March 1, 2008

Tattoo You

From the Wikipedia entry:

Tattoo You is an album by The Rolling Stones, released in 1981. The follow-up to Emotional Rescue, it proved to be a big critical and commercial success upon its release and is still celebrated as one of The Rolling Stones' finest full-length releases, despite its prolonged recording history.

Tattoo You is primarily composed of outtakes, some dating back a decade, with new vocals and overdubs. Along with two new songs, the Rolling Stones put together this collection in order to have a new album to promote for their worldwide American Tour 1981/European Tour 1982 beginning that September.

From 1964 to I'd say 1997's Bridges to Babylon album, every generation of teenagers had their incarnation of The Rolling Stones - their own personal Rolling Stones. Mine was Tattoo You-era Stones. That album cover was everywhere my freshmen year in high school. I can remember sitting in the nurse's office at school, flipping through Life magazine's article about the 1981 North American tour.

Reading about how Tattoo You was made up primarily of recordings done during previous albums, it's pretty clear these guys were resting on their laurels, coasting, etc., throwing together what in hindsite is a classic album, all for the purpose of having something to promote on their upcoming world tour. Being now roughly the same age these guys were in the Tattoo You videos is an interesting thing to experience. For one thing, they don't seem as old now!

"Start Me Up" was recorded in 1975 during the Black and Blue sessions. So essentially, a knock-off tune from a mediocre, mid-70s Stones album ended up being one of their most successful releases, ever. I'm so grateful I still think about high school days and not Microsoft when I hear this now. The little thing Mick does at the beginning of the song's video is hilarious:

"Hang Fire", "Little T&A," "Black Limousine," and "No Use In Crying" all came from the Emotional Rescue sessions in 1979. The "Hang Fire" video:

"Little T & A" (Live in Seattle, 1981)

The Goat's Head Soup outtake "Waiting on a Friend" was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica, at Dynamic Sound in 1972. It was scrapped (not having lyrics) in favor of other material. MTV played this video a lot in the early '80s:


My blogging mate across the Atlantic, Blognor Regis, is always good for taking the trivial components of any pop culture icon/subject to its most infinite (and not so infinite) extreme. His trivia oneupmanship often leaves me breathless and in a cold sweat. Well, not really, but I'm always impressed/astounded at the pop history crumb he has noticed that I've failed to sweep up. In the case of the "Waiting on a Friend" video, he reminds me that the tenement block where Mick and Keef "meet" is the same one as on the cover of Physical Graffiti. I am humbled and honored, sir! Thank you for filling in the holes, again.


Blognor Regis said...

Great post. I am/was a huge Stones fan but alas my teenage incarnation would have been when they were virtually split up and fighting all the time. I suppose Steel Wheels came out when I was 16 so maybe that was it. My favourite period of theirs was the early 70s run of Sticky Fingers through to It's only Rock and Roll. Great summer evening records all I think.

Another of my patented Exquisitely Bored in Nacogdoches trivia moments: I can't believe you faled to mention that the tenement block in the Waiting in of Friend video is the same one as on the cover of Phsyical Graffiti. At least I hope it otherwise I've been sold a pup.

Chris said...

Damn! Damn! ;)

I'm bowing.

Blognor Regis said...

Very kind words Mr Nacogdoches. Alas all this useless information is clogging up the space I could be using for the useful stuff.

You'll like this if you haven't spotted it already.

Mick Jagger tries to sell his knackered old car.

Check out this guy's other work. He's very good.

Hat tip: The Word Magazine podcast

Grey tattoos said...

Interesting cover.