Rape…murder…it’s just a shot away. Nice lyrics there. This is a pretty bleak album, and those backing lyrics really set the scene. This was the first album to feature ex-Bluesbreaker Mick Taylor on guitar, and the last album to feature Brian Jones, who only plays on two songs. By the time the album was released, Jones had been fired from the band he put together.
Of the ‘Big Four’ Stones albums, this is the one I got around to last. I inherited Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main St. from my Dad, both on vinyl, but he only had Let It Bleed on CD, so I left it. I then went back to the beginning and listened to the rest chronologically, meaning that I got to Beggar’s Banquet first, and this – it’s follow up – last.
It’s probably the one I listen to the most though. The sense of doom and gloom that seems to be hidden in the grooves – along with the music – is a big attraction – like the ending of The Empire Strikes Back, or the second half of Nabakov’s Lolita. It’s a downer, but it’s beautiful.
You can say what you want about the Stones – that they’re a devastatingly average rock ‘n roll band who have ridden on a wave of mediocrity for the last 50 years – and you’d be more or less right; but you can’t take those four albums away from them. I’d say they’re all perfect, but it’s the imperfections that make them what they are.
Hit: Gimme Shelter
Hidden Gem: Live With Me