|Exile on Main St.|
|The Rolling Stones|
|Released||12 May 1972|
|Recorded||June 1969 – March 1972|
|The Rolling Stones chronology|
|Singles from Exile on Main St.|
Exile on Main St. is the tenth British and 12th American studio album by English rock band The Rolling Stones. Released as a double LP in May 1972, it draws on many genres including rock and roll, blues, soul, R&B, gospel and country. The release of Exile on Main St. met with mixed reviews, but it is now generally regarded as the band’s best album. In 1987, as part of their 20th anniversary, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it third on the 100 Best Albums of the Last Twenty Years. In 2003, the album was ranked 7th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, the highest a Rolling Stones album ranked on the list.
The 2010 remastered version of the album was released in Europe on 17 May 2010 and in the United States on 18 May 2010, featuring a bonus disc with 
Exile on Main St. was written and recorded between 1968 and 1972. Mick Jagger said “After we got out of our contract with Allen Klein, we didn’t want to give him [those earlier tracks],” as they were forced to do with “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses” from Sticky Fingers. Many tracks were recorded between 1969 and 1971 at Olympic Studios and Jagger’s Stargroves country house in England during sessions for Sticky Fingers.
By the spring of 1971 the Rolling Stones owed more in taxes than they could pay and left Britain before the government could seize their assets. the band’s mobile recording truck.
Recording began in earnest sometime near the middle of June. Bassist 
Richards’ substance abuse prevented him from attending the sessions that continued in his basement, while Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman were often unable to attend sessions for other reasons. This often left the band in the position of having to record in altered forms. A notable instance was the recording of one of Richards’ most famous songs, “Happy”. Recorded in the basement, Richards said in 1982, “‘Happy’ was something I did because I was for one time early for a session. There was Bobby Keys and Jimmy Miller. We had nothing to do and had suddenly picked up the guitar and played this riff. So we cut it and it’s the record, it’s the same. We cut the original track with a baritone sax, a guitar and Jimmy Miller on drums. And the rest of it is built up over that track. It was just an afternoon jam that everybody said, ‘Wow, yeah, work on it'”.
The basic band for the Nellcôte sessions consisted of Richards, 
 Los Angeles
Additional basic tracks (probably only “Rip this Joint”, “Shake Your Hips”, “Casino Boogie”, “Happy”, “Rocks Off”, “Turd on the Run” and “Ventilator Blues”)
The extended recording sessions and differing methods on the part of Jagger and Richards reflected the growing disparity in their personal lives.
 Release and reception
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Preceded by the UK and US Top 10 hit “Tumbling Dice“, Exile on Main St. was released in May 1972. It was an immediate commercial success, reaching #1 worldwide just as the band embarked on their celebrated 1972 American Tour. Their first American tour in three years, it featured many songs from the new album. “Happy”, sung by Richards, would be a Top 30 US hit later that summer.
Many critics judged Exile on Main St. to be a ragged and impenetrable record at the time of its release. Lenny Kaye, writing in Rolling Stone magazine, was typical of contemporary critics who did not consider the album as anything special. According to Kaye, “[t]here are songs that are better, there are songs that are worse, and others you’ll probably lift the needle for when the time is due.” Kaye concludes by assuring his readers that “the great Stones album of their mature period is yet to come”.
However, the Melody Maker review by Richard Williams praises the album highly. The review was titled The Stones: Quite Simply the Best. He states the album “is definitely going to take its place in history” and “it’s the best album they’ve ever made”. He states: “This is an album which utterly repulses the sneers and arrows of outraged put down artists. Once and for all, it answers any questions about their ability as rock ‘n’ rollers.”
On the initial critical and commercial reaction, Richards said, “When [Exile] came out it didn’t sell particularly well at the beginning, and it was also pretty much universally panned. But within a few years the people who had written the reviews saying it was a piece of crap were extolling it as the best frigging album in the world.”
Other critics praised the album’s rawness and different styles, from blues to country to soul. The music critic Robert Christgau concluded in 1972: “Incontrovertibly the year’s best, this fagged-out masterpiece is the summum of Rock ’72. Exile explores new depths of record-studio murk, burying Mick’s voice under layers of cynicism, angst, and ennui.”
Exile on Main St. featured a The Americans.
 Band appraisal
At the time of Exile’s release, Jagger said, “This new album is fucking mad. There’s so many different tracks. It’s very rock & roll, you know. I didn’t want it to be like that. I’m the more experimental person in the group, you see I like to experiment. Not go over the same thing over and over. Since I’ve left England, I’ve had this thing I’ve wanted to do. I’m not against rock & roll, but I really want to experiment. The new album’s very rock & roll and it’s good. I mean, I’m very bored with rock & roll. The revival. Everyone knows what their roots are, but you’ve got to explore everywhere. You’ve got to explore the sky too.”
In 2003, Jagger said, “Exile is not one of my favourite albums, although I think the record does have a particular feeling. I’m not too sure how great the songs are, but put together it’s a nice piece. However, when I listen to Exile it has some of the worst mixes I’ve ever heard. I’d love to remix the record, not just because of the vocals, but because generally I think it sounds lousy. At the time Jimmy Miller was not functioning properly. I had to finish the whole record myself, because otherwise there were just these drunks and junkies. Of course I’m ultimately responsible for it, but it’s really not good and there’s no concerted effort or intention.” Jagger also stated he did not understand the praise amongst Rolling Stones fans because the album did not yield very many hits.
Of the album, Richards said, “Exile was a double album. And because it’s a double album you’re going to be hitting different areas, including ‘D for Down’, and the Stones really felt like exiles. We didn’t start off intending to make a double album; we just went down to the south of France to make an album and by the time we’d finished we said, ‘We want to put it all out.’ The point is that the Stones had reached a point where we no longer had to do what we were told to do. Around the time Andrew Oldham left us, we’d done our time, things were changing and I was no longer interested in hitting Number One in the charts every time. What I want to do is good shit—if it’s good they’ll get it some time down the road.”
 Accolades and cultural references
In 1998 Q magazine readers voted Exile on Main St. the 42nd greatest album of all time, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 3 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 1987 it was ranked third on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the best 100 albums of the period 1967–1987. In 1993, Entertainment Weekly named it #1 on their list of “100 Greatest CDs”. In 2003, Pitchfork Media ranked it number 11 on their Top 100 Albums of the 1970s. In 2001, the TV network VH1 placed it at number 22 on their best albums survey. The album was ranked number 19 on the October 2006 issue of Guitar World magazine’s list of the greatest 100 guitar albums of all time. In 2007, the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame placed the album #6 on the “Definitive 200” list of albums that “every music lover should own.” Its re-release has a highest normalized rating of 100 on Metacritic based on seven professional reviews, a distinction it shares with other re-releases such as London Calling by The Clash.
The album and its title have been referenced several times by other bands. For example, the British East Side Militia, “Exile on Mainline”, in reference to the Rolling Stones album.
Martin Scorsese, features a scene in which Bill Costigan mails Madolyn Madden an Exile on Main St. jewel case containing an incriminating recording of Colin Sullivan conspiring with crime boss Frank Costello. The same film also uses the song “Let It Loose” from the album.
On 31 October 2009, American rock band California. The first episode of the fourth season of the Showtime program Californication is called “Exile on Main St.” (There are frequent Stones references throughout the series.)
In 1994, Exile on Main St. was remastered and reissued by Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out catalogue, after the company acquired the masters to the band’s output on its own label.
Universal Music, which remastered and re-released the rest of the post-1970 Rolling Stones catalogue in 2009, All harmonica heard was added during 2010 sessions by Jagger, and Richards added a new guitar lead on ‘So Divine’. “Title 5” is not an actual outtake from the sessions for Exile, it is an outtake from early 1967 sessions. It features the MRB effect from a Vox Conqueror or Supreme amp, as used by Richards in 1967 and 1968. “Loving Cup” is an outtake from early June 1969, but is actually an edit from two outtakes. The first 2:12 minutes is the well known ‘drunk’ version, as has been available on bootlegs since the early 1990s, but the second part is spliced from a second, previously unknown take. “Following the River” features Jagger overdubs on a previously uncirculated track featuring Nicky Hopkins on piano.
Jimmy Fallon announced on his show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, that he would mark the re-release of the album with a week’s worth of musicians performing songs from the album. Phish, who had played the album in its entirety live in concert before, were the first confirmed act to join the salute.
The re-released album entered at number one in the UK charts, almost 38 years to the week after it first occupied that position. The Rolling Stones are the first act to ever have a studio album return to number one after it was first released.Target also charted, debuting at number 27 with 15,000 copies sold.
It was released once again in 2011 by Universal Music Enterprises in a Japanese-only SHM-SACD version.
 Track listing
All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted.
|2.||“Rip This Joint”||2:22|
|7.||“Torn and Frayed”||4:17|
|8.||“Sweet Black Angel”||2:54|
|11.||“Turd on the Run”||2:36|
|13.||“I Just Want to See His Face”||2:52|
|14.||“Let It Loose”||5:16|
|15.||“All Down the Line”||3:49|
|17.||“Shine a Light”||4:14|
 2010 bonus disc
|1.||“Pass the Wine (Sophia Loren)”||4:54|
|2.||“Plundered My Soul”||3:59|
|3.||“I’m Not Signifying”||3:55|
|4.||“Following the River”||4:52|
|5.||“Dancing in the Light”||4:21|
|6.||“So Divine (Aladdin Story)”||4:32|
|7.||“Loving Cup” (Alternative take)||5:26|
|8.||“Soul Survivor” (Alternative take)||3:59|
|9.||“Good Time Women”||3:21|
|11.||“All Down the Line” (Alternative take, Japanese Bonus Track)||4:09|
- bass guitar on “Casino Boogie”, “Happy” and “Soul Survivor”
- slide guitar, bass guitar on “Tumbling Dice”, “Torn and Frayed”, “I Just Want to See His Face” and “Shine a Light”
- Bill Wyman – bass guitar
- Additional personnel
- Nicky Hopkins – piano
- saxophone, percussion on “Happy”
- organ on “Torn and Frayed”
- Ian Stewart – piano on “Shake Your Hips”, “Sweet Virginia” and “Stop Breaking Down”
- Jimmy Miller – drums on “Happy” and “Shine a Light”, percussion on “Sweet Black Angel”, “Loving Cup”, “I Just Want to See His Face” and “All Down the Line”
- Bill Plummer – upright bass on “Rip This Joint”, “Turd on the Run”, “I Just Want to See His Face” and “All Down the Line”
- Billy Preston – piano and organ on “Shine a Light”
- pedal steel guitar on “Torn and Frayed”
- Richard Washington – marimba on “Sweet Black Angel”
- Vanetta Fields – backing vocals on “Tumbling Dice”, “I Just Want to See His Face”, “Let It Loose” and “Shine a Light”
- Joe Green – backing vocals on “Let It Loose” and “Shine a Light”
- Jerry Kirkland – backing vocals on “I Just Want to See His Face” and “Shine a Light”
- Tami Lynn – backing vocals on “Let It Loose”
- Kathi McDonald – backing vocals on “All Down the Line”
- Engineers – Andy Johns, Joe Zaganno, Jeremy Gee
- Cover photography/concept – Robert Frank
- Layout design – Norman Seeff
- Additional personnel on 2010 bonus disc
- Keith Richards – lead vocals on “Soul Survivor (Alternative Take)”
- Lisa Fischer, Cindy Mizelle – backing vocals
- David Campbell – arrangement on “Following the River”
- Production – The Glimmer Twins
- Mixing engineer – Bob Clearmountain
 Sales chart performance
|1972||UK Top 50 Albums||1|
|1972||German Albums Chart||2|
|2010||UK Top 75 Albums||1|
|1972||“Tumbling Dice”||UK Top 50 Singles||5|
|1972||“Tumbling Dice”||German singles chart||17|
|1972||“Tumbling Dice”||Billboard Hot 100||7|
|1972||“Happy”||Billboard Hot 100||22|
|2010||“Plundered My Soul”||UK Top 200 Singles||200|
|2010||“Plundered My Soul”||Billboard Singles Sales||2|
|2010||“Plundered My Soul”||Billboard Triple A||10|
|2010||“Plundered My Soul”||Billboard Heritage Rock||14|
|2010||“Plundered My Soul”||Billboard Rock Digital Songs||31|
|2010||“Plundered My Soul”||Billboard Rock Songs||42|
 Year-end charts
|German Albums Chart||84|
|US Billboard 200||176|
10–17 June 1972
20 Dynamic Hits
by Various artists
23–30 May 2010
|Billboard 200 number-one album
17 June – 14 July 1972
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