This week’s (ok, it’s actually from a couple of weeks ago – I’m catching up) is the Rolling Stones’ Let it Bleed.
Some Historical Context
My earliest memories of popular music are from the late 1960s. It was a time when the Beatles dominated. But the Stones were the only band who came close to equalling them. That, at least, was the popular belief of that time. Looking back on it now I’m pretty sure that the Beatles’ influence has been overstated. I’m not one of those people who argue that the Stones were the better band. But there’s no question that their career has lasted longer.
I don’t remember the Stones in the 60s. I do remember them in the 70s. I remember seeing the “Only Rock ‘N’ Roll” video on top of the pops. I had a copy of Rolled Gold and that pretty much saw to all of my Stones needs.
In the 80s I had a flatmate who was a huge Stones fan, so I got to know their work far better than I had before. And Let it Bleed was one of his favourites. I got to know it well. But it’s twenty-five years since I heard it. I’m looking forward to hearing it again.
The rest of this blog post will be written as I listen to the album.
1. Gimme Shelter
I’ve loved this song since I first heard it. I still love it. I have nothing to add.
2. Love in Vain
This is pretty standard slow blues. It’s a good song and performed well. But anything would struggle to be noticed when following “Gimme Shelter”.
3. County Honk
This was a songs that really surprised me when my flatmate introduced me to the album. It’s a country version of “Honky Tonk Women”. I loved the original (a single that wasn’t on any album) but this version is also really good.
4. Live with Me
Until now, the album hasn’t really sounded like the Stones. The first three tracks have seen them experimenting with different styles. This sounds more like a typical Stones song. And, I’m afraid, it rather suffers for it. One of my least favourite tracks on the album.
5. Let It Bleed
Another one that I remember well from the 80s. I particularly remember that it was really easy to play on the guitar. My flatmate and I used to play it together. The recordings have, thankfully, gone missing. I’d forgotten that some of the lyrics were rather risqué.
6. Midnight Rambler
One the original vinyl, this song opened side two. And it’s a cracking start. It has to be one of the Stones’ best songs.
7. You Got the Silver
Another one that, to be frank, is just a bit of filler. Don’t remember having heard it before.
8. Monkey Man
Not sure about this one either, to be honest. It’s a bit derivative.
9. You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Another absolute classic. One of my all-time favourite songs.
Bit of a mixed bag, to be honest. In “Gimme Shelter”, “Midnight Gambler” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” this album has three of the Stones’ finest songs. But there are also two or three songs that are purely filler.