The greatest Rolling Stones album ever, about to get released again. Exile on Main Street.

A billboard on Sunset Blvd promoting the new album. As you can imagine, not without controversy.

A billboard on Sunset Blvd promoting the new album. As you can imagine, not without controversy.

Universal Music Group recently announced that the Rolling Stones’ masterpiece album Exile on Main Street is being re-released on May 18, with 10 never-before-heard tracks.

The classic album is ranked seventh on Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Greatest Albums of All Time” list. Though he thought all the material had already been used for the album, Rolling Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger was asked by Universal to find some bonus songs.

Lucky for us, he was able to get his hands on 10 new tracks for our listening pleasure. Lead guitarist Keith Richards and Jagger also revamped some of the old tracks.

“I added some percussion and some vocals. Keith put guitar on one or two,” Jagger told Rolling Stone.

Richards and Jagger were cautious not to change too much about the album

“I didn’t want to interfere with the Bible,” said Richards. “They still had that great basement sound.”

The 18-track double-album was originally recorded in a few different locations, in a non-consecutive manner. Locations included Olympic Studios in London, Richards’ mansion in France, and Los Angeles, where the real Main Street inspired the album’s title. It was originally released in 1972.

“Every song on Exile on Main Street is elevated by its relationship to the music that comes before and after it. The album’s irresistible power is unlikely to diminish any time soon,” said author Anthony DeCurtis, who is now a contributing editor for Rolling Stone. Clearly, he knew what he was talking about, as Exile’s musical draw has not languished the slightest bit with time.

Along with the album, The Rolling Stones will be releasing a newly filmed documentary titled “Stones in Exile,” which was made especially for this occasion. Directed by Stephen Kijak, the documentary follows the making of Exile, and includes exclusive footage of past concerts and studio sessions.

“I must not have noticed all the cameramen while I was making the record,” Richards told Rolling Stone. “I was amazed at how much footage they actually found.”

The documentary will be sold as part of a package, which will include a vinyl record, the deluxe CD edition with the 10 bonus tracks and a 50-page collector’s book with old photos from the Exile on Main Street days.


Super rare promo poster featuring 3-Ball Charlie.

Exile on Main Street was a 1972 release (on Atlantic Records) by The Rolling Stones, with cover artwork & design by John Van Hamersveld. When the Rolling Stones released Exile in 1972 – a double album of songs representing the many different genres of music that shaped Stones music at the time – fans and critics found themselves having to spend a lot of time trying to “get it”. It required a number of listens to gain an appreciation of what, on the surface, often seemed to be a collection of studio out-takes and Richards/Taylor/Watts jams than a freshly-recorded musical offering.

Many critics of the era failed to appreciate the Stones’ explorations of R&B, Soul, Country and roots Rock that were spread over the 4 album sides. In fact, the record was comprised of a series of recordings done during the previous four years and, as such, they featured a variety of mixes (some better than others) and showed the band building on top of these influences in their own inimitable style to the point that, now over 35 years later, the package is considered by many to be the band’s most-authentic offering. It is always listed near the top of most of the “Best Of” and “Greatest” lists (#7 on the Rolling Stone Magazine 2003 list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”, #22 on VH-1’s survey, and even impressed the younger generation enough to be ranked #11 on Pitchfork’s 2003 list of Best Albums of the 1970s).

In a similar fashion, when the buying public took their first look at the design and imagery of the sprawling record cover, most people admitted that they didn’t “get it”. Having just soaked in Warhol’s ultimately-iconic zipper cover for Sticky Fingers, fans should have been ready for anything, but John Van Hamersveld’s designs seemed to confound them, asking them to digest a rough, anti-establishment, punk-before-there-was-punk collage of images that may have, initially, combined with the unfamiliar musical stylings to impact sales (don’t worry, as the record was supported by the now-famous 1972 American concert tour and songs such as “Happy” and “Tumbling Dice” got some significant radio play, the record went on to top the charts in the U.S. and the U.K.).

And so when Van Hamersveld, who’d established his industry cred via his poster and package designs for Hendrix, The Beatles (Magical Mystery Tour), Jefferson Airplane (Crown of Creation) and others, was approached by the Rolling Stones (who were in a studio in LA putting the finishing touches on this new album) to work on the graphics and packaging for a songbook project the band wanted to release, an interesting series of events on the day of their initial meeting had a profound impact on the course of album art history.

Bill Janovitz' book on Exile. A must read.

Bill Janovitz' book on Exile. A must read.

Picture 13

Above is the ultra rare Exile Store Display.

Read the complete story behind this great work of art on our RockPoP Gallery/”Cover Story” blog –—t.html


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