Hidden Tracks
November 7, 2006 10:05 AM   Subscribe

The Rolling Stones have produced a few of the Greatest Albums of All Time. Now Exile on Main Street, said by many to be The Stones their best work, has had its demo tracks and outtakes leaked on to the web. via
posted by aburd (132 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
The sound quality is not so good.
posted by eustacescrubb at 10:09 AM on November 7, 2006


NPR's "On Point" spent an hour last Friday discussing this very album and the evolution of the Stone. Interesting listening. WMA and RM formats only
posted by StarForce5 at 10:12 AM on November 7, 2006


/me yawns
posted by Stynxno at 10:15 AM on November 7, 2006


Wow, I haven't heard this band before. They're pretty good, but kind of sound like they're ripping off the White Stripes.
posted by 2sheets at 10:24 AM on November 7, 2006


/me doesn't move head,
/me doesn't move hands,
/me doesn't move lips,
/me just shakes (prosthetic) hips.
posted by hal9k at 10:26 AM on November 7, 2006


/whois lucifer
posted by danb at 10:33 AM on November 7, 2006


Yeah the quality isn't great, but damn, I'm loving this version of "Loving Cup". Still one of my all time favorite albums, I just never tire of listening to it.

Thanks for posting this, aburd.
posted by btwillig at 10:56 AM on November 7, 2006


I'm at work, and can't check against my collection at home, but I'm sure these've been around for years on various bootlegs.
posted by mojohand at 10:56 AM on November 7, 2006


I remember when it first came out, and it did seem a bit disappointing after the perfection of Sticky Fingers and Let it Bleed, but gradually it kind of seeped into your consciousness despite your not wanting to like it.

After this one, it was downhill all the way.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:58 AM on November 7, 2006


I'll have to wait until night time, because the sunshine bores the daylights out of me.

(Exile may well be the best rock album ever)
posted by jonmc at 11:00 AM on November 7, 2006


Classic Stones on You Tube
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:03 AM on November 7, 2006


I saw the boys in Baltimore in February, and they freakin' rocked. There's still a lot of life in those old codgers.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:11 AM on November 7, 2006


How's it gonna stand up next to The Who's new album?
posted by spicynuts at 11:12 AM on November 7, 2006


Good one Aburd, thanks!
posted by doctor_negative at 11:14 AM on November 7, 2006


I saw the boys in Baltimore in February, and they freakin' rocked. There's still a lot of life in those old codgers.

I saw 'em back in '89 at Shea and I gotta agree. Even half-speed Stones is amazing. There isn't a new band around fit to carry Keith's amps.
posted by jonmc at 11:15 AM on November 7, 2006


Thanks for the insight, Stynxno.

This is great! Love Exile on Main Street....

"Upon the first ten to twenty listens, The Stones Exile On Main Street comes off as a real fucking mess, and doesn't begin to reveal its true self and the charms within for even longer."

This is SO very true! And was anyone else stoked to hear "Let it Loose" in The Departed?
posted by ghastlyfop at 11:19 AM on November 7, 2006


stynxno, I love ya, man, but 99% of the music I know you like would not exist with out this band and this album in particular.
posted by jonmc at 11:22 AM on November 7, 2006


"There isn't a new band around fit to carry Keith's amps."

Well said, Dad.
posted by docgonzo at 11:22 AM on November 7, 2006


"/me just shakes (prosthetic) hips."

"I saw the boys in Baltimore in February, and they freakin' rocked. There's still a lot of life in those old codgers."

I'd love it if the Stones would make a stripped down album or something in the same vein as Exile/Sticky/ Beggars -- less polished, more sloppy and spontaneous sounding.

I think Cash/Rubin found the perfect mix for his last few albums... they proved you can age gracefully.
posted by btwillig at 11:23 AM on November 7, 2006


Good as Exile was, I actually think it pales, as a rock and roll document/event, in comparison to the tour that followed it, the storied '72 "STP" tour.

Check it out:

Jumpin' Jack Flash - an absolutely BURNING solo from Mick Taylor, buries the official recorded version.

Happy - Used to be a full performance version of this on YouTube, must've got yanked; I've got this version on a bootleg, soundboard quality, fantastic performance that again dwarfs the recorded version, IMHO.

Bitch - Again, sounding even more vital live.

Lots more stuff all over YouTube (much of it from the infamous "Cocksucker Blues"); this is a band at the pinnacle of its prowess.
posted by kgasmart at 11:23 AM on November 7, 2006


After this one, it was downhill all the way.


You said a mouthful, Peter McDermott. The amazing thing is the precipitous decline after "Exile." How to explain a band going down so far so fast? I mean, despite all the Keith Richards jokes, they've still got their enthusiasm and physical stamina. How is it that they've forgotten how to write good songs? Was it because the Beatles were no longer around to serve as foils and inspiration? (My favorite albums are "Aftermath" and "Between the Buttons." But there's no denying the dark power of much that followed up to and including "Exile.")
posted by Faze at 11:25 AM on November 7, 2006


Well said, Dad.

Shut up and get me a beer, junior.

(hey, facts are facts, nothing made in the past 25 years comes close to Exile, and just about everything good made in that period owes something to it.)
posted by jonmc at 11:29 AM on November 7, 2006


(hey, facts are facts, nothing made in the past 25 years comes close to Exile, and just about everything good made in that period owes something to it.)

"Featuring 'Birds'" not only rocks harder than "Exile on Main Street", it's songs are more interesting and clever. There, I said it. Grandpa.
posted by interrobang at 11:34 AM on November 7, 2006


*its*

God, I can't believe I made that mistake.

posted by interrobang at 11:35 AM on November 7, 2006


Never heard of 'em. Dosen't look like something I'd like. Pass.
posted by jonmc at 11:36 AM on November 7, 2006


Maybe someday, someone can grind one of their CDs into your mush.
posted by interrobang at 11:37 AM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


As a lifelong hater of the Stones, and one who respects jonmc's opinion, I am willing to give Exile a try. But don't expect too much.

But maybe you can help me, jonmc: in what, exactly, does Exile on Main St. excel? You're surely not saying that everything that happened in the late seventies and eighties is either not as good as or derivative of the Rolling Stones? Wasn't the whole point of everything that happened in those days a specific backlash against the Rolling Stones & Co?
posted by koeselitz at 11:38 AM on November 7, 2006


Dude, there's been plenty of good music since Exile, but the whole, 'you're just old,' shtick is for teenagers. I give credit where credit is due.
posted by jonmc at 11:39 AM on November 7, 2006


I give credit where credit is due.

No you don't. You pretty much write off whole decades.

And I'm with koeselitz—I find the Stones completely boring, but your endorsement of "Exile" tempts me to download it. What's so great about it?
posted by interrobang at 11:41 AM on November 7, 2006


on preview: Quasi is not very good. Sorry, interrobang.

But "The Mekons Rock N Roll" is better than anything the Stones ever did. I'd bet my copy of Hank Williams' greatest hits on it.
posted by koeselitz at 11:42 AM on November 7, 2006


I LOVE LAMP!
posted by spicynuts at 11:45 AM on November 7, 2006


But maybe you can help me, jonmc: in what, exactly, does Exile on Main St. excel?

chronicling of exhaustion and disgust and as Dave marsh put it 'rebellion gone stale.' probably the best mining of rock's source materials without being imitative. Keith's finest rhythm playing before or since.

You're surely not saying that everything that happened in the late seventies and eighties is either not as good as or derivative of the Rolling Stones

More or less. And all of the best music of those years (Ramones, Dictators, Blondie, Sex Pistols, Replacements, Wilco, Bottle Rockets, BellRays, Springsteen, Petty, etc) has either acknowledged it's debt to the Stones or alternately other bands that were explicitly Stones influenced (the Stooges, the MC5).

As a lifelong hater of the Stones,

Most Stones haters are hating on the image and the rockstar excesses and that's find, but the power and influence of their best work is overwhelming and undeniable.
posted by jonmc at 11:45 AM on November 7, 2006


Whatever you do, don't download it and listen to it twice and then make your decision. This is a deep, deep album and one that requires multiple listens over a period of time.
posted by NationalKato at 11:46 AM on November 7, 2006


Thanks for the insight, Stynxno.

thanks, i thought it was insightful too.

Look, the Stones are a history lesson. Put them up next to the Who, Led Zeppllin, Jefferson Airplane, whatever - and they're all the same. The music they made was important at some point but they're no longer innovative and they don't move me. Is that subjective? Yes. Do I care? Not really. The yawn is not about the Stones but about this post. This is no better than posting about the new Shakira album where they let you download a hidden track off her myspace or whatever. It's Pepsi Blue.

stynxno, I love ya, man, but 99% of the music I know you like would not exist with out this band and this album in particular.

Eh. As a reaction to the Stones, I can see that. And a few great shows that gave what I like some teeth included covers of various stones songs. Like I said, they have their place. But I don't see what they do now as anything new or innovative. It's the same old thing. Do they have to change all the time and rebuilt Rome every day? Hell no - most of my favorite bands find one schtick for their inital album and stick to it. But the level of worship I see given to the Stones (and the ticket prices people pay to see them) I view as fairly absurd.
posted by Stynxno at 11:49 AM on November 7, 2006


i-banger: I don't deny that there was plenty of good music made post-Exile. I just say that most of it was influenced by it, directly or indirectly and that nothing supersedes it since. And as great as these out takes are, get the original first, and listen to it closely and let in sink in. Consumption of alcohol or other substances will enhance your listening pleasure.
posted by jonmc at 11:50 AM on November 7, 2006


Oh, and 'Ventilator Blues' is fucking hard.
posted by NationalKato at 11:50 AM on November 7, 2006


I was born a year before Exile was released, so I'm no grandpa.

My taste in music broad, I've listened to just about every genre that popular (and unpopular) music has to offer. There are many albums I go back to, Exile is one of those albums I can't tell you exactly why it's so good, it just is.

If you're listening to Exile for the first time it won't be enough. Give it several spins, eventually it will click.
posted by btwillig at 11:51 AM on November 7, 2006


The music they made was important at some point but they're no longer innovative and they don't move me.
posted by Stynxno


Your opinion is your opinion, even if you're wrong. That being said, it always irks me when people dismiss great music recorded in the past for no longer being 'innovative.' As if music has an expiration date.

Do you think innovation has a shelf life? I listen to many musicians and albums from decades ago and still think those notes, those chord progressions, that songwriting innovates - because, by definition, it is instilling a feeling in me not unlike hearing it for the first time.
posted by NationalKato at 11:58 AM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


and the ticket prices people pay to see them
HAH! I've seen them three times since the '89 tour, and haven't paid once. I hang with a good crowd, I tell ya.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:04 PM on November 7, 2006


Learning to like "Exile On Main Street" made easy -

1. Get a friend to tie you up in a chair.
2. Have that friend pour you shooters until you fall over in the chair.
3. Have the friend put on "Exile On Main Street" (on repeat play).
4. Yell at your friend as they leave.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:04 PM on November 7, 2006


but the power and influence of their best work is overwhelming and undeniable.


This could be the lamest thing I've ever read since Rolling Stone mag used to put Stairway to Heaven at the top of their "Best of the Universe" crap every year. There is NOTHING undeniable.
posted by spicynuts at 12:04 PM on November 7, 2006


So, the Stones bore you because they recorded this stuff a long time ago but the stuff recorded in the 90's bands isl not too old yet? Am I understanding this correctly?
posted by caddis at 12:08 PM on November 7, 2006


Wow. This is actually kind of good.

Everything else I've ever heard by the Rolling Stones is just brits aping rhythm and blues. This actually does some interesting things. A few of the songs ("rocks off," "tumbling dice," etc) are crap, but there's some quality in between them. I especially like the fourth song, "casino boogie."

If they want my advice, they should fire their producer. The only good songs on this record don't seem to have his clumsy thumbprints all over them.
posted by koeselitz at 12:09 PM on November 7, 2006


But I don't see what they do now as anything new or innovative

Sure. But very few artists are consistently brilliant for 40 years, come on.

Put them up next to the Who, Led Zeppllin, Jefferson Airplane, whatever - and they're all the same

What? I love all 4 of those bands, but they are sooo different that it's not even worth discussing.

Look, the Stones are a history lesson.

This is where you're wrong. Their best stuff (Exile, the early singles, Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers) resonates as much now as it did the day it was released.

But the level of worship I see given to the Stones

They're not sacred cows. I'll admit they haven't done a listenable album since Steel Wheels or a good one since Tattoo You, but their best stuff is so good and it's influence so pervasive that it can't be denied and must be given props.
posted by jonmc at 12:09 PM on November 7, 2006


[Wow, has my typing and editing ever been worse?]
posted by caddis at 12:09 PM on November 7, 2006


Not me. I listen to tons of music from the 60s. I just find the Rolling Stones's three-chord blues (and terrible, sloppy guitar-playing) boring.
posted by interrobang at 12:10 PM on November 7, 2006


(That was in response to caddis.)
posted by interrobang at 12:11 PM on November 7, 2006


I don't know about these Stone fellows, but the via blog has links to some dope shit.
posted by MetaMonkey at 12:11 PM on November 7, 2006


A few of the songs ("rocks off," "tumbling dice," etc) are crap

*shakes head in disbelief*

as many have said, this album was panned when first released, but has since been hailed as a classic and "Rocks Off" may be the best thing the stones ever did. It's also an album you need to be in a certain mental space to truly 'get.'
posted by jonmc at 12:12 PM on November 7, 2006


As a lifelong hater of the Stones, and one who respects jonmc's opinion, I am willing to give Exile a try. But don't expect too much.

well, first of all, if you don't like the stones, you won't like exile

But maybe you can help me, jonmc: in what, exactly, does Exile on Main St. excel?

it rocks harder than a motherfucker in many spots ... harder than most rock and roll bands ever dreamed of rocking

And all of the best music of those years (Ramones, Dictators, Blondie, Sex Pistols, Replacements, Wilco, Bottle Rockets, BellRays, Springsteen, Petty, etc)

doesn't rock as hard as "all down the line" or "let it rock" ... period
posted by pyramid termite at 12:13 PM on November 7, 2006


I love this album a million and yes Ventilator Blues is hard as three day old shit... But absolutes are worthless in matters of taste, you of all people should know that Jon.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:14 PM on November 7, 2006


I've never been able to understand why this poorly written, poorly played and (extremely) poorly recorded piece of crap gets such rave reviews.

Beggars Banquet is possibly the best rock record ever, and Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers are pretty great. Why-oh-why do people insist on praising this ridiculously filler-laden last gasp of a great band?
posted by JeffL at 12:16 PM on November 7, 2006


Do you think innovation has a shelf life? I listen to many musicians and albums from decades ago and still think those notes, those chord progressions, that songwriting innovates - because, by definition, it is instilling a feeling in me not unlike hearing it for the first time.

And it's amazing that you think I don't.

I never said the Stones weren't innovative. They have their place. Again, it's why I say they're a history lesson. But Iggy and the Stooges or MC5 and the Doors are from this same period and their music, in my opinion, is way more innovative than the Stones and Exile. The Stones can't hold a candle to Jim Morrison's lyrics or Iggy's antics and that means more to me than the Stones.

This is where you're wrong. Their best stuff (Exile, the early singles, Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers) resonates as much now as it did the day it was released.

It's subjective but I can't see it. I just can't really care about anything that I hear from them. I'll bounce my head, I'll tap my foot, but I won't put it on repeat nor go out and buy it and it won't get stuck in my head.
posted by Stynxno at 12:17 PM on November 7, 2006


If they want my advice, they should fire their producer.

*screams, pounds head against wall*
posted by jonmc at 12:17 PM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


but they're no longer innovative

For fucks sake they are old men now.
posted by Joeforking at 12:21 PM on November 7, 2006


The Stones can't hold a candle to Jim Morrison's lyrics

Jim Morrison was a pretentious boozebag who thought he was fucking Rimbaud and the Doors are the most overrated band in rock history (and even they had their moments).

or Iggy's antics

Dude, I love me some Stooges, but Iggy's 'antics' (the least important thing about them) were explicitly Stones derived as was the bands guitar sound. Same goes for the MC5, who, as you know, I am a huge fan of as well.

Look, post punk, it became very cool to slag on the Stones for their wealth and excesses and star trips, and a lot of it was well deserved, but any honest appraisal of rock history shows their influence as inescapable.

But absolutes are worthless in matters of taste, you of all people should know that Jon.

I know. But I'm still in shock. And I got some people to listen to it, so what the hell.
posted by jonmc at 12:23 PM on November 7, 2006


Why-oh-why do people insist on praising this ridiculously filler-laden last gasp of a great band?

Because it was an album utterly of its time and place, maybe more so than any other album that comes immediately to mind.

Dirty, strung out, disillusioned, grungy sexy. Doesn't it sound like it was recorded in the dingy, humid basement it was, masterminded by the full-blown junkie (Richards) that it was? Doesn't it sound like the last lucid exhale before drifting off to a narcotic daze, the likes of which the Stones spend the rest of the '70s mired in?
posted by kgasmart at 12:23 PM on November 7, 2006


The Stones can't hold a candle to Jim Morrison's lyrics

"I AM THE LIZARD KING I CAN DO ANYTHING!!"

*snickers*

(and i like the doors, but ... really)
posted by pyramid termite at 12:25 PM on November 7, 2006


But maybe you can help me, jonmc: in what, exactly, does Exile on Main St. excel?

chronicling of exhaustion and disgust and as Dave marsh put it 'rebellion gone stale.' probably the best mining of rock's source materials without being imitative. Keith's finest rhythm playing before or since.


Also - make that especially - Charlie Watts.

Charlie Watts owns some of the finest chunks of Exile. I've driven friends nuts by pointing out (over and over and over again) how brilliant that little fill is as they move out of the floaty underwater-dream bridge on "Rocks Off," that half a second that catapults the band into "The sunshine bores the daylights out of me" (which is probably Jagger's finest lyric ever, sez me). The great stumblin'-drunk drum lines right before the chorus on "Loving Cup." Etc., etc.

Charlie frickin' Watts.

Suck it, haters.

(Always wanted a legitimate reason to use that line. Figures it'd be Charlie Watts who gave me the opportunity.)

Thanks for this, aburd. It'll surely add another chapter to my long-in-the-works 1200-page monograph on how Charlie Watts carries the Stones through the best album they ever recorded.
posted by gompa at 12:26 PM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


also, I chugged a few tallboys at lunch, so I'm feeling rambunctious. don't me vote, I might just pull the 'Libertarian' lever. hahahaha.
posted by jonmc at 12:26 PM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


I don't know, maybe if they hired that guy who produced London Calling.

You do know I'm kind of messing with you, right, jon?

posted by koeselitz at 12:27 PM on November 7, 2006


I like these btw, thanks aburd.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:28 PM on November 7, 2006


I for one still haven't figured out this album and why it's adored. I dig "Shine a Light" but that's about it. I love "Let It Bleed" and "Sticky Fingers" (and "Aftermath" as well.)

Come to think of it, it seems like Aftermath and Exile are so different I can't imagine any Stones fan loving both.
posted by action man bow-tie at 12:30 PM on November 7, 2006


Well, shit. The "Exile" that I've been listening to seems to have a bunch of Pussy Galore tracks thrown in. And those happen to be the ones I liked. How embarrassing.
posted by koeselitz at 12:31 PM on November 7, 2006


Because it was an album utterly of its time and place

and we're in a similar time and place now, and individual humans can find themselves in that 'Dirty, strung out, disillusioned, grungy sexy' place at any historical time.
posted by jonmc at 12:31 PM on November 7, 2006


Many, many more Stones boots to be found here.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:33 PM on November 7, 2006


posted by jonmc Jim Morrison was a pretentious boozebag who thought he was fucking Rimbaud and the Doors are the most overrated band in rock history (and even they had their moments).

Jim Morrison Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are pretentious boozebags who thought they were fucking Rimbaud and the Doors Rolling Stones are the most overrated band in rock history (and even they had their moments).

Your favorite band sucks, etc. etc. etc.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:35 PM on November 7, 2006


Come to think of it, it seems like Aftermath and Exile are so different I can't imagine any Stones fan loving both.

Well, then, I'm about to blow yr MIND! . . .

*holds up well-worn copies of both*

*belches*

Seriously, dude, they're not that far apart, certainly no further than "She Loves You" and, say, "A Day in the Life." Hell, you could probably drop "Out of Time" onto the last side of Exile and it'd fit like it'd always been there.
posted by gompa at 12:37 PM on November 7, 2006


Ech, but it's true about the doors. Can anybody really take that shit seriously?
posted by koeselitz at 12:38 PM on November 7, 2006


fandango: at one point in my life, I knew not one, but two different guys who were convinced they were Jim Morrison's reincarnation. One insisted on being called Jim. I went through a Doors phase in my mid-teens, but aside from a few good singles, they sound embarrassingly pretentious and self-indulgent. Their enduring cult has more to do wit Morrison's good looks than any sonic innovations.
posted by jonmc at 12:39 PM on November 7, 2006


Guess you had to kinda be there when it came out. Two cousins drafted. Nixon. Janis and Jimi gone. Pop music at the time was the Jackson 5 and Sesame Street "Gimmee Dat Ding"

This was dangerous music you listened to on headphones in an age you sort of seethed through darkly.
posted by hal9k at 12:40 PM on November 7, 2006


don't me vote either fuckers, I'm liable to explode all over this motherfucker.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:40 PM on November 7, 2006


(Exile may well be the best rock album ever)

A-fucking-men, man. All you people who don't get it, well, you don't get it, and that's your right (and apparently your glory), but I feel sorry for you.

Thank you for your wine, California; thank you for this post, aburd. Got to scrape that shit right off your shoes!
posted by languagehat at 12:41 PM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Pussy Galore covered "Exile On Main Street" in its entirety, and it takes a big three day old crap all over the original.

*watches jonmc's head explode*
posted by stinkycheese at 12:41 PM on November 7, 2006


Eh, Jon Spencer is a wanker not fit to carry Jagger's jockstrap. He wishes he was that cool. The Stones spirit lives on in many of the bands that followed them, but he's not among them.

(also, you sound like a kindergartener trying to rile his teacher. you'll have to do better than that)
posted by jonmc at 12:45 PM on November 7, 2006


I can't let this one go without saying, yes, Exile is the best album ever.

That is all.
posted by daniel9223 at 12:46 PM on November 7, 2006


posted by jonmc aside from a few good singles, [the Doors] sound embarrassingly pretentious and self-indulgent. Their enduring cult has more to do with Morrison's good looks than any sonic innovations.

FIND: Morrison
REPLACE WITH: Mick Jagger/Keith Richards/Iggy Pop/John Lennon/Paul/George/Ringo/Your Favorite Rock Star
posted by fandango_matt at 12:46 PM on November 7, 2006


So can we stop this now? There are no great bands, there are only bands you like. Yes, there are semi-objective methods for rating bands but you'd have to agree on the methods before the any rating would have any meaning. Lots of people like Madonna, does that make her great? No, just popular. The Stones are one of those bands lots of other musicians site as an influence, does that make them great? No, just influential.

Art is like food, you either like it or you don't. You may gain an appreciation of it through exposure, but it's not really something you can argue about effectively. It's like broccoli, when I was 4, it sucked and I wouldn't touch it. Now I like it in Chinese food or steamed. I love the Stones but don't particularly like the Velvet Underground (yeah, I'm a philistine), but in 10 years, who knows?

The most important thing to me is not to box yourself in. Keep looking for something different, whether it's old or new doesn't matter. Novelty is very much the spice of life, and when you can't find it anymore, life get's pretty boring pretty fast.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:49 PM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Exile on Main Street is one of those albums you either get, or you don't. It took me years before it clicked. And then, quite suddenly, it was perfect. For me, it was hearing the line "The sunshine bores the daylights out of me" at a moment in my life when that couldn't have been truer, or more heartbreaking. It's one of the few albums that I play all the way through almost every time I listen to it.

Now, if you have to ask *why* it's awesome, well, shucks, dude, you're on your own.
posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 12:49 PM on November 7, 2006


An interesting story, just for the hell of it:

My uncle played for the Washington Generals basketball team (he was the one who followed Curly around in the dribbling circle part of the Harlem Globetrotters show) during the height of their fame - Meadowlark Lemon, Geese, the whole crew. Since he toured the globe with them, he met a lot of famous people. He befriended Bill Wyman.

Keith Richards was calling my uncle, who lived with his parents - my grandparents - when not on tour, for some odd reason late at night. My grandfather answered the phone. My grandfather, trying to be friendly and nice to his son's British friend, asked Keith what he did for a living. Keith said he was in a rock n' roll band.

My grandfather replied, "Well, that's nice, but you know you can't do that forever."
posted by NationalKato at 12:52 PM on November 7, 2006 [4 favorites]


Dude, I love me some Stooges, but Iggy's 'antics' (the least important thing about them) were explicitly Stones derived as was the bands guitar sound. Same goes for the MC5, who, as you know, I am a huge fan of as well.

Well, except for the fact that the Stones stopped. MC5 and Iggy took what was there and made it something else, something better. But, to me, the Stones are like the Dead - same thing over and over and over again. That's why I originally labeled those four different bands together - they exist in this same place to me.

The Stones are no different than my generations' U2. They're influencial, popular, but they seemed to have stopped when I feel they should have taken things further. Luckily there were other bands who stepped up and did that.
posted by Stynxno at 12:53 PM on November 7, 2006


and individual humans can find themselves in that 'Dirty, strung out, disillusioned, grungy sexy' place at any historical time.

Yeah, but where else has it been catalogued in song so effectively?

I actually think I can appreciate the album/the Stones of that era now, all these years later, knowing more of the backstory. Keith the stone junkie falling alseep in the upstairs bathroom as the rest of the band waited, pissed off, for him to show up downstairs and get to recording. The humidity being so bad that the guitars continually went out of tune, often being completely out of tune at the end of a single take. This was a band trying to hold it together after Brian Jones' death, after Altamont, after fleeing England and really living far apart for the first time in their collective history; add the heroin and Mick's nascent jet-setter lifestyle, the brushes with the law and everything else - that damned band had no right to produce something as visceral and cohesive as Exile, and, for the remainder of the '70s, didn't.

I see Exile as sort of the apex of a certain type of rock and roll; a sort of lolling narcotic decadence characterized by slide guitars, a muddy mix and, as noted elsewhere, Charlie Watts keeping it all together.
posted by kgasmart at 12:54 PM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Everybody keep it down. Liz Phair might hear you.
posted by davebush at 12:59 PM on November 7, 2006


Yeah, but where else has it been catalogued in song so effectively?

kgasmart: I'm agreeing with you. I'm one of the pro-Exile people.

MC5 and Iggy took what was there and made it something else, something better.

They took it someplace new, and someplace great, but I don't know if I'd say better. And the Stooges and the 5 wouldn't exist without the Stones as they'd be the first to admit.
posted by jonmc at 1:00 PM on November 7, 2006


There are no great bands, there are only bands you like. Yes, there are semi-objective methods for rating bands

such as they've been making records for 40 years? ... and i thought "rough justice" was great ... they STILL have it

look, i was around in the 60s ... here's the truth ... when it came to rock and roll it was the beatles or the stones ... just about every garage band of that era wanted to be the stones ... including the grateful dead

here's another truth ... listen to their first album, done in 1964 ... a good part of it could have been put on exile ... lack of innovation? ... no ... the stones INVENTED that sound ... the stones INVENTED modern rock music ... period

But, to me, the Stones are like the Dead - same thing over and over and over again.

true, but when that thing is right, why change it?
posted by pyramid termite at 1:08 PM on November 7, 2006


Love the Stones
Love Exile
Love this post, thanks aburd
posted by caddis at 1:10 PM on November 7, 2006


This isn't neccessarily bickering. You're all convincing me to give it another listen, when I get home. It sounds like this album is a subtle seduction...
posted by action man bow-tie at 1:13 PM on November 7, 2006


I kinda see early 70's Stones in the same light as The Replacements in their prime. Beautifully ragged and loose. I absolutely love Exile and Beggar's Banquet but I admit they haven't sounded anywhere near loose since Some Girls.
posted by davebush at 1:13 PM on November 7, 2006


thanks for the post!

My favorite albums are "Aftermath" and "Between the Buttons." But there's no denying the dark power of much that followed up to and including "Exile."

I'm with Faze, Exile blows my mind but it's still bronze medalist in the Stones canon for me


Exile may well be the best rock album ever

After Live at Leeds, right?
;)
posted by matteo at 1:15 PM on November 7, 2006


The Stones are really quite annoying.

Stones fans, on the other hand, pass through annoying and emerge, blinking and pasty, in the light of vexatious wretchedness. Because they never. shut. up. At least the Stones have the common decency to pass out every once and a while, whether through excess or falling out of trees.
posted by Sparx at 1:21 PM on November 7, 2006


what are you, a Smiths fan or something?
posted by jonmc at 1:30 PM on November 7, 2006


Ah blurrrgle blurrrgle glurrrrgle harrumph keif richardus interruptus.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:31 PM on November 7, 2006


How can you put down the Stones for what the Stooges did? That's like putting down Howlin' Wolf or Willie Dixon because of what the Stones did.

I love the Stooges, but they only had two very good albums and one that didn't become good until Iggy unfucked Bowie's work on Raw Power. The Stones have at least three albums that are masterpieces.
posted by mullacc at 1:34 PM on November 7, 2006


Do the Harlem Shuffle.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:41 PM on November 7, 2006


the stones INVENTED that sound ... the stones INVENTED modern rock music ... period

Oh, I wouldn't go quite that far. I think the sound is just one of those historical accidents that happen whenever white English boys try to cover the black American music they've just discovered.

But between 1967 and 1972, they were the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:46 PM on November 7, 2006


Do the Harlem Shuffle.
posted by stinkycheese


Cocaine's a helluva drug.
posted by NationalKato at 1:52 PM on November 7, 2006


I love the fact that one of the greatest, bluesiest, messiest, garagiest American rock'n'roll albums ever was recorded by British dudes. Living in France to avoid paying their taxes.
posted by bardic at 2:05 PM on November 7, 2006


The Stones have at least three albums that are masterpieces.

I'd reverse what you were saying mullacc. I don't consider them masterpieces.

But maybe Iggy on Pete and Pete is biasing me.
posted by Stynxno at 2:12 PM on November 7, 2006


I think the sound is just one of those historical accidents that happen whenever white English boys try to cover the black American music they've just discovered.

sure ... they played it "too loud", they played it "too fast", they played it "too sloppy" and perhaps there was a bit of obvious pretense to it, too ... better? ... probably not, but it has something all its own ...
posted by pyramid termite at 2:21 PM on November 7, 2006


C'mon Stynxno, your hate-fu is really weak. I happen to love the Stones, and this album, but let me give you better ammo:

"Ah yes, Exile -- the album that proved that Charlie Watts couldn't drum as well as their producer, and that Bill Wyman couldn't play bass as well as a stoned, drowsy Keith Richards. And that Graham Parsons is such an over-rated hack that none of his contributions made the album."

Or mention that it's responsible for Liz Phair. Which wasn't bad for two albums, but pretty horrid considering her last three.
posted by bardic at 2:34 PM on November 7, 2006


I saw the boys in Baltimore in February, and they freakin' rocked.

A couple of weeks ago, I was offered free a ticket to their concert here at the last minute and passed on it. It was cold and wet and I just didn't feel like hopping on a bus and going down to the stadium and getting crushed in a mob going in and out. But then I did see them in '75, when Exiles had just been released and I had a higher tolerance for arena concerts.
posted by y2karl at 2:38 PM on November 7, 2006


(Oh snap, forgot another one -- "Exile, that's the album where the guitars aren't in tune, literally? Partly because Keith Richards was falling asleep during most of the tracks, literally, with a needle hanging from his arm, literally, and the basement of his house was so humid that the guitars coldn't stay in tune anyways, literally?")
posted by bardic at 2:39 PM on November 7, 2006


Or mention that it's responsible for Liz Phair.

Well, Liz Phair's appeal rests mainly on the fact that it's nice seeing a girl who looks like a cheerleader singing about fucking.
posted by jonmc at 3:35 PM on November 7, 2006


I'm seeing the stones for the first time tomorrow. I don't know why but this always seems to come down to Ford/Chevy thing.
I think if you love the Stones, you probably are indignant towards the Beatles, and vice versa.

Either you think the Stones are the greatest Rock and Roll band of all time or you don't.

Downloading Exile on Main Street right now.

/Personally I detest the Beatles (not rock and roll, pure pop with rock aspirations)
posted by CCK at 4:44 PM on November 7, 2006


I think if you love the Stones, you probably are indignant towards the Beatles,

Um, no. I love the Stones more, but I love the Beatles, too.

the Beatles (not rock and roll, pure pop with rock aspirations)

Listen to Lennon's stuff on the White Album and Abbey Road, or Revolution or I Saw Her Standing There. If that isn't rock and roll, then I don't know what is.
posted by jonmc at 4:51 PM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


CCK writes :Either you think the Stones are the greatest Rock and Roll band of all time or you don't.

Well, when the Stones did Their Satanic Majesties Request, pretty much an attempt to make a Beatles album, I think they'd disagree with you.
posted by bardic at 5:19 PM on November 7, 2006


I love these MetaChats, and if you guys ever head over there you will find MC jonmc posting some seriously good stuff. Right now I am listening to Mick and the boys on Beggar's Banquet. Stray Cat Blues is one of the bluesiest, sexiest, rockinest songs ever recorded. Lock up your daughters.
posted by caddis at 5:26 PM on November 7, 2006


CCK writes "I'm seeing the stones for the first time tomorrow. I don't know why but this always seems to come down to Ford/Chevy thing.
"I think if you love the Stones, you probably are indignant towards the Beatles, and vice versa.


I'm not indignant (indifferent?), but I love The Beatles. ... I also love The Stones, but not as much, and not all the time.

"Either you think the Stones are the greatest Rock and Roll band of all time or you don't.

Now, that would be The Beatles.

"Downloading Exile on Main Street right now.

OK ...

"/Personally I detest the Beatles (not rock and roll, pure pop with rock aspirations)"

You say that as if you harbor the illusion that rock music isn't pop music.

It's just silly, although I've heard other people make that claim. They sure rocked harder than most when they first appeared in the US, and their music did evolve, but they didn't start out as British white blues boys, like so many of their contemporaries who followed (and there's nothing very wrong with that, but I'm still pissed at Jimmy Page for trying to appropriate it without giving credit). They carved out something truly unique, but it's all rock and roll.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:34 PM on November 7, 2006


For me, the Stones epitomized emotion in rock. Very few bands reach that level of emotional intensity. The Smiths tried by they only had but one emotion. Springsteen, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson can dig into this territory. Kurt Cobain matched the Stones here, and rocked as well. When the music reaches down into your soul and grabs you like these guys can do that is fun. I have always loved the blues, because the blues is all about emotion. The Stones are like the blues but even more intense. IMHO.
posted by caddis at 5:39 PM on November 7, 2006


It's a bit of a cliche re: Beatles vs. Stones, but it holds true -- Paul and John wanted to hold your daughter's hand. Mick and Keef had different ideas.

(But to play the two bands against each other is just stupid. There was plenty of mutual admiration.)
posted by bardic at 5:51 PM on November 7, 2006


and while the Stones themselves may have lost a step, pretty much all the good bands operating today (The BellRays, the Supersuckers, the Bottle Rockets, Nashville Pussy, The Muffs, the Detroit Cobras, Southern Culture On The Skids, Jason & the Scorchers as well as defunct legends like Mudhoney, the Ramones, the Replacements, the Dictators, the Flamin' Groovies, and the Faces and heartland rockers like Springsteen, Petty, Seger, et al) are direct descendants of the Stones and all of the above mentioned acknowledge it. Springsteen has been quoted as saying that Exile was one of the albums that changed his life.
posted by jonmc at 5:52 PM on November 7, 2006


NTM, the New York Dolls were basically a sloppier Stones tribute band with more make up (love 'em though I do)
posted by jonmc at 5:56 PM on November 7, 2006


bardic writes "Paul and John wanted to hold your daughter's hand

... and slip a tab of acid into it

Mick and Keef had different ideas"

... like whiskey and heroin.

Just way different vibes, and different drugs to go along with them.

posted by krinklyfig at 5:58 PM on November 7, 2006


Well, that quoting turned out completely wrong ...
posted by krinklyfig at 5:59 PM on November 7, 2006


I see your point. The Beatles probably felt more freedom when something like Exile came out to be less perfectionist in their tendencies. And the Stones, as mentioned, started bringing in orchestras in response to some of the stuff the Beatles were doing.

But yeah, I've never done heroin. I imagine it sounds a lot like Exile.
posted by bardic at 6:10 PM on November 7, 2006


I've never done smack either, but I've done my share of other substances. But you know when you go on a binge because your job sucks, and you wake up and because you feel too queazy and listless to go in, you call out and open another beer and sit in your underwear on the back porch swearing at passing motorists.

That's what Exile sounds like.
posted by jonmc at 6:16 PM on November 7, 2006


As far as the Stones not being "innovative," and their being old, and the album came out 34 years ago ... here's some perspective:

Today as I was canvassing a final time for votes for my local Dem candidate, I listened to two albums on my iPod:

Beethoven's Fifth and Seventh Symphonies, performed by the Vienna Philharmonic (Carlos Kleiber conducting)
Exile on Main Street

Some music lasts a long time because it deserves to -- because it feeds peoples' souls. I think people will be listening to Exile 100 years from now, just as they'll listen to mid- and late-period Beatles (especially Side 2 of Abbey Road). Yes, it takes a lot of listens for Exile to click. Then it does and you fall hard. It's my desert island album.

Someone mentioned that drum fill after the underwater section of "Rocks Off." For me, the transcendent moment is toward the end of "Torn & Frayed," when the slide guitar sounds like chimes. Goose bumps every time. I tried explaining it to my 10-year-old son but it's lost on him. For now.
posted by Holden at 6:38 PM on November 7, 2006


It's interesting how some people love certain music and others just don't get it. I used to be surprised at the Stones-haters and the people they leave stone cold. Even among Stones fans, there are the "60s great, 70s sucked" group and the opposite.

Well I consider Exile, Sticky Fingers and a lot of tracks elsewhere some of the greatest rock music. But what I really logged on to post was to say, if you want some rollicking good entertainment, and maybe some insight into the Stones, look up a book called Up and Down with the Rolling Stones by Tony Sanchez. It is written in amateur style, and Jagger and Richards denounced it as fiction, and it's probably distorted in some ways - but it's wild and captures the spirit of the group and is easily the funniest thing I've ever read.
posted by jam_pony at 7:01 PM on November 7, 2006


look up a book called Up and Down with the Rolling Stones by Tony Sanchez.

Actually, Stanley Booth's The True Adventures Of The Rolling Stones covers the same territory, much, much better IMHO.
posted by jonmc at 7:06 PM on November 7, 2006


Booth is a better writer and undoubtedly more realistic. Sanchez is more fun.

While we're at it, Cocksucker Blues is available if you know where to look. It is the still-embargoed backstage view of the famous 1972 tour.
posted by jam_pony at 7:12 PM on November 7, 2006


I never really got the Rolling Stones, I'm afraid.... they have their "classic" moments and certainly Jagger is one of the great rock vocalists but they're kinda.... pedestrian.... just another rock band. Not that I don't love rock music! But it's the same problem as The Who -- I love some of their stuff; I can't deny their greatness; I just don't own any of their CD's.

Hmm, how does this identify me? Stones, no; Who, no; Beatles, yes; Zeppelin, yes; Floyd, yes. Heh, I have a theory....
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:45 PM on November 7, 2006


See, I have a hard time taking Zep seriously. Good, if repetitive musicianship, but those lyrics. Ugh. How can anyone relate to Tolkienesque riffing on blowjobs?
posted by bardic at 8:09 PM on November 7, 2006


jon, I am reading Booth's book currently. Thanks for recommending it ages ago. Yay for others who love Charlie and his band. Exile is loose and great, and everything rock 'n' roll should be.
posted by Richat at 8:20 PM on November 7, 2006


I'd love it if the Stones would make a stripped down album or something


They've been around almost 45 years. They've thought of that.

Hell, you could probably drop "Out of Time" onto the last side of Exile and it'd fit like it'd always been there.

No. In fact, that would be like a letter from Charlie Manson written on Hello Kitty stationery.

I'm pretty clear-eyed about the Stones, unlike some here. You sure don't need to worship EoMSt. to appreciate All Today's Rock. But if you like your roots music with healthy sides of country, gospel, and blues, do yourself a favor and get to know this album. It doesn't sound like anything the stones did before or after; there's just an utterly loose quality about it that makes all the dreck after Some Girls look like algorithm and blues.

Also, nobody's going to mention Exile on Main St.: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones, released last week? Supposed to be all about the conditions under which the album got (somehow) made, by the author of the STP book.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:41 PM on November 7, 2006


See, I have a hard time taking Zep seriously. Good, if repetitive musicianship, but those lyrics. Ugh. How can anyone relate to Tolkienesque riffing on blowjobs?

You've obviously never been sucked off by a hobbit, poor man.

I think getting into Zep depends a lot on when you discover them. If you discover them around 12 or 13, you're hooked for life, mainly because blowjobs, battle, and mystical creatures are the major pre-occupations of such beings and the nuclear sound is perfectly suited to both hormonal overdrive and bewildered angst. I'm not as devoted a fan as I was then but certain stuff still resonates. "Communication Breakdown" would not sound out of place on a Husker Du record except for plants vocals, Bonzo's drumming on "How Many More Times" is still astounding to this day,a nd (even though the intro is way too long) the climactic riff of "In The Light," always gets me pumped. To doubters, I reccommend the live album that came out a few years ago, recorded before they got bored, fat and lazy, but in their context Zep were punk as fuck. You heard me.

Zep, The Stones and Rod Stewart (I could do a whole other riff on him, but that's another time) were, deservedly, targets of the punk revolt due to their rock star trips. Fair enough. Dosen't mean Rocket To Russia and Houses Of The Holy can't comfortably co-exist on my record shelf, or that I can't love them for both completely different and exactly the same reason (they both rock.)

Also, nobody's going to mention Exile on Main St.: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones, released last week?

I just finished it. Not bad, but too gossipy and too many obvious lyrical allusions.

all the dreck after Some Girls look like algorithm and blues.

Well, I'm actively trying to get laid off or fired from my current job and "Hang Fire" puts me in the exact right frame of mind.
posted by jonmc at 6:11 AM on November 8, 2006


Rod Stewart (I could do a whole other riff on him, but that's another time)

Rod Stewart is one of the great rock tragedies (that doesn't involve premature death, which in his case would have been a good career move). I still can't believe that the man who created Every Picture Tells a Story could have so quickly become a ridiculous self-parody.
posted by languagehat at 6:45 AM on November 8, 2006


Exactly, I try to explain to youngun's how good he was (none of them ever deny that he has one of the great voices), that he did proto-metal with the Jeff Beck Group and a species of proto-punk with The Faces (NTM some killer solo stuff) and they just look at you blankly.

There was a reason punk had to happen I guess.
posted by jonmc at 7:49 AM on November 8, 2006


"They've been around almost 45 years. They've thought of that."

I was hoping for new material.
posted by btwillig at 10:06 AM on November 8, 2006


One day and many listens later:

I still hate the Rolling Stones, and would still probably break Mick Jagger's nose with Keith Richards' forehead if I ever met the assholes.

But: this isn't such a bad record. I think I can see the attraction.

I still prefer getting drunk to the Mekons' "The Edge of the World." But hey-- I wasn't born yet when this record was made. It loses some of its punch when all I can look back on, as far as 60s-70s rock musicians are concerned, is a recorded history of assholery rather than a glowing nostalgia.
posted by koeselitz at 1:55 PM on November 8, 2006


Personally, I prefer The Sonics. Interesting, no?
posted by soundofsuburbia at 3:19 PM on November 8, 2006


See, I have a hard time taking Zep seriously. Good, if repetitive musicianship, but those lyrics. Ugh.

well, you don't come to led zeppelin for the lyrics ... most people come for the screaming and the guitar playing ... that being said, the more i listen to them, the more i find myself paying attention to jones and bonham ... they were serious as a heart attack
posted by pyramid termite at 5:04 PM on November 8, 2006


Jonmc, Mudhoney's not defunct! I saw them at the Knitting Factory last week!
posted by AJaffe at 10:25 AM on November 26, 2006


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