This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Studio album by|
|Released||29 August 1989|
|Recorded||29 March – 5 May, 15 May – 29 June 1989|
|Studio||Air Studios, Montserrat|
|Genre||Rock, hard rock|
|Producer||Chris Kimsey, The Glimmer Twins|
|The Rolling Stones chronology|
|Singles from Steel Wheels|
Heralded as a major comeback upon its release, the project is notable for the patching up of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' relationship, a reversion to a more classic style of music and the launching of the band's biggest world tour at the time. It is also long-time bassist Bill Wyman's final full-length studio album with the Stones, preceding the announcement of his departure in January 1993. Wyman's final tenure with the band would be on two studio tracks for 1991's Flashpoint. It was produced by Richards and Jagger along with Chris Kimsey, who had previously produced 1983's Undercover.
After the relative disappointment of their prior two albums, Steel Wheels was an unqualified smash hit, reaching multi-platinum status in the US, peaking as a top-5 album in numerous markets all over the world, and spawning two hit singles: "Mixed Emotions", which peaked at number one in Canada and number five in the US, and "Rock and a Hard Place", the band's last top-40 US hit. Critics were generally lukewarm on the album, exemplified by Stephen Thomas Erlewine: "It doesn't make for a great Stones album, but it's not bad, and it feels like a comeback."
Following the release of 1986's Dirty Work, and Jagger's active pursuit of a solo career, relations between him and the Stones-committed Richards worsened considerably. While Jagger released the tepidly received Primitive Cool in 1987, Richards recorded Talk Is Cheap, his solo debut, which would be released in 1988 to rave reviews. The two years largely apart appeared to have healed the wounds sufficiently to begin resurrecting their partnership and their band.
Meeting in January 1989, just preceding the Stones' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the chemistry between Jagger and Richards easily outshone whatever differences they had and after composing some 50 songs in a matter of weeks, Ronnie Wood, Wyman and Charlie Watts were called in to begin recording what would become Steel Wheels, beckoning Undercover co-producer Chris Kimsey to perform the same role.
Recording in Montserrat and London during the spring months, Steel Wheels was designed to emulate a classic Rolling Stones sound. The one notable exception was "Continental Drift", an Eastern-flavoured piece, with The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar, recorded in June 1989 in Tangier, coordinated by Cherie Nutting. With much of the past disagreements behind them, sessions for Steel Wheels were fairly harmonious.
Release and reception
|The Great Rock Discography||6/10|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
The massive, worldwide Steel Wheels Tour was launched in late August 1989, concurrently with Steel Wheels' arrival and the release of lead single "Mixed Emotions", a partially biographical reference to Jagger and Richards' recent woes that proved to be the Rolling Stones' last major hit single in the US, reaching No. 5. Critical reaction was warm, with Steel Wheels reaching No. 2 in the UK and No. 3 in the US where it went double-platinum. Follow-up singles were "Rock and a Hard Place", "Almost Hear You Sigh" and "Terrifying". The mammoth Steel Wheels Tour, which finished in mid-1990 after being re-titled the Urban Jungle Tour, was an enormous financial success. In 1990, FOX aired a 3-D television special of the Steel Wheels tour. Unlike anaglyphic 3-D which requires the familiar red and green glasses, the method used was the Pulfrich Effect which permitted full-color video. The film was shot by Gerald Marks of PullTime 3-D in NYC. An IMAX film of the tour was released the next year, which still plays sporadically at IMAX venues around the world.
Anthony DeCurtis of Rolling Stone writes "All the ambivalence, recriminations, attempted rapprochement and psychological one-upmanship evident on Steel Wheels testify that the Stones are right in the element that has historically spawned their best music – a murky, dangerously charged environment in which nothing is merely what it seems. Against all odds, and at this late date, the Stones have once again generated an album that will have the world dancing to deeply troubling, unresolved emotions."
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic writes "The Stones sound good, and Mick and Keith both get off a killer ballad apiece with "Almost Hear You Sigh" and "Slipping Away", respectively. It doesn't make for a great Stones album, but it's not bad, and it feels like a comeback – which it was supposed to, after all."
The album was the Rolling Stones' first digital recording. In 1994, Steel Wheels was remastered and reissued by Virgin Records, and again in 2009 by Universal Music. An SHM-CD version was released on On December 2, 2015 by Universal Japan, mastered from the original British master tape.
|1.||"Sad Sad Sad"||3:35|
|4.||"Hold On to Your Hat"||3:32|
|5.||"Hearts for Sale"||4:40|
|6.||"Blinded by Love"||4:37|
|7.||"Rock and a Hard Place"||5:25|
|8.||"Can't Be Seen"||4:09|
|9.||"Almost Hear You Sigh"||4:37|
|11.||"Break the Spell"||3:06|
The Rolling Stones
- Mick Jagger – lead and backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars; harmonica, percussion, keyboards on "Continental Drift"
- Keith Richards – electric, acoustic and classical guitar, backing vocals; lead vocals on "Can't Be Seen" and "Slipping Away"; bicycle spokes on "Continental Drift"
- Ronnie Wood – electric and acoustic guitar, bass guitar and acoustic bass, backing vocals, dobro
- Bill Wyman – bass guitar
- Charlie Watts – drums
- Chuck Leavell – organ, piano, keyboards
- Matt Clifford – electric and acoustic piano, clavinet, harmonium, percussion programming, strings
- Sarah Dash – backing vocals
- Lisa Fischer – backing vocals
- Bernard Fowler – backing vocals
- Luis Jardim – percussion
- Phil Beer – mandolin, fiddle
- The Kick Horns – brass
- Roddy Lorimer – trumpet
- The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar Farafina – African-Moroccan instruments
- Sonia Morgan – backing vocals
- Tessa Niles – backing vocals
Technical and design
- Recording engineer – Christopher Marc Potter
- Assistant engineer – Rupert Coulson
- Recorded at Air Studios, Montserrat
- Mixed by Michael Brauer, Christopher Marc Potter, Chris Kimsey
- Art direction and design – John Warwicker
- Logo design – Mark Morton
- Mastering – Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, NYC
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||Gold||25,000*|
|Canada (Music Canada)||3× Platinum||300,000^|
|France (SNEP)||2× Gold||271,800|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Gold||25,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||2× Platinum||2,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
- AllMusic review
- "Robert Christgau: CG: rolling stone". www.robertchristgau.com.
- "The Rolling Stones Steel Wheels". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
- Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 952. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
- "The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels CD". CD Universe/Muze. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
- DeCurtis, Anthony (29 August 1989). "Steel Wheels". rollingstone.com.
- "The Rolling Stones: Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Archived version retrieved 15 November 2014.
- "スティール・ホイールズ - ザ・ローリング・ストーンズ". ザ・ローリング・ストーンズ.
- Saulnier, Jason (8 April 2010). "Chuck Leavell Interview". Music Legends. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
- "australian-charts.com The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels" (ASP). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "austriancharts.at The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 50, No. 22" (PHP). RPM. 25 September 1989. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "dutchcharts.nl The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 26 January 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Album Search: The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1989" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "ヴードゥー・ラウンジ／ザ・ローリング・ストーンズ-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック" [Highest position and charting weeks of Steel Wheels by The Rolling Stones]. oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "charts.org.nz The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "norwegiancharts.com The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels" (ASP). Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
- "swedishcharts.com The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels – hitparade.ch" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "The Rolling Stones > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "allmusic ((( Steel Wheels > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1989". RPM. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
- "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1989" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- "Les Albums (CD) de 1989 par InfoDisc" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original (PHP) on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "1989年 アルバム年間TOP100" [Oricon Year-end Albums Chart of 1989] (in Japanese). Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Top 100 Albums of 1990". RPM. 22 December 1990. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1990" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- "Billboard.BIZ – Year-end Charts – Billboard 200 – 1990". billboard.biz. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
- "Austrian album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved 25 December 2013. Enter The Rolling Stones in the field Interpret. Enter Steel Wheels in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen.
- "Canadian album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels". Music Canada. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- "Rolling Stones" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 25 December 2010.
- "Les Albums Double Or". infodisc.fr (in French). SNEP. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- "French album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Rolling Stones; 'Steel Wheels')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
- "Japanese album certifications – ザ・ローリング・ストーンズ – スティール・ホイールズ" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Select 1989年9月 on the drop-down menu
- "Dutch album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 11 December 2011. Enter Steel Wheels in the "Artiest of titel" box.
- "Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1991–1995". Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano. ISBN 8480486392.
- "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (The Rolling Stones; 'Steel Wheels')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- "British album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 21 December 2012. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Steel Wheels in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "American album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 25 December 2013. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.