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Sunday 18 February 2018

Listen Again: The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet

The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet
The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet

By 1968, the Stones had reached something of a crossroads. Their dalliance into psychedelic on the previous year's Their Satanic Majesties Request was dismissed as "flimflam" by Keith Richards.

On top of that, founding member Brian Jones was floundering. Enter producer Jimmy Miller. A veteran of Spencer Davis Group and Blind Faith, Miller would don the head lamp that would let the Stones mine a rich seam of Blues for years to come.

Any worries of a band being unsure of themselves are quickly dispelled in the first 30 seconds of opening track Sympathy For The Devil. A track of snake-hipped cocksuredness, it was the perfect opening statement.

There was also the Chicago blues of Jigsaw Puzzle and Stray Cat Blues, and a folk tinge to Factory Girl. Closing track Salt of the Earth works as a nod to those from which the Stones drew inspiration, and those they sought to take along for their ride.

And along the way there's Street Fighting Man, a charged, visceral comment on the anti-war movement of the time.

Simply one of the finest examples of rock in the 20th century.

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent

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