|This article does not cite any references or sources. (March 2009)|
|Studio album by The Rolling Stones|
|Released||29 August 1989|
|Recorded||29 March – 5 May, 15 May – 29 June 1989 at Air Studios, Montserrat|
|Genre||Rock, hard rock|
|Producer||Chris Kimsey, The Glimmer Twins|
|The Rolling Stones chronology|
|Singles from Steel Wheels|
Heralded as a major comeback upon its release, the project is notable for the patching up of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' relationship, a reversion to a more classic style of music and the launching of the band's biggest world tour at the time. It is also long-time bassist Bill Wyman's final full length studio album with the Stones, preceding the announcement of his departure in January 1993. Wyman's final tenure with the band would be on two studio tracks for 1991's Flashpoint.
Following the release of 1986's Dirty Work, and Jagger's active pursuit of a solo career, relations between him and the Stones-committed Richards worsened considerably. While Jagger released the tepidly received Primitive Cool in 1987, Richards recorded Talk Is Cheap, his solo debut, which would be released in 1988 to rave reviews. The two years largely apart appeared to have healed the wounds sufficiently to begin resurrecting their partnership and their band.
Meeting in January 1989, just preceding the Stones' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the chemistry between Jagger and Richards easily outshone whatever differences they had and after composing some 50 songs in a matter of weeks, Ronnie Wood, Wyman and Charlie Watts were called in to begin recording what would become Steel Wheels, beckoning Undercover co-producer Chris Kimsey to perform the same role.
Recording in Montserrat and London during the spring months, Steel Wheels was designed to emulate a classic Rolling Stones sound. The one notable exception was "Continental Drift," an Eastern-flavoured piece, with The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar, recorded in June 1989 in Tangier, coordinated by Cherie Nutting. With much of the past disagreements behind them, sessions for Steel Wheels were fairly harmonious.
Release and reception
|Robert Christgau||B− link|
The massive, worldwide Steel Wheels Tour was launched in late August 1989, concurrently with Steel Wheels' arrival and the release of lead single "Mixed Emotions", a partially biographical reference to Jagger and Richards' recent woes that proved to be the Rolling Stones' last major hit single in the US, reaching No. 5. Critical reaction was warm, with Steel Wheels reaching No. 2 in the UK and No. 3 in the US where it went double-platinum. Follow-up singles were "Rock and a Hard Place", "Almost Hear You Sigh" and "Terrifying". The mammoth Steel Wheels Tour, which finished in mid-1990 after being re-titled the Urban Jungle Tour, was an enormous financial success. In 1990, FOX aired a 3-D television special of the Steel Wheels tour. Unlike anaglyphic 3-D which requires the familiar red and green glasses, the method used was the Pulfrich Effect which permitted full-color video. The film was shot by Gerald Marks of PullTime 3-D in NYC. An IMAX film of the tour was released the next year, which still plays sporadically at IMAX venues around the world.
Anthony DeCurtis of Rolling Stone writes "All the ambivalence, recriminations, attempted rapprochement and psychological one-upmanship evident on Steel Wheels testify that the Stones are right in the element that has historically spawned their best music – a murky, dangerously charged environment in which nothing is merely what it seems. Against all odds, and at this late date, the Stones have once again generated an album that will have the world dancing to deeply troubling, unresolved emotions."
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic writes "The Stones sound good, and Mick and Keith both get off a killer ballad apiece with "Almost Hear You Sigh" and "Slipping Away," respectively. It doesn't make for a great Stones album, but it's not bad, and it feels like a comeback – which it was supposed to, after all."
|1.||"Sad Sad Sad"||3:35|
|4.||"Hold on to Your Hat"||3:32|
|5.||"Hearts for Sale"||4:40|
|6.||"Blinded by Love"||4:37|
|7.||"Rock and a Hard Place"||5:25|
|8.||"Can't Be Seen"||4:09|
|9.||"Almost Hear You Sigh"||4:37|
|11.||"Break the Spell"||3:06|
- The Rolling Stones
- Mick Jagger – lead and backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, harmonica, percussion, keyboards on "Continental Drift"
- Keith Richards – electric, acoustic and classical guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Can't Be Seen" and "Slipping Away", bicycle spokes on "Continental Drift"
- Ronnie Wood – electric and acoustic guitar, bass guitar and acoustic bass, backing vocals, dobro
- Charlie Watts – drums
- Bill Wyman – bass guitar
- Additional musicians
- Chuck Leavell – organ, piano, keyboards
- Matt Clifford – electric and acoustic piano, clavinet, harmonium, percussion programming, strings
- Sarah Dash – backing vocals
- Lisa Fischer – backing vocals
- Bernard Fowler – backing vocals
- Luis Jardim – percussion
- Phil Beer – mandolin, fiddle
- The Kick Horns – brass
- Roddy Lorimer – trumpet
- The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar Farafina – African-Moroccan instruments
- Sonia Morgan – backing vocals
- Tessa Niles – backing vocals
- Technical and design personnel
- Recording engineer – Christopher Marc Potter
- Assistant engineer – Rupert Coulson
- Recordet at Air Studios, Montserrat
- Mixed by Michael Brauer, Christopher Marc Potter, Chris Kimsey
- Art direction and design – John Warwicker
- Logo design – Mark Morton
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||Gold||25,000x|
|Canada (Music Canada)||3× Platinum||300,000^|
|France (SNEP)||2× Gold||271,800|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Gold||25,000x|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||2× Platinum||2,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- AllMusic review
- Rolling Stone review
- Saulnier, Jason (8 April 2010). "Chuck Leavell Interview". Music Legends. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
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- "Canadian album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels". Music Canada. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
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- Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
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- "Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1991–1995". Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano. ISBN 8480486392.
- "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (The Rolling Stones; 'Steel Wheels')". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- "British album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 21 December 2012. Enter Steel Wheels in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
- "American album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 25 December 2013. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
- "australian-charts.com The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels" (ASP). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
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- "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 50, No. 22" (PHP). RPM. 25 September 1989. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "dutchcharts.nl The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Album Search: The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Hit Parade Italia - Gli album più venduti del 1989" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "ヴードゥー・ラウンジ／ザ・ローリング・ストーンズ-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック" [Highest position and charting weeks of Steel Wheels by The Rolling Stones]. oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "charts.org.nz The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "norwegiancharts.com The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels" (ASP). Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "swedishcharts.com The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels - hitparade.ch" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "The Rolling Stones > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "allmusic ((( Steel Wheels > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1989". RPM. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
- "Les Albums (CD) de 1989 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "1989年 アルバム年間TOP100" [Oricon Year-end Albums Chart of 1989] (in Japanese). Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Top 100 Albums of 1990". RPM. 22 December 1990. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- "Billboard.BIZ - Year-end Charts - Billboard 200 - 1990". billboard.biz. Retrieved 18 September 2011.