Monday, November 13, 2006

149. Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed (1969)

Track Listing

1. Gimme Shelter
2. Love In Vain
3. Country Honk
4. Live With Me
5. Let It Bleed
6. Midnight Rambler
7. You Got The Silver
8. Monkey Man
9. You Can’t Always Get What You Want


Well the Stones are definitely at the height of their career here. After the amazing Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed is almost as good. In particular Let It Bleed is bookended by two of the best Rolling Stones tracks ever put to record. Really.

The middle of the album is good, solid, Rolling Stones, bluesy music, with particular highlights in Monkey Man and Let It Bleed. But nothing beats both the sound and the innovation of the first and last track. Gimme Shelter is a quasi-apocaliptic rock-fest contagious in it's fierceness, and You Can't Always Get What You Want is sublime, starting with something you'd never expect from a Stones album, a heavenly choir, and gradually developing to Rock Anthem greatness. The Beatles claimed that the Stones stole You Can't Always Get What You Want from Hey Jude. The difference is Hey Jude is crap.

I've never been a big Stones fan, and the Beatles were definitely superior as a band, this is not to say that the Stones did not produce some amazing output, and seeing as the Beatles were dying they definitely were posed to inherit the mantle in the pop world. Stream it from Napster or buy it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. You Can't Always Get What You Want
2. Gimme Shelter
3. Monkey Man
4. Let It Bleed

Final Grade



Gimme Shelter, album version is better because of backup singers, but hey:

From Wikipedia:

Although they had begun the recording of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" in November 1968, before Beggars Banquet had been released, recording for Let It Bleed began in earnest in February 1969 and would continue sporadically until November. Brian Jones performs on two tracks, "Midnight Rambler" (although his part is inaudible) and "You Got The Silver;" his replacement Mick Taylor also plays on two tracks, "Country Honk" and "Live With Me." Keith Richards, who had already shared vocal duties with Mick Jagger on a handful of songs ("Connection", "Something Happened To Me Yesterday" and "Salt Of The Earth"), sang his first solo lead vocal on a Rolling Stones recording with "You Got the Silver."

During 1968, Richards had been hanging out in London with Gram Parsons, who had left The Byrds on the eve of their departure for a tour in the Republic of South Africa. By all accounts, Parsons had significant impact on Richards' taste in country music, and perhaps as a result of his influence, the band recorded a true honky-tonk song, "Country Honk," a more uptempo and rock and roll version of which would appear as their next single, "Honky Tonk Women." The LP track featured fiddle player Byron Berline, who worked with Parsons frequently throughout the latter's career. Parsons frequently took credit for the arrangement of "Country Honk", although both Jagger and Richards have stated that it was actually the original arrangement of the song as written and conceived while vacationing in Brazil in late 1968. In any event, Parsons had recently introduced the group to his cache of traditional country records and was at least indirectly responsible for this sea change. The singer's own cover, released on the 1976 rarities compilation Sleepless Nights features a slightly different set of lyrics and yet another arrangement that combines elements of both Stones versions.

Recorded under trying circumstance owing to the band having reached the final impasse with Jones, the album has been called a great summing up of the dark underbelly of the 1960s, its seamy side touched upon very rarely in the pop music of the decade. In addition to being one of their all-time classics, Bleed is the second of the Stones' run of four studio LPs that are generally regarded as among their greatest achievements artistically, equalled only by the best of their great 45s from that decade. The other three albums are Beggars Banquet (1968), Sticky Fingers (1971), and Exile on Main Street (1972).

Released in December, Let It Bleed reached #1 in the UK (temporarily knocking The Beatles' Abbey Road out of the top slot) and #3 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart in the US, where it eventually went double platinum. The album was also critically well-received.

In 1998 Q magazine readers voted Let It Bleed the 69th greatest album of all time, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 28 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2002, it was listed as number 32 on the List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2003, the TV network VH1 placed Let It Bleed at number 24 on their best album survey.

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