|Studio album by|
|Released||9 June 1978|
|Recorded||10 October 1977 – 2 March 1978|
|Studio||Pathé Marconi, Paris|
|Producer||The Glimmer Twins|
|The Rolling Stones chronology|
|Singles from Some Girls|
Some Girls is the 14th British and 16th American studio album by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, released on 9 June 1978 on Rolling Stones Records. By 1976, the Rolling Stones' popularity was in decline as the music industry was dominated by disco and newer rock bands. In addition, the punk rock movement was an emerging cultural force in the UK. The band had also failed to produce a critically acclaimed album since 1972's Exile on Main St. Mick Jagger is generally regarded as the principal creative force behind Some Girls, with him taking influence by dance music, most notably disco, during the recording of the album.
It was the first album to feature guitarist Ronnie Wood as a full-time member; Wood had contributed to some tracks on the band's prior two albums, It's Only Rock 'n Roll (1974) and Black and Blue (1976). With a stable line-up in place for the first time in several years, the album marked a return to basics for the Rolling Stones and did not feature many guest musicians, unlike many of their prior albums. Notable contributions to the album, however, come from blues harmonica player Sugar Blue on "Miss You" and "Some Girls".
Rebounding from the relative critical disappointment of Black and Blue, Some Girls reached No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 1 on the US Billboard 200. It became the band's top-selling album in the US, having been certified by the RIAA for selling six million copies sold by 2000. It was a major critical success, becoming the only Rolling Stones album to be nominated for a Grammy Award in the Album of the Year category. Many reviewers called it a classic return to form and their best album since Exile on Main St.
Several hit singles emerged from the album which would become rock radio staples for decades, including "Beast of Burden" (US No. 8), "Shattered" (US No. 31), "Respectable" (UK No. 23), highlighted by "Miss You", which reached No. 1 in the US and No. 3 in the UK. In 2003, Some Girls was included in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
By 1976, the Rolling Stones' popularity was in decline as the charts were dominated by disco and newer bands such as Aerosmith and Kiss. In the UK, the punk rock movement was a rising force and made most artists connected with the 1960s era seem obsolete. The group had also failed to produce a critically acclaimed album since 1972's Exile on Main St.
– Mick Jagger, 1995
Mick Jagger is generally regarded as the principal creative force behind Some Girls. Keith Richards was in legal trouble for much of 1977, which resulted in the band being inactive on the touring circuit during that year, except for two shows in Canada during the spring for the live album Love You Live. Jagger wrote "Miss You", as well as "Respectable", "Lies", and "When the Whip Comes Down". In addition to punk, Jagger claims to have been influenced by dance music, most notably disco, during the recording of Some Girls, and cites New York City as a major inspiration for the album, an explanation for his lyrical preoccupation with the city throughout.
At least as important for the band's re-invigoration was the addition of Ronnie Wood to the line-up, as Some Girls was the first album recorded with him as a full member. Unlike the guitar style of Mick Taylor, Wood's guitar playing style meshed with that of Richards, and slide guitar playing would become one of the band's hallmarks. His unconventional uses of the instrument featured prominently on Some Girls and he contributed to the writing process. Wood later recalled that working with the Stones was a different experience than with his former band the Faces, stating "I had never worked so intensely before on a project." In addition, Jagger, who had learned to play guitar over the previous decade, contributed a third guitar part to many songs. This gave songs like "Respectable" a three-guitar line-up.
For the first time since 1968's Beggars Banquet, the core band — now Jagger, Richards, Wood, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman — would be the main musicians on a Rolling Stones album, with few extra contributors. Ian McLagan, Wood's bandmate from the Faces, played keyboards, and harmonica player Sugar Blue contributed to several songs. In addition to saxophonist Mel Collins and Simon Kirke, who played percussion. The band decided not to use studio musicians including Billy Preston and Nicky Hopkins, as Richards felt that these musicians were "technically superior" but ultimately led the band into experimental territory and away from their basic sound. Jagger's guitar contributions caused the band's road manager, Ian Stewart, to be absent from many of the sessions as he felt piano would be superfluous, making this a rare Rolling Stones album on which he did not appear.
A serious concern was Richards' highly publicised heroin possession bust in Toronto, Ontario, in early 1977. This resulted in the possibility that he might be sent to jail for years. However, due to the judgement that Richards was separate from the usual theft and anti-social culture that was associated with heroin use, he was sentenced lightly. He was ordered to perform a charity show for The Canadian National Institute for the Blind which took place in Oshawa, Ontario, in 1979 where the Rolling Stones performed two shows and also featured the New Barbarians featuring both Wood and Richards on bass.
Rehearsals for Some Girls began in October 1977 and lasted a month before recording commenced in November, breaking before Christmas and starting up again after New Years before finishing in March 1978. Under their new British recording contract with EMI (remaining with Warner Music Group in North America only), they were able to record at EMI's Pathé Marconi Studios in Paris, a venue at which they would record frequently for the next several years. The Rolling Stones ended up recording about 50 new songs, several of which would turn up in altered forms on Emotional Rescue (1980) and Tattoo You (1981). Chris Kimsey was the engineer for the sessions. His approach to recording breathed life into the somewhat dense sounding recordings like Goats Head Soup (1973) and It's Only Rock 'n Roll (1974) albums. Kimsey's direct method of recording, together with the entrance of the then state-of-the-art Mesa/Boogie Mark I amps instead of the Ampeg SVT line of amps, yielded a bright, direct and aggressive guitar sound.
Packaging and artwork
The album cover for Some Girls was conceived and designed by Peter Corriston, who would design the next three album covers, with illustrations by Hubert Kretzschmar. An elaborate die-cut design, with the colours on the sleeves varying in different markets, it featured the Rolling Stones' faces alongside those of select female celebrities inserted into a copy of an old Valmor Products Corporation advertisement. The cover design was challenged legally when Lucille Ball, Farrah Fawcett, Liza Minnelli (representing her mother Judy Garland), Raquel Welch, and the estate of Marilyn Monroe threatened to sue for the use of their likenesses without permission. Similarly, Valmor did take legal action and were given a monetary award for the use of their design.
The album was quickly re-issued with a redesigned cover that removed all the celebrities, whether they had complained or not. The celebrity images were replaced with black and punk style garish colours with the phrase Pardon our appearance – cover under re-construction. Jagger later apologised to Minnelli when he encountered her during a party at the famous discothèque Studio 54. The only celebrity whose face was not removed was ex-Beatle George Harrison. As with the original design, the colour schemes on the redesigned sleeves varied in different markets.
A third version of the album cover with the hand-drawn faces from the original Valmore ad was used on the 1986 CD reissue.
The lead single, "Miss You", was released on 19 May 1978 by the band's own Rolling Stones label, with the album track "Far Away Eyes" as the B-side; a longer, 12" edit appeared a month later on 2 June. The single was a commercial success, spending seven weeks on the UK Singles Chart, eventually peaking at No. 3. It fared better in the US, spending 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 – longer than any prior Rolling Stones single – eventually peaking at No. 1, the band's final single to top the chart. Despite its commercial success, its disco sound alienated part of the fanbase. Regarding this, Jagger stated:
There were a lot of people that were very narrow-minded about it. To me, I wasn't brought up on rock music so much as blues and soul music, and lot of that music was dance music. It was specifically made to dance to...You don't really play the grooves of yesteryear when you make records, you play the grooves of now. And that sort of beat was the thing that was going around at the time. For some people it was a very big hit, but not everyone liked it.
Some Girls was released on 9 June 1978,[a] with the catalogue number CUN 39108 (UK) and COC 39108 (US). The record continued the band's commercial success. It spent 25 weeks on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at No. 2 the week of 24 June. It fared better in the US, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and spending 88 weeks on the chart. "Beast of Burden", backed by "When the Whip Comes Down", was released as the second single on 28 August 1978 in the US, where it reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Respectable", again backed by "When the Whip Comes Down", was released as the third single in the UK on 15 September, while "Shattered", backed by "Everything is Turning to Gold", appeared as the fourth and final single in the US on 29 November 1978. Both became Top 40 hits.
Immediately following the album's release, the album attracted controversy. According to Cyrus Patell, a prominent black music station WBLS in New York City refused to play "Miss You" due to what the station deemed to be "the offensive racial attitudes of the album and the band." Additionally, the title track attracted controversy with the line "Black Girls just want to get fucked all night/I just don't have that much jam." Regarding the line, Ahmet Ertegun, the chairman of Atlantic Records (the US distributor of Rolling Stones Records), stated: "When I first heard the song, I told Mick it was not going to go down well. Mick assured me that it was a parody of the type of people who hold these attitudes. Mick has great respect for blacks. He owes his whole being, his whole musical career, to black people." Incidentally, black-oriented radio stations began to boycott "Some Girls", leading Jagger to tell Rolling Stone: "Atlantic tried to get us to drop it, but I refused. I've always been opposed to censorship of any kind, especially by conglomerates. I've always said, 'If you can't take a joke, it's too fucking bad.'"
On 6 October 1978, Ertegun met with Reverend Jesse Jackson, then leader of Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) to discuss the lyric. The meeting ended with Jackson declaring the song to be a "racial insult" that "degrades blacks and women", threatening to boycott the record until a resolution was met. Ertegun concurred, saying, "It is not our wish to in any way demean, insult or make less of the people without whom there would be no Atlantic Records." After discussing the matter with Atlantic officials, who considered censoring the line, Earl McGrath, president of Rolling Stones Records, released a statement on 12 October on behalf of the band:
It never occurred to us that our parody of certain stereotypical attitudes would be taken seriously by anyone who heard the entire lyric of the song in question. No insult was intended, and if any was taken, we sincerely apologize.
Upon release, Some Girls received extremely positive reviews from music critics, with many agreeing it was the Stones' best work since Exile on Main St. Reviewing for The Village Voice in 1978, Robert Christgau said, "The Stones' best album since Exile on Main St. is also their easiest since Let It Bleed or before. They haven't gone for a knockdown uptempo classic, a 'Brown Sugar' or 'Jumpin' Jack Flash'—just straight rock and roll unencumbered by horn sections or Billy Preston. Even Jagger takes a relatively direct approach, and if he retains any credibility for you after six years of dicking around, there should be no agonizing over whether you like this record, no waiting for tunes to kick in. Lyrically, there are some bad moments—especially on the title cut, which is too fucking indirect to suit me—but in general the abrasiveness seems personal, earned, unposed, and the vulnerability more genuine than ever. Also, the band is a real good one. Real good."
In his review of the album for Rolling Stone in June 1978, Paul Nelson wrote that while Some Girls may have been the band’s finest LP since its "certified masterpiece", Exile on Main St., "what I won’t buy is that the two albums deserve to be mentioned in the same breath. (...) Some Girls is like a marriage of convenience: when it works — which is often — it can be meaningful, memorable and quite moving, but it rarely sends the arrow straight through the heart." Three months later, in September, Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner published his own review, rebutting that of Paul Nelson. He heaped praise on the Some Girls single, writing that the song "exemplifies the polish, power, and passion of the Stones", equalled 'Tumbling Dice' and 'Brown Sugar', and "may even set new standards for the band."
Writing for Circus magazine, Nick Tosches gave praise to the record, calling it their best in five years: "After five years, the rhythm is back, and satisfaction and shelter are once again just out of reach." He further wrote that Some Girls more than makes up for the group's prior works. After Black and Blue, Richard Riegel of Creem called Some Girls a return to "refreshingly kinetic rock 'n' roll". He further gave praise to Jagger's vocal performances and Wood's contributions on guitar. In Sounds, Peter Silverton spoke positively of the record, highlighting "Miss You" as the standout. He concluded: "Because they recorded so quickly (by their standards) they've achieved an immediacy on this which has been sorely lacking on their last few studio albums. It's far from great but it's certainly better than we had any right to expect after all these years." Kris Needs, in a review for ZigZag magazine, complimented the album's consistency when compared to its three predecessors. Needs further praised the lyrics as improvements over their prior works. NME's Charles Shaar Murray gave the album a more mixed assessment. Although he agreed it was their finest work since Exile on Main St., he felt it was more a Jagger solo record than a proper Rolling Stones record, praising his singing and Watts' drumming. Nevertheless, he considered the production a step up from Black and Blue and gave high praise to "Shattered".
|The A.V. Club||A|
|Christgau's Record Guide||A|
|The Great Rock Discography||7/10|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Some Girls has continued to receive critical acclaim, with many reviewers commending the band's ability to blend contemporary music trends with their older signature style. Writing for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine praised the album, calling it "a tough, focused, and exciting record, full of more hooks and energy than any Stones record since Exile on Main St." Commending the group's performance compared to their previous works, Erlewine felt the rock tracks sound "harder and nastier than they have in years." He concluded his review stating: "Some Girls may not have the back-street aggression of their '60s records, or the majestic, drugged-out murk of their early-'70s work, but its brand of glitzy, decadent hard rock still makes it a definitive Stones album." After a period of decline due to emerging music trends, Jeff Giles of Ultimate Classic Rock credits Some Girls was successfully reinvigorating the band's sound and keeping its own identity, writing: "While the record incorporated elements familiar to longtime Stones fans...it infused the group's staid sonic aesthetic with disco rhythms and a dash of jagged punk aggression." Giles concluded that the album proved that "when they put their minds to it, the Stones were still capable of earning the title of the World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band."
The album's 2011 reissue attracted a number of reviews. Yahoo!'s Lÿndsey Parker described Some Girls as one of the band's "toughest, rawest, hookiest, cockiest, Stonesiest, most attitudinal albums ever." She further commented that it stands as one of few Stones albums to have "held up as sonically, and still sound as gritty and urban and sexy and just downright cool, as their 1978 disco/punk/country/blues masterwork". In The A.V. Club, Steven Hyden commented that the record was not a case of selling out, but rather showcased that the band "could pull off the old magic using some flashy new tricks." Hyden further praised Richards' guitar performance, particularly on "Beast of Burden" and "Before They Make Me Run", writing that he is "healthier and more prominent on Some Girls than on any Stones record since Exile On Main St." Matthew Fiander of PopMatters commented that after Exile on Main St., the Stones were beginning to feel "safe" and "comfortable". He writes that Goats Head Soup led to two records that weren't as innovative as their prior works. Upon the emergence of punk rock, Jagger led the band to create what he calls "the band's most impassioned and fiery record of the '70s" (excluding Sticky Fingers and Exile). Praising the band's performance, particularly Wood, Fiander writes: "What's so amazing about this album is that, though it dabbles in newer trends...it still feels very much like a Rolling Stones record, a fresh angle on their long-time loves of blues and rock and roll traditions."
Aftermath and legacy
The Stones embarked on their summer US Tour 1978 in support of the album, which for the first time saw them mount several small venue shows, sometimes under a pseudonym. This was shorter and less ambitious than previous Stones tours, with only 26 shows performed over one and a half months, all of them in the US. Nonetheless, Some Girls became the third-best-represented album in Stones' concert setlists after Let It Bleed and Exile on Main St. All its ten songs have been played live – a distinction it shares only with Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers[b] – although the title tune was never performed until 1999, and only "Lies" was never played after the last dates in support of the album.
Some Girls has frequently appeared on several "best-of" lists by multiple publications. In 2000, it was voted number 300 in writer Colin Larkin's book All Time Top 1000 Albums. In 2003 Some Girls was ranked number 269 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, 270 in a 2012 revised list, and 468 in the 2020 revised list. In 2015, Ultimate Classic Rock included the album in their list of the top 100 rock albums of the '70s, while a year later, Classic Rock magazine placed the album at number seven on its list of the 100 greatest albums of the '70s. Based on Some Girls's appearances in professional rankings and listings, the aggregate website Acclaimed Music lists it as 12th most acclaimed album of 1978, the 117th most acclaimed album of the 1970s and the 417th most acclaimed album in popular music history.
In 1986, the first compact disc version of the album was issued by the Stones' new label distributor, Columbia Records, as Rolling Stones/Columbia CK-40449. In 1994, with the acquisition of the Rolling Stones Records catalogue by Virgin Records, Some Girls was remastered and re-issued. The first pressing was packaged in a replica of the die-cut vinyl packaging, representing the redesigned 1978 cover in a pale color scheme. In 2009, the album was remastered and reissued by Universal Music; the reissue restored one of the brighter color schemes of the redesigned 1978 cover.
Some Girls was re-issued on 21 November 2011 as a 2-CD deluxe edition, including twelve songs originally recorded during the two sessions for the album (with the exception of "Tallahassee Lassie" from August–September 1978 and "We Had It All" from 1979). A Super-Deluxe edition also included a DVD with live footage & promo videos, a 100-page book, five postcards, a poster, and a 7" 180-gram replica vinyl single of "Beast of Burden". Most of the backing tracks were recorded in Paris between October 1977 and March 1978 with mostly newly recorded vocals by Jagger, which were recorded sometime during 2010 and 2011. The album re-entered the charts at No. 58 in the UK and No. 46 in the US. "No Spare Parts" was released as a single on 13 November, which went to No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Singles Sales. "So Young" was the second single from the Some Girls reissue, released briefly for free on iTunes the same day "No Spare Parts" was released. A video for "No Spare Parts" was produced and later released on 19 December 2011.
In 2012 it was released by Universal Music Enterprises in a Japanese-only SHM-SACD version.
All tracks are written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted.
|2.||"When the Whip Comes Down"||4:20|
|3.||"Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" (writers: Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong)||4:38|
|1.||"Far Away Eyes"||4:24|
|3.||"Before They Make Me Run"||3:25|
|4.||"Beast of Burden"||4:25|
- North American copies of the album on 8-track tape format contain extended versions of "Miss You" and "Beast of Burden" and edited versions of the songs "Far Away Eyes," "Shattered" and "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)".
2011 bonus disc
|3.||"Do You Think I Really Care?"||4:22|
|4.||"When You're Gone"||Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood||3:51|
|5.||"No Spare Parts"||4:30|
|6.||"Don't Be a Stranger"||4:06|
|7.||"We Had It All"||Troy Seals, Donnie Fritts||2:54|
|8.||"Tallahassee Lassie"||Bob Crewe, Frank Slay, Freddy Cannon||2:37|
|9.||"I Love You Too Much"||3:10|
|10.||"Keep Up Blues"||4:20|
|11.||"You Win Again"||Hank Williams||3:00|
Album credits per the 2011 deluxe edition liner notes. Track numbers noted in parenthesis below are based on the CD track numbering.
The Rolling Stones
- Mick Jagger – lead vocals (all but 8), backing vocals (1–3, 6, 8–10), electric guitar (1–5, 7), piano (6), percussion (10)
- Keith Richards – electric guitar (all tracks), backing vocals (1–3, 6, 8–10), acoustic guitar (4, 6, 8, 9), bass guitar (4, 8), piano (6), lead vocals (8)
- Ronnie Wood – electric guitar (all but 6), backing vocals (1–3, 6, 8, 10), pedal steel (2, 6, 10), acoustic guitar (4, 9), bass guitar (10), bass drum (10)
- Bill Wyman – bass guitar (1–3, 5–7, 9), synthesiser (4)
- Charlie Watts – drums (all tracks)
- Sugar Blue – harmonica (1, 4)
- Ian McLagan – electric piano (1), organ (3)
- Mel Collins – saxophone (1)
- Simon Kirke – congas (10)
- Chris Kimsey – mixing engineer
- Ted Jensen – vinyl mastering
Additional personnel on 2011 bonus disc
- Ian Stewart – bonus tracks: piano on "Claudine", "So Young", "Do You Think I Really Care?", "Tallahassee Lassie", "You Win Again", and "Petrol Blues"
- Chuck Leavell – bonus tracks: piano solo on "So Young"
- Don Was – bonus tracks: bass guitar on "Don't Be a Stranger"; handclaps on "Tallahassee Lassie"
- John Fogerty – bonus tracks: handclaps on "Tallahassee Lassie"
- Matt Clifford – bonus tracks: percussion on "Don't Be a Stranger"
- Sugar Blue – bonus tracks: harmonica on "Don't Be a Stranger" and "We Had It All"
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||6× Platinum||6,000,000^|
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
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