Bridges to Babylon

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Bridges to Babylon
A painting of a stone lion standing on two legs in the sand
Studio album by
Released29 September 1997 (1997-09-29)
Recorded13 March – July 1997
StudioOcean Way Recording (Los Angeles, California)
Genre
Length62:27
LabelVirgin
ProducerDon Was, The Glimmer Twins, with Rob Fraboni, Danny Saber, Pierre de Beauport, and The Dust Brothers
The Rolling Stones chronology
Voodoo Lounge
(1994)
Bridges to Babylon
(1997)
A Bigger Bang
(2005)
Singles from Bridges to Babylon
  1. "Anybody Seen My Baby?"
    Released: 22 September 1997
  2. "Saint of Me"
    Released: 26 January 1998
  3. "Out of Control"
    Released: August 1998

Bridges to Babylon is the 21st British (and 23rd American) studio album by British rock band the Rolling Stones, released by Virgin Records on 29 September 1997. Released as a double album on vinyl and as a single CD, it was supported by the year-long worldwide Bridges to Babylon Tour that met with much success.

Unlike the prior several albums, which the production and songwriting team of vocalist Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards had co-produced alongside a single producer, the Stones brought in an eclectic mix of superstar producers, including the Dust Brothers, Don Was, and Rob Fraboni among others. Similarly, a wide array of guest musicians appeared on each of the tracks alongside band members Jagger, Richards, Ronnie Wood on guitar and Charlie Watts on drums. The sprawling album features a wide range of genres, including the Stones-standard blues rock, sample-laden hip hop and rap. The band was once again not on speaking terms during the recording of the album, with Jagger and Richards each recording their parts separately and rarely appearing in the studio together. However, they had repaired their relationship well enough to embark on a wildly successful tour to support the album.

Though critics gave the album mixed reviews, it sold well, reaching platinum or gold status in many markets, and produced the world-wide Top 40 single "Anybody Seen My Baby?".

Background and recording[edit]

Following the Voodoo Lounge Tour from 1994-95, and the album Stripped, 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 as they met in New York in November and London the following month. Another writing session took place in Barbados in January 1997.[1]

In March 1997, the band arrived in Los Angeles to start the recording sessions at Ocean Way Studios. After many albums recorded in isolated islands, working in a big city allowed for the contribution of various musician friends of the band. Bridges to Babylon was recorded until July, and the four-month production made it one of their most concise periods of recording in years. The sessions were frequently all-nighters that lasted until Richards got tired by the morning.[1]

Although Don Was produced again, Jagger arrived before the other member of the Stones to seek local producers. First were The Dust Brothers, who had impressed Jagger with their work on Beck's Odelay and the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique.[2] The Dust Brothers' contributions were initially five, but were reduced to three, which marked the only Stones songs to feature sampling. Danny Saber and Babyface were also brought in by Jagger, though the latter's contributions to the track "Already Over Me" were eventually discarded. Richards was not keen on the idea of working with 'loop gurus', going as far as expelling Saber from the studio once he found him overdubbing guitars. Richards brought in Rob Fraboni for his solo material, and Was made sure to work with Richards and Jagger in separate rooms. Drummer Charlie Watts would relieve the tense environment by working with percussionist Jim Keltner, whom he later drafted for a solo project. By the final week of recording, the Stones were not on speaking terms, with Jagger boycotting sessions arranged by Richards' crew and Watts leaving Los Angeles as soon as he finished his contributions.[1]

During the album's mastering, the chorus of the projected lead single "Anybody Seen My Baby?" was found to resemble the 1992 hit "Constant Craving" by k.d. lang, 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 tune.[3] It reached No. 22 in the UK and also became a U.S. radio rock hit.

A total of eight different musicians played bass on the sessions for the album: Jeff Sarli, Jamie Muhoberac, Pierre de Beauport, Don Was, Danny Saber, Darryl Jones, Me'shell Ndegeocello, and Doug Wimbish.

Packaging[edit]

Once the Rolling Stones had picked Stefan Sagmeister to be the album's art director, Jagger told him to seek inspiration from Babylonian art exhibited at the British Museum. Sagmeister was most impressed by a Lamassu sculpture, featuring a lion with a human head and beard, and commissioned artist Kevin Murphy to paint a similar Assyrian lion in an attack stance. The first million units of Bridges to Babylon were encased in a special manufactured filigree slipcase, that gave the impression that the lion was embedded into the design. The desert background of the cover was extended throughout the booklet, featuring ruins that were the basis for the stage design of the Bridges to Babylon Tour.[4][5]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[7]
Entertainment WeeklyB[8]
NME7/10[9]
Tom HullB+[10]

Bridges to Babylon, containing an unprecedented three solo vocals by Richards, was released to mixed reviews. It reached No. 6 in the UK, No. 2 in France and No. 3 in the US, where it was certified platinum by the RIAA in November 1997.[11] As of January 2010, Bridges to Babylon had sold 1.1 million copies in the U.S.[12] Further singles "Saint of Me" and concert staple "Out of Control" were also minor hits.

By this point, the Stones had become a touring phenomenon. The Bridges to Babylon Tour in 1997 consisted of 108 concerts, with an elaborate stage design Jagger aimed to make similar to U2's PopMart Tour.[1]

In 2009, Bridges to Babylon was remastered and reissued by Universal Music.also the album took one hour for the hole songs. the other songs would take 5 minutes

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted.

No.TitleLength
1."Flip the Switch"3:28
2."Anybody Seen My Baby?" (writers: Jagger, Richards, k.d. lang, Ben Mink)4:31
3."Low Down"4:26
4."Already Over Me"5:24
5."Gunface"5:02
6."You Don't Have to Mean It"3:44
7."Out of Control"4:43
8."Saint of Me"5:15
9."Might as Well Get Juiced"5:23
10."Always Suffering"4:43
11."Too Tight"3:33
12."Thief in the Night" (writers: Jagger, Richards, Pierre de Beauport)5:15
13."How Can I Stop"6:53

Personnel[edit]

The Rolling Stones

Production

  • The Glimmer Twins – production (all tracks)
  • Don Was – production (all but "Saint of Me", "Might As Well Get Juiced" and "Gunface")
  • The Dust Brothers – production ("Anybody Seen My Baby?", "Saint of Me", "Might As Well Get Juiced")
  • Rob Fraboni – production, mixing ("You Don't Have to Mean It"), engineering
  • Danny Saber – production ("Gunface")
  • Pierre de Beauport – production ("Always Suffering")
  • Tom Lord-Alge – mixing
  • John X Volaitis – mixing ("Gunface")
  • Wally Gagel – mixing ("Out of Control")
  • Bob Clearmountain – mixing ("Already Over Me")
  • Stefan Sagmeister – art direction and design
  • Hjalti Karlsson – design
  • Max Vadukul – photography
  • Kevin Murphy – illustration
  • Gerard Howland (Floating Company) – illustration
  • Alan Ayers – illustration

Additional musicians

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[33] Platinum 60,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[34] Platinum 50,000*
Belgium (BEA)[35] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[36] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[37] 2× Gold 200,000*
Germany (BVMI)[38] Platinum 500,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[39] Platinum 200,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[40] Gold 25,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[41] Platinum 100,000^
Poland (ZPAV)[42] Gold 50,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[43] Platinum 100,000^
Sweden (GLF)[44] Gold 40,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[45] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[46] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[47] Platinum 1,000,000^
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[48] Platinum 1,000,000*

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. Crown/Archetype. pp. 504–8. ISBN 0767909569.
  2. ^ Janovitz, Bill (2013). "48: Saint of Me". Rocks Off: 50 Tracks That Tell the Story of the Rolling Stones. MacMillan. pp. 360–5. ISBN 978-1250026323.
  3. ^ Richards, Keith; Fox James (2010). Life. Great Britain: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 457. ISBN 978-0-297-85439-5.
  4. ^ "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 8 November 1997. p. 63. Retrieved 20 May 2021 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Rolling Stones "Bridges to Babylon"". Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  6. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Bridges to Babylon – The Rolling Stones". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 21 April 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Bridges to Babylon". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Bridges to Babylon | EW.com". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com. Archived from the original on 4 December 2016.
  9. ^ "NME.COM – THE ROLLING STONES – Bridges To Babylon – 20/9/97". 17 August 2000. Archived from the original on 17 August 2000.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  10. ^ Hull, Tom (30 June 2018). "Streamnotes (June 2018)". tomhull.com. Archived from the original on 12 October 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  11. ^ "Gold and Platinum Database Search". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  12. ^ Christman, Ed, et al. "Future Shock" Archived 30 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Billboard. 23 January 2010
  13. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Australian Charts. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
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  18. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Finnish Charts. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
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  21. ^ "Archivum: Top 40 Album". MAHASZ (in Hungarian). Archived from the original on 28 November 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  22. ^ "Artist Ranking CD Album". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  23. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  24. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). charts.nz. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 16 July 2019. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  25. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Norwegian Charts. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  26. ^ Hits of the World – Spain. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 24 October 1997. p. 63.
  27. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Swedish Charts. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  28. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Swiss Charts. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
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  32. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  33. ^ "Argentinian album certifications – Rolling Stonse – Bridges to Babylon". Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers.
  34. ^ "Austrian album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Bridges to Babylon" (in German). IFPI Austria.
  35. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – albums 1997". Ultratop. Hung Medien.
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  38. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Rolling Stones; 'Bridges to Babylon')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  39. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Rolling Stones – Bridges to Babylon" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 28 May 2020. Select 1997年10月 on the drop-down menu
  40. ^ "Norwegian album certifications – Rolling Stones – Bridges to Babylon" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway.
  41. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Rolling Stones – Bridges to Babylon" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 19 June 2019. Enter Bridges to Babylon in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  42. ^ "Wyróżnienia - Złote płyty CD - Archiwum - Przyznane w 1998 roku" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  43. ^ Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (PDF) (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. p. 947. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  44. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2011.
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  47. ^ "American album certifications – Rolling Stones, The – Bridges to Babylon". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
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External links[edit]