Great Moments in Vinyl plays tribute to The Rolling Stones
December 2, 2016 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
The success of Sticky Fingers made The Stones filthy rich. But when their U. K. taxes came due, they had nothing left to pay them with. So rather than be faced with legal action, the band members relocated to France and started recording their next album in the basement of Keith Richards’ rented villa.
It was a turbulent time. Mick Jagger was itching to explore new directions musically. Keith Richards, on the other hand, was giving himself over to his heroin addiction. And with no clear guiding hand, the other band members participated in the sessions only haphazardly. Still, Richards did manage to get a couple dozen basic tracks recorded which prompted Jagger to take the tapes to L. A. and set about polishing the performances. As he later explained, “I had to finish the whole record myself, because otherwise there were just these drunks and junkies.” The result was Exile on Main St., a double record set that in spite of its ragged beginnings has been heralded repeatedly as one of the best albums of all time.
Maybe Keith Richards’ assessment of the band at that period explains the album’s brilliance. “The point is that the Stones had reached a point where we no longer had to do what we were told to do.”