Aftermath (The Rolling Stones album)

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Studio album by The Rolling Stones
Released 15 April 1966 (1966-04-15)
Recorded 3–8 December 1965, 6–9 March 1966
Genre Rock
Length 53:20
Label Decca (UK)
Producer Andrew Loog Oldham
The Rolling Stones British chronology
Out of Our Heads
Between the Buttons

Aftermath, released April 1966 by Decca Records, is the fourth British studio album by the Rolling Stones. It was released in the United States in June 1966 by London Records as their sixth American album. The album is considered an artistic breakthrough for the band: it is the first to consist entirely of Mick Jagger/Keith Richards compositions, while Brian Jones played a variety of instruments not usually associated with their music, including sitar, Appalachian dulcimer,[1] marimbas, and Japanese koto, as well as guitar, harmonica and keyboards, though much of the music is still rooted in Chicago electric blues. It was the first Rolling Stones album to be recorded entirely in the US, at the RCA Studios in California, and their first album released in true stereo.

In August 2002 both editions of Aftermath were reissued in a new remastered CD and SACD digipak by ABKCO Records, with the UK version containing an otherwise unavailable stereo mix of "Mother's Little Helper".[2] In the same year the US edition of Aftermath was ranked No. 108 on the List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[3]


According to Bill Wyman in Rolling With The Stones (2002), the album was originally conceived as the soundtrack for the never filmed feature Back, Behind And In Front. The whole deal fell off, though, when Mick met with the potential director, Nicholas Ray, but didn't like him. These recording sessions were also very busy for the group, as they recorded 21 Jagger/Richards compositions while in Los Angeles. They were also much more comfortable during that album's sessions, as they had room and time for experimenting and polishing the arrangements, something they weren't able to do on earlier albums due to the ''rush'' way these sessions were done.

The main engineer for the album was also pivotal in making the group feel comfortable during the sessions as he, according to Bill Wyman, let them experiment with instrumentals and teaming up with session musicians to variegate their sound. Wyman also stated that he and Brian Jones would pick up instruments that were in the studio and experiment with various sounds for each song. This album is also notable for being the first LP to feature completely original material for the group, as Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were growing not only as songwriters, but as arrangers as well. In 2003, Mick recalled that Keith was writing a lot of melodies and the group would perform them in a number different ways which were mainly thought out in the studio, as opposed to the strict arranging and recording planning of other groups of the epoch.

Brian Jones was very important in shaping the album's tone and arrangements, as he experimented with a vast array of ethnic instruments such as the marimba, sitar, Appalachian dulcimer, piano, which contrasted with the folk, pop, country, blues and rock compositions, thus resulting in a very diverse melting pot of musical styles. It also has to be noted that he often learned the instrument in question on the fly, thus becoming the most diverse and all-round musician in the group. Aftermath was also the first record on which the majority of the guitar playing was left to Richards due to Brian's multi-instrumentalism, a habit that served as an intense training period for Keith's craftmanship which culminated in him playing almost all of the guitars on Let It Bleed.[4]

Release history[edit]

As with all the Stones pre-1967 LPs, different editions were released in the UK and the US. This was a common feature of British pop albums at that time—the same practice was applied to all the Beatles albums prior to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band—because UK albums typically did not include tracks that had already been released as singles.

British version[edit]

The original British version of Aftermath was issued in April 1966 as a fourteen-track LP. Issued between the non-LP single releases of "19th Nervous Breakdown" and "Paint It, Black", Aftermath was a major hit in the UK, spending eight weeks at No. 1 on the UK album chart.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Mother's Little Helper"   2:45
2. "Stupid Girl"   2:56
3. "Lady Jane"   3:08
4. "Under My Thumb"   3:41
5. "Doncha Bother Me"   2:41
6. "Goin' Home"   11:13
Side two
No. Title Length
7. "Flight 505"   3:27
8. "High and Dry"   3:08
9. "Out of Time"   5:37
10. "It's Not Easy"   2:56
11. "I Am Waiting"   3:11
12. "Take It or Leave It"   2:47
13. "Think"   3:09
14. "What To Do"   2:32

North American version[edit]

Studio album by The Rolling Stones
Released 20 June 1966 (1966-06-20)
Recorded 3–8 December 1965, 6–9 March 1966
Genre Rock, pop
Length 42:31
Label London (US)
Producer Andrew Loog Oldham
The Rolling Stones American chronology
December's Children (And Everybody's)
Between the Buttons
Singles from Aftermath
  1. "Paint It, Black" / "Stupid Girl"
    Released: 7 May 1966
  2. "Mother's Little Helper" / "Lady Jane"
    Released: 2 July 1966

The American version featured different cover art and a shorter running order that eliminated "Out of Time", "Take It or Leave It", "What to Do", and "Mother's Little Helper". All four tracks were later issued in the US on other compilations, and "Mother's Little Helper" was also issued as a single in 1966, peaking at No. 8 on the Billboard charts.[5] In their place, the album substituted their current No. 1 hit "Paint It, Black". The revamped Aftermath still reached No. 2 in the US, eventually going platinum.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Paint It Black"   3:22
2. "Stupid Girl"   2:56
3. "Lady Jane"   3:08
4. "Under My Thumb"   3:41
5. "Doncha Bother Me"   2:41
6. "Think"   3:09
Side two
No. Title Length
7. "Flight 505[1]"   3:27
8. "High and Dry"   3:08
9. "It's Not Easy"   2:56
10. "I Am Waiting"   3:11
11. "Goin' Home"   11:13

Other songs[edit]

Title Length Notes
"19th Nervous Breakdown" Single
"Sad Day" "19th Nervous Breakdown" B-side
"Long Long While" "Paint It, Black" B-side

Critical Reception[edit]

At the time of its release, the album was well received, with Keith Altman of the New Musical Express stating that "those masterminds behind the electric machines - The Rolling Stones - have produced the finest value for money ever on their new LP".[4] In retrospective, though, the album is considered a milestone of the group's career, with Allmusic writer Ritchie Unterberg giving five stars to the album and praising the combination of different influences found there, but feeling that "some of the material is fairly ho-hum, to be honest, as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were still prone to inconsistent songwriting; "Goin' Home," an 11-minute blues jam, was remarkable more for its barrier-crashing length than its content''.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic (UK) 5/5 stars[7]
Allmusic (US) 5/5 stars[8]
Blender 5/5 stars[9]

Sputnikmusic has an aggregate score of 4/5 out of 376 votes, while the feature review states that the album is recommended for fans as well as newcomers of the group.[10] On its top 10 Rolling Stones albums list, NME listed Aftermath at no.6, while stating that "1966’s ‘Aftermath’ saw the Stones at once rejecting and redefining rock’n’roll lore. The first all-originals Stones album, it’s so classic-packed their reputation as sub-Beatles hopefuls never recovered"[11]

The album is also held in high esteem in non-professional reviewing cycles; George Starostin rated the album 9/10 and 14/15 on his overall rating scale and stating that the record is a place "where you never know when the blues ends and the pop begins". [12] Similarly, Mark Prindle rated the album 8/10 but criticized the eleven minute jam "Goin' Home" for being overlong and feeling "that belongs on a bootleg - not in my record collection".[13] John Mcferrin was enthusiastic of the record, concluding "at long last, the Stones as we know and love them, the brilliant fusors of traditional rock and roll to all sorts of other sources, arrived, and the result is the first of many, MANY great studio albums...".[14]

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1966 UK Albums Chart 1[15]
1966 Billboard 200 2[16]
1966 French SNEP Albums Charts 25[17]
Preceded by
The Sound of Music by Original Soundtrack
UK Albums Chart number-one album
30 April – 25 June 1966
Succeeded by
The Sound of Music by Original Soundtrack
Year Single Chart Position
1966 "Paint It, Black" UK Singles Chart 1[15]
1966 "Paint It, Black" Billboard Hot 100 1[5]
1966 "Mother's Little Helper" Billboard Hot 100 8[5]
1966 "Lady Jane" Billboard Hot 100 24[5]
1990 "Paint It, Black" UK Singles Chart 63[15]
2007 "Paint It, Black" UK Singles Chart 70[15]
2010 "Paint It, Black" Billboard Rock Digital Songs 25[5]
Country Provider Certification
(sales thresholds)
United States RIAA Platinum

Could You Walk on the Water[edit]

Several of the songs on the album were initially meant for the US release Could You Walk on the Water. This LP was rejected by Rolling Stones' American record company, London Records, who instead opted for the greatest hits package Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass). The track list for the shelved album includes "Take It or Leave It", "Mother's Little Helper", "Think", "Goin' Home" (short edit) and "Doncha Bother Me". Of these, all five would be released on the UK version of Aftermath, three on the US version. Of the remaining tracks, "19th Nervous Breakdown" and "Sad Day" were released as a single, "Sittin' on the Fence" and "Ride On, Baby" were later to be released on the US album Flowers, along with "Mother's Little Helper" and "Take It or Leave It". "Looking Tired" remains unreleased to this day.


The Rolling Stones
Additional personnel

[18] [19] [20]


  1. ^ a b Mick Jagger interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  2. ^ Walsh, Christopher (24 August 2002). "Super audio CDs: The Rolling Stones Remastered". Billboard. p. 27. 
  3. ^ "Aftermath". Rolling Stone. January 2003. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Aftermath". Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Billboard Singles". All Media Guide / Billboard. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  6. ^ "RIAA searchable certification database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  7. ^ Allmusic review (UK)
  8. ^ Allmusic review (US)
  9. ^ Blender review
  10. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Aftermath (album review ) | Sputnikmusic". Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  11. ^ "The Rolling Stones' Top 10 Albums - Ranked | NME.COM". NME.COM (in en-GB). Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  12. ^ "The Rolling Stones". Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  13. ^ "The Rolling Stones". Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  14. ^ "The Rolling Stones". Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  15. ^ a b c d "UK charts rchive". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  16. ^ "Billboard Albums". All Media Guide / Billboard. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  17. ^ Tous les Albums classés par Artiste, Note : user must select The Rolling Stones in the list
  18. ^
  19. ^ Stone Alone - Bill Wyman
  20. ^ Rolling With The Stones - Bill Wyman

External links[edit]

  • Link to Patti Smith piece for Creem, January 1973, detailing her response to the Rolling Stones and Aftermath