Some Girls is the 14th British and 16th American studio album by the Rolling Stones, released in 1978 on Rolling Stones Records. It was the first album to feature guitarist Ronnie Wood as a full-time member; joining founder members Mick Jagger (vocals), Keith Richards (guitar), Bill Wyman (bass) and Charlie Watts (drums). Wood had contributed to some tracks on the Rolling Stones prior two albums, 1974's It's Only Rock 'n Roll and 1976's Black and Blue, and joined the band full time in 1976. With a stable line-up in place for the first time in several years, the album marked a return to basics for the Rolling Stones, unlike many of the prior albums there were few guest musicians. One notable contribution, however, does come from blues harmonica player Sugar Blue on "Miss You".
|Studio album by|
|Released||9 June 1978|
|Recorded||10 October – 21 December 1977, 5 January – 2 March 1978|
|Studio||Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris|
|Producer||The Glimmer Twins|
|the Rolling Stones chronology|
|Singles from Some Girls|
Rebounding from the relative critical disappointment of their prior album, Some Girls reached number one on the Billboard 200 album chart, and became the band's top selling album in the United States, certified by the RIAA as having six million copies sold as of 2000. It was a major critical success, becoming the only Rolling Stones album to be nominated for a Grammy in the Album of the Year category. Many reviewers called it a classic return to form and their best album since 1972's Exile on Main St.
Several hit singles emerged from the album which would become rock radio staples for decades, including "Beast of Burden" (US number 8, Australia number 12, top ten in several European markets), "Shattered" (US number 31), "Respectable" (UK number 23), highlighted by "Miss You", which reached number one in the US and Canada, number three in the UK, and was a top ten hit in dozens of worldwide markets.
By 1976, the Rolling Stones' popularity was in decline as the charts were dominated by disco music and newer bands such as Aerosmith and Kiss. In the UK, the punk rock movement was a rising force and made most artists connected with the 1960s era seem obsolete. The group had also failed to produce a critically acclaimed album since 1972's Exile On Main St.
Mick Jagger is generally regarded as the principal creative force behind Some Girls. Keith Richards was in legal trouble for much of 1977, which resulted in the band being inactive on the touring circuit during that year, except for two shows in Canada during the spring for the live album Love You Live. Jagger wrote the album's signature song "Miss You", as well as "Respectable", "Lies", and "When the Whip Comes Down". In addition to punk, Jagger claims to have been influenced by dance music, most notably disco, during the recording of Some Girls, and cites New York City as a major inspiration for the album, an explanation for his lyrical preoccupation with the city throughout.
The inspiration for the record was really based in New York and the ways of the town. I think that gave it an extra spur and hardness. And then, of course, there was the punk thing that had started in 1976. Punk and disco were going on at the same time, so it was quite an interesting period. New York and London, too. Paris—there was punk there. Lots of dance music. Paris and New York had all this Latin dance music, which was really quite wonderful. Much more interesting than the stuff that came afterward.
At least as important for the band's re-invigoration was the addition of Ronnie Wood to the line-up, as Some Girls was the first album recorded with him as a full member. His guitar playing style meshed with that of Keith Richards, and slide guitar playing would become one of the band's hallmarks. His unconventional uses of the instrument featured prominently on Some Girls and he contributed to the writing process. In addition, Jagger, who had learned to play guitar over the previous decade, contributed a third guitar part to many songs. This gave songs like "Respectable" a three-guitar line-up.
For the first time since 1968's Beggars Banquet, the core band — now Jagger, Richards, Wood, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman — would be the main musicians on a Rolling Stones album, with few extra contributors. Ian McLagan, Wood's bandmate from the Faces, played keyboards, and harmonica player Sugar Blue contributed to several songs. In addition to saxophonist Mel Collins and Simon Kirke, who played percussion. Jagger's guitar contributions caused the band's road manager, Ian Stewart, to be absent from many of the sessions as he felt piano would be superfluous, making this a rare Rolling Stones album on which he did not appear.
A serious concern was Keith Richards's highly publicised heroin possession bust in Toronto, Ontario in early 1977. This resulted in the possibility that he might be sent to jail for years. However, due to the judgement that Richards was separate from the usual theft and anti-social culture that was associated with heroin use, he was sentenced lightly. He was ordered to perform a charity show for The Canadian National Institute for the Blind which took place in Oshawa, Ontario in 1979 where the Rolling Stones performed two shows and also featured The New Barbarians featuring both Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards on bass.
The sessions for Some Girls began in October 1977, breaking before Christmas and starting up again after New Year's before finishing in March 1978. Under their new British recording contract with EMI (remaining with Warner Music Group in North America only), they were able to record at EMI's Pathé Marconi Studios in Paris, a venue at which they would record frequently for the next several years. The Rolling Stones ended up recording about 50 new songs, several of which would turn up in altered forms on Emotional Rescue (1980) and Tattoo You (1981). Chris Kimsey was the engineer for the sessions. His approach to recording breathed life into the somewhat dense sounding recordings like Goats Head Soup (1973) and It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (1974) albums. Kimsey's direct method of recording, together with the entrance of the then state-of-the-art Mesa/Boogie Mark I amps instead of the Ampeg SVT line of amps, yielded a bright, direct and aggressive guitar sound.
There was some controversy surrounding the lyrics to the title song, an extended musing on women of various nationalities and races. Atlantic Records attempted to persuade the band to drop the song from the record, but Jagger maintained the song was intended as a parody of racist attitudes, saying "I've always said, you can't take a joke, it's too fucking bad". The line "Black girls just wanna get fucked all night" drew strong protests from various groups, including Jesse Jackson's PUSH, which sought a boycott of the song on black-oriented radio.
Packaging and artworkEdit
The album cover for Some Girls was conceived and designed by Peter Corriston, who would design the next three album covers, with illustrations by Hubert Kretzschmar. An elaborate die-cut design, with the colours on the sleeves varying in different markets, it featured the Rolling Stones' faces alongside those of select female celebrities inserted into a copy of an old Valmor Products Corporation advertisement. The cover design was challenged legally when Lucille Ball, Farrah Fawcett, Liza Minnelli (representing her mother Judy Garland), Raquel Welch, and the estate of Marilyn Monroe threatened to sue for the use of their likenesses without permission. Similarly, Valmor did take legal action and were given a monetary award for the use of their design.
The album was quickly re-issued with a redesigned cover that removed all the celebrities, whether they had complained or not. The celebrity images were replaced with black and punk style garish colours with the phrase Pardon our appearance – cover under re-construction. Jagger later apologised to Minnelli when he encountered her during a party at the famous discothèque Studio 54. The only celebrity whose face was not removed was ex-Beatle George Harrison. As with the original design, the colour schemes on the redesigned sleeves varied in different markets.
A third version of the album cover with the hand-drawn faces from the original Valmore ad was used on the 1986 CD reissue.
Release and legacyEdit
|The A.V. Club||A|
|Christgau's Record Guide||A|
|The Great Rock Discography||7/10|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
In May 1978, the first single from the album, "Miss You", a prowling, moody number built on a stripped-down disco beat and bluesy pop harmonies, was released to very strong response, garnering the Rolling Stones their last US number one hit and reaching number three in the UK. Some Girls appeared in June to a very welcoming audience, reaching number one in the US and number two in the UK. "Beast of Burden", was released as second single in the US and it reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. "Respectable" (in the UK) and "Shattered" (in the US) would follow as the next singles, both becoming Top 40 hits as well.
Reviewing Some Girls for The Village Voice in 1978, Robert Christgau said, "The Stones' best album since Exile on Main Street is also their easiest since Let It Bleed or before. They haven't gone for a knockdown uptempo classic, a 'Brown Sugar' or 'Jumping Jack Flash'—just straight rock and roll unencumbered by horn sections or Billy Preston. Even Jagger takes a relatively direct approach, and if he retains any credibility for you after six years of dicking around, there should be no agonizing over whether you like this record, no waiting for tunes to kick in. Lyrically, there are some bad moments—especially on the title cut, which is too fucking indirect to suit me—but in general the abrasiveness seems personal, earned, unposed, and the vulnerability more genuine than ever. Also, the band is a real good one. Real good."
The Stones embarked on their summer US Tour 1978 in support of the album, which for the first time saw them mount several small venue shows, sometimes under a pseudonym. This was shorter and less ambitious than previous Stones tours, with only 26 shows performed over one and a half months, all of them in the US. Nonetheless, Some Girls became the third-best-represented album in Stones’ concert setlists after Let It Bleed and Exile on Main Street. All its ten songs have been played live – a distinction it shares only with Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers[note 1] – although the title tune was never performed until 1999, and only "Lies" was never played after the last dates in support of the album.
In 2003 Some Girls was ranked number 269 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
In 1986, the first compact disc version of the album was issued by the Stones' new label distributor, Columbia Records, as Rolling Stones/Columbia CK-40449. In 1994, with the acquisition of the Rolling Stones Records catalogue by Virgin Records, Some Girls was remastered and re-issued. The first pressing was packaged in a replica of the die-cut vinyl packaging, representing the redesigned 1978 cover in a pale color scheme. In 2009, the album was remastered and reissued by Universal Music; the reissue restored one of the brighter color schemes of the redesigned 1978 cover.
Some Girls was re-issued on 21 November 2011 as a 2-CD deluxe edition, including twelve songs originally recorded during the two sessions for the album (with the exception of "Tallahassee Lassie" from Aug-Sep 1978 and "We Had It All" from 1979). A Super-Deluxe edition also included a DVD with live footage & promo videos, a 100-page book, 5 postcards, a poster, and a 7" 180-gram replica vinyl single of "Beast of Burden". Most of the backing tracks were recorded in Paris between October 1977 and March 1978 with mostly newly recorded vocals by Mick Jagger, which were recorded sometime during 2010 and 2011. The album re-entered the charts at number 58 in the UK and number 46 in the US. "No Spare Parts" was released as a single on 13 November, which went to No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Singles Sales. "So Young" was the second single from the Some Girls reissue, released briefly for free on iTunes the same day "No Spare Parts" was released. A video for "No Spare Parts" was produced and later released on 19 December 2011.
In 2012 it was released by Universal Music Enterprises in a Japanese-only SHM-SACD version.
All tracks written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted.
|2.||"When the Whip Comes Down"||4:20|
|3.||"Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" (writers: Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong)||4:38|
|1.||"Far Away Eyes"||4:24|
|3.||"Before They Make Me Run"||3:25|
|4.||"Beast of Burden"||4:25|
- North American copies of the album on 8-track tape format contain extended versions of "Miss You" and "Beast of Burden" and edited versions of the songs "Far Away Eyes," "Shattered" and "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)".
|"Everything Is Turning to Gold"||Jagger, Richards, Wood||4:06||"Shattered" B-side|
2011 bonus discEdit
|3.||"Do You Think I Really Care?"||4:22|
|4.||"When You're Gone"||Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood||3:51|
|5.||"No Spare Parts"||4:30|
|6.||"Don't Be a Stranger"||4:06|
|7.||"We Had It All"||Troy Seals, Donnie Fritts||2:54|
|8.||"Tallahassee Lassie"||Bob Crewe, Frank Slay, Freddy Cannon||2:37|
|9.||"I Love You Too Much"||3:10|
|10.||"Keep Up Blues"||4:20|
|11.||"You Win Again"||Hank Williams||3:00|
The Rolling Stones
- Mick Jagger – lead vocals (all but 8), backing vocals (1-3, 6, 8-10), electric guitar (1-5, 7), piano (6), percussion (10)
- Keith Richards – electric guitar (all tracks), backing vocals (1-3, 6, 8-10), acoustic guitar (4, 6, 8, 9), bass guitar (4, 8), piano (6), lead vocals (8)
- Bill Wyman – bass guitar (1-3, 5-7, 9), synthesizer (4)
- Charlie Watts – drums (all tracks)
- Ronnie Wood – electric guitar (all but 6), backing vocals (1-3, 6, 8, 10), pedal steel (2, 6, 10), acoustic guitar (4, 9), bass guitar (10), bass drum (10)
- Sugar Blue – harmonica (1, 4)
- Ian McLagan – electric piano (1), organ (3)
- Mel Collins – saxophone (1)
- Simon Kirke – congas (10)
Additional personnel on 2011 bonus disc
- Ian Stewart – bonus tracks: piano on "Claudine", "So Young", "Do You Think I Really Care?", "Tallahassee Lassie", "You Win Again", and "Petrol Blues"
- Chuck Leavell – bonus tracks: piano solo on "So Young"
- Don Was – bonus tracks: bass guitar on "Don't Be a Stranger"; handclaps on "Tallahassee Lassie"
- John Fogerty – bonus tracks: handclaps on "Tallahassee Lassie"
- Matt Clifford – bonus tracks: percussion on "Don't Be a Stranger"
Charts and certificationsEdit
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||6× Platinum||6,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
- In the case of Sticky Fingers, it might be noted that "Sway" was never played live until 2005, whereas every track on Some Girls had been performed six years before that.
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