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Goats Head Soup is the 11th British and 13th American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released in August 1973. Like its predecessor, Exile on Main St., the band composed and recorded much of it outside of the United Kingdom due to their status as tax exiles. Goats Head Soup was recorded in Jamaica, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and mixed in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The album contained 10 tracks, all written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, including the lead single "Angie", which went to No. 1 as a single in the United States and top 5 in the UK.

Goats Head Soup
The Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup.jpg
Studio album by
Released31 August 1973
Recorded25 November – 21 December 1972 and 23 May – 20 June 1973, Dynamic Sound Studio, Kingston, Jamaica, 16 to 18 January 1973, SIR Studios, Los Angeles, U.S.A., 23 May – 20 June 1973, Island Recording Studios, London, England.
GenreRock 'n' roll, blues rock, funk rock
LabelRolling Stones Records
ProducerJimmy Miller
The Rolling Stones chronology
Exile on Main St.
Goats Head Soup
It's Only Rock 'n Roll
Singles from Goats Head Soup
  1. "Angie"/"Silver Train"
    Released: 20 August 1973
  2. "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)"/"Dancing with Mr. D"
    Released: December 1973

The album was the last to be produced by Jimmy Miller, who was a key architect of the Rolling Stones sound during their most acclaimed period which began with 1968's Beggar's Banquet. Bass guitarist Bill Wyman only appears on four of the ten tracks of the album, but otherwise the rest of the Rolling Stones, including Mick Jagger (lead vocals, other instruments), Keith Richards (various guitars and backing vocals), Mick Taylor (various guitars and backing vocals), and Charlie Watts (drums), played on every track. In addition to the main band, the standard cadre of Rolling Stones collaborators also played extensively on the album, including saxophonist Bobby Keys, organist Billy Preston, pianists Nicky Hopkins and Ian Stewart, as well as several local Jamaican musicians.

Goats Head Soup received positive reviews and achieved number one chart positions in the UK, US, and several other world markets. The album was remastered and released in 1994 and again in 2009 by Virgin Records and Universal Music respectively.


In November 1972 the band relocated to Kingston, Jamaica's Dynamic Sound Studios. Keith Richards said in year 2002: "Jamaica was one of the few places that would let us all in! By that time about the only country that I was allowed to exist in was Switzerland, which was damn boring for me, at least for the first year, because I didn't like to ski... Nine countries kicked me out, thank you very much, so it was a matter of how to keep this thing together..."[1]

Of the recording process, Marshall Chess, the president of Rolling Stones Records at the time, said in 2002, "We used to book studios for a month, 24 hours a day, so that the band could keep the same set-up and develop their songs in their free-form way, starting with a few lyrics and rhythms, jamming and rehearsing while we fixed the sound. It amazed me, as an old-time record guy, that the Stones might not have played together for six or eight months, but within an hour of jamming, the synergy that is their strength would come into play and they would lock it together as one..."[2]

Jagger said of their approach to recording at the time, "Songwriting and playing is a mood. Like the last album we did (Exile on Main St.) was basically recorded in short concentrated periods. Two weeks here, two weeks there – then another two weeks. And, similarly, all the writing was concentrated so that you get the feel of one particular period of time. Three months later it's all very different and we won't be writing the same kind of material as Goats Head Soup."[3]

On the sessions and influence of the island, Richards said, "The album itself didn't take that long, but we recorded an awful lot of tracks. There were not only Jamaicans involved, but also percussion players who came from places like Guyana, a travelling pool of guys who worked in the studios. It was interesting to be playing in this totally different atmosphere. Mikey Chung, the engineer at Dynamic, for example, was a Chinese man — you realise how much Jamaica is a multi-ethnic environment."[4]

The first track recorded at Dynamic was "Winter", which Mick Taylor said started with "just Mick (Jagger) strumming on a guitar in the studio, and everything falling together from there."[3]

The album's lead single, called "Angie", was an unpopular choice as lead single with Atlantic Records which, according to Chess, "wanted another 'Brown Sugar' rather than a ballad."[5] Although the song was rumoured to be about David Bowie's first wife Angela,[6][7][8][9] both Jagger and Richards have consistently denied this.[9] In 1993, Richards, in the liner notes to the compilation album Jump Back: The Best of The Rolling Stones, said that the title was inspired by his baby daughter, Dandelion Angela.[10] However, in his 2010 memoir Life, Richards denied this, saying that he had chosen the name for the song before he knew the sex of his expected baby: "I just went, 'Angie, Angie.' It was not about any particular person; it was a name, like 'ohhh, Diana.' I didn't know Angela was going to be called Angela when I wrote 'Angie'. In those days you didn't know what sex the thing was going to be until it popped out. In fact, Anita named her Dandelion. She was only given the added name Angela because she was born in a Catholic hospital where they insisted that a 'proper' name be added."[11] According to NME, the lyrics written by Jagger were inspired by Jagger's breakup with Marianne Faithfull.[7]

This was the last Rolling Stones album produced by Jimmy Miller, who'd worked with the band since 1968's Beggars Banquet sessions. Unfortunately, Miller had developed a debilitating drug habit during the course of his years spent with the Stones.

Aside from the official band members, other musicians appearing on Goats Head Soup include keyboard players Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, and Ian Stewart.

Recording was completed in January 1973 in Los Angeles and May 1973 at London's Island Recording Studios. The song "Silver Train" was a leftover from 1970s recordings at Olympic Sound. Goats Head Soup was also the band's first album without any cover songs since Their Satanic Majesties Request in 1967.

Release and aftermathEdit

At the time of release, Jagger said, “I really feel close to this album, and I really put all I had into it... I guess it comes across that I’m more into songs. It wasn’t as vague as the last album which kind of went on so long that I didn’t like some of the things. There’s more thought to this one. It was recorded all over the place over about two or three months. The tracks are much more varied than the last one. I didn’t want it to be just a bunch of rock songs.”[citation needed]

Preceded by “Angie” as the lead single, which sailed to number one in the United States and became a worldwide hit, Goats Head Soup was released in late August 1973 and also shot to the top of charts worldwide. The Rolling Stones' autumn 1973 European Tour followed soon after, in which four slots in the set list were given to the new material: “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”, “Star Star”, “Dancing with Mr D”, and “Angie” – although apart from a few earlier performances of “Silver Train” and “100 Years Ago” nothing else from Goats Head Soup has ever been played live by the Stones until Silver Train and Dancing with Mr D were dusted off for the 2014 and 2017 tours.[12] (The popular bootleg recording Brussels Affair would result from this tour.)

Album artEdit

The album cover was designed by Ray Lawrence and photographed by David Bailey, a friend of Jagger's who had worked with The Rolling Stones since 1964. The portrait of Jagger on the front cover was approximately life size in the original 12-inch LP format. Jagger was reluctant to be shot enveloped by a pink chiffon veil, which Bailey said was meant to look like "Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen". The album's gatefold has all the band members wrapped around a similar fabric.[13][14]

Critical reactionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [15]
Christgau's Record GuideB[16]
The Great Rock Discography6/10[17]
Q     [19]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [20]
Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [17]

Critical reaction to the album was varied at the time. Bud Scoppa called the album "one of the year's richest musical experiences"[3][22] in Rolling Stone, while Lester Bangs derided the effort in Creem, saying, "There is a sadness about the Stones now, because they amount to such an enormous 'So what?' The sadness comes when you measure not just one album, but the whole sense they're putting across now against what they once meant..."[3]

Goats Head Soup is now generally considered to be the Stones' first step away from their "golden age" of 1968–1972, with Stephen Thomas Erlewine saying, "Sliding out of perhaps the greatest winning streak in rock history, the Stones slipped into decadence and rock star excess with Goats Head Soup... This is where the Stones' image began to eclipse their accomplishments, as Mick ascended to jet-setting celebrity and Keith slowly sunk deeper into addiction, and it's possible hearing them moving in both directions on Goats Head Soup, at times in the same song."[23] '

The sessions for Goats Head Soup were abundant with outtakes. Two of these — "Tops" and "Waiting on a Friend" — would surface on Tattoo You in 1981, and feature Mick Taylor on guitar; "Through the Lonely Nights" became the B-side to the "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)" single and was released on CD for the first time on the 2005 compilation Rarities 1971–2003. It is a soft rock ballad that features Richards on wah wah/leslie speaker filtered guitar with Mick Taylor playing a brief solo. In addition, Short and Curlies was started at the Goats Head Soup sessions and ended up appearing on the It's Only Rock 'n' Roll LP.

In 1994 Goats Head Soup was remastered and reissued by Virgin Records, and again in 2009 by Universal Music. The 1994 remaster was initially released in a Collector's Edition CD, which replicated in miniature many elements of the original gatefold album packaging. The first pressing of the 2009 remaster contains a censored version of "Star Star" that was on the original US vinyl release, but not on the 1994 Virgin CD; later pressings contain the uncensored version.

The album was reissued once more in 2011 by Universal Music Enterprises in a Japanese-only SHM-SACD version, which includes the uncensored version of "Star Star" with a previously unreleased fadeout.

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Side one
1."Dancing with Mr. D"4:53
2."100 Years Ago"3:59
3."Coming Down Again"5:54
4."Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)"3:26
Side two
1."Silver Train"4:27
2."Hide Your Love"4:12
4."Can You Hear the Music"5:31
5."Star Star"4:25


The Rolling Stones

Additional personnel




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External linksEdit