The Rolling Stones became a mega corporation in 1971. Their last decent album was Some Girls in 1978 and their last great tracks were on Tattoo You in 1981, Start Me Up and Waiting For A Friend. Have they released anything worth a candle since (and I don’t mean live recordings)?
Fifty years ago today, The Rolling Stones released Aftermath in the UK. It is lauded as a landmark LP in the annals of Rock. Consisting of only Jagger-Richards compositions and a broader palette of instrumental flourishes, it is the point at which The Stones mature and become more than a singles band with attitude. It is regularly regarded as a masterpiece.
Naturally, when I first listened to it properly in the seventies, I was unimpressed. The main problem I had was, ironically, the songs. The first side starts very strongly but the quality falls off a cliff for the last couple and side two struggles to recover. The UK version is too long at 53 minutes, of which 11 is the long jam, Goin’ Home, a simple idea stretched way beyond its effectiveness. Then, there are the lyrics. Andrew Loog Oldham had carefully constructed The Stones bad boy image as the anti-Beatles, but that conceit spilt into nastiness on Aftermath, especially with regard to women. This was unremarked upon in 1966, but, by the early seventies, Stupid Girl swiftly followed by Under My Thumb just tasted foul.
Aftermath was recorded in two chunks, 6-8th December 1965 and 6-9th March » Continue Reading.
The heated discussion over on our latest ‘Beatles’ thread got me thinking about how generations tend to stay loyal to the bands they grew up with.
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I’ve been listening to early Stones and discovered that Aftermath is something of a disappointment. The UK version starts with Mother’s Little Helper, their worst single since It’s All Over Now. It’s a bit of a droning whine. The ‘nasty’ songs are simply unpleasant. There is a real menace to heart Of Stone, The Last Time, Satisfaction, Play With Fire and Get Off My Cloud, all released the year before, but Stupid Girl, Under My Thumb & Out Of Time are merely personal and abusive, lacking any kind of depth. Many of the tracks sound ill-thought out, as though they couldn’t be bothered finishing them. Going Home is remarkable only for it’s length, clocking in at over 11 minutes. Brian makes an effort to liven things up with a few fancy instruments but to little avail. In 1965, the rhythm section purred like a finely tuned Ferrari, but Aftermath,Wyman & Watts sound bored. At 50 minutes long, the whole album is a case of ‘never mind the quality, feel the width.’
The Americans had the right idea. They made it shorter, cutting out three tracks. Best of all they replaced Mother’s Little Helper with the far superior Paint It Black.