Friday, December 31, 2004


Good Health To You

by Glenn Cripes

Happy new year's eve folks. There are years, and there are years. 1967 falls into the latter category. December of that year saw the release of The Rolling Stones 3D cover opus Their Satanic Majesties Request. As was the case in December two years later at Altamont Speedway, the Rolling Stones never started any balls rolling, but the last word belonged to them.

The usual line on Their Satanic Majesties Request is that the Stones were just trying to copy Sgt. Pepper's. This is a simple minded observation because in the sixties all The Rolling Stones ever did was walk in The Beatles' shadow. They just were able to stay a block or so closer to them than the other groups.

Hey, what's Keith's button doing? Is that 'the finger'?

Sing This All Together gets the ball rolling nicely. Donovan with a bit of grease. Great rock and roll sitar riffs going on. The trouble starts early though when they go into free form jam mode. The Rolling Stones are not a jam band, and praise Christ for that. Thankfully it doesn't last too long and before you can say 'what is this shit?' it's on to the second track, Citadel. This tune is the closest the guys get to rocking out on this record. No hall of fame riffs from Keith here, but it doesn't send me to the skip button either. That's Bill Wyman's job which he does with aplomb with his singular songwriting entry in The Rolling Stone's oeuvre In Another Land. As nick would say, 'you have to laugh, right?' don't really have to is kind of funny though.

Up next is one of my personal faves 2000 Man. Nice back to basics guitar work with Charlie seemingly plodding along in the background, but actually being a genius. Mick sings "I am having an affair with a random computer"....dude totally predicted the internet....great, great song. There is no defending the next number, Sing This All Together (See What Happens) unless you want to say that it pre-dates Revolution #9. One of the things about the sixties is that back then you trusted your rock heroes to know more than you did. I just assumed that those guys had better drugs, and I'd 'get it' once I got hooked up with the good stuff. Now we know it was just a crapstiche to close side one. That said, it's really no worse than Going Home, which closed the first side of Aftermath.

That's ok because Side 2 opens with She's A Rainbow. This is one of the great songs of the hippie era. String arrangement by future Zepster J. P. Jones. John and Paul would've knocked over a couple of spastics to have written this one. They tried to duplicate it with songs like All You Need Is Love and Hello Goodbye, but She's A Rainbow hits it with a flower.

She comes in colors! Collect them all!

Next up, the B side to In Another Land (both US picture sleeves pictured) The Lantern. This is the weakest song on the record for me. The tune is annoying, and the lyrics are more crap than usual. Gomper, on the other hand is a flawed masterpiece. It has a great riff. The Stones should really pull this one out and do it live next tour. The problem here, once again, is the going into the 'space-jam' thing and stretching what should have been a two and a half minute song into a five minute mistake. In 1989 the Stones dusted off the next song, 2000 Light Years From Home and it was a highlight of the Steel Wheels tour. In the context of the album, this one acquits itself well but it's really no great shakes. For the final number, The Stones wisely sidestep trying to make a grand finale ala A Day In The Life, and close with the sarky music hall On With The Show. With it's cocktail party sound effects and jaunty melody this one does 'put you in a cab and take you safely to your door'.

Most will write off Satanic Majesties as a period piece. I say it's a period piece that stands the test of time. It's a great ride, with puffy shirts, drugs and wizard dunce hats. It captures the glamour of the era, simultaneously exposing the navel gazing.

I must mention the August '67 45 Dandelion b/w We Love You. This single is the biz. Dandelion shimmers in pop majesty and the flip We Love You menaces in a royal fashion. The Stones did great work in 1967.
Very rare sleeve (from the Cripes collection)

You clowns be careful out there tonight. See you next week.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?