Let It Bleed

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This article is about the 1969 album by The Rolling Stones. For other uses, see Let It Bleed (disambiguation).
Let It Bleed
LetitbleedRS.jpg
Studio album by The Rolling Stones
Released 5 December 1969
Recorded November 1968, February–November 1969
Studio Olympic Studios, London; Elektra Studios, Los Angeles
Genre Hard rock, blues, country blues
Length 42:21
Label Decca (UK)
London (US)
Producer Jimmy Miller
The Rolling Stones chronology
Beggars Banquet
(1968)
Let It Bleed
(1969)
Sticky Fingers
(1971)
Singles from Let It Bleed
  1. "Honky Tonk Women"/"You Can't Always Get What You Want"
    Released: July 1969
  2. "Let It Bleed"/"You Got the Silver"
    Released: January 1970 (Japan only)

Let It Bleed is the eighth British and tenth American album by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, released in December 1969 by Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States. Released shortly after the band's 1969 American Tour, it is the follow-up to 1968's Beggars Banquet and the last album by the band to feature Brian Jones as well as the first to feature Mick Taylor.

Background[edit]

Although the Stones had begun the recording of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" in November 1968, before Beggars Banquet had been released, recording for Let It Bleed began in earnest in February 1969 and continued sporadically until early November.[1] Brian Jones performs on only two tracks: playing the autoharp on "You Got the Silver", and percussion on "Midnight Rambler". His replacement, Mick Taylor, plays guitar on two tracks, "Country Honk" and "Live with Me", as well as on "Honky Tonk Women" which was recorded during the Let It Bleed sessions. Keith Richards, who had already shared vocal duties with Mick Jagger on "Connection" and sung separate lead vocals on parts of "Something Happened to Me Yesterday" and "Salt of the Earth", sang his first solo lead vocal on a Rolling Stones recording with "You Got the Silver".[2] The London Bach Choir sang on "You Can't Always Get What You Want" but publicly disassociated itself from the album, citing what author Stephen Davis terms its "relentless drug ambience".[3]

Let It Bleed was originally scheduled for release in July 1969. Although "Honky Tonk Women" was released as a single that month, the album itself suffered numerous delays and was eventually released in December 1969, after the band's US tour for it had already completed.[citation needed] The majority of the album was recorded at Olympic Studios in London, with further work taking place at Elektra Sound Recorders Studios, 962 La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, 90069, while the Stones prepared for the tour.[4] The Los Angeles-recorded portions included overdubs by guest musicians Merry Clayton (on "Gimme Shelter"), Byron Berline (on "Country Honk"),[5] and Bobby Keys and Leon Russell (on "Live with Me").[6] Finally, an unreleased version of "I Don't Know The Reason Why (a. k. a. Hillside Blues)" was also recorded there in October, 1969 with Mick Taylor.

Music and lyrics[edit]

According to Don Heckman from The New York Times, Let It Bleed was a "heavy" and "passionately erotic" album of hard rock and blues, influenced by African-American music.[7] Richie Unterberger, writing for AllMusic, said it "extends the rock and blues feel of Beggars Banquet into slightly harder-rocking, more demonically sexual territory."[8] Mojo magazine's James McNair felt the record had an emphasis on "earthy" country blues.[9]

Artwork[edit]

The album cover displays a surreal sculpture designed by Robert Brownjohn.[10] The image consists of the Let It Bleed record being played by the tone-arm of an antique phonograph, and a record-changer spindle supporting several items stacked on a plate in place of a stack of records: a film canister labelled Stones – Let It Bleed, a clock dial, a pizza, a tyre and a cake with elaborate icing topped by figurines representing the band. The cake parts of the construction were prepared by then-unknown cookery writer Delia Smith.[11] The reverse of the LP sleeve[12] shows the same "record-stack" melange in a state of disarray. The artwork was inspired by the working title of the album, which was Automatic Changer.[13]

The album cover for Let It Bleed was among the ten chosen by the Royal Mail for a set of "Classic Album Cover" postage stamps issued in January 2010.[14][15]

Jagger originally asked artist M. C. Escher to design a cover for the album; Escher declined.[16][17]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Retrospective reviews
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars[18]
Entertainment Weekly A[19]
The Great Rock Discography 9/10[18]
MusicHound Rock 5/5[20]
NME 9/10[21]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[22]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[23]

Released in December, Let It Bleed reached number 1 in the UK (temporarily demoting The Beatles' Abbey Road) and number 3 on the Billboard Top LPs chart in the US, where it eventually went 2x platinum. In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone magazine, music critic Greil Marcus said that the middle of the album has "great" songs, but "Gimme Shelter" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" "seem to matter most" because they "both reach for reality and end up confronting it, almost mastering what's real, or what reality will feel like as the years fade in."[24]

Let It Bleed was the Stones' last album to be released in an official mono version, which is rare and highly sought-after today. The album was released in US as an LP record, reel to reel tape and 8-track cartridge in 1969, and as a remastered CD in 1986. In August 2002, it was reissued in a remastered CD and SACD digipak by ABKCO Records, and once more in 2010 by Universal Music Enterprises in a Japanese only SHM-SACD version.[25]

According to Rolling Stone, Let It Bleed is the second of the Stones' run of four studio LPs that are generally regarded as among their greatest achievements artistically, equalled only by the best of their great 45's from that decade. The other three albums are Beggars Banquet (1968), Sticky Fingers (1971) and Exile on Main St. (1972).[26] In a retrospective review, NME magazine said that the album "tugs and teases" in various musical directions and called it "a classic".[21] In his 2001 Stones biography, Stephen Davis said of the album "No rock record, before or since, has ever so completely captured the sense of palpable dread that hung over its era."[3] In a five-star review for Rolling Stone in 2004, Gavin Edwards praised Keith Richard's guitar playing throughout the album and stated, "Whether it was spiritual, menstrual or visceral, the Stones made sure you went home covered in blood."[22] Jason McNeil of PopMatters wrote that Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed are "the two greatest albums the band’s (or anyone’s) ever made".[27]

In 2000, Q magazine ranked it at number 28 in its list of "The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever". In 2001, the TV network VH1 placed Let It Bleed at 24th on their "100 Greatest Albums of R 'n' R" survey. In 1997, it was voted the 27th "Best Album Ever" by The Guardian.[18] In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it at number 32 on the magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[28]

Track listing[edit]

The track listing on the back of the album jacket did not follow the one on the album itself. According to Brownjohn, he altered it purely for visual reasons; the correct order was shown on the record's label. Additionally, "Gimme Shelter" is rendered as "Gimmie Shelter" on the jacket. Some releases have "Gimmie Shelter" on the cover, the inner sleeve and the LP label.

All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except "Love in Vain" by Robert Johnson. Early US editions of the album credit the song to Woody Payne, a pseudonym used by a music publisher of the songs of Robert Johnson.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Gimme Shelter"   4:31
2. "Love in Vain"   4:19
3. "Country Honk"   3:09
4. "Live with Me"   3:33
5. "Let It Bleed"   5:26
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Midnight Rambler"   6:52
2. "You Got the Silver"   2:51
3. "Monkey Man"   4:12
4. "You Can't Always Get What You Want"   7:28

Personnel[edit]

The Rolling Stones[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1969–70) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[29] 2
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[30] 4
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[31] 1
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[32] 3
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[33] 2
UK Albums (OCC)[34] 1
US Billboard 200[35] 3
Chart (2007) Peak
position
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[36] 37
Chart (2012) Peak
position
French Albums (SNEP)[37] 138

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[38] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[39] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[40] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Egan, Sean (2005). Rolling Stones and the making of Let It Bleed. Unanimous Ltd. pp. 206–. ISBN 1 90331 877 7. 
  2. ^ Decca. "Inner sleeve credits". Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. New York, NY: Broadway Books. p. 306. ISBN 0-7679-0312-9. 
  4. ^ Bonanno, Massimo (1990). The Rolling Stones Chronicle. London: Plexus Publishing. pp. 86, 93. ISBN 0-207-16940-3. 
  5. ^ Wyman, Bill (2002). Rolling with the Stones. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 356. ISBN 0-7513-4646-2. 
  6. ^ Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. New York, NY: Broadway Books. pp. 304, 305. ISBN 0-7679-0312-9. 
  7. ^ Heckman, Don (28 December 1969). "Pop: No, The Rolling Stones are Not Fascists; Mick's Not Fascist". The New York Times. p. D24. Retrieved 21 June 2013.  (subscription required)
  8. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "Let It Bleed". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "The Rolling Stones Top 10 Albums" > "2. Let It Bleed". mojo4music.com. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  10. ^ Robert Brownjohn from the Design Museum website
  11. ^ Delia Smith from loog2stoned.com
  12. ^ Back cover image from the Design Museum website
  13. ^ Wyman, Bill. 2002. Rolling With the Stones
  14. ^ "Classic Album Covers: Issue Date – 7 January 2010". Royal Mail. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  15. ^ Michaels, Sean (8 January 2010). "Coldplay album gets stamp of approval from Royal Mail". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  16. ^ "Review: The Amazing World of MC Escher". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  17. ^ Higgins, Chris. "How Mick Jagger Got Dissed By M.C. Escher". Mental Floss. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  18. ^ a b c "The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "Let It Bleed CD". Muze Inc. Retrieved 21 June 2008. 
  20. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. pp. 950, 952. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  21. ^ a b "Review: Let It Bleed". NME. London: 46. 8 July 1995. 
  22. ^ a b Edwards, Gavin (2 September 2004). "Review: Let It Bleed". Rolling Stone. New York: 147. 
  23. ^ "The Rolling Stones: Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Archived version retrieved 15 November 2014.
  24. ^ "Album Reviews: The Rolling Stones – Let it Bleed". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  25. ^ Walsh, Christopher (24 August 2002). "Super audio CDs: The Rolling Stones Remastered". Billboard. p. 27. 
  26. ^ Steven Van Zandt. "The Immortals – The Greatest Artists of All Time: 4) The Rolling Stones". The RollingStone. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  27. ^ MacNeil, Jason (23 August 2004). "The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet / Let it Bleed". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  28. ^ "Let It Bleed". Rolling Stone. January 2003. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  29. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  30. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 6114." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  31. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  32. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  33. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  34. ^ "Rolling Stones | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  35. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Chart history" Billboard 200 for The Rolling Stones. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  36. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  37. ^ "Lescharts.com – The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  38. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Rolling Stones". Music Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  39. ^ "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 Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  40. ^ "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]