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Monday, December 18, 2006

Underplayed Vinyl: The Rolling Stones

Back in the 1980s, I bought a Keith Richards bio. I'm surprised as anyone that he's reportedly still alive and turning 63 today.

Even at the time, I recognized Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass as a good choice as my first Rolling Stones album.
1. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
2. The Last Time
3. As Tears Go By
4. Time Is on My Side
5. It's All over Now
6. Tell Me
7. 19th Nervous Breakdown
8. Heart of Stone
9. Get off of My Cloud
10. Not Fade Away
11. Good Times Bad Times
12. Play With Fire
However, I always thought Tell Me was out of tune, and that some of the songs sounded muddy. Unlike with the Beatles, I didn't go out and buy every album. I've subsequently heard those early albums from which these songs were drawn, and they seem to hold a lot of filler, so I've never coveted them.

Conversely, I loved Through The Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) instantly, even though I had a larger percentage of albums from which the songs were culled. The U.S. version:
1. Paint It, Black
2. Ruby Tuesday
3. She's a Rainbow
4. Jumpin' Jack Flash
5. Mother's Little Helper
6. Let's Spend the Night Together
7. Honky Tonk Women
8. Dandelion
9. 2000 Light Years from Home
10. Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby Standing in the Shadow?
11. Street Fighting Man
For a few cuts, such as Jumpin' Jack Flash, Honky Tonk Women, and Dandelion, this was their initial appearance on album, making this purchase even more urgent at the time. The Stones' catalog in the US was even more confusing than the Beatles' in that certain songs appeared on more than one album from the same label (both Ruby Tuesday and Let's Spend The Night Together on Between the Buttons AND Flowers, both London releases), so that the greatest hits collection was a better choice. Besides which, it had that octagonal cover!

Of course, these collections have been superseded by such albums as Hot Rocks (reviewed by Gordon this fall), but I've never purchased it, instead owning these two pieces of vinyl.
I have a link to Dead or Alive, and I think it's a culturally interesting site. Still, sometimes they just miss people I think are obvious, such as Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of Atlantic Records, who signed a number of blues, jazz and rock artists (Ray Charles, who was languishing on a minor label; Led Zeppelin), including the Rolling Stones to their own label. He added the Y to CSN. He wrote a number of R&B hits, including Ray Charles' "Mess Around" under his pseudonym A. Nugetre. He helped found the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the main section is now named after him. He went into a coma after a fall when he was backstage with the Rolling Stones, who were playing for Bill Clinton's 60th birthday. Please go nag Dead or Alive to add Ahmet Ertegun to its list; I already have.

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