The Rolling Stones • Their Satanic Majesties Request [LP]

Why don’t we sing this song all together: I know many are calling this and other recent reissues cash-grabs, but I don’t care. I like Record Store Day and I don’t apologize for it. I’ve always wanted a copy of THE ROLLING STONES Their Satanic Majesties Request with the lenticular cover, but it always costed way too much – at least if you wanted one in decent shape. Now that the album’s hit 50 years old the powers that be issued last year’s deluxe edition (2LP+2CD, mono and stereo mixes only, no bonus tracks, beaucoup bucks), and for RSD 2018, this single record, stereo mix on groovy blue splatter vinyl. Yes!

Released in December 1967, the Stones were late to the psychedelic table – and they moved on pretty quickly, too. For Satanic Majesties was a one-off (along with the single that preceded it, “We Love You”), and the band moved on to their most storied late ’60s/early ’70s/Mick Taylor period. But the delights of this oft-disparaged album are many. From the beginning of side one and “Sing This All Together,” through the rocking “Citadel” and on to Bill Wyman’s “In Another Land” (they must have been short on material; they rarely did any of Bill’s songs), through the sort-of-reprise “Sing This All Together (See What Happens),” the “front side” of the album is worth repeated listenings. “Back Side” (side two) takes off with the exquisitely awesome “She’s a Rainbow” and its strings arranged by one J.P. Jones (who became the bassist for Led Zeppelin!), the illuminating “The Lantern,” which has been stuck in my head for a week, and then proceeds to conclusion with “2000 Light Years from Home” and album closer “On With the Show.” Satanic Majesties gets short shrift from many quarters but it’s not a bad album at all. It just sticks out like a sore thumb because it’s nothing like what came before it or after.

Whether you go for the RSD version pictured and reviewed here, the deluxe version or just a CD, Their Satanic Majesties Request really ain’t too shabby. I like it more today than when I first heard it, so for it I carry the lantern high.

4/5 (Abkco NPS-2, reissue, 1967/2018)

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2 thoughts on “The Rolling Stones • Their Satanic Majesties Request [LP]

  1. Nice post Two things I’ll mention as a hardcore Stones fan and amateur historian/collector of their works for nearly 40 years: One, this to me is a better album than the U.S. version of ‘Between The Buttons,’ Satanic’s vaunted predecessor and an LP I could never get into (later, when I heard the superior UK original version I changed my mind a bit, and I won’t argue Satanic is anything close to being among their best…but still). Buttons stuck me always as an awkward, stiff bid to do a Kinks album and it just didn’t suit their style. But there are some standounts on TSMR as you pointed out, “Citadel” and “2000 Man” and “2000 Light Years Frome Home” among my favorites. As for why Bill was given the berth to record his tune, well, Mick and Keith (and Brian) had all been busted i
    n the summer of ’67 and were up to their ears in legal problems and jail time (brief), but general chaos that gave Wyman his opening. Sorry to say, old Bill, it still sounds like a watery Spinal Tap stab at psychedelia. hey, thanks for triggering some thoughts!

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