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.