Exile on Main Street

Is Exile on Main Street the greatest record ever? It just might be. I'm not sure I can think of a record in my collection that so masterfully mixes rock, soul, blues and just about every passion and emotion that encompasses what makes music drive us. When considering the records that traditionally fall into the "greatest ever" camp, there's The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, The Beatles' Revolver, The Clash's London Calling, Springsteen's Born To Run, Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited and a bunch of others (Marquee Moon).

If I attempt to remain as objective as possible, which clearly is impossible for me to do, for straight-ahead rock. and. roll. I would likely go with Exile. Blasting out of the gates with "Rocks Off," the full, in-your-face sound is simply astounding. I can't count the number of times I've been in the car screaming, "The sunshine bores the daylights outta me. Chasing shadows, moonlight mystery" as the horns, piano, guitar, drums and bass explode from behind. And then comes "Rip This Joint." Man. The surge of emotion can be felt from head-to-toe. "Tumbling Dice," "Sweet Virginia," "Loving Cup," "Happy," "Let It Loose," "All Down the Line" and the rest.

Next week Exile on Main Street will be re-issued in about 29 different versions (remastered / remastered box set / vinyl / with posters / with a lips t-shirt / covered in a bandana), and although I won't be picking one up (I have three vinyl copies and the CD), I will be listening all week. Unbelievably, this record, which sounds as fresh as ever, was released when I was -1.5 years old. That is simply incomprehensible. Ahead of their time? Ahead of any time.


Your Noisy Neighbor said...

I sincerely agree. If I could be anywhere for a day it would be in the pics on the inside cover of that album, sharing a bottle of Jim Beam with Mick and Keith and listening in on those sessions. That to me is the quintessential Stones album, at their absolute coolest. It is front to back a rock 'n roll blues 'n country party.

Anonymous said...

keith's vocals on this loving cup video are incredible. mick too

Scott said...

Always wanted to get a print of that pic w mick n Keith singing @ the mic w the Jim beam. I think that's a Jim marshall photo--recently passed away rock photog