Beggars Banquet

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This article is about the Rolling Stones album. For the record label, see Beggars Banquet Records. For the story collection by Ian Rankin, see Beggars Banquet (book).
Beggars Banquet
Studio album by The Rolling Stones
Released 6 December 1968
Recorded April - June 1968 at Olympic Studios, London[1]
Genre Roots rock,[2] country blues[3]
Length 39:44
Label Decca (UK)
London (US)
Producer Jimmy Miller
The Rolling Stones chronology
Their Satanic Majesties Request
Beggars Banquet
Let It Bleed
Alternate cover
The originally planned "toilet" cover was rejected by both Decca and London in 1968. It was later featured on most Compact Disc reissues.[4][5]
Singles from Beggars Banquet
  1. "Street Fighting Man"/"No Expectations"
    Released: 31 August 1968 (US)

Beggars Banquet is the seventh British and ninth American studio album by English rock band The Rolling Stones. It was released in December 1968 by Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States. The album was a return to roots rock for the band following the psychedelic pop of their 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request.[2] It was the last Rolling Stones album to be released during Brian Jones' lifetime.


Glyn Johns, the album's recording engineer and longtime collaborator of the band, said that Beggars Banquet signaled "the Rolling Stones' coming of age ... I think that the material was far better than anything they'd ever done before. The whole mood of the record was far stronger to me musically."[5] Producer Jimmy Miller described guitarist Keith Richards as "a real workhorse" while recording the album, mostly due to the infrequent presence of Brian Jones. When he did show up at the sessions, Jones behaved erratically due to his drug use and emotional problems.[5] Miller said that Jones would "show up occasionally when he was in the mood to play, and he could never really be relied on:

When he would show up at a session—let's say he had just bought a sitar that day, he'd feel like playing it, so he'd look in his calendar to see if the Stones were in. Now he may have missed the previous four sessions. We'd be doing let's say, a blues thing. He'd walk in with a sitar, which was totally irrelevant to what we were doing, and want to play it. I used to try to accommodate him. I would isolate him, put him in a booth and not record him onto any track that we really needed. And the others, particularly Mick and Keith, would often say to me, 'Just tell him to piss off and get the hell out of here'.[5]

Jones played sitar[6] and tanpura on "Street Fighting Man",[7] slide guitar on "No Expectations",[8][9][10] harmonica on "Parachute Woman", "Dear Doctor" and "Prodigal Son",[11] and Mellotron on "Jig-Saw Puzzle" and "Stray Cat Blues".[12] Jones is sometimes mistakenly credited for playing the slide guitar on "Jig-Saw Puzzle"; both guitars are played by Keith Richards.[13][14] The basic track of "Street Fighting Man" was recorded on an early Philips cassette deck at London's Olympic Sound Studios, where Richards played a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar, and Charlie Watts played on an antique, portable practice drum kit.[15] Richards and Mick Jagger were mistakenly credited as writers on "Prodigal Son", a cover of Robert Wilkins's Biblical blues song of the same name.[5] According to Keith Richards the name Beggars Banquet "comes from a cat called Christopher Gibbs".[16]

On 7 June 1968, a photoshoot for the album, with photographer Michael Joseph, was held at Sarum Chase, a mansion in Hampstead, London.[17] Previously unseen images from the shoot were exhibited at the Blink Gallery in London in November and December 2008.[18] The album's original cover art, depicting a bathroom wall covered with graffiti, was rejected by the band's record company, and their unsuccessful dispute delayed the album's release for months.[5]

On 11–12 December 1968 the band filmed a television extravaganza titled The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus featuring John Lennon, Eric Clapton, The Who, Jethro Tull and Marianne Faithfull among the musical guests.[19][20] One of the original aims of the project was to promote Beggars Banquet, but the film was shelved by the Rolling Stones until 1996, when their former manager, Allen Klein, gave it an official release.[21]

Critical reception[edit]

Contemporary reviews[edit]

Beggars Banquet received a highly favourable response from music critics,[22][23] who considered it a return to form for the Stones.[24][25] Author Stephen Davis writes of its impact: "[The album was] a sharp reflection of the convulsive psychic currents coursing through the Western world. Nothing else captured the youthful spirit of Europe in 1968 like Beggar's Banquet."[23] The album was also a commercial success, reaching number 3 in the UK and number 5 in the US (on the way to eventual platinum status).[citation needed]

According to music journalist Anthony DeCurtis, the "political correctness" of "Street Fighting Man", particularly the ambivalent lyrics "What can a poor boy do/'Cept sing in a rock and roll band", sparked intense debate in the underground media.[5] In the description of author and critic Ian MacDonald, French director Jean-Luc Godard's filming of the sessions for "Sympathy for the Devil" contributed to the band's image as "Left Bank heroes of the European Maoist underground", with the song's "Luciferian iconoclasm" interpreted as a political message.[26]

Time magazine described the Stones as "England's most subversive roisterers since Fagin's gang in Oliver Twist" and added: "In keeping with a widespread mood in the pop world, Beggars Banquet turns back to the raw vitality of Negro R&B and the authentic simplicity of country music."[27] Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone considered that the band's regeneration marked the return of rock'n'roll, while the Chicago Sun-Times declared: "The Stones have unleashed their rawest, ludest, most arrogant, most savage record yet. And it's beautiful."[28]

Less impressed, the writer of Melody Maker's initial review dismissed Beggars Banquet as "mediocre" and said that, since "The Stones are Mick Jagger", it was only the singer's "remarkable recording presence that makes this LP".[29] Geoffrey Cannon of The Guardian found that the album "demonstrates [the group's] primal power at its greatest strength" and wrote admiringly of Jagger's ability to fully engage the listener on "Sympathy for the Devil", saying: "We feel horror because, at full volume, he makes us ride his carrier wave with him, experience his sensations, and awaken us to ours."[30] In his ballot for Jazz & Pop magazine's annual critics poll, Robert Christgau ranked it as the third best album of the year, and "Salt of the Earth" the best pop song of the year.[31]

Retrospective assessment and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[24]
Boston Herald 4/4 stars[32]
eMusic 4.5/5 stars[33]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars[34]
Entertainment Weekly A[35]
The Great Rock Discography 10/10[36]
MusicHound 4.5/5[37]
NME 8/10[38]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[39]

In a retrospective review for eMusic, Ben Fong-Torres called Beggars Banquet "an album flush with masterful and growling instant classics", and said that it "responds more to the chaos of '68 and to themselves than to any fellow artists ... the mood is one of dissolution and resignation, in the guise of a voice of an ambivalent authority."[33] Colin Larkin, in his Encyclopedia of Popular Music (2006), viewed the album as "a return to strength" which included "the socio-political 'Street Fighting Man' and the brilliantly macabre 'Sympathy for the Devil', in which Jagger's seductive vocal was backed by hypnotic Afro-rhythms and dervish yelps".[34] Writing for MusicHound in 1999, Greg Kot opined that the same two songs were the "weakest cuts", adding: "Otherwise, the disc is a tour de force of acoustic-tinged savagery and slumming sexuality, particularly the gleefully flippant 'Stray Cat Blues.'"[37] Larry Katz from the Boston Herald called Beggars Banquet "both a return to basics and leap forward".[32]

In his 1997 review for Rolling Stone, DeCurtis said the album was "filled with distinctive and original touches", and remarked on its legacy: "For the album, the Stones had gone to great lengths to toughen their sound and banish the haze of psychedelia, and in doing so, they launched a five-year period in which they would produce their very greatest records."[5] Author Martin C. Strong similarly considers Beggars Banquet to be the first album in the band's "staggering burst of creativity" over 1968–72 that ultimately comprised four of the best rock albums of all time.[36] Writing in 2007, Daryl Easlea of BBC Music said that although in places it fails to maintain the quality of its opening song, Beggars Banquet was the album where the Rolling Stones gained their enduring status as "the Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World".[40]

In 2003, the album was ranked at number 58 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[41] In the same year, the TV network VH1 named Beggars Banquet the 67th greatest album of all time. The album is also featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[42]


In August 2002, ABKCO Records reissued Beggars Banquet as a newly remastered LP and SACD/CD hybrid disk.[43] This release corrected an important flaw in the original album by restoring each song to its proper, slightly faster speed. Due to an error in the mastering, Beggars Banquet was heard for over thirty years at a slower speed than it was recorded. This had the effect of altering not only the tempo of each song, but the song's key as well. These differences were subtle but important, and the remastered version is about 30 seconds shorter than the original release.

Also in 2002 the Russian label CD-Maximum unofficially released the limited edition Beggars Banquet + 7 Bonus,[44] which was also bootleged on a German counterfeit-DECCA label as Beggars Banquet (the Mono Beggars).[45]

It was released once again in 2010 by Universal Music Enterprises in a Japanese only SHM-SACD version;[46] and on 24 November 2010 ABKCO Records released a SHM-CD version.[47]

On 28 May 2013 ABKCO Records reissued the LP on vinyl.[48]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except "Prodigal Son" by Robert Wilkins.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Sympathy for the Devil"   6:18
2. "No Expectations"   3:56
3. "Dear Doctor"   3:28
4. "Parachute Woman"   2:20
5. "Jigsaw Puzzle"   6:06
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Street Fighting Man"   3:16
7. "Prodigal Son"   2:51
8. "Stray Cat Blues"   4:38
9. "Factory Girl"   2:09
10. "Salt of the Earth"   4:48


[49] [50] [51] [52]

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ Brown, Phill (July 2000). "Phill Brown, Recording the Rollig Stones' Classic, Beggar's Banquet". TapeOp. 
  2. ^ a b Lester, Paul (10 July 2007). "These albums need to go to rehab". London: Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Dimery, Robert, ed. (2011). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. London: Cassell. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-84403-699-8. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i DeCurtis, Anthony (17 June 1997). "Review: Beggars Banquet". Rolling Stone. New York. Archived from the original on 31 January 2002. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Karnbach, James; Bernson, Carol (1997). The Complete Recording Guide to the Rolling Stones. Aurum Press Limited. p. 234. ISBN 1-85410-533-7. 
  7. ^ Elliot, Martin (2002). The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962–2002. Cherry Red Books LTD. p. 131. ISBN 1-901447-04-9. 
  8. ^ Elliot, Martin (2002). The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962–2002. Cherry Red Books LTD. p. 142. ISBN 1-901447-04-9. 
  9. ^ Egan, Sean (2005). Rolling Stones and the making of Let It Bleed. Unanimous Ltd. p. 64. ISBN 1-903318-77-7. 
  10. ^ Wyman, Bill (2002). Rolling with the Stones. Dorling Kindersley Limited. p. 314. ISBN 0-7513-4646-2. 
  11. ^ Clayson, Alan (2008). The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet. Billboard Books. pp. 165, 186, 245, 246. ISBN 978-0-8230-8397-8. 
  12. ^ Clayson, Alan (2008). The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet. Billboard Books. pp. 192, 246. ISBN 978-0-8230-8397-8. 
  13. ^ Elliot, Martin (2002). The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962–2002. Cherry Red Books LTD. p. 129. ISBN 1-901447-04-9. 
  14. ^ Clayson, Alan (2008). The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet. Billboard Books. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-8230-8397-8. 
  15. ^ The Wall Street Journal  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ Egan (ed), Sean (2013). Keith Richards on Keith Richards interviews and encounters (1st ed.). Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-61374-791-9. 
  17. ^ Hayward, Mark; Evans, Mike (7 September 2009). The Rolling Stones: On Camera, Off Guard 1963–69. Pavilion. pp. 156–. ISBN 978-1-86205-868-2. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  18. ^ "Our Work". Metro Imaging. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  19. ^ Norman, Philip (2001). The Stones. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. pp. 322–23. ISBN 0-283-07277-6. 
  20. ^ Bockris, Victor (1992). Keith Richards: The Unauthorised Biography. London: Hutchinson. p. 116. ISBN 0-09-174397-4. 
  21. ^ Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. New York, NY: Broadway Books. pp. 278–79, 536. ISBN 0-7679-0312-9. 
  22. ^ Norman, Philip (2001). The Stones. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. p. 322. ISBN 0-283-07277-6. 
  23. ^ a b Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. New York, NY: Broadway Books. p. 275. ISBN 0-7679-0312-9. 
  24. ^ a b AllMusic review
  25. ^ Salewicz, Chris (2002). Mick & Keith. London: Orion. p. 154. ISBN 0-75281-858-9. 
  26. ^ MacDonald, Ian (November 2002). "The Rolling Stones: Play With Fire". Uncut.  Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  27. ^ Wyman, Bill (2002). Rolling with the Stones. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 315. ISBN 0-7513-4646-2. 
  28. ^ Wyman, Bill (2002). Rolling with the Stones. London: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 314–15. ISBN 0-7513-4646-2. 
  29. ^ Uncredited writer (30 November 1968). "The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet (Decca)". Melody Maker.  Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  30. ^ Cannon, Geoffrey (10 December 1968). "The Rolling Stones: Beggars' Banquet (Decca SKL 4955)". The Guardian.  Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  31. ^ Christgau, Robert (1969). "Robert Christgau's 1969 Jazz & Pop Ballot". Jazz & Pop. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  32. ^ a b Katz, Larry (16 August 2002). "Music; Stoned again; Band's early albums reissued in time for tour". Boston Herald. Scene section, p. S.21. Retrieved 9 July 2013.  (subscription required)
  33. ^ a b Fong-Torres, Ben (2 April 2008). "The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet". eMusic. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  34. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 7 (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 119. ISBN 0-19-531373-9. 
  35. ^ Browne, David (20 September 2002). "Satisfaction?". Entertainment Weekly. New York (673): 103. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  36. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Canongate U.S. pp. 1292, 1294. ISBN 1-84195-615-5. 
  37. ^ a b Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 950. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  38. ^ "Review: Beggars Banquet". NME. London: 46. 8 July 1995. 
  39. ^ "The Rolling Stones: Album Guide". Archived version retrieved 15 November 2014.
  40. ^ Easlea, Daryl (2007). "The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 11 March 2016. 
  41. ^ "Beggars Banquet". Rolling Stone. January 2003. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  42. ^ Dimery, Robert, ed. (2011). 1001 Albums: You Must Hear Before You Die. Preface by Michael Lydon. Octopus. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-84403-714-8. 
  43. ^ Walsh, Christopher (24 August 2002). "Super audio CDs: The Rolling Stones Remastered". Billboard. p. 27. 
  44. ^ discogs - Beggars Banquet + 7 Bonus 2002 Russian limited edition
  45. ^ discogs - Beggars Banquet (the Mono Beggars) 2002 German bootleg
  46. ^ discogs - Beggars Banquet 2010 Universal International ref# UIGY 9038
  47. ^ discogs - Beggars Banquet 2010 ABKCO ref# UICY-20001
  48. ^ discogs - Beggars Banquet 2013 Vinyl reissue
  49. ^
  50. ^ Stone Alone - Bill Wyman
  51. ^ Rolling With The Stones - Bill Wyman
  52. ^ Satanic Sessions - Midnight Beat - CD box sets
  53. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
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  61. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Street Fighting Man". Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  62. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Street Fighting Man". Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  63. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts". Gfk Entertainment. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
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  65. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Rolling Stones". Music Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  66. ^ "British album certifications – The Rolling Stones". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 11 June 2016.  Enter The Rolling Stones in the field Search. Select Artist in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  67. ^ "American album certifications – The Rolling Stones". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 11 June 2016.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]