“Exile on Main Street”: chaos and the creation of the Rolling Stones 50 years ago |  For many fans this is the band's best album.

“Exile on Main Street”: chaos and the creation of the Rolling Stones 50 years ago | For many fans this is the band’s best album.

Dating on the go, random, for king kones Argentinian exegetes and lovers of English economic liberalism. In 1971, the motherland of such -or one of them, bah- applied the “pay me the tribute or you leave” to one of the most important groups of rock and roll in the world, whose albums released to date had provided good dividends: the rolling stones. The royal treasury levies, levies and will levy high taxes, of course. And it has done it, is doing it, and will do it right, because it exports free trade to the king kones Argentines, but do not use it at home, beyond several sarasas.

In the end, as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and the recently added mickey taylor they didn’t want free traders to “take away” their money, they didn’t pay. Or they were late. Or they rebelled. Well, the result was as expected: they were cleaned out of the UK. Directly, between the police – who had them between eyebrows and eyebrows because of drugs – and the kings of economic freedom, they cleaned them up. They couldn’t even be saved by a prince of Rothschild blood (Rupert Lowenstein) who, in addition to being the band’s financier, was a personal friend of the singer.

The Rolling Stones then crossed the English Channel, dispersed to the four corners of Francewhere everyone rented or bought a house, and in the most uncontrolled one – Keith’s obviously – located at Villefranche sur merwas born a disk who, having regard to immediately prior, subsequent and contemporaneous circumstances, has become a one of the most important in its history: Exile on the main street.

A priori, it may be obvious to retain the reason for the name. But not that much, because in addition to feeling exiled in their own homeland -which was absolutely true-, it also had to do with the boat trips that the boys used to take along the coasts. French, on the way they called “Main Rue”. Moreover, perhaps among these waters glimpses, models, sketches of part of the eighteen songs that it carries have emerged. exile… (the first double album in the history of stonera) and which, to a large extent, managed to beat time. defeat them fifty years which mediate between today and those epic, harsh and hallucinatory times for the British band.

The studio where the songs were recorded was in the basement of the guitarist’s dilapidated new house, which had been used by the Gestapo during World War II. It had to be adapted, of course, and for that they arrived there a mobile workshop with all the gadgets of the time, which ended up intertwining, in a chaotic and confused whole, with the darkness, the damp walls, the heat, and the melted cables that Keith had also bought in the package.

Imagine the contextual context of exile… it involves nothing less than making the whole mess accessible to the senses. The musicians and their daughters take a walk, smoke, vacuum or throw dresses in the pool. Visits that fell into a party train; John Lennon or the poet William Borroughs between them. Engineers, dealers, groupies, technicians and assistants coexisting between about seven dozen people. musicians like Ian Stewart, Billy Preston, Gram Parsons or Jim Price called upon to collaborate in the midst of this delirium. Yes a kitchen that literally exploded, following a gas leak.

And Keith himself -who then wanted to be called Count Ziggenpuss-, trying to “contain” all this troop, always trapped by intermittent heroin crashes, substance that had made him sick at the time, and for which he had even been admitted to a rehabilitation clinic a year ago. It was Keith himself in this state! the one who imposed a rare “discipline” in the schedules, due to the inconvenience of Taylor, Wyman (who only played bass on eight songs) or Jagger himself, who at the time married the Nicaraguan model Bianca Pérez Morena de Macias. The couple were also awaiting the birth of their daughter Jade, which would take place while recording exile…: October 21, 1971. The singer had even gone to seek a little peace in Saint Tropez, a beautiful place on the Côte d’Azur to which Pink Floyd at the time dedicated a very good song. minglecontemporary record of Exile on the main street.

A lot of that mess, that confusion, pervades the album. For some, the framework between exploded and magical transforms it into the best in the history of the group. For others, in one of the worst. As always, it depends on where the focus is. To the panegyrists of exile… reason helps if the focus is on how Richards revolves, was, and will be in composition. Several of the tracks on the album, although it appears in tandem with Jagger in the credits, are by him. And some, of enormous invoice.

Among the very good songs of exile… say the beautiful “Sweet Virginia”one of those indomitable country ballads that caress the face after a beating; “The Fan Blues”, with an emotional epicenter in Taylor’s adrenaline-pumping riff; the classic, iconic and very groovy Tumbling says “; this other beautiful soul ballad with an extraordinary name, “Let Him Loose”whose piano belongs to Dr. John; “Shine a Light”; “Shake Your Hips”, built in the best blues-looper tradition, Slim Harpo-John Lee Hooker line; and the rock and roll assault consisting of the classic “All Down the Line”, “Rock Off” (despite the use and abuse of saxophones which tarnishes it at the end), “Happy” (whose voice and open tuning belong to Keith) and “Tear That Joint”vertiginous and frenetic rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly cut accelerated by the piano of Hopkins.

The blues and the old “Stop Breaking Down” -they say it’s by Robert Johnson, but it’s well known that the guy worked on songs for his friends- it’s another great song on the album, just like “Soul Survivors”, an open sound piece in G in which Richards also plays bass. The circle of the great songs of the album is closed by a rare bird in the literary corpus of the group: the contestation embodied in “Sweet Dark Angel”written by Jagger in honor of Black Panther Angela Davis: “I got a sweet black angel (…) on my wall / she ain’t a singer / she ain’t a star / But she talkin good / Would you take her instead?”

On the other side of the trench, that of the detractors -among whom Mick himself-, the motifs go through really weak themes, even badly recorded, or mixed, or post-produced. “I just want to see his face” It has to be one of the band’s worst songs, not just on this album.

whatever, exile… It is the best aesthetic and behavioral synthesis that the group has given in its historybecause Richards—sometimes leaning on Jagger, sometimes not—thrown it all on the world. Country, a genre that his friend Parsons had instilled in him in the late 60s. Blues. a part of soul Yes gospel. lucid and playful open tunings. An instrumental volume that would mark the future of the group. Enough rhythm & blues, folk ballad, boogie and clear, rock and roll in high doses, with lyrics that were about sex, drugs, gambling and girlsbut more in the playful or festive vein of the predecessor sticky fingersotherwise immersed in a taciturn and pessimistic halo, also led by Richards.

another edge of exile… which clearly took place between travel and travel, it was precisely the group’s return to the United States after many years without being able to access this other paradise of free trade. This is where the recording ended – from bad to average – which had begun in July 1971, the tenth in history, resuming the chronology of English records, this time published by the brand new own label: Rolling Stones Records. Paradoxically, it was another forced exile, since Keith and the others had to leave liberal France, because the police fell into the sordid mansion several times and in one of them things went more than badly.

Things that happened in Stone’s mad world fifty years ago. And that a unique album like Exile on the main street comes to remember, in another sphere of time.

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