Thursday, June 20, 2024

Happy 50th Anniversary, Exile on Main Street: The Stones’ Famed Double Album Stands the Test of Time


Hard to believe, but “Exile on Main Street” turns 50 today.

It was preceded by a hit single, “Tumbling Dice,” that climbed up the charts and stayed on the radio all spring and summer. It’s never gone away.

“Tumbling Dice” wasn’t the only single from “Exile on Main Street.” The follow up was Keith Richards’ “Happy,” which wasn’t quite the same size hit. But “Exile” wasn’t meant to have hits, particularly. The Stones didn’t know it, but it was pretty much the first punk rock album.

Coming off the very polished “Sticky Fingers,” this new album– recorded right away — was raw. The whole thing is down and dirty, full of blues and double entendres. You can listen to it now, five decades later, and discover new pleasures and inside jokes. You’ve got everything from the grungy “Sweet Virginia” and “Turd on the Run” to the majesic “Shine a Light” to the tear down of “Ventilator Blues.”

And to think– one year later, the Stones gave us “Goat’s Head Soup” followed by “It’s Only Rock and Roll.” The group had already had a classic run from 1965 to 1970, then started an unprecedented second chapter. And that’s what made them the Greatest Rock and Roll Band of All Time.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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