Tuesday, May 1, 2018

It's a Gas...

In an effort to mimic Sgt. Pepper, the Rolling Stones offered up Their Satanic Majesties Request (AM3), a fabulous album cover and a bookmark in time, but a disaster that could have marked the Stones' death throes. Relatively unlistenable, Their Satanic Majesties Request had decent tracks in "She's a Rainbow" and "200 Light Years From Home," though it is mostly doggerel that only enhanced the failure that was, and shouldn't have been, Between the Buttons. With 1966's Aftermath and hits like "Under My Thumb" and "Mother's Little Helper," it seemed the Stones had stepped out from under The Beatles' shadow. From a critical standpoint, Between the Buttons, the follow-up to Aftermath, was the album that exemplified the Stones' bluesy roots and elevated them beyond where The Beatles had already ventured. No one seemed to care; the mindset was still AM oriented (AOR and FM radio were yet to come) and the lack of radio play didn't fair well for the Stones. With Satanic Majesties, it seemed the end was near.

Essentially, Their Satanic Majesties Request wasn't even the Stones. On no occasion was each member of the band at the studio simultaneously. This was all Mick pretending to be Wilson or McCartney, and failing miserably. The other members would record their input to be left for Jagger, despite the credit to The Rolling Stones as producer. From the excessive jam, "Sing This All Together (See What Happens)," to the horrid, even frightening, Bill Lyman song, "In Another Land," the LP should have never been released. "The Lantern" may as well be The Strawberry Alarm Clock or the gang from Scooby Doo, though it lacks the charm of either. I own the LP based solely on "She's a Rainbow" and the fabulous lenticular (3D) album cover.

There are those who claim that it wasn't until the Beatles' demise that the Stones came into their own. This is not the case, as the Stones' best period comes from out of the ashes of all those who set Satanic Majesties alight.  Like Elvis that same year, a comeback was in order; a reaffirmation of past successes that began April 20, 1968 with the recording of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" (AM10 – single).

"Jumpin Jack Flash" was written in Keith Richards' country home, at which Jagger was awakened by the sound of a gardener in the yard. Richards stated, "Oh, that's Jack – that's Jumpin' Jack." One almost has to say to himself, "Thank God!" the song is so monumental in the Stones' canon. In Rolling Stone magazine Jagger stated that the song came "out of all the acid of Satanic Majesties. It's about having a hard time and getting out. Just a metaphor for getting out of all the acid things." "Jumpin’ Jack Flash" was something brand new based on something old. It was re-imagined Robert Johnson that didn't follow the rules, it broke them and made new ones. It was the Genesis of the Stones who would go on to offer Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile - all in a row.