The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet
The Rolling Stones, rock ‘n’ roll’s original bad boys, did not – as it always seemed to me through more youthful eyes looking back at music history – suddenly come by their late-60’s/early-70’s reputation. It was there from the start. I know, I know, there’s the axiom that from the day the Beatles donned those collarless suits that the Stones were the Dark Side to the Fabs’ loveable mop top Bright Side.
I always thought the clothing was really the only difference in terms of their attitudes until 1968. I was unaware until my late teens that they really did possess more of an edge, even if their music didn’t seem dark to me, at least no more so than the American blues songs which they revered actually were as opposed to the Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins influence on the Beatles. But a few earlier tracks notwithstanding, Beggars Banquet – released this day fifty years ago – is really when it started happening for the Rolling Stones to my ears and eyes.
My perception of the Stones in ’68 is that they couldn’t shed the paisley, dayglow ick of the previous year quickly enough. And it’s no coincidence that they made a no holds barred return to their blues roots to express it. They’d had a scary legal moment with Keith and Mick’s Redlands bust in ’67, and psychedelia never really fit their image (though I do like much of Their Satanic Majesties Request). In a way, with Beggars Banquet they had their own “get back” album before that other group, and it actually instigated a new Golden Age for the group instead of its demise.
Other than the early tracks found on Hot Rocks plus a small handful of others, I’ve mostly been a fan of Stones music from 1966-onward. Beggars Banquet was the first of a string of Rolling Stones albums which is unparalleled in rock music history in my mind. Generally speaking, this new phase would be known as the “Mick Taylor years,” which lasted until his departure in ’74. But Taylor didn’t appear until the following release, while this one is the last hurrah for Brian Jones. Brian disintegrated right before the band’s and their fans’ eyes, and his lonely sounding slide guitar on No Expectations is a fitting musical representation of his personal slide.
I, and I think many other fans of the Stones, probably take for granted Brian Jones’s influence on this band. A great reminder of his contributions, as well as more thoughts on Beggars Banquet, can be found on fellow blogger hanspostcard’s ongoing series currently focused on the Stones’ earlier tracks.
- Sympathy for the Devil
- No Expectations
- Dear Doctor
- Parachute Woman
- Jigsaw Puzzle
- Street Fighting Man
- Prodigal Son
- Stray Cat Blues
- Factory Girl
- Salt of the Earth