceptions are the title song and "Time Waits For No One", with a brilliant solo
of Mick Taylor. Nevertheless, Jaggers vocals sound very forced, like it's routine. Taylor
quits The Rolling Stones in December 1974, 25 years later, Jagger still doesn't know WHY.
Black And Blue (1976)
The Stones were still searching for someone who could replace Mick Taylor. Ron Wood was
picked away from The Faces and appears on the coversleeve, although most of the solo's on
Black And Blue are played by Wayne Perkins and Harvey Mandel. The group is influenced by
reggae-sounds, as is shown by Eric Donaldsons "Cherry Oh Baby" and the silly
"Hey Negrita". Highlights are "Fool To Cry" (falsetto by Jagger) and
Love You Live (1977)
A double live-CD, released for bussiness-reasons instead of artistic inspirations.
"Mannish Boy", "Little Red Rooster" and "Around And Around"
(all recorded in El Mocambo) are interesting though.
Some Girls (1978)
A fantastic handshake between rock'n'roll and disco. "Beast of Burden" and
"Miss You" swing like Dolly Parton's breasts while she's jogging. The cool
Temptations-cover "Just My Imagination" is also very strong.
"Shattered" is a real rock-killer, and with "Before They Make Me Run"
Keith Richards proves that not being able to sing is pure art (don't let that inspire
Emotional Rescue (1980)
Made of outtakes from Some Girls. Signs of artistic regression are shown here. The
title-track kicks ass, really. The rest looks very poor in comparison to the Some Girls
and even Black&Blue material. But...and this makes The Stones the greatest band ever:
even (too) simple songs are horny as hell and oh so sharp. Result: "She's So
Cold" becomes a major hit. Nevertheless, an album that should have been a single.
Tattoo You (1981)
The fantastic Tattoo You ("What do you mean, Tattoo 'You'?; I had to be
'Tattoo'!!" - Keith, when the album was released) is made out of rest- material from
the seventies. These were modernised by remixer Bob Clearmountain. This album deserves
Start Me Up : Originally a reggea-song, contains a brilliant Keith-
riff and super-Mick-lyrics. A real Stones-classic. Hang Fire : Wild
rocker! (+check the videoclip) Slave : Soul, black as coal.. Jazz-legend
Sonny Rollins adds an impressive sax-part. It seems like the drugs do work! - Little
T&A : Scraped from Keith's throath, deals exactely with what you are thinking
of. - Worried About You : Very sweet slow song. Highly appreciated by
hardcore Stones fans. - Tops : Dates from the Goats Head Soup sessions. -
Waiting On A Friend: Also from Goats Head Soup, this means: Mick Taylor
shines on guitar. Rollins on saxophone !
IMHO, the 'sharpest' album The Rolling Stones have ever released. Ron Wood is very
precise on guitar, Mick Taylor adds guitar-poetry, The Twins rule like in the sixties,
Charlie re-invents the drums and "Stone Alone" Bill Wyman makes his bass walk
and smile. Don't miss this pearl !
Still Live (1982)
To be able to appreciate this live album, one should first see Hal Ashby's concert
movie "Let's Spend The Night Together" (with a sparkling version of "She's
So Cold"). This album contains classic songs that add nothing to the original
versions. Only the strong guitar-version of 'Under My Thumb' and oldie '20 Flight Rock'
An album that bites like a teethless tiger, really. Probably the worst album in the
career of the 'Brothers Morphine'. Keith recycles second-hand riffs and Mick yells the
first thing that enters his mind. "Undercover Of The Night" gets some attention,
thanks to a controversial videoclip. "Too Much Blood" and "All The Way
Down" are just poor attempts.
Dirty Work (1986)
Opens with the explosive "One Hit (To The Body)" and "Harlem
Shuffle" (thanks Bob and Earl!). What follows, is trash, an excuse for Richards to
present his friends Tom Waits and Bobby Womack. The 20 year old artistic marriage between
Michael Jagger and Keith Richards threathens to end.
Steel Wheels (1989)
After Keith and Mick had a furious fight (in the press), they fall into each others
arms and the duo writes -in three weeks time- a handfull of songs that remind us of the
good old days. The brilliant "Almost Hear You Sigh" is one of the best ballads
The Glimmer Twins have ever written. With extravert songs like "Rock And A Hard
Place" and "Mixed Emotions", the gentlemen prove they can still produce
some muscled guitarrock. Bill Wyman is in the middle of a divorce (with girlie Mandy
Smith) and misses a few sessions, like "Continental Drift", an indirect tribute
to Stones-founder Brian Jones. An overwhelming comeback.
This live-recording contains the same old hits, but is interesting for the fans, for
there are 2 new studio recordings included ("Highwire" and the simplistic
"Sex Drive"). These two are the last songs with Bill Wyman on bass. January 6th
1993, he officially leaves The Rolling Stones.
Jump Back - The Best of The Rolling Stones
Contains all the great hits, ànd digitally remastered. The CD-booklet with notes from
Mick'n'Keef are a must for every fan!
Voodoo Lounge (1994)
The renaissance of Steel Wheels goes on on Voodoo Lounge, an album on which The Stones
just do what they're good at: think of traditional but good stuff. The CD was almost live
recorded in Ireland, which explains the acoustic and folky sound. There's a Tex-Mex alike
"Sweethearts Together", in "The Worst" Keith sounds like an old,
vulnerable outlaw. It's calm album, but "Out Of Tears" and "New Faces"
are very, very nice. "Blinded By Rainbows" belongs in the 'Wild Horses-Almost
Hear You Sigh'-line. "Love Is Strong" becomes a major hit and contains a
fantastic harmonica performance by Mick. It's not a drag getting old !
A road album that was recorded in clubconcerts in Amsterdam and Paris, filled up with
songs from rehearsels in hotelrooms. Old, forgotten CD-tracks like "Shine A
Light" sound very refreshing and hits like "Wild Horses" and
"Angie" are very interesting in their unplugged versions. Richards and Wood play
very relaxed and clearly enjoy the intimate context in which they're able to play in. With
old covers of Willie Dixon, Buddy Holly and Robert Johnson, the group gets back to basis.
Bridges To Babylon (1997)
On this album, it seems like The Stones are not able to choose between experiment and
tradition (read: Mick and Keith). Therefore, Bridges is not quite coherent and misses
strong glue. "Flip The Switch", "Gunface" and "Saint Of Me"
don't start us up at all. Whitewash-reggea ("You Don't Have To Mean It") and
acoustic folk ("Always Suffering"), no, this isn't what we were waiting for.
Only two songs really kick ass: "Might As Well Get Juiced" and "Anybody
Seen My Baby". Not a continuation of the "Wheels-Lounge"-line at all.
No Security (1998)
Since 1981, they've never been really dirty, rough and strong anymore... But live, The
Stones still get better. This album proves that. In the Stripped-tradition, The Stones
choose to pick less classic songs. "You Got Me Rocking" (Voodoo Lounge)
suprisingly enough looks good in company of "Live With Me" (Let It Bleed) and
"Respectable" (Some Girls). "Gimme Shelter" (with Lisa Fischer) is a
nice gift for the (male?) fans. Dave Matthews ("Memory Motel") and Taj Mahal
("Corinna") also sound OK. Classics like "The Last Time" and
"Waiting On A Friend" though, seem to beg for Brian Jones, Mick Taylor.
No © Dirk Geuens
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