Sunday, April 4, 2010

Exile on Main Street being revisited....again...

This post has little or nothing to do with BEA or publishing.  Although it might be fun pondering the idea of publishers aping the music industry gimmick for fresh revenue from old content by re-issuing cherished fan favorites the way the music industry does, tweaking albums ever so slightly and labeling it re-mastered, alternate takes of classic songs or the true gems - previously unreleased material.   Think about re-mastering Holden Caulfield's adventure into New York City from Catcher in the Rye - a fresh editor might choose Las Vegas for a back drop for coming of age.  Publishing did pick up on the concept music mash ups with Pride Prejudice and Zombies as a working model -  Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter shows the pony has at least 2 tricks.  If you have not knowingly experienced a music mash up - there is far better, but here is idea:  The Beatles vs. Guns N’ Roses Sgt Pepper’s Paradise City 

I am both excited and annoyed by the pending re-issue of the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street.   It is exciting to discover the 10 previously unheard tracks, finding of loads of film from the recording sessions will be a treat and Jimmy Fallon will dedicate a week of bands doing covers from the classic album, including Phish for 3 nights the week before it will be re-released on May 18th (the Late Night shows are May 10-15).  

I am annoyed because Exile on Main Street is more an institution than an album for me.  The idea of it being adulterated in any from than the original is akin to doing a touch up on the Mona Lisa or dropping Holden Caulfield into Las Vegas or one my wife's greatest fear - that someone would attempt to remake the Wizard of Oz  I have Exile on vinyl, it was one of the first CDs I ever bought in 1980something.  I literally wore it out and had to buy replacement copy and then bought the 1994 Virgin original remastered version.   It is brilliance out of what should have been disaster.  The circumstance of the Stones literally fleeing the UK in the face of mounting tax debts - to a villa named Nelcote in the the south of France.  It is well documented that Exile on Main Street debuted to mediocre reviews - even getting panned by Rolling Stone.  Over time it became recognized as one of the great and most influential rock albums of all time.   Legend and fact blend as to who sat in on what session.   Keith Richards' heroin fueled creativity was at its peak, the erosion of his musical powers due to addiction started showing in the subsequent Goats Head Soup and was truly evident in Its Only Rock and Roll.  

Anyway I am starting to rant and the fact is on May 18th I will be out and likely buying a physical CD for the first time in 3 or 4 years.  


  1. Keith Richards first time on stage age 12

  2. It's not Physical Graffiti, but it's a real good double lp.

  3. I bought Exile the week it was released in 1972. I was 15. It's hard to explain to people who live in a post-rock world what things were like back then. The Arts in general today are completely static- I still see wanna be hipsters wearing backwards ball caps, heavily tattooed (Tattoo You-1981!), blasting the same beats their parents listened to in 1985 and thinking they're hip. Sad, but funny in a way. So, I suppose the re-issue of Exile is par for the course in a day and age where absolutely nothing is going on- the publishing industry is only surviving (barely) on celebrity- driven books. As for my copy of Exile- it saw too many parties in the 70's and became unplayable. I bought a new vinyl copy when my local record store was going vinyl-less in the early 90's. I think I did my original copy proud- that's what the album is about. Oh yeah- it's better than Physical Graffiti- it's not even close. And no, I won't be buying the new Exile- even the Stones can't rock & roll anymore- that thread has been lost forever- like the bayous in the Gulf.