Goats Head Soup
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Goats Head Soup is an album by The Rolling Stones released in 1973. It was recorded as the follow-up to 1972's critically acclaimed Exile on Main St. Goats Head Soup was a more polished production than the raw and ragged Exile. It reflected the resurgence of soul-pop and the rise of funk, while maintaining the Stones' distinctive rock sound. It spawned the hit single "Angie", possibly its best-known track, and topped the charts in both the US and the UK.
Recording began as early as 1970. Two tracks, "Silver Train" and "Hide Your Love", resulted from these early sessions and re-appeared in November 1972 when the band relocated to Kingston, Jamaica's Dynamic Sound Studios. Guitarist Keith Richards said in 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..."
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..."
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."
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 traveling 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."
The first track recorded at Dynamic was "Winter", which lead guitarist Mick Taylor said started with "just Mick (Jagger) strumming on a guitar in the studio, and everything falling together from there."
The album's lead single, "Angie", was an unpopular choice as lead single with Atlantic Records which, according to Chess, "wanted another 'Brown Sugar' rather than a ballad." Contrary to popular belief, the song was not about David Bowie's first wife Angela; Richards' daughter Dandelion Angela had just been born, and the name was Richards' main contribution to the lyrics.
Despite its laid-back sound, many of Goats Head Soup's songs have a darker quality to them, such as the opener "Dancing With Mr. D" (D as in Death). An alternate version can be heard on bootlegs that features a ripping Mick Taylor guitar solo that was not featured on the album version.
Also featured is the Top 20 US hit "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)", which criticizes the New York police for the accidental shooting of a 10-year-old.
This was the last Rolling Stones album produced by Jimmy Miller, who'd worked with the band since 1968's Beggars Banquet sessions. Miller developed a debilitating drug habit from his years spent with the band.
Aside from the official band members, other musicians appearing on Goats Head Soup include keyboard players Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins and Ian Stewart.
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."
Preceded by "Angie" as the lead single, which sailed to #1 in the United States and became a worldwide hit, Goats Head Soup was released in late August 1973 and also shot to #1 worldwide. The Rolling Stones' autumn 1973 European Tour followed soon after, in which three slots in the set list were given to the new material. (The popular bootleg recording Brussels Affair would result from this tour.)
Critical reaction to the album was varied at the time. Bud Scoppa called the album "one of the year's richest musical experiences" 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..."
Goats Head Soup is now generally considered to have marked the end of the Stones' "golden age", 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." Goats Head Soup has endured as a popular seller and has gone triple platinum in the United States.
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.
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.
In 1994 Goats Head Soup was remastered and reissued by Virgin Records, and again in 2009 by Universal Music. The first pressing of the UMG remaster featured a censored version of "Star Star" that was featured on the original US vinyl release, but not on the 1994 Virgin CD; later pressings feature the uncensored version. Wiki
"Dancing with Mr. D"
"100 Years Ago"
"Coming Down Again"
"Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)"
"Hide Your Love"
"Can You Hear the Music"
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