Following the Voodoo Lounge Tour, and Stripped projects of 1994/1995, the Stones afforded themselves a brief respite before Mick Jagger and Keith Richards began composing new songs together in the summer of 1996 with demos to follow at the end of the year. Although the band would use Don Was as a producer again, Jagger wanted to bring The Dust Brothers in to work with them, having been impressed with their work on Beck's Odelay. Richards wasn't keen on the idea and brought in Rob Fraboni for his solo material, such that the only tracks that would bear their influence were "Anybody Seen My Baby", "Saint of Me" and "Might as Well Get Juiced"; it was thus the first, and so far only, Stones album to feature sampling. Additional producers would also contribute, giving the project a more rounded feel.
Bridges to Babylon was recorded during the spring into summer months of 1997 in Los Angeles in a matter of four months, one of their most concise periods of recording in years. As it was being mastered, the projected lead single "Anybody Seen My Baby?" was found to resemble k.d. lang's 1992 hit "Constant Craving" in its chorus, a discovery brought to Richards' attention by his daughter Angela. Seeking to avoid possible future legal entanglements, lang and her co-writer Ben Mink were credited along with Jagger and Richards on the new song. Upon its release, it would reach #22 in the UK and become a US radio rock hit.
The Stones had a number of the album's songs remixed in extended versions but have as yet not released any of them e.g. "Out Of Control / Papa was A Rolling Stone": 10 minutes, 10 seconds, "Might As Well Get Juiced" aka "Keith's Revenge Mix": 10:54, "Always Suffering" aka "Sentimental Mix": 9:27, "Already Over Me" aka "Ancient Remix": 9:27
Bridges to Babylon, containing an unprecedented three solo vocals by Richards, was released to mixed reviews. It reached #6 in the UK, #2 in France and #3 in the US, where it was certified platinum by the RIAA in November 1997. As of January 2010, Bridges to Babylon has sold 1.1 million copies in the US. Further singles "Saint of Me" and "Out of Control" were also minor hits.
The Stones had become a touring phenomenon by this point. The Bridges to Babylon Tour in 1997 consisted of 108 shows.
In 2009, Bridges to Babylon was remastered and reissued by Universal Music.