The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street

“Yup…Exile on Main St.  Own it”

This is such a no-brainer that it feels like I should leave the review at that.  But I can just can’t.

Released in 1972, the album was at first universally panned.  It took months before anyone fully realized it’s potential.  Why?  Because it’s one of those magical pieces of art that reveals itself very slowly with every listening.  What at first sounds distorted and unorganized, eventually come into full bloom.  So, much like Paul’s Boutique, you don’t “get it” in one listening.  It takes time.  Even now, the band members don’t regard it as a musical high point in their careers, mostly because of what was lived through to put it together.

Mostly compiled with material recorded between 1968 and 1972, the concept began forming soon after the Stone’s fired their business manager, Allen Klein ( who had gotten the rights to most of the band’s songs recorded before 1971 in the legal battle ) and started setting up their own business structure.  They had kept the songs hidden from Klein and wanted to use them as the basis for a new album.  After leaving England in 1971 to avoid taxes, they set up shop at Nellcote, an old Gestapo headquarters near Nice in France.

The Following years were marked by band members decent into drug use, alienation and band in-fighting.  Many of the tracks were recorded without members who either weren’t interested or failed to show up.  Better yet, there was a lot of differing methodologies in the post production of the album, with Jagger finishing it in Los Angeles.  But the end reslut still shows a group digging deep into their catalog of influences: blues, gospel, folk, and roots.

I am fond of the fact that this is one of the Band’s least commercial albums, only producing one single ‘Tumbling Dice,’ and you may go your whole life without hearing any of the tracks on the radio.

And yet, you almost want to.



7 Responses to “The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street”

  1. August 8, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Hey the Stone Are Great i wasn’t born then But my Mom an Dad love’s these guy’s. There great an i hope that the artist that i love Like Kayne,50cent, Nas,Jayz, An Sidewinder Become as great as them someday we’ll See.

  2. 2 Festus
    August 11, 2008 at 10:38 am

    J Barry, the jokers you named couldn’t carry Keef’s head scarf. But thanks for playing.

  3. 3 Andrew
    September 14, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Just had a listen to I Just Wanna See His Face by the Blind Boys Of Alabama … WOW! Seems Exile not only bloomed but is producing some fabulous fruits!

    Great read by the way.

  4. 4 TR
    October 6, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Wasn’t “Happy” the second single from Exile?

  5. October 6, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    I believe you are correct!

  6. October 6, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    But how often does that pop up on the radio?

  7. 7 Eric
    January 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    J Barry, those artists will never come close to The Stones. I don’t think any of today’s bands will compare, The Stones are in a league of their own.

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