This is my fifth-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.
“Please allow me to introduce myself”
Beggars Banquet and Between the Buttons were the first two Rolling Stone albums I owned not counting Hot Rocks, the greatest hits collection. I played this album to death. As with most Stones albums you get what you get…rock, blues, and a little country thrown in the mix. I got this album when I was 12 and it opened my eyes wide to the Stones…much more than a collection of their hits would ever do.
This was the first album to start the stretch of 5 albums (Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, and Goats Head Soup) that helped make the Stones what they are today. In 1967 after failing to live up to Sgt Pepper with Their Satanic Majesties Request (although I do like that album) they came back retooled with a new producer Jimmy Miller.
The Stones got back to doing what they do best…playing the blues…although with a different sound than Little Red Rooster. A weary Brian Jones was still in the band at this time and contributed to all but two songs…but it’s mostly Keith on guitar. Brian, because of the state he was in, was used more as a touch-up artist…filling in some holes with sitar, tambura, guitar, blues harp, and mellotron.
This album is not considered up there with Sticky Fingers or Exile On Main Street but I have the strongest connection to it. I’ve always related Beggars Banquet to the White Album. They were both released in 1968 and both were raw and honest. No studio trickery to either…a big departure from the psychedelic era of 1967.
I don’t think Jimmy Miller gets enough credit for their sound. That is not a knock against the Stones but the Miller produced albums are special.
The Jumping Jack Flash single (also Miller produced) was released in May of 1968 to signal a change was coming and this album followed on December 6, 1968.
Beggars Banquet was delayed for months because of the album cover. The original cover (which is now used) had a dirty toilet covered with graffiti. The photo was taken by Barry Feinstein in a tiny bathroom at a Porsche repair shop above Hollywood Blvd. and Cahuenga Blvd.
Mick and Keith were given crayons to add more graffiti for the back credits. Their record companies for America and the UK would not approve the cover. The Stones finally relented and released a plain “invitation” white cover…which is the cover I owned.
Now for the songs. Sympathy for the Devil and Street Fighting Man are the two most well-known songs off the album. Sympathy for the Devil is perhaps the Stones’ best-written song and with a samba beat that touches on voodoo. Street Fighting Man is maybe the most powerful song they ever wrote. “Well now what can a poor boy do
except to sing for a rock n’ roll band?”
Those two songs are classics but this album is a great collection of 10 songs. Prodigal Son has always been a favorite of mine. They really do the old blues well in this one. It’s a song written by Robert Wilkins, a reverend who recorded Delta Blues in the 1920s and 1930s.
No Expectations…Brian Jones’ slide guitar in this is great…it sets the mood for this song. Mick has said it was Brian’s last great contribution to the Stones. One of the best album cuts from the Stones.
Stray Cat Blues…Mick sounds so ominous in this track. The guitar is absolutely filthy as well. I feel the need for a shower after I listen to it. This song would not fly today. It’s raunchy and sleazy…but a great album cut. I hear the click-clack of your feet on the stairs
I know you’re no scare-eyed honey
My other favorite songs are Factory Girl, Salt of the Earth, and Jigsaw Puzzle.
The album peaked at #5 in the Billboard Album Charts, #3 in the UK, and #3 in Canada in 1969.
Looks like I have brought the first Stones album to our respective islands. If you get an urge to dance around a fire singing “whoo, whoo… whoo, whoo“…come on over and I’ll drop the needle on the vinyl and shake some maracas.
1. Sympathy for the Devil
2. No Expectations
3. Dear Doctor
4. Parachute Woman
5. Jig-Saw Puzzle
6. Street Fighting Man
7. Prodigal Son
8. Stray Cat Blues
9. Factory Girl
10. Salt of the Earth