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The Rolling STones Try to Out Pepper Sgt. Pepper with Their Satanic Majesties Request. 50th Anniversary Release Review

3 August 2017 Recommends


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Rolling Stones: Their Satanic Majesties Request

50th Anniversary Edition

While many people seem to remember 1967 as the year The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band there was so much more happening. We enjoyed the “Summer of Love” America saw the first real rock festival with “Monterey Pop” and the Rolling Stones almost became the Butterfly broken on the wheel

The Stones were the “Number 2” band in the world at the time although the reality that they were not second best to anyone; just different. The year started badly for the Stones when they had the audacity not to want to be seen on the revolving stage at the end of “Sunday Night At The London Palladium” now some might not see that as being that important but for the Stones it was just another nasty turn of events from the band boys of what was still considered pop music. After all those nice boys The Beatles would never have been so rude, would they?

No matter because musically The Rolling Stones were a different kettle of fish to the Beatles although behind the scenes and nothing to do with music, the establishment were plotting to take these uncouth ruffians down.

Throw all this into the mix and then try and record an album while the entire world seems to be changing daily.  Their Satanic Majesties Request was originally due to be released earlier than it was in December 1967. In fact, it was almost too late to join the party. Given that the main problem The Stones had was the drugs bust of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger and their manager Andrew Loog Oldham feeling his influence was no longer required finally quit managing the band and producing the band leaving them to produce themselves…. Something Mick Jagger said many years later was not the best thing that happened to them. With all the comings and goings and court appearances and subsequent brief jailing of Jagger and Richards it is amazing the band released anything in 1967. Brian Jones was also up to his neck in problems in 1967 as he was also busted and he lost his then girlfriend Anita Pallenberg to his band mate Keith Richards. Odd then at least for some that Their Satanic Majesties Request contained some of Brian Jones most interesting and experimental contributions to the band with an array of different instruments and use of the Theremin and Mellotron.
Originally recorded under the title Cosmic Christmas the title was changed to Their Satanic Majesties Request which was a play on the text found in the British Passport “Her Britannic Majesty requests and requires …” The album also had a lenticular cover which depending on the angle on which you looked at it meant that the faces of The Stones changed. The cover was put together by photographer Michael Cooper who was a friend of the Stones and also had been part of the design team for The Beatles Sgt. Pepper sleeve. It was seen at the time as being very like Pepper but not as good and the faces on the members of the Stones kind of told you what they felt about it. In short both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have been dismissive of the album and yet there are some great songs on Their Satanic Majesties Request including Citadel, 2000 Light Years From Home and 2000 Man. Bill Wyman also gets his first solo written song on the album with Another Land. The reason was he was the only member to turn up on that day of recording. He was helped by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane from the Small Faces and the other members of the Stones.
Generally speaking Their Satanic Majesties Request is an album very of its time and following the release the Stones reverted back to their more rhythm and blues style. Despite what Mick and Keith think though the album does stand up when you consider it in context to the times and the situation the band found themselves in. My one gripe and it is a small one is that We Love You has not been included in this release. It was recorded during the sessions for Their Satanic Majesties Request and released as a single some three months before the album. It also features John Lennon and Paul McCartney on backing vocals. They do not appear on the album apart from their images hidden on the cover. We Love You really should be on here as it certainly deserves its place among the other songs and brings the quota of great songs up a percentage.

This reissue however will be a welcome one to those who are fans of psychedelia and of course the Stones even if it is not numbered among the bands greatest albums. The album comes as a double vinyl release and a double SACD Hybrid CD release containing both the mono and stereo mixes on each disc. Bob Ludwig has overseen the mastering of this reissue and it does sound incredible. Which version do I prefer? Well to be perfectly honest for me, it is the Mono version but at some point, I am sure I am going to go onto greater depth when comparing the two but for me right now the Mono version sounds fuller and more pleasing. The choice is yours however and I am sure you will have fun making the comparison.

So, Their Satanic Majesties Request… Is it the turkey many said it was at the time? No, I rather like it. I would have preferred more extras and outtakes but the album whilst not the Stones finest hour is certainly not that bad. They would of course do better with their next album, Beggar’s Banquet in 1968.

 

Their Satanic Majesties Request 50th Anniversary track list:

Vinyl

Side A (stereo)

  • Sing This All Together
  • Citadel
  • In Another Land
  • 2000 Man
  • Sing This All Together (See What Happens)

Side B (stereo)

  • She’s a Rainbow
  • The Lantern
  • Gomper
  • 2000 Light Years from Home
  • On with the Show

Side C (mono)

  • Sing This All Together
  • Citadel
  • In Another Land
  • 2000 Man
  • Sing This All Together (See What Happens)

Side D (mono)

  • She’s a Rainbow
  • The Lantern
  • Gomper
  • 2000 Light Years from Home
  • On with the Show

Hybrid SACD

Disc 1 (stereo)

  • Sing This All Together
  • Citadel
  • In Another Land
  • 2000 Man
  • Sing This All Together (See What Happens)
  • She’s a Rainbow
  • The Lantern
  • Gomper
  • 2000 Light Years from Home
  • On with the Show

Disc 2 (mono)

  • Sing This All Together
  • Citadel
  • In Another Land
  • 2000 Man
  • Sing This All Together (See What Happens)
  • She’s a Rainbow
  • The Lantern
  • Gomper
  • 2000 Light Years from Home
  • On with the Show


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