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  1. #11


    This would be a year of musical growth for the Rolling Stones. Brian Jones, in particular, would be experimenting with new instruments such as the sitar and the dulcimer. This was also the year Jones would begin to feel detached from the rest of the band and turn to alcohol. Musically, though, this would be a banner year for the Stones as this was the year of the Rubber Soul influenced Aftermath among other things. There were again more tours and television appearances and, in fact, their first full live album would be released at the end of this year.

    So, basically, the Rolling Stones would come up with a bonafide album that was sabotaged by London in the States as usual and a handful of singles. It was the most creative year to date, so here we go with the reviewsÖ


    19th Nervous Breakdown: Definitely a favorite track of mine. This was a sizable hit in the US and I remember this was played a lot as an oldie on the local AM station in Baltimore. Itís a fast paced song and Jagger writes some interesting put down lyrics on this one. In some ways this was a set up for Mother's Little Helper later in the year. Some great guitar and bass work.

    Sad Day: The flip to 19th Nervous Breakdown and probably deserves to be a B-side. I think theyíre trying to be experimental in some Arthurian way. I honestly canít get into this one despite it sounding pre-psychedelic with the piano bit.

    Interlude: Charlie is My Darling

    This was a hour long film commissioned by Oldham that was meant as a documentary of the Rolling Stonesí tour of Ireland in late 1965. It wouldnít be released for decades, but when it finally was, it showed the band seemingly enjoying each otherís company more than anything else. You can also see cliques as Jagger and Richards are hanging with Oldham, who seems overly prominent in this film, while Watts and Wyman seem to be doing their own things. Who knows what Brian Jones is doing.

    This is one of the last examples of what an American label could do to screw up a classic album and, fortunately, fail. Basically the big difference is the American version also has Paint It Black which weíll cover later, being this is the British version Iím reviewing. Anyway, this was obviously influenced by Rubber Soul. It was obvious the Stones were huge fans of the Fab Four and perhaps they were a little jealous at the Beatlesí unprecedented fame. Now that the Beatles were shedding their Moptop images, it was time for the Stones to shed their image as well. Thus, a rather uneven period musically in the Stones music would dominate over the next two years. Luckily, this album will be a high point and I consider this one of my favorite Rolling Stones albums. The other two major studio albums from this period wonít be so much.

    Motherís Little Helper: I tried to rate my very favorite Rolling Stones songs once and this came in at number two (Number one will be a few years from now). And why not? This track has everything as Jagger laments the hypocrisy of a typical housewife with a pill addiction. Richards uses an electric 12 string slide guitar for the lead and it certainly is the main force of this song. Yes, itís my favorite song on what is an excellent album.

    Stupid Girl: This is another one of Jaggerís put down songs. It seems he was having girl problems around this time and he was writing some pretty nasty lyrics. Ian Stewart is prominent at the organ on this one.

    Lady Jane: Lady Jane is an unusual song for the Stones, even by 1966 standards. Itís very Elizabethian by nature and there is no percussion on bass, just Brian Jones on dulcimer, Richards on acoustic guitar, Jack Nitzschke on harpsichord, and Jagger on vocals. Itís a nice tune and good enough that it was released as a single in America.

    Under My Thumb: Perhaps the nastiest of all the Rolling Stones songs. Itís incredibly misogynist by nature and Iím sure a lot of women were offended by this one. Itís also masked around a great song with Jones playing the marimbas and a great fuzz background. I hate to admit it, but this is one of my favorite Stones songs ever.

    Doncha Bother Me: The album settles down a little here. Brian Jones again experiments, this time with slide guitar. Certainly a solid track though not in the class of Motherís Little Helper or Under My Thumb.

    Goin Home: This one is long, I mean really long. I actually heard this track on an aircheck for some underground station. These were the type of songs they would play if they had to go to the bathroom. Anyway, it is a bit long but I do like the track.

    Flight 505: Iím guessing this was a song that had something to do with touring. Probably not their best track. Nice middle break though.

    High and Dry: This one has a bit of a country feel to it. Itís a pretty simple arrangement after all the different instruments on other tracks. Itís a nice little number.

    Out of Time: This would be a hit for Chris Farlowe later in 1966. Whether it was written for him or not, I donít know. I do know Jones breaks out the marimbas again but it doesnít have the same effect as it does on Under My Thumb. Itís an okay song though.

    Itís Not Easy: Not one of their classics obviously. It fits in with the album though and I have to admit, there isnít a track I actually dislike at this point. But itís obvious side two is not having the same punch as side one.

    I Am Waiting: Another Elizabethan type of song. You might have head this on The Royal Tennenbaums. This is probably the best song on side two. Brian Jones is having fun with the dulcimer again.

    Take It Or Leave It: This was a hit for the Searchers at about the same time. Brian Jones experiments with a Japanese instrument called a koto on this one. This is about as melodic as the Stones ever get. Not a bad song, the Stones donít do so bad in the minor key.

    Think: I definitely think Iím hearing a little bit of Rubber Soul on this one. Some acoustics in the background. It sounds like there might be a little fuzz on this track too.

    What To Do: This is weird way to end the album. Itís a pretty simple melody really. Itís not the song I would pick to end what is a really fantastic album, but hey, Iím not Andrew Loog Oldham, am I?


    Paint It Black: This was the Rolling Stonesí biggest hit of 1966 in America. This is famous for featuring the sitar. You see, George Harrison started something of a fad with the sitar and Brian Jones joined in on the fun. As for the song itself, well, itís as dark as the title suggests. Jagger would write lyrics of seeming depression. Perhaps this was the precursor to Sympathy For the Devil. In any event, this is one of the Stonesí classics.

    Long Long While: I had to check that this was not a cover. Nope, itís Jagger-Richards. Not bad for a B-side circa 1966. This Otis Redding influenced number would have worked on an album.

    Have You Seen Your Mother Standing in the Shadows: This one is a bit frantic and a bit disjointed but that wasnít unusual for the Rolling Stones, or at least it wasnít in 1964-1965. The trumpets certainly add to effect on what is a fairly psychedelic tune. Fared okay as a single but not as huge as Paint It Black.

    Whoís Driving Your Plane: This is a nice bluesy track that could have easily been the A-side. Not that it would have fared better than Have You Seen Your Mother, but you can hear the boogie style piano on this track that sounds more like late sixties/ early seventies Stones actually.

    BIG HITS (HIDE TIDE AND GREEN GRASS) (greatest hits compilation)

    The first of many greatest hits compilations, this album features the latest hit single, Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing in the Shadows. Itís a decent collection but it doesnít seem very complete to me. I donít see I Wanna Be Your Man for example, but if you were a casual fan, this album would be a decent way to start.


    This live album really got panned and I think I know why. The quality sounds pretty good. And it should- Jaggers and Richards overdubbed the vocals and instruments in the studios and two tracks that were previously recorded they simply put in over the screaming. Only Watts and Wyman are playing live and theyíre actually pretty good. Guess the other three sucked at concert.

    So thus ends a rather productive year. Technically, 1967 will be even more productive year. The quality might be another story though as the Stones are now right between their early R&B sound and the hard rock sound that would define them forever from 1968 on. Anyway, weíll go over the great lost year in the next installment. See you then.
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  2. #12

    1967 (part one)

    The Rolling Stones started the year innocently enough. They again took a cue from the Beatles and took a hiatus from touring. Their 1967 European Tour would be their last with Brian Jones. Unlike the Beatles they would still make TV appearances though and it was an infamous one where Ed Sullivan made them change the words to Letís Spend the Night Together to Letís Spend Some Time together. As if that didnít mean the same thing.

    The Rolling Stones would make another TV appearance a month later, or at least Mick Jagger and Keith Richards would. They would be busted for having drugs. This would start a trend of the police trying to nab rock stars with drugs, sometimes bringing their own in case the stars were actually clean. It was at a party where George and Patti Harrison were among the attendees. They waited until the Harrisons were gone before the bust but, ironically, it would be Harrisonís own bust a year later when people began to get suspicious of the tactics. In the meantime, Jagger and Richards, and later, Brian Jones, would have to deal with legal entanglements for much of the year.

    Still they had time for two albums, one of which had been recorded in fall 1966 and one they were working on during the early months of 1967, only to be derailed by the legal mess. Needless to say it was a mixed bag as neither Between the Buttons or Their Satanic Majesties Request rate among the Stonesí best albums. Yet there were some amazing gems underneath the seeming mediocrity. So letís see how the Stones were faring in the first half of 1967Ö


    Ruby Tuesday: 1967 started out in good fashion with Ruby Tuesday being one of the Rolling Stonesí best songs. It also signaled the beginning of the Stonesí not quite sounding like the Stonesí period. It doesnít take away from this track at least. Itís a nice, wistful tune, probably written by Keith Richards, and Brian Jones plays a nice recorder on this track. One of the quieter songs and one of their best.

    Letís Spend the Night Together: As mentioned, this one has a bit of controversy surrounding it. A typical piano based Stonesí rocker, some genius who worked for Ed Sullivan thought there was something suggestive about the title as in it was asking a girl to sleep with the protagonist. So he made the Stones change the lyrics to Lets Spend Some Time Together, which also could have meant, ďWill you sleep with me?Ē No matter, Jagger complied and rolled his eyes as he recited the new lyric. You donít want to know what the Doors would do with Light My Fire later that year.


    So if Aftermath was supposed to be the Rolling Stonesí Rubber Soul, I guess this was supposed to be their Revolver. Even their album cover was supposed to look Beatlesque. Needless to say, this isnít a favorite album of mine. In fact, Iíd call this my least favorite of all the Rolling Stonesí albums up to 1972 at least. There are some decent tracks on it of course but as a whole, I just canít get into it. Anyhow, letís review and see if I might change my mind (probably not).

    Yesterdayís Papers: Jagger says this was the first song he wrote melodically. Brian Jones is playing the marimbas again. I think the Stones are trying sound a little too pop mod here if that makes any sense. The middle eight does have a nice melody Iíll admit.

    My Obsession: This sounds a bit like some sort of TV theme. Itís almost the Glimmer Twins were watching an episode of Batman on this one. No, Iím not crazy about this one.

    Back Street Girl: An acoustic track with some accordion in the mix as if they were in some French cafť. A little psychedelic in its own way. A pleasant tune all in all.

    Connection: Iím sorry, but again this doesnít sound like the Rolling Stones. Actually, you can put Mickey Dolenz in at vocals and it may work as a Monkeesí song. I seem to be saying that a lot on music circa 1967. I must be demented.

    She Smiled Sweetly: Actually a nice moody song. Keith Richards and Jack Nitzschke are at the organ and piano respectively. Probably one of my favorite tracks on the album. Good vocals by Jagger as well.

    Calm Cool and Collected: A little too ragtime for me. It really isnít a terrible song though. I think Jagger was doing one of his put downs again. Just a little too silly for the Rolling Stones though. With another artist, it probably wouldnít be so bad.

    All Sold Out: This one I have a hard time following. Thinking of this song though, there was speculation that the Stones could have gone the pop rock route in 1967. Something happened that brought them back to their roots in 1968 (maybe it was more lucrative). It certainly isnít here though.

    Please Go Home: This one is certainly loud. Probably one of the better tracks on the album though even with all the annoying echo. There is a bit of a Diddley vibe on this track. Very nice percussion. I probably shouldnít like this song, but I do.

    Whoís Been Sleeping Here: This isnít an especially great song either but I think this might have worked on a later album. This sounds more like a blues based song the Stones would perfect by Beggars Banquet. Here, though, it just comes off as a mediocre pop song. I like the acoustic guitar.

    Complicated: Jagger is singing about a groupie on this track. I would surmise that this is a song about touring. A little bit of a raga rock vibe with the background vocals. Watts doubles on drums and maracas on this one. Not the worst song on the album.

    Miss Amanda Jones: Probably one of the better songs on the album, but I cringe every time I hear this in the movie, Some Kind of Wonderful. John Hughes apparently named a character after this Amanda Jones. Anyway, there is a touch of Have You Seen Your Mother in this one and itís at least listenable.

    Something Happened To Me Yesterday: Iím not too crazy about this track either. Again, it comes off as too silly and the Stones donít do silly very well. Brian Jones plays most of the horns on this track. They also do an outro which, of course, makes no sense. Must have been the drugs.

    And so ends my least favorite Rolling Stones album until Goats Head Soup. Actually, it might be my least favorite until the eighties, but whatever. The second half of 1967 will be a little bit better.
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  3. #13
    Although you don't hear it much these days, I think Ruby Tuesday was one of the great songs.

  4. #14

    1967 (part two).

    The Rolling Stones continued on despite the legal troubles. More recording of Their Satanic Majesties Request was begun and the Stones also would respond to their legal problems in the scathing We Love You that summer.

    By now, Brian Jones was having his own problems. Like Jagger and Richards, he was in danger of going to prison and was seeking help. He was already unraveling psychologically and was probably starting to be a pain to Jagger and Richards in particular. He was still an amazing musician but he also seemed to be losing his grip on reality to an extent.

    As for the music, well, it certainly isnít their most critically acclaimed period and yet, there are some nice tracks during this fall, even on the universally panned Satanic Majesties Request. So here we goÖ


    This was (mercifully) the last of the London packagings. Mostly tracks off Aftermath and Between the Buttons, there are three tracks that had been unreleased in the UK (though Sittin On a Fence had been on the US Aftermath).

    My Girl: This was, of course, a cover of the Temptations classic. And no, the Stones werenít going to be doing a dance routine. Needless to say this doesnít work as a Rolling Stones song, especially when you figure on the strings, but they seemed to at least enjoy doing this.

    Ride On Baby: Recorded in December 1965 (For Aftermath?), you can see how this harpsichord based song was kept off the album. It isnít terrible and deserved to be on an unreleased track compilation somewhere, but no, certainly no classic.

    Sittin on a Fence: I like this song. There are touches of country and folk on this track. Why they didnít release this on the UK version of Aftermath I wouldnít know. In any event, itís a fairly mellow song that I like quite a bit.


    We Love You: This was Jagger and Richardsí comment on their legal hassles with prison sound affects and everything. Itís also famous for having Paul McCartney and John Lennon on back up vocals. This was a period where the two bands were crossing paths quite a bit. Brian Jones recorded on the Beatlesí You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) that same summer. I really like this track and I would put it among my top twenty Rolling Stones songs if not my top ten.

    Dandelion: This one is quite the paisley number and it may have worked on Majesties Request. Itís certainly better than the majority of the tracks (though not all) on that album but, as was the case in 1967, doesnít really sound like the Rolling Stones. A nice piece of flowery pop though.


    And here we are to what people may say is the low point of the Rolling Stonesí recording career. Iím not so sure; I actually do think this album is a little stronger than Between the Buttons, though obviously, that isnít saying much. Itís obvious they were trying to record their own Sgt. Pepper and thatís probably the main rap against this album. Not only were they copying the Beatles (and practically everyone else doing paisley pop). It was so against everything the Rolling Stones stood for which was belting out pure blues based rock n roll. Still, there are some good moments on the LP so letís give it a whirl, shall we?

    Sing This All Together: And it starts with a paisley ditty about singing together. I donít know if this was supposed to be their intro ala Sgt. Pepper/With a Little Help From My Friends, but if it is, it doesnít work for me. For the most part. The Rolling Stones and psychedelia really donít mix.

    Citadel: This is my favorite song on the album. Lyrically, it is apparently about an encounter with one of Andy Warholís transsexual friends in New York City. Musically, itís probably the heaviest track on the album. Pity the album wouldnít follow that lead.

    In Another Land: The one and only Bill Wyman composition on a Rolling Stones album as far as I know. Of course it doesnít really fit in with the Stones by Wymanís own admission, but itís nonetheless a pleasant tune. Wyman had some help with a pair of the Small Faces on this track.

    2000 Man: The lyrics seem to be a bit futuristic given the title. Mostly an acoustic based track with an organ dominated middle eight, I canít say I really get into this.

    Sing This All Together (See What Happens): I think this reprise of sorts was meant as some sort of freakout. Itís mostly instrumental though they do get one chorus in. In some ways this is better than the opening track but, honestly, I sense that they were just trying to find something to fill the album.

    Sheís a Rainbow: Possibly the most popular track on the album, it certainly reeks of paisley pop. A very tuneful song and not something you will ever expect from the Stones again. Probably a little too much with the strings by Stones standards but of course, a nice pop song for anyone else.

    The Lantern: And just like that it segues to one of the weaker cuts. Iím not sure what theyíre trying to do with this one. It almost sounds like Sympathy For the Devil at points and then again it sounds like Pink Floyd or Magical Mystery Tour. In other words, Iím pretty confused.

    Gomper: Probably my least favorite track on the album. I think theyíre trying to do this Indian style. Brian Jones is playing the electric dulcimer which he is apparently trying to get to sound like a sitar. Maybe they should have borrowed George Harrison.

    2000 Light Years From Home: The other really excellent track on this album and probably the closest to what will be classic Stones later. I sense this is about a trip on a spaceship, kind of reminiscent of Space Oddity a year and a half later maybe. Itís certainly spacey and psychedelic in its own way. This is my second favorite song on the album next to Citadel.

    On With the Show: Well, first the good news. Itís a better ending track than Something Happened To Me Yesterday was on Between the Buttons. Unfortunately, thatís not saying much. This maybe should have been the opening track given the title. Nicky Hopkins, a very established session musician, is on the piano here as well as on other tracks on the album. He will be a significant session player with the Stones over the coming years.

    And so ends the period of the psychedelic Stones. Next year will bring in a new phase, a more permanent phase, even as one of its founding members was going into his own last phase. 1968 will be the beginning of the Rolling Stonesí classic period and I bet Stones fans are looking forward to it. I know I am .
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  5. #15


    1968 started auspiciously enough. Manager Andrew Loog Oldham, as it turned out, would have his own drug problems, and it would be left to Allen Klein to handle the legal entanglements in 1967. As a result, Oldham was forced to sell his interests in the Rolling Stones to the opportunistic Klein and he was now out of the picture.

    In the meantime, Brian Jonesí mental state continued to deteriorate and he was becoming less and less dependable. Beggarís Banquet would be his last full album with the Rolling Stones.

    And Beggarís Banquet, and the single before that, would be a signal for the Rolling Stones to get back to their roots. The psychedelic pop phase of their career was over and the classic Rolling Stones period had begun.


    Jumpin Jack Flash: The Rolling Stonesí classic period starts here. The story is that Jagger and Richards were inspired by Jaggerís gardener, though you wouldnít know it by the mildly violent lyrics. It certainly is a rocker in the Stonesí vein and it is one of their great songs. It also happens to be among my favorites. I actually got an A in my High School drama class lip syncing to this song.

    Child of the Moon: This might have been a leftover from the psychedelic era, albeit reworked, The lyrics are certainly a bit flowery. Itís a gentle song in many ways. Incidentally, they now have Jimmy Miller as their producer and you can tell the Stones seem to have eliminated many of the distractions that led to their confusing music styles the year before.


    This was the return to their roots album and they pull all the stops on this one. First there was the controversial album cover, complete with bathroom graffiti. The powers that be were not happy and the Stones had to release the album with a different cover. In a sense, this is the Rolling Stonesí White Album except for the band and album title in cursive.

    In any event this truly is one of the Rolling Stonesí greatest albums. I personally rate this second only to the one that will follow this. It is easily the best set of songs to date and some of these songs have some very powerful lyrics.

    Sympathy For the Devil: Like this. The album opens up with a bang to say the least. Certainly this is a song boldly bragging about the evil that is being caused (Who killed the Kennedys, when after all, it was you and me). This is arguably the best set of lyrics Mick Jagger ever wrote. The arrangement with the percussion and searing guitar work makes this one of the darkest songs not only by the Rolling Stones, but for anyone.

    No Expectations: This country blues piece is poignant in some ways. Mick Jagger claims this was the last time he saw Brian Jones (who plays the slide steel guitar) being enthused about a Rolling Stones recording. Jones was becoming less and less attentive to the point where heíd eventually be thrown out of the band. For now though, the original five were together, and this is a stellar track.

    Dear Doctor: This is very country obviously. It even sounds like a classic song with the references to bourbon and the like. It sounds like theyíre having fun on this one.

    Parachute Woman: Hardly a lyrical masterpiece, this was recorded in record time according to Keith Richards. One thing I notice on the Time Is On Our Side site (where Iím getting much of the references) is that Brian Jones is not listed among the musicians on this as well as some other tracks. Kind of forbearing really.

    Jigsaw Puzzle: More slide on this track. This is another song that mentions violence to an extent, though maybe in more of a general way and less of a political way as in Sympathy. Nothing weak on this album so far by the way. Nicky Hopkins is again banging away on the piano.

    Street Fighting Man: Another song of violence written by Jagger. He seemed to be very conscious of the riots and violence going on in 1968. This was influenced by the riots going on in France at the time. I like this song. It reminds me a bit of Jumpin Jack Flash in some ways. Some different instrumentation on this one as Brian Jones brings back the sitar.

    Prodigal Son: Definitely acoustic country blues here. This is an old blues song written by someone named Robert Wilkens. I think Iím going to have to hear the original. This song really sounds cool.

    Stray Cat Blues: Of course every time I hear this song, I think about the Stray Cats of the 1980s. Of course there is nothing rockabilly about this classic track. I think lyrically it could be about a teenage runaway. This is my favorite song on the album. It has a certain dark vibe to it and you can hear the blues influences on this.

    Factory Girl: Another country influenced song with help from Dave Mason (on mandolin) and Ric Grech from Traffic. Watts plays the tabla on this one. Itís obvious the Stones still arenít afraid to mix things up, but now they are doing so in a less commercial way. It makes for a nice tune.

    Salt of the Earth: Well, fool me once. I had the impression this was actually a positive tune starting with a rare Keith vocal solo. It turns out Iím reading that itís supposed to be quite cynical. Whatever, itís a solid track and kind of anthem-like in its own way. Itís a solid way to end the album to be sure. They use a gospel choir on this track and you can feel the electricity on this one.

    So the Rolling Stonesí comeback seems to be complete, except for one thing.


    This was a concept Mick Jagger came up with. It was an idea for a televised concert with a circus setting, simple enough, right? He brought in director Michael Lindsay-Hogg and there were plans to air this on the BBC, assumably around Christmas. They brought in all kinds of guests from Jethro Tull to The Who to the one-shot supergroup, the Dirty Mac, led by none other than John Lennon himself (also featuring Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell on drums, and Keith Richards on bass). Jagger scrapped it after the show as the Rolling Stones themselves seemed to have been reduced to secondary status by the other artists, including Taj Mahal, who was very hot with underground audiences in those days.

    It also signaled the last appearance of Brian Jones, sadly enough. It was said that he really wasnít with it. Indeed, he would be barely around for Let It Bleed when the Stones would fire him and the tragedy, sadly wouldnít end there. As far as the Circus itself, it wouldnít be released until 1996 despite much writing about it in various Rolling Stones documentaries. It was well worth the wait as it chronicles a very big part of Rolling Stones, and rock, history.

    So now we have come to another crossroads in the Rolling Stones career. 1969 would be a year of changes yet again as Brian Jones would be out and Mick Taylor would be in. And the Rolling Stones would go back on the road again. One thing that would stay the same though would be the quality of their studio output as 1969 would creatively be their best year yet. How do I know? Well, stay tuned for the next installment to find out .
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  6. #16


    The deterioration of Brian Jones would come full circle this year. He was barely present at recording sessions and it got to the point where he would be asked to leave the Rolling Stones. In his place would be guitarist Mick Taylor, late of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Taylor would be an integral part of the Rolling Stones for the next six years and would be prominent starting with Let It Bleed, which the Stones were in the process of recording in the summer of 1969.

    On July 3, 1969, Brian Jones was found dead in his swimming pool at home. He would perhaps be the first unfortunate member of the mystical 27 club that would eventually include Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse. Even though Jones was no longer with the band, there was nonetheless a lot of shock. The Rolling Stones had already planned a free concert at London’s Hyde Park two days later, and now it would be a memorial concert for their fallen friend, Brian Jones.

    1969 was also the year the Rolling Stones would get back on the road starting with a North American Tour that fall. Let It Bleed would be released in December and would prove to be one of the Rolling Stones’ most successful albums. December 1969 was also the month of the infamous Altamont Speedway rock festival, planned and headlined by the Rolling Stones. The sad incident, that led to the death of a young man at the hands of the Hell’s Angels, would be chronicled in a movie the Stones had commissioned originally in hopes of highlighting their North American tour. I’ll cover that more in 1970 when I talk about the movie, Gimme Shelter.

    For now though, it’s time to cover the musical growth that I believed maybe peaked this year. It certainly was a fruitful one even with all the distractions mostly involving Brian Jones.


    Honky Tonk Women: I read a really good review on this classic somewhere. I don’t remember exactly what was said but I remember agreeing with the general viewpoint of it being a fun, country-western style romp. Very influenced by Hank Williams, this is the earliest track where you hear Mick Taylor on guitar. I like this song obviously; the question is where I exactly rate this. Historically, of course it rates very high, possibly the most significant Rolling Stones song since Satisfaction. Personally, while I rate it ahead of Satisfaction, it’s not quite as high as, say, Mother’s Little Helper or The Last Time. Great song nonetheless though.

    Interlude: Hyde Park memorial concert for Brian Jones

    On July 5, 1969, the Rolling Stones held their first concert in two years. It had already been planned, possibly as a way to introduce their new guitarist, Mick Taylor. Brian Jones' death two days before would change the focus, however, as it would now become a tribute to their fallen friend. I’m listening to some of the concert on YouTube right now as I’m writing this and I have to say, they sound quite tight here. They likely debut Midnight Rambler, as yet to be released, at this concert, and it’s quite good. There is also some film footage and you can sense some sadness in Richards and Watts in particular while Jagger is trying to work his grief out by getting on with it, something he is successful at here. Most importantly, it showcases Taylor and emphasizes just how important he will be in this, the middle point of the Stones’ classic period.

    UK compilation album: THROUGH THE PAST DARKLY (big hits vol 2)

    This one is poignant for being the last photo taken with Brian Jones. Unfortunately they have the band with their faces up against some window, thus distorting their faces. Not a great way to go for Jones, I would think. A lot of the tracks had been released on singles only, so for album fans, this is an important addition to their collection. There is also the curious addition of an EP track, You Better Move On, as that clearly wasn’t a hit or even all that popular by Stones standards. Still, a nice collection overall and I can always remember a childhood friend of mine dancing to his black light like he was the new Mick Jagger doing Honky Tonk Women


    So here we are at an album recorded under some convoluted times. This is the last album that features Brian Jones, and barely just at that, only appearing on two tracks. Mick Taylor, who was brought in late, only appears on two tracks himself, leaving Keith Richards as the sole guitarist for most of the album. Basically he is doing double duty here for the most part. He certainly does it well and the album doesn’t suffer for it.

    In fact, I rate this as my all time favorite Rolling Stones album, and it is actually in my all time personal top ten for anybody. Why do I rate this album so highly? Well, for starters this, in many ways, is a continuation, a sometimes heavier continuation, of Beggars Banquet. You still hear their country blues influences on this album such as with the title track, and a great cover of Love In Vain (more on that later). They also get down and dirty with something like Monkey Man and even start out with one of their most powerful songs ever which we’ll be getting into in just a second. So for those reasons and maybe a few others, I have to rate this album as one of the true classics in the history of rock.

    So let’s get on with it, shall we?

    Gimme Shelter: As I mentioned, this is one of the most powerful songs the Stones ever wrote. Written by Richards, this song has been described as apocalyptic by Jagger. I love the great guitar work and the female vocals at the beginning of this track, then you have Jagger doing his thing with Merry Clayton supporting with some amazing vocals. I not only love this track and not only is this my favorite track on the album; it’s my all time favorite Stones track, period.

    Love in Vain: Also mentioned in my album heading, this is a cover of the Robert Johnson standard. I don’t think Johnson was all that known to rank and file blues connoisseurs in 1969, and only musicians like Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones were aware of him. Maybe that is the charm of this country blues standard. It’s a very pleasant listen and fits in with the mood of the album very well.

    Country Honk: This is actually a countrified version of Honky Tonk Women. This was the way Jagger and Richards had originally intended it to be and only had electric guitars added (courtesy of Mick Taylor) to make it sound more commercial as a single. I like this version. It’s a fairly simple arrangement and I think a thirties era country musician (and this was the era the Stones were going for) would have been proud.

    Live With Me: This song is notable for being the first track Mick Taylor is involved in. It also features a fantastic sax solo by Bobby Keys. The Rolling Stones would use sax on their following albums as well, notably on Brown Sugar. As far as the album goes, this is a switch off the country vibe and back into the hard rock vibe the Stones had going.

    Let It Bleed: The title track of this masterpiece, this too is a country tinged number. It also features Richards doing double duty with the acoustic and slide guitars respectively. The lyrics seem a little risquť, especially at the end, but they get away with it. I heard this a lot on AOR radio in the seventies.

    Midnight Rambler: This is one of the two tracks that has Brian Jones on it though just barely (he’s on congas). This is the longest track on the album and it goes into different speeds. It’s certainly a great track but honestly, I go to songs like Gimme Shelter and the two that wrap this album first.

    You Got the Silver: Keith Richards is on lead vocals on this one. Like many of the tracks here, it’s in a country vein. Richards seems to be in love with the slide guitar on this album. I like the sound to be sure.

    Monkey Man: The other really heavy track on the album, this features some of Richards’ best guitar work. Lyrically, I’m not sure if this is a continuation of Sympathy For the Devil or simply a tribute to blues players in general. What I can tell you is that this song is my second favorite on the album next to Gimme Shelter. Fantastic tune.

    You Can’t Always Get What You Want: And we end with a song that was originally on the flip of Honky Tonk Women. Not recognized as anything significant at the time, this song sort of became an anthem for those who expected to have it all only to fall short after it was released as a single in its own right in 1973. It is significant in other ways because Charlie Watts would be benched for Jimmy Miller on the drums. Al Kooper is also prominent on this track. I like this song; it’s a fantastic way to end this album.

    And so we’re about halfway through the Rolling Stones’ classic period. The Rolling Stones will take a break from studio recordings in 1970 but there still will be a lot to write about as Mick Jagger will be embarking on a film career (he had already shot scenes for Ned Kelly in Australia) and two films featuring the Rolling Stones will be released including the chronicle that would become the story of the tragic events at Altamont. Plus, we’ll have a live album to review, so stay tuned.
    Last edited by mrmustard615; October 28th, 2019 at 01:30 PM. Reason: typo
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  7. #17


    In some ways this would be a slow year for the Rolling Stones. Much of their next album had already been recorded but there would also be some more legal entanglements starting with the advice that they should move to France to avoid the tax man basically. For those who are crying theyíre paying too much in taxes in the US, imagine having to fork out over ninety percent of your income as the Rolling Stones (and others) had to do in the late sixties.

    So there was that. Then there was the final break with Allen Klein that would lead to some more legal issues, for Klein never met a lawsuit he didnít like. I sense the Stones were probably regretting recommending Klein to John Lennon back in the day.

    Anyhow, the Stones happily went on with their business, even if a studio release wasnít in the works. They would tour Europe in late 1970 and release their second legitimate live album, recorded at various venues during their 1969 tour. There would also be the highly acclaimed film, Gimme Shelter, chronicling the same tour that ended tragically at Altamont the year before.

    So now we have some quick reviews.


    This is a strange film to be sure. Jean-Luc Goddard had the brainstorm to juxtapose the Rolling Stones recording their famous sinister track as a backdrop to a strange dramatic story. Originally released in Europe as One Plus One in 1969, this would be released with this title in 1970 in the US. Goddard, I think, was trying to do some sort of tapestry about the counter-culture on the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Either that, or maybe somebody was talking a little too much LSD. In any event, this isnít a very good film.

    Having said that, the parts with the Rolling Stones in the recording studio are quite good. You can see how they put together the song. Even Brian Jones, erratic as he may have been, seems to be contributing a bit here as well so, even if the film, well, sucks, itís worth it to see the Rolling Stones at work and in their element.

    Film- NED KELLY (Mick Jagger movie)

    Okay, Iím going to have to admit ignorance here as Iíve never seen the film so Iíll go with what I do know and with some help from Wiki.

    Mick Jagger was approached to star in a western for whatever bizarre reason, and he shot some scenes in Australia. Ned Kelly was apparently a bushwanger outlaw in nineteenth century Australia so I imagine there may have been some interest there. Again , I havenít seen the film, but judging from the poor reviews and noting on Wiki that Jagger and at least one other cast member disavowed the film, I sense that I donít want to. This is, nevertheless, Jaggerís first foray into acting, or at least his first film to be released.

    LIVE ALBUM-GET YOUR YA-YAíS OUT (The Rolling Stones in concert)

    This was recorded at several venues during the Rolling Stones tour of North America in the Fall of 1969. I think I may have mentioned Iím not really a big fan of live albums in general, but you can certainly hear the energy starting with the first track. The first thing I notice is that the screaming throngs that were evident on Got Live If You Want It are nonexistent here. The audience seems to be more mature here, cheering between each songs as opposed to screaming all throughout. Jagger banters with the audience the way he couldnít in 1965. The Stones are just getting back into their groove as a live band but it seems that they havenít lost anything and, obviously, the addition of Taylor adds so much to the Rolling Stones as a live act. So, as live albums go, I kind of like this one.

    FILM-PERFORMANCE (Mick Jagger movie)

    And this was Jaggerís second foray into acting. This movie I have seen and heís quite good in this one. In one sense, heís playing himself (his character is also a rock star). This was actually shot in 1968 so this is technically Jaggerís first film role. His character is tied up with a mobster on the run (James Fox). Itís a quite interesting story to say the least but I have to say the performances (no pun intended) were quite good, especially from Jagger.

    So Iím reading here that the Rolling Stones were supposed to write the soundtrack for the film but Richards was apparently jealous after hearing rumors that Jagger and co-star Anita Pallenberg (Richardís girlfriend) were having a roll in the hay for real, thus only Memo From Turner, in one bizarre video with Jagger playing an executive with his hair slicked back, is in the film. Interesting to be sure; still think itís a good film though.


    The year ends with a fascinating film, directed by Albert and David Maysles, that sheds quite a bit of insight on the Altamont tragedy the year before. It starts off eerily enough when the Rolling Stones, at a press conference, announce the plans for a free concert at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. So, while the Rolling Stones are seen touring the US mostly, the powers that be in San Francisco are balking at the idea of hosting a free concert headlining the Rolling Stones. So, we see some crazy negotiations that lead to the Stones moving the event to Altamont Speedway on the East Bay.

    And this where the fun begins, now itís going to be a free festival and the Grateful Dead recommend the Hellís Angels as the security force. All they have to do is pay them with beer. Now what could possibly go wrong?

    Well we find out about midway through the film when one of the Angels gets out of control and knocks out Marty Balin of the Jefferson Airplane. Paul Kantner sarcastically thanks the Angel that knocked his bandmate out only to get a response from one of the drunken bikers. What fun this must have been.

    So, what do the Grateful Dead do after having recommended these stalwarts of law and order to begin with? They cancel their performance like the brave soldiers they are. Actually, it might have been the right decision but it means the Stones are now going to have to do double duty. Except that have to wait until sunset because Bill Wyman is running late.

    And it will be on the Rolling Stonesí watch when things really get out of control. Several thousand are crowing the stage and things are getting unruly. Jagger is shaken enough that he stops Richards, apparently in his own world, from playing as he urges the crowd to ďcoolĒ. So, naturally, they play the next song in their set to placate the masses, Sympathy For the Devil (I should be bringing out my satirical pen for this). They have to end the song abruptly when things get violent again. After another plea to cool it, baby, the show goes on. Everything is fine until Under My Thumb, and thatís when the infamous moment happens. A young man, Meredith Hunter, somehow had a gun since the Speedway didnít furnish metal gun detectors. So, when Hunter pulled his gun out, one of the Angels politely suggested he shouldnít do that and stabbed the man, killing him. After that, the concert continues without incident, but the damage was already done.

    And the film starts the same way it ended, with Jagger and Watts looking at the footage and lamenting it all. Even there you can see how shaken they are, even well after the fact.

    So in one sense this may have been the low point (late 1969 obviously, not late 1970 when the film was released) of the Rolling Stonesí classic period. But it makes for one fascinating film and probably one of the best rock docs ever. It doesnít get any more real at this, even if our protagonists are not necessarily seen in the best light.

    So a slow year by Rolling Stones standards has ended. Some of the negativity of the past two years are now behind them and they will go on to have another musically fruitful year. Of course they will be some things going on as well, but whatís new about that, right? So stay tuned as things get a little (yuck) sticky in 1971.
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  8. #18


    By now, the Rolling Stones were proudly wearing the label as ,ĒThe Worldís Greatest Rock n Roll Band.Ē The Beatles had broken up, no thanks to the Rolling Stones themselves who had recommended their (The Stones) now ex-manager, Allen Klein. By now, they would be involved in legal entanglements involving the nefarious Klein. In the meantime, The Rolling Stones finalized their contract with Atlantic Records and now they had their own record label, known as (drum roll) Rolling Stones records. Sticky Fingers would be the first of many Rolling Stones records to be realized on the label with the famous tongue logo.

    This was another active year for the Stones both professionally and personally. While Iím only reviewing one whole album this year, it didnít mean the Stones werenít especially active. For this is the year they moved to France to avoid the taxman. Mick Jagger would get married to Bianca Moreno de Macias in St. Tropez. And the first signs of Keith Richardsí heroin addiction would be evident. He would never get to the depths or the tragic circumstances that led to the death of Brian Jones, but it would lead to some legal troubles as the decade wore on.

    For this year though, it was a year of touring and the year of the third of their four album classic period, so letís see what we have, shall we?


    Sticky Fingers is one of the Rolling Stonesí most successful albums. It also features one of the most controversial covers with the jean photo equipped with a live zipper. You can imagine the murmurs among the establishment on that one, after all it was designed by Andy Warhol. As far as the album itself goes, it continues the trend of the return to basics. Like Let It Bleed, it has some country influences and some of the same supporting musicians are used (Producer Jimmy Miller, Bobby Keys, Nicky Hopkins, Jack Nitzchke among others). Some people point to this as the best of all the Rolling Stonesí albums. As for me, I donít think this is quite as good as Let It Bleed of Beggarís Banquet. That doesnít take away from the merits of the album though. This album has some very solid tracks and certainly beats something like Satanic Majestiesí Request.

    Brown Sugar: The album, like many of the Stonesí albums, opens with a monster track. Brown Sugar is perhaps the Stonesí second most famous song next to Satisfaction. Itís also one of the most controversial songs, about a black woman slave with quite a bit of sexual innuendo. I can see how people could be offended by the lyrics, but the music canít be denied. One of the highlights is a great sax solo by Bobby Keys. This remains one of the Stonesí most popular songs.

    Sway: Keith Richards was apparently late so Mick Jagger is doing the rhythm guitar on this one. This isnít a song I hear very often to be honest, but itís not bad. Itís about here where I know that the album wonít be as good as Let It Bleed, however.

    Wild Horses: A beautiful song and one of my favorites on the album. Itís a gentle, wistful song, kind of in a country-folk vein. Itís also one of the more melodic Stonesí pieces. Definitely a favorite track.

    Canít You Hear Me Knocking: Weíre back to classic Rolling Stones rock on this track. It features something of a jam session at the end with another great Bobby Keys solo. Jaggerís on fire with this one too.

    You Gotta Move: This is a cover from Mississippi Fred McDowell from 1964 who, I have to admit, Iíve never heard of until now. Lots of slide guitar on this one. Jagger is trying to sound like McDowell I think. Itís not bad.

    Bitch: Okay, first letís address the title. No, this isnít about some wayward woman like some of the songs on this album is. No, this is more about life being a bitch essentially. It moves along at a fast pace and the brass dominates this song. Horns are somewhat prevalent on the album as a whole and they certainly add to the hardness of the album.

    I Got the Blues: There is definitely an Otis Redding vibe here. I may have mentioned that The Stones were quite big fans of Redding, and vice versa. I have no doubt Otis Redding, who perished in a plane crash in late 1967, was sadly missed and I sense this song may have been something of a tribute to him. Nice song.

    Sister Morphine: This was actually recorded in early 1969, before Mick Taylor joined the band. Of course itís something of a drug song that was technically written by Jagger and Marianne Faithful though she doesnít get any songwriting credit. Itís certainly a moving song and gained a bit of publicity anytime someone would talk about Sticky Fingers. A great slide on this one from Ry Cooder.

    Dead Flowers: This is my favorite song on the album. Itís about as country as the Rolling Stones ever get so maybe, though not being a big fan of country music in general, I find myself really liking this song. Itís a nice set of lyrics. I donít know if the Stones could have made it as a country-rock act overall, but on this one instance, it really works.

    Moonlight Mile: This track is missing Keith Richards. This is kind of a slow moving song. Itís unusual for a Stones last song on an album at this point in their history, mainly because I donít think this song is especially that great. I mean itís not bad, but it doesnít seem to have the energy as the other tracks do. It doesnít take away from the greatness of the album though.

    So thatís it for 1971. 1972 should prove to be another interesting year in the Rolling Stonesí history. There will be some issues with Allen Klein and their old record label, Decca, and the Stones will be responding with two very solid compilations that Iíll cover in the next installment. Also, what may be their most acclaimed album, critically speaking, will be released in 1972. Will I agree with that assessment? Well, youíll have to wait until the next installment to find out.
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  9. #19
    I'd forgotten how great that album is. I was in my early teens when it was released and used to listen to it a lot. Thanks for posting your review!

  10. #20


    This would be the last year of the Rolling Stonesí classic period. It was a year where they released their only studio double album set. It didnít garner great reviews at the time, but it has since been quite acclaimed, but more on that later. This was in between two double album compilation sets, Hot Rocks and Hot Rocks Vol. 2, both well recommended for the casual fan. In personal news, they still had to deal with Klein and Decca was still releasing unauthorized compilations, which will not be reviewed here. Heroin seemed to be the magic word this year as Richards was trying to get cleaned up before the North American tour and Mick Taylor was now using. Meanwhile, when they werenít touring, The Stones were still living in exile in France. Whether that made them richer in the end of it all, well, I donít know. I do know they went on another North American tour, ostensibly to support Exile On Main Street. This time they brought saxophonist Bobby Keys along, and they all no doubt had a good time.

    So again, we have another busy year, so letís see what we have, shall we?


    By 1972, the Rolling Stones had compiled quite a bit of quality recording with well over twenty singles as well as some quality album cuts. As a result, they were able to release a very definitive greatest hits package with a combination of hit singles like Satisfaction and Jumping Jack Flash to choice album cuts such as Under My Thumb and Gimme Shelter. I canít say this is fully complete and, obviously, Abkco agreed for they would release Hot Rocks 2 at the end of the year.

    Yes I know, I said I wasnít going to review any of the Decca/London compliations but the two Hot Rocks albums are exceptions. I think these were the only two that were actually released with the Rolling Stonesí blessing as the other various comp sets were clearly money grabbing schemes. Honestly, until I started going onto Timeisonourside, I didnít even know of all the compilations (I did know of Metamorphosis which Iíll also be covering) before I started this project. Anyway, Hot Rocks is a must for casual Rolling Stones fans, and maybe for the die-hard fans too.

    MISC- JAMMING WITH EDWARD (Jagger, Wyman, Watts, Nicky Hopkins, Ry Cooder)

    This was basically the result of a jam session between the noted five above in 1969. Obviously, this wasnít meant to be any kind of a classic album of sorts but itís clear they were enjoying this. No, itís not something I would jump up and buy, and I had many chances as a kid, seeing the album in the cut out bins many a time, but as far as a listening experience goes, well, it isnít bad. Jagger doesnít seem to be singing a lot though.


    This double album set was the combination of unreleased material from the previous three years with some overdubs in early 1972.

    At the time of its release, the reviews were rather mixed. Lenny Kaye of Rolling Stone magazine found the album uneven due to its sloppy work. That makes sense as these were apparently works in progress. After reassessing the album some years later, though, it is now regarded as the Rolling Stonesí crown achievement.

    So allow me to disagree. I have to say I share Kayeís original assessment of the album. Though there are great tracks on this album, which weíll cover in a minute, this album certainly doesnít have the continuity of the previous three efforts in this classic period and, Iím sorry, but youíre not going to get me to call this a classic album with a song title like Turd on the Run. Call me a prude, but really?

    On the other hand, this album will be head and shoulders better than next yearís effort, Goatís Head Soup, so letís review in the spirit of that, shall we?

    Rocks Off: The suggestive title notwithstanding, this is a great track to start this double album set with all the major players involved like Bobby Keys and Nicky Hopkins. It was one of the later tracks to be recorded and was probably meant for this album. I like this track and I have to rate this as one of my favorites on the album. The Stones are continuing their streak of quality cuts to open up an album.

    Rip This Joint: Keith Richards calls this the fastest song the Stonesí every recorded. It sounds kind of like a fifties style swing number. If it wasnít so heavy, this could have been recorded by Bill Haley and the Comets, okay, maybe not that bad.

    Shake Your Hips: This was originally done by Slim Harpo. This sounds a little bit like ZZ Topís La Grange. I have to listen to the original recording by Harpo (not a big fan of Baby Scratch My Back but love Harpoís 1957 single Got Love If You Want It/Iím a King Bee). Anyway, not a bad cover.

    Casino Boogie: Apparently this was influenced by William Burroughs (donít ask me, thatís what Jagger and Richards said on the web page). This isnít one of the more impressive tracks in my opinion. It sounds kind of like a typical seventies album track, nothing special.

    Tumbling Dice: I really donít remember a stand out song on this album though there are certainly some great tracks. The Rolling Stones picked this one as the single for the album and it was a good choice. This probably is my favorite song on the album but I want to withhold judgment until I hear the rest of the album (Itís been a while )

    Sweet Virginia: The Stones return to their country influences a bit here. Itís laid back, kind of a bit of a honky tonk feel. Decent song for the most part.

    Torn and Frayed: This doesnít sound like anything special Iím afraid to say. I think theyíre trying to do country here. Itís fair but again, nothing Iíd jump through hoops for.

    Sweet Black Angel: Man, I donít know if this is a commentary on deep south racism orÖ yeah, looking at the lyrics, it probably is, offensive as some of it may sound. John Lennon recorded something that same year called Woman is the n*** of the world (I refuse to say or print that word). It was supposed to be a song supporting womenís liberation but, well, you can imagine the uproar. Anyway I have to admit liking this song, It does have a country blues feel to it.

    Loving Cup: This one sounds a little like You Canít Always Get What You Want without the orchestration. Iíd rate this as above average. Not as good as You Canít Always GetÖ but certainly nothing bad about it.

    Happy: This was Keith Richardís turn to shine on vocals. This was also the follow up to Tumbling Dice, or at least it was on the radio. The first thing I notice is that Jagger is clearly a better singer than Richards. Actually, Iíd argue that Ringo Starr is a better singer than Richards but thatís for another thread I guess.

    Turd on the Run: Sorry, but I think this title is gross. I think theyíre trying to do a bit of Bo Diddley here, but, honestly, it doesnít work.

    Ventilator Blues: Mick Taylor gets partial songwriting credit here. Itís a decent little blues number basically. It certainly works within the album.

    I Just Wanna See His Face: This was basically something of a jam session without Richards or Taylor that also involved Bobby Whitlock. I donít think this is one of the more remembered songs on this album. Pity, with more work, this could have been a pretty nice gospel influenced tune.

    Let It Loose: A slow paced song with some gospel style chorus. This probably isnít very well remembered either but it sounds nice. Dr. John walked in on the recording and he is part of the chorus. Some nice brass as well.

    All Down the Line: This track also got a lot of radio airplay. I honestly donít like this as much as the other two ďhitsĒ, Tumbling Dice and Happy. I mean itís not bad, just not a superior track in my opinion.

    Stop Breaking Down: The Rolling Stones are doing a Robert Johnson number here. Itís not a bad cover though I suspect Johnson didnít use drums or bass. Nice slide guitar.

    Shine a Light: This is more or less a soul song. I honestly donít think this sounds much like the Rolling Stones in my opinion. At the same time, I can see where this might be an example as to why critics praise this album the way they do.

    Soul Survivor: The album finishes strong with this track. I like the chord changes on this track. Okay, so is this my favorite track on the album? No, itís still Tumbling Dice, but this is certainly in the top three or four.

    And so ends my assessment of an album I consider good but not great (sorry critics) and as for Turd on the RunÖ

    COMPILATION (US)-MORE HOT ROCKS (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies)

    This double album set basically includes the hit tracks that couldnít be placed on the original Hot Rocks plus some early tracks from 1963 and 1964. I especially like side four with the tracks that had been unreleased in the US. I still wonder why they didnít add I Wanna Be Your Man though. No matter, it remains an important compilation for Rolling Stones connoisseurs.

    And so ends another chapter in the Rolling Stonesí recording history. The classic period is over and we will now go into an era of mixed reviews that will include two albums I really like and at least one that I really donít for the most part. The latter, Iím afraid, will be coming up next year, though it will have its moments, as will the Rolling Stones. So stay tuned until next time as we review 1973.
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