Oct 202014

While flipping the radio dial between sport-talk radio ads on my ride home from work last week I landed on the opening measures of one of the most perfect (and perfect-sounding) songs in my world: “Beast of Burden,” by The Rolling Stones. The coming updates on the Eagles’ (my hometown football team, not the band) bye week, following the commercial break, could wait. I had to listen to this soulful gem all the way through!

At the song’s conclusion, the DJ came on and said, “That was some early Stones: ‘Beast of Burden,’ off 1978’s Some Girls album!”

First, I felt like the DJ was an idiot. Then, I felt like I was 100 years old. Finally, considering the Stones have survived 36 years since that album, it could technically be  considered a song from their “early” period.

I know the Stones are old, but jeez…


  24 Responses to ““Early Stones,” or Jeez, I’m Old!”

  1. H. Munster

    No. He’s an idiot. “Early Stones” should not be used for any Stones album from Aftermath on. But then, I don’t listen to anything they did after Goat’s Head Soup.

  2. Early – Brian
    Mid Period – Mick Taylor
    Latter Day – Ronnie

  3. I think it’s unfair to pin the last 25-30 years on Ronnie. I think “his” era runs through Voodoo Lounge and the one where they’re lounging around in pastel suits. Since then I’d say it’s been the Post-Wyman era, which kicks in around Mixed Emotions, even though I think he was still in the band at that point.

  4. I know there are many more bigger Stones fans than me on RTH so my questions to you are – when should they have quit? SHOULD they have quit? to borrow a pointless evaluative term from sports radio – has their legacy been diminished by their continued existence? outside of Mick’s bank balance (or those of his ex-wives) has anything been gained by their still being out there on the road or putting out albums of re-treads?

  5. Some Girls was the first Stones album I owned, but it’s not early Stones Mr. DJ.

    They should have quit after that, really, maybe Tattoo You, I dislike(d) Undercover and everything since — but I could be swayed. Can somebody build a post-1980 playlist that is solid? I would love to hear it.

    That said, I think the “legacy” would have been diminished if they were not out there touring.

    Because of cost and age, I didn’t see them until the Steel Wheels tour. The Stones are slightly hipper and much more lucrative of version of the Beach Boys these days — three original members keep the machine going for big paydays at arena shows . . . and catalog sales. They’re a jukebox touring act now, and fun to watch. Nothing wrong with that.

  6. cliff sovinsanity

    It’s difficult for me to pick the album on which they should have quit because I’m not sure whether any release after Tattoo You (or even Some Girls) has HURT their legacy. It’s been occasionally lazy (Dirty Work), silly (Undercover), sterile (Steel Wheels), and forgettable (Bridges to Babylon). Yet, they are still revered and held as an example of what a rock band should be. Lately, I’d rather listen to either Mixed Emotions or Rough Justice rather than It’s Only Rock and Roll or She’s So Cold but that’s probably because of radio saturation.

  7. cliff sovinsanity

    I went ahead and put together a playlist of post-Tattoo You singles for evaluation purposes.
    This is just a compilation. Not an endorsement.

  8. BigSteve

    Beast of Burden came out 36 years ago, so I think we can forgive a DJ who might not even be 36 years old for thinking of that as an ‘early’ record. The only problem is that the classic rock stations won’t really play anything by the Stones much later than Beast of Burden. Start Me Up is 1981 is probably the end of the line when it comes to radio.

    If they’d retired before Dirty Work, I think everyone would look back at them more fondly.

  9. 2000 Man

    I think your DJ was born after Some Girls was released, but if you’re a DJ on a Classic Rock station knowing that the world essentially calls Early Stones any album with full participation from Brian, mid period essentially the Mick Taylor years and fairly or not, New Stones is with Ronnie. It just shows how long they’ve been around that something “new” is 36 years old.

    The Classic Rock stations only play about six Stones songs these days. They can squeeze in some Black Crowes, Ramones and Red Hot Chili Peppers but they don’t have room for something like Love Is Strong or Saint of Me, which are every bit as good as what those bands did (and The Ramones were hated on by the Classic Rockers so they shouldn’t be allowed to rewrite history and act like everyone always loved them).

    I’m glad they didn’t quit, at least until A Bigger Bang came out – I hate that album. Up until then they had only made one song I could say that about. All their latter day albums are generally good, but they’re the work of guys that know exactly what they’re doing and even when they take chances people say they’re rehashing themselves. Like with Continental Drift on Steel Wheels. They “already did those joujouka guys,” but they didn’t. Brian recorded them. The Stones didn’t come up with a way to play with them, and when they did the results were pretty cool.

    If they veer too far from The Stones sound they get ragged on for being trend chasers. If they write similarly to what they have done before it’s just them becoming a parody of themselves. They can’t win. I don’t expect them to make another Exile on Main St., and I never did, but people seem to expect singles as big as Satisfaction and that The Stones will put Rock N Roll back at the top of the charts. They already did that a lifetime ago. Some kid’s gotta get up and do it, cuz they don’t have to prove anything. They just go out and have fun these days.

  10. The whole “it would have been better for the Stones’ legacy if they’d broken up after Tattoo You or if they’d died in a plane crash” argument is attractive, but the fact is they keep it going, and there are merits for that, too. The thing I wish they’d do is scale back: 1) nothing but month-long stays at a few “classy” mid-size venues; 2) simply recorded albums made for their own enjoyment/for paying homage to their influences, those they’ve influenced, and their own legacy (eg, a direct Chicago blues album, a direct “reggae” album, The Stones Play Dylan, The Stones Play The Replacements, etc); 3) no more greatest hits repackaging; 4) no more remastering of the Brian Jones catalog.

    If I have time to reshape my dreams of involvement in rock ‘n roll, maybe it’s time I officially become the guy I wished I’d been when Joe Strummer was still alive: get these aging artists in a studio and have them calm the eff down and bash out some rock ‘n roll standards on a regular basis, with no audience, no hype, no expectations. I’m not sure that that simple album of covers Paul McCartney did about 10 years ago with David Gilmour et al really stuck for him, but that’s the model I’d like to see all these guys playing beyond their relevancy start with. Then, after they’ve “rediscovered the simple joys of rock ‘n roll,” they would be allowed to creep forward and create new music again. All pretenses of re-creating their legacy for a new generation, however, must be checked at the door.

  11. Thanks for doing that Cliff.

    Aside from the lyrics, which I thought were a bit overwrought, I liked that Doom and Gloom song from a few years ago. Jagger’s voice, the music, the production, all sounded good. Nothing groundbreaking, just a pretty decent single. And what’s wrong with a pretty decent single?

  12. diskojoe

    Speaking of Brian Jones, I just picked up that new bio of his last night & I’m planning on reading it early next month. I just finished Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! by Bob Stanley as trip reading while going to VA for my nephew’s wedding & I enjoyed it.

    I would like to see the Stones’ BBC radio sessions to get a legit release pretty soon. Finally, a question for 2000 Man: Is the sound quality from the London CDs from Germany dating from the 1990s is a s good as or even better than the subsequent remasters?

  13. Thanks for that! Excellent overview! I think my favorite off that list is probably “Mixed Emotions.”

  14. Eye opening! Or should I say EAR OPENING! I let this mix play in the background while I worked today. Not watching the videos helped A LOT! “One Hit to the Body” is still laughable without the visuals, but it’s got more ooomph than I ever made out by watching the bad video. There’s a song called “Saint of Me” that’s the best thing the Black Crowes ever did. although it goes on 3 minutes too long. Some songs are as bad as I remembered them (eg, I can’t stand “Harlem Shuffle” – I never heard the original, but I can’t imagine that being any good either), but most in this mix were decent.

    My biggest problem with the Post-Tattoo years is that the band never found a new gear. They seem to endlessly strive to make “the best record since Exile on Main Street.” Some Girls introduced some then-new sounds, like disco and “punk abandon,” whether they would have characterized it as that or not. Past their pastel suit period, all they seem to do is regroup every 5 years and crank out a half-baked version of “Brown Sugar.” I wish they would have found a way to incorporate some kind of newer sounds, but maybe they are with me on the “most music since 1981 sucks” train and suffer accordingly:)

  15. Yeah, hands-down that’s the best post-Tattoo You song by them.

  16. 2000 Man

    Did you check out the Wilko Johnson – Roger Daltrey album? I think it’s just what you’re looking for. Two very accomplished guys with nothing to prove just banging out some good Rock N’ Roll.

  17. 2000 Man

    The early disks that say “West Germany” on the disk (even if they’re not technically imports) used the masters from Mobile Fidelity’s boxed set. They did it without Mo Fi’s permission, but I think that’s a grey area. I think they sound excellent, but I know people that prefer the regular London’s and I know people that prefer the newer remasters. The Mo Fi versions are the ones Mr. Mod doesn’t like the sound of Satisfaction on. That definitely worked better on vinyl, the acoustic guitar is there but not so prominently.

    I think the best are the newer ABKCO DSD remasters, especially the SACD disks. If you don’t have an SACD player, then you miss out on a little, but overall I think you just can’t go wrong with those. There’s more stereo versions of songs and I think there’s more of what made the records so great intact. If I had the London West German disks, I think I’d get Beggars Banquet and probably be happy with the rest being the West Germans, but if I didn’t I wouldn’t hesitate to get the new ones. Besides, not all the old ones are West German, you have to look at them, so that generally means you have to buy them in person.

    Want to geek out on it? Try this: http://www.lukpac.org/stereostones/stones-cd-faq.txt

  18. diskojoe

    Thanks, 2000 Man. The reason I asked is that I found a copy of December’s Children from the early 1990s in my local store (the very same one where I bought my very 1st album some 36 years ago, which was…..December’s Children). Hopefully it will still be there next time I’m over there!

  19. diskojoe

    Mr. Mod, the original version of “Harlem Shuffle” by Bob & Earl is a great song. It was a staple of oldies stations at one time, so I’m surprised to hear that you never heard of it. Here’s a YouTube thingie of it:


  20. cherguevara

    A friend of mine posted this on FB – I had heard of this band but never heard their music until H.Munster posted their song in the Blues LMS. Seeing this posted seemed synchronous, so I’ll pass it along. Like to hear Black Oak Arkansas’ version of Satisfaction, here ya go:


    PS All Stones is early Stones to a person in their early 30’s or younger, because it’s all ancient history to them.

  21. 2000 Man

    Your PS may be correct, but it’s easy enough for a “Classic Rock” DJ to look things up these days. If they’re playing a song from 1978, then they’re hitting the tail end of their playlist, so by definition of the genre the station is playing it’s late period. Seems like a DJ that doesn’t want to be bothered with knowing anything about their job to me. It’s so easy to fake it with the Internet, too.

  22. misterioso


  23. misterioso

    It is even easier to forgive if we take into consideration that the DJ would have to be really stupid not to know any better.

  24. misterioso

    Uhh, in theory, I agree with what you are saying, but in reality the Stones doing a whole album of Chicago blues or reggae is about as interesting to contemplate as Eric Clapton’s album of Robert Johnson covers. Anyway, I think it is at least 25 years too late.

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