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August 14, 2009 10:59 AM   Subscribe

"In the summer of ‘71, The Rolling Stones, seeking shelter from their UK tax woes, exiled to the South of France. Keith Richards set up house with Anita Pallenberg and their son Marlon in Villa Nellcôte– a 16 room waterfront mansion that once served as Gestapo headquarters for the Nazis during WWII. The infamy continued with it now best remembered among rock fans as the grand flop-house where Exile On Main Street was recorded." More photos.
posted by dersins (38 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Gimme (tax) Shelter!
posted by Afroblanco at 11:03 AM on August 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Keith with Gram Parsons

Oh... no. This will not end well.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:08 AM on August 14, 2009


Great stuff. The "more photos" link has some fanfuckingtastic images which clearly belong on the impossible cool (but why oh why can't I step through the photos in full screen mode??)
posted by ericost at 11:14 AM on August 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


16 room waterfront mansion in the south of France? Sounds like those taxes weren't too woeful.
posted by DU at 11:22 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I bought my first tattered copy of Exile on Main Street from at a garage sale when I was 14 in 1984. I stopped watching MTV the next day.
posted by punkfloyd at 11:23 AM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Last summer's perfect vacation read Exile on Main Street: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones.


God, I love the Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street Stones.
posted by readery at 11:26 AM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


When people ask "Stones" or "Beatles" I always say "Beatles" for their whole oeuvre, but if I had to pick just one album from either of them, it'd be Exile.
posted by ericost at 11:31 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I bought my first tattered copy of Exile on Main Street from at a garage sale when I was 14 in 1984. I stopped watching MTV the next day.

But that means you missed this video from 1986. Tsk, tsk.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:32 AM on August 14, 2009


God, I love the Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street Stones.

It's Mick Taylor, man. Mick Taylor is the essential Stones ingredient.
posted by The World Famous at 11:34 AM on August 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


There's some interesting stuff on these sessions and the Richards/Parsons dynamic in Gram's biography, 10,000 Roads.

In a nutshell, Keith could handle the massive substance abuse and still get it up as a musician. Gram couldn't. Parsons was hanging around waiting to be asked to do something, and he basically wasn't, to the point where he felt like a groupie it became embarrassing for everyone. There's that rumor that Gram wrote "Wild Horses," but there's no evidence that it's more than wishful thinking on the part of his hardcore fans.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:37 AM on August 14, 2009


Gram's biography, 10,000 Roads.

Seems like maybe you meant Twenty Thousand Roads. Looks interesting, will have to give it a read.
posted by ericost at 11:42 AM on August 14, 2009


(In addition to Mick Taylor, Sticky Fingers had Ry Cooder and Pete Townshend. So, you know, that didn't exactly hurt the album, either.)

If the question is Beatles or Rolling Stones, there is a necessary qualifying question: Is it Beatles with Clapton versus Stones with Taylor and Cooder? Because that, my friends, is a very close call.
posted by The World Famous at 11:43 AM on August 14, 2009


10,000 Roads is the abridged version.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:46 AM on August 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


Absolutely loved this album as a kid. I could spend hours with the cover alone, looking at all the pictures. It wasn't until I was 12 that I bothered with the LP inside, but when I did, wow. It was the first "so this is what good music is supposed to sound like" epiphany I received in life, and although not the last, was certainly the strongest.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:52 AM on August 14, 2009


Atom eyes.. I'm OK with my decision!
posted by punkfloyd at 11:56 AM on August 14, 2009


This is very cool...Exile is in my top of all time I think. Also, I would say that often when asked "Beatles or Stones?" I'm prone to reply "The Who".

Which might make me a dick, I'm not sure.
posted by Richat at 12:03 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


DU: "16 room waterfront mansion in the south of France? Sounds like those taxes weren't too woeful."

I remember hearing once that British Taxes were so high back then that people paid around 95% of their income in taxes. This is why, in the Beatles song Taxman, he says "there's one for you, 19 for me," because people only got to keep 1/20th of their income.
posted by shmegegge at 12:11 PM on August 14, 2009


shmegegge, that was probably the top marginal rate for top earners. Like the Stones.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 12:13 PM on August 14, 2009


Great post dersins.
Thanks.
posted by a3matrix at 12:14 PM on August 14, 2009


Wow. Those pictures. Keith Richards looks so lifelike.
posted by Floydd at 12:26 PM on August 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


They were so beautiful then. Photos of the late sixties/ early seventies Stones always floor me - they look like they're just radiating cool. Great find!
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:48 PM on August 14, 2009


> Photos of the late sixties/ early seventies Stones always floor me - they look like they're just radiating cool.

Indeed. Accordingly, it's hard to believe that only three years later they'd be reduced to this. I blame the '70s.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:54 PM on August 14, 2009


There's that rumor that Gram wrote "Wild Horses," but there's no evidence that it's more than wishful thinking on the part of his hardcore fans.

Maybe he didn't write it, but he sure owned it.

As for Exile, I was 12 or 13 when it came out, so I experienced it mainly via the two AM radio hits (Happy and Tumbling Dice), and the album cover, of course. So weird and troubling ... and cool.

Now, 37 years later, it's definitely got to stand as one of my most played albums of all time (particularly side 2), although I've always had trouble singling it out from pretty much everything the Stones released 1968-74 (Beggars Banquet through It's Only Rock'n'Roll) ... or, as a friend of mine likes to say, if the Stones had just canned it (crashed their airplane, committed suicide right on stage) after the release of the It's Only Rock'n'Roll single, well there really could be no argument that they aren't the all time greats.

For further EXILE era reference:

Ladies and Gentlemen - the Rolling Stones.
posted by philip-random at 12:57 PM on August 14, 2009


The Card Cheat: "it's hard to believe that only three years later they'd be reduced to this . I blame the '70s."

I still think that's the worst music video ever recorded. Everything in it is wrong. the suits, the performance, the set, the soap, the editing, the lighting... there isn't one thing in that video that's done right.
posted by shmegegge at 12:59 PM on August 14, 2009


I still think that's the worst music video ever recorded.

Then you obviously haven't seen this.

He's the burning bush, he's the burning fire. He's the bleeding volcano.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:26 PM on August 14, 2009


Teenage Confessions Part XXXVIII: In middle school, I greatly enjoyed Under Cover of the Night.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:36 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


It never ceases to amaze me just how much young Keith Richards looks like such a completely different person.
posted by cazoo at 2:52 PM on August 14, 2009


It never ceases to amaze me just how much young Keith Richards looks like such a completely different person.

Fun fact:

While the "Paul Is Dead" thing wasn't entirely accurate, it is true that Paul McCartney and Keith Richards secretly traded places and lives in 1972. They both had extensive cosmetic surgery to try to look like each other, but the shortcomings of that process become more and more apparent as the years go by.
posted by The World Famous at 2:54 PM on August 14, 2009


as a friend of mine likes to say, if the Stones had just canned it (crashed their airplane, committed suicide right on stage) after the release of the It's Only Rock'n'Roll single, well there really could be no argument that they aren't the all time greats.

But would it be enough for your teenage lust? Would it help to ease the pain?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:06 PM on August 14, 2009


Either the author of that Wikipedia article on Pallenberg copied the Exile article linked here or vice versa. See for example:

Wiki:
"Author A. E. Hotchner mentions Pallenberg's influence on the development and presentation of the Rolling Stones from the late 1960s and through the 1970s."

Exile article:
"Author A. E. Hotchner has this to say about Pallenberg’s influence on the development and presentation of The Rolling Stones from the late 1960s and through the 1970s– "

Wiki:
"She was obsessed with black magic and began to carry a string of garlic with her everywhere — even to bed—to ward off vampires. She also had a strange mysterious old shaker for holy water which she used for some of her rituals. Her ceremonies became increasingly secret, and she warned me never to interrupt her when she was working on a spell."[8]

Exile article:
"She was obsessed with black magic and began to carry a string of garlic with her everywhere — even to bed—to ward off vampires. She also had a strange mysterious old shaker for holy water which she used for some of her rituals. Her ceremonies became increasingly secret, and she warned me never to interrupt her when she was working on a spell.”

Wiki:
"She shared Richards' drug addiction[citation needed] and was charged first in the 1977 Toronto heroin arrest that almost destroyed the Rolling Stones.[citation needed] A warrant for her arrest was the reason police came to search Richards and Pallenberg's hotel rooms; she pled guilty to marijuana possession and was fined, several weeks after Richards' headline-grabbing arrest. [9]"

Exile article:
"Anita Pallenberg more than shared Richards’ drug addiction and was charged in the 1977 Toronto heroin arrest that almost destroyed The Rolling Stones. A warrant for her arrest was the reason that police came to search Richards and Pallenberg’s hotel rooms; she pled guilty to marijuana possession and was fined, several weeks after Richards’ headline-grabbing arrest."

Etc, etc. One or the other (and I'm assuming it's the Wiki, but I'm not familiar with their backend) needs to be re-written because that's pretty egregious.
posted by librarylis at 3:20 PM on August 14, 2009


> One or the other (and I'm assuming it's the Wiki, but I'm not familiar with their backend) needs to be re-written because that's pretty egregious.

I've recently gotten into a Wikipedia argument because of my practice of directly quoting sources (with quote marks and references, obviously) rather than rewriting them as my opponent wants me to do. This is exactly the kind of bullshit I want to avoid.

> God, I love the Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street Stones.

Me too, me too.
posted by languagehat at 4:13 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Somewhere around here I have the book Early Stones, photographs by Michael Cooper text by Terry Southern and Keef and what stands out in photograhs of the time is the etherial beauty of Anita Pallenberg. She is amazing.

The pictures of Keith, Anita and Gram in Joshua Tree... well, it's what we did, get all trippy and go somewhere cool. They had money and opportunity to live like rockstars EVERY DAY. FOR YEARS ON END. I think I wouldn't last a week.
posted by readery at 4:49 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I remember being a teenager visiting the grandparents and being asked to say grace. So in a solemn voice I prayed "may the good lord shine a light on you, make every song your favorite tune, may the good lord shine a light on you, like the evening sun". My grandmother said that was a beautiful prayer and asked where I heard it. I mumbled something about in a song. She thought I was such an angel (what a brat).

Love the pictures. Love the album.
posted by Edward L at 5:08 PM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Don't be alarmed, but I think some of the people in those photos may be on drugs.

16 room waterfront mansion in the south of France? Sounds like those taxes weren't too woeful.

To be fair, they did record some songs in the basement.

Exile is in my top of all time I think.

They are pretty great.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:52 PM on August 14, 2009


He's the burning bush, he's the burning fire. He's the bleeding volcano.

who cares? keith and ron are the guitar players and charlie's the drummer

---

Also, I would say that often when asked "Beatles or Stones?"

i say "motown"

---

They are pretty great.

not as great as this
posted by pyramid termite at 7:33 PM on August 14, 2009


Thanks for the post. I can never get enough Exile stories. Though I have to say, never having seen this particular batch of photos, the setting is much more de-luxe than I'd been led to believe (y' know, slaving away in some steaming, fetid basement, fending off the cockroaches and the mold, to craft their epic, swampy masterpiece).

(Total derail, but I really dug the Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth post on that blog. I had all those cars, Matchbox size. Brilliant designs.)
posted by Bron at 8:29 PM on August 14, 2009


The Card Cheat: Indeed. Accordingly, it's hard to believe that only three years later they'd be reduced to this. I blame the '70s.

At least they gave us this (audio only) before just mailing it in for 30+ years.
Billy Preston. BILLY FREAKIN' PRESTON.
posted by hangashore at 8:52 PM on August 14, 2009


With all the junk being consumed, it's amazing they recorded an album at all, let alone a great one.

And if I'm not mistaken, Charlie Watts didn't do all that much drumming on the record. I think the engineer did.
posted by bardic at 1:50 AM on August 15, 2009


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