Exile on Main St. by Bill JanovitzThirty-Three and a Third is a series of short books about critically acclaimed and much-loved albums of the past 40 years. Over 50,000 copies have been sold.
Tracing the creation of Exile on Main St. from the original songwriting done while touring America through the final editing in Los Angeles, Bill Janovitz explains how an album recorded by a British band in a villa on the French Riviera is pure American rock and roll. Looking at each song individually, Janovitz unveils the innovative recording techniques, personal struggles, and rock and roll myth-making that culminated in this pivotal album.
Exile is exactly what rock and roll should sound like: a bunch of musicians playing a bunch of great songs in a room together, playing off of each other, musical communion, sounds bleeding into each other, snare drum rattling away even while not being hit, amps humming, bottles falling, feet shuffling, ghostly voices mumbling on and off-mike, whoops of excitement, shouts of encouragement, performances without a net, masks off, urgency. It is the kind of record that goes beyond the songs themselves to create a monolithic sense of atmosphere. It conveys a sense of time and place and spirit, yet it is timeless. Its influence is still heard today. Keith Richards has said, tongue in cheek, the record was the first grunge record.
The story behind the Rolling Stones' Exile On Main Street album artwork
The following correction was printed in the Observer's For the record column, Sunday 9 May In this article we said Robert Greenfield in his book subtitled "A season in hell with the Rolling Stones" had aired a rumour "which he did not confirm or refute" that Anita Pallenberg had encouraged the teenage daughter of an employee to inject heroin for the first time. We should make it clear that the book discounts the rumour, stating that the employee, who was motivated by a desire to blackmail Pallenberg, did not even have a daughter. We reported that another rumour in the book "has Jagger bedding Pallenberg while Richards has nodded out on heroin". The book substantiates the rumour of the affair, but does not connect it to Richards's heroin addiction.
Mick Jagger lasciviously intones an "oh yeah," pitched perfectly between earnestness and irony. This sequence lasts all of five seconds, but you'd be hard-pressed to find five seconds that better articulate the brilliance of the Rolling Stones, much in the way that Exile , the band's shambling sprawl of a double-album that has recently enjoyed a re-issue , perfectly captures a too-brief period during which Rolling Stones were finally and indisputably the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World. Then it all ended nearly as soon as it began. Exile on Main Street may well be, as many claim, the finest album of the Stones's career, but it's also the sound of a slow implosion, of things falling apart, both the end of the Rolling Stones as the world had come to know them and the end of an era of rock and roll music as well. After Exile the band's dual appetite for drugs and infighting grew increasingly consumptive: 's Goat's Head Soup had moments of brilliance but also felt disjointed and fragmentary, while 's It's Only Rock 'n' Roll seemed half-baked and half-hearted. By the time the forgettable Black and Blue was released in the Stones were sounding more and more like hucksters, lazily plumbing fans' memories of former glories.
Greeted with decidedly mixed reviews upon its original release, Exile on Main St. Part of the reason why the record was initially greeted with hesitant reviews is that it takes a while to assimilate. Taking the bleakness that underpinned Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers to an extreme, Exile is a weary record, and not just lyrically.
lakes in denali national park
Learn how this iconic 1972 Stones cover set the tone of punk
Exile on Main St. It was first released as a double album on 12 May by Rolling Stones Records and was the band's tenth studio album released in the United Kingdom. Many tracks were recorded in and at Olympic Studios and Jagger's Stargroves country house in England during sessions for Sticky Fingers. Guitarist Keith Richards had rented the villa to live in while the band lived abroad as tax exiles. The Stones were already practiced with recording outside of a major studio, as much of the principle recording of their prior album, Sticky Fingers , had been done at Stargroves , lead singer Mick Jagger 's country home in Hampshire , using a mobile recording studio.
And, as a result, they alone have become the last of the great hopes. Backed by an impending tour and a monumental picture-book, its mere presence in record stores makes a statement. Pepper period or manipulating them Dylan, continually. The Stones have prospered by making the classic assertion whenever it was demanded of them. And with Exile on Main Street, the Stones have chosen to sustain for the moment, stabilizing their pasts and presenting few directions for their future. The fact that they do it so well is testament to one of the finest bands in the world.