The ROLLING STONES – ” Let It Bleed ” (50th Anniversary Edition) Box Set

Posted: November 1, 2019 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
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The Rolling Stones’ groundbreaking multi-platinum selling album “Let It Bleed” was released in late 1969, charting at No#1 in the UK and No#3 in the US. The Rolling Stones, at this point already a critically and commercially dominant force, composed and recorded their eighth long player (tenth for the U.S.) amidst both geopolitical and personal turmoil. The second of four Rolling Stones albums made with producer Jimmy Miller (Traffic, Blind Faith), “Let It Bleed” perfectly captures the ominous spirit of the times with “Gimme Shelter,” the opening track. The 2019 remaster has been engineered by eleven-time Grammy®-winning mastering engineer Bob Ludwig.

A landmark moment of the 1960s, that still resonates profoundly today. Originally released in 1969, Let It Bleed is regarded by critics and music fans as one of the best and most important rock albums of all time.

“Let It Bleed” features three of the band’s greatest songs – “Gimmie Shelter,” “Midnight Rambler” & the anthemic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” Brian Jones performs on only two tracks: playing the autoharp on You Got the Silver, and percussion on Midnight Rambler – he was replaced by Mick Taylor during the recording, who plays guitar on two tracks – “Country Honk” and “Live with Me”, as well as on “Honky Tonk Women” (recorded during the Let It Bleed sessions).

Let It Bleed (50th Anniversary Limited Deluxe Edition) includes the remastered album in Stereo and Mono on both vinyl and Hybrid SACD, and a reproduction of the 1969 7” mono single of “Honky Tonk Women”/ ”You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” in a picture sleeve. The box set also comes with three 12” x 12” hand-numbered replica-signed lithographs printed on embossed archival paper, a full-color 23” x 23” poster with restored art from the original 1969 Decca Records package, and an 80 page hardcover book with never-before-seen photos by the band’s tour photographer Ethan Russell and an essay by journalist David Fricke.

The album includes the classic dark song about a serial murderer, ‘Midnight Rambler’ was written while The Rolling Stones were on holiday in a beautiful town in Italy. The beautiful Italian town of Positano was a place of inspiration for author John Steinbeck, who wrote: “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” That Amalfi Coast town also played a part in the history of the Rolling Stones, when Keith and Mick Jagger went on holiday there in 1968. Somehow, being in picturesque, sunny Positano gave them the creative spark to write a dark song about a serial murderer, the “midnight rambler… pouncing like a proud black panther.”

“‘Midnight Rambler’ is a song Keith and I really wrote together,” Jagger recalled in 1995. “We were on a holiday in Italy. In this very beautiful hill town, Positano, for a few nights. Why we should write such a dark song in this beautiful, sunny place, I really don’t know. We wrote everything there – the tempo changes, everything. And I’m playing the harmonica in these little cafes, and there’s Keith with his guitar.”

The song, which finally appeared on the 1969 album “Let It Bleed” was loosely based on the life of the real Boston Strangler, Albert DeSalvo, who murdered 13 women in that American city from 1962 to 1964. “Midnight Rambler” was a headline that the papers used to describe the killer at the time, and in the song Jagger takes on the persona of a manipulative murderer. Richards called the seven-minute song “a blues opera” and insisted that his unique collaboration with Jagger was such that “nobody else could have written that song.”

James Miller’s production helps “Midnight Rambler” blend the sinister overtones of “Sympathy For The Devil” with the Chicago blues style of some of the band’s songs from earlier in the 60s. Jagger plays some powerful harmonica licks and Richards’ guitar work is supported by some excellent drumming from Charlie Watts. Bill Wyman played bass on a song that neatly shifts tempos.

“Midnight Rambler” is also the last song that Brian Jones recorded with the Stones, contributing congas to the track. Jones, who had helped start the band in the early 60s, had been suffering from drug addiction problems at the time of the song’s recording. He announced he was leaving the band in June 1969 and was found dead a month later, at the age of 27.

“Midnight Rambler” was originally recorded as part of the prolific sessions for “Beggars Banquet” in the spring of 1968, but was held over for “Let It Bleed“, which was released by Decca Records on December 5th, 1969. The cover for Let It Bleed was created by the graphic designer Robert Brownjohn. It features a cake that was made for the photo shoot by a young cookery writer called Delia Smith, who had been told the Stones wanted a “really gaudy” cake. Jagger sent her a framed, signed copy of the album as a thank you.

“Midnight Rambler” became a favourite at Rolling Stones gigs, where Richards would let loose with thrashing guitar solos. “I dig to play it,” he said. “It’s when the audience decides to join, that’s when it really knocks you out.”

The 50th-anniversary deluxe edition of “Let It Bleed” is out now.

Like Beggars Banquet the year before, the dominant influence was American roots music – drawing heavily from gospel (apparent in Gimmie Shelter and You Can’t Always Get What You Want), country music of Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers (Country Honk), Chicago blues (Midnight Rambler) and country rock on the title track. Recording for “Let It Bleed” began in earnest in February 1969, recorded mainly at Olympic Studios in London and 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. The lyricism found on Let It Bleed is often noted for its violent and cynical undercurrents. Jann S. Wenner, in a 1995 Rolling Stone interview with Jagger, described the album’s songs as “disturbing” the scenery as “ugly” and asked Jagger if the Vietnam War played a role in the album’s worldview. Jagger said: “I think so. Even though I was living in America only part time, I was influenced. All those images were on television. Plus, the spill out onto campuses”.

Rolling Stones Let It Bleed press shot CREDIT Ethan Russell

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