Steel Wheels

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Steel Wheels
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
Length 53:03
Language English
Label Rolling Stones/Columbia
Producer Chris Kimsey, The Glimmer Twins
The Rolling Stones chronology
Dirty Work
(1986)
Steel Wheels
(1989)
Voodoo Lounge
(1994)
Singles from Steel Wheels
  1. "Mixed Emotions"
    Released: 17 August 1989
  2. "Rock and a Hard Place"
    Released: 4 November 1989
  3. "Almost Hear You Sigh"
    Released: January 1990
  4. "Terrifying"
    Released: 1990

Steel Wheels is the 19th British and 21st American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released in 1989. 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.

History[edit]

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[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B–[2]
The Great Rock Discography 6/10[3]
MusicHound 2.5/5 stars[4]
Q 4/5 stars[5]
Record Collector 3/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone 4.5/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[7]
Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music 3/5 stars[3]

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."

The album was the Rolling Stones' first digital recording. In 1994, Steel Wheels was remastered and reissued by Virgin Records, and again in 2009 by Universal Music.

Track listing[edit]

All songs composed by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except "Almost Hear You Sigh" co-written by Steve Jordan.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Sad Sad Sad"   3:35
2. "Mixed Emotions"   4:38
3. "Terrifying"   4:53
4. "Hold on to Your Hat"   3:32
5. "Hearts for Sale"   4:40
6. "Blinded by Love"   4:37
Side two
No. Title Length
7. "Rock and a Hard Place"   5:25
8. "Can't Be Seen"   4:09
9. "Almost Hear You Sigh"   4:37
10. "Continental Drift"   5:14
11. "Break the Spell"   3:06
12. "Slipping Away"   4:29

Personnel[edit]

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
  • Bill Wyman – bass guitar
  • Charlie Watts – drums
Additional musicians
Technical and design personnel

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Austria (IFPI Austria)[31] Gold 25,000x
Canada (Music Canada)[32] 3× Platinum 300,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[33] Gold 25,227[33]
France (SNEP)[34] 2× Gold 271,800[35]
Germany (BVMI)[36] Gold 250,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[37] Gold 167,000[38]
Netherlands (NVPI)[39] Gold 50,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[40] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[41] Gold 25,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[42] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[43] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Chart succession[edit]

Preceded by
Repeat Offender by Richard Marx
Repeat Offender by Richard Marx
Canadian RPM Chart number-one album
25 September 1989
9–16 October 1989
Succeeded by
Repeat Offender by Richard Marx
Girl You Know It's True by Milli Vanilli
Preceded by
Grand Prix der Volksmusik [1989] by Various artists
Austrian Chart number-one album
1 October 1989
Succeeded by
Foreign Affair by Tina Turner
Preceded by
Soul Provider by Michael Bolton
Norwegian Chart number-one album
37/1989 – 38/1989
Succeeded by
Soul Provider by Michael Bolton
Preceded by
Batman (soundtrack) by Prince
European Top 100 number-one album
30 September 1989
Succeeded by
Foreign Affair by Tina Turner

References[edit]

  1. ^ AllMusic review
  2. ^ link
  3. ^ a b "The Rolling Stones Steel Wheels". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  4. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 952. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  5. ^ a b "The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels CD". CD Universe/Muze. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Rolling Stone review
  7. ^ "The Rolling Stones: Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Archived version retrieved 15 November 2014.
  8. ^ Saulnier, Jason (8 April 2010). "Chuck Leavell Interview". Music Legends. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "australian-charts.com The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels" (ASP). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "austriancharts.at The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 50, No. 22" (PHP). RPM. 25 September 1989. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "dutchcharts.nl The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  14. ^ "Album Search: The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia - Gli album più venduti del 1989" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  16. ^ "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. 
  17. ^ "charts.org.nz The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  18. ^ "norwegiancharts.com The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels" (ASP). Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  19. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  20. ^ "swedishcharts.com The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  21. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels - hitparade.ch" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  22. ^ "The Rolling Stones > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  23. ^ "allmusic ((( Steel Wheels > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  24. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1989". RPM. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  25. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1989" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  26. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1989 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  27. ^ "1989年 アルバム年間TOP100" [Oricon Year-end Albums Chart of 1989] (in Japanese). Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  28. ^ "Top 100 Albums of 1990". RPM. 22 December 1990. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  29. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1990" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  30. ^ "Billboard.BIZ - Year-end Charts - Billboard 200 - 1990". billboard.biz. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  31. ^ "Austrian album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved 25 December 2013.  Enter The Rolling Stones in the field Interpret. Enter Steel Wheels in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  32. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels". Music Canada. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  33. ^ a b The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
  34. ^ "French album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  35. ^ "Les Albums Double Or". infodisc.fr (in French). SNEP. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  36. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Rolling Stones; 'Steel Wheels')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  37. ^ "Japanese album certifications – ザ・ローリング・ストーンズ – スティール・ホイールズ" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. 
  38. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  39. ^ "Dutch album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  40. ^ "Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1991–1995". Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano. ISBN 8480486392. 
  41. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (The Rolling Stones; 'Steel Wheels')". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  42. ^ "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
  43. ^ "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