To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the most “tattooed” rock album in the history of music, we offer you some videos and our review coming from the heart
Last October 22, on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, ‘Tattoo You’ by Rolling Stones was released again in a new remastered version including nine unreleased tracks.
The remastering of the original 11-track album includes the classics ‘Hang Fire’, ‘Waiting On A Friend’ (featuring the saxophone of jazz giant Sonny Rollins) and of course the opening track, ‘Start Me Up’.
The deluxe formats will also include other two albums – ‘Lost & Found: Rarities’ and ‘Still Life: Wembley Stadium 1982’.
The ‘Lost & Found’ disc contains nine songs from the period of the album’s original release, newly completed and enhanced with additional vocals and guitar by the band. Of these, ‘Living In The Heart Of Love’ is quintessential Stones way of rocking, with the whole group at their best.
Other rarities included on ‘Lost & Found’ are – a killer version of ‘Shame, Shame, Shame’, first recorded in 1963 by one of the band’s blues heroes, Jimmy Reed, a reinterpretation of Dobie Gray’s soul gem ‘Drift Away’ and a fascinating reggae version of ‘Start Me Up’.
‘Still Life: Wembley Stadium 1982’ is an unmissable souvenir of the band’s London show in June of that year, recorded during the ‘Tattoo You Tour’.
The massive 26-track set is packed with Stones mega-hits, including the opening ‘Under My Thumb’ and great classics like ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’, ‘Honky Tonk Women’ and ‘Brown Sugar’.
The Wembley show features covers of ‘Just My Imagination’ by The Temptations, ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ by Eddie Cochran, ‘Going To A Go Go’ by The Miracles and ‘Chantilly Lace’ by the unforgettable rock ‘n’ roller Big Bopper.
And now, before saying goodbye, a sort of labour of love – a little story about the secrets of the unforgettable ‘Tattoo You’, previously published on an old paper issue of Tattoo Life magazine. Here it is!
Legend has it that Rolling Stones ‘Tattoo You’ album was to be titled simply ‘Tattoo’ and that was it. «I honestly don’t know where that additional ‘You’ came from» Mick Jagger explained a bit embarrassed to a journalist.
It doesn’t matter: when ‘Tattoo You’ comes out, it’s late summer 1981 and the Stones are ready to rise again. A few years earlier there had been the punk revolution with its disgust (a bit of a facade…) towards the dinosaurs of rock.
For the most famous band in the world, together with the Beatles, it seemed the end of an era and instead just a few chords of ‘Start Me Up’ – one of the most beloved songs of their repertoire – to tune the band with the most strict actuality.
The album was a resounding success (4 million copies and first place in the U.S. charts, the last in order of their releases) and was awarded with a Grammy for the amazing tattooed cover designed by Peter Corriston.
Ironically, the sixteenth birth of the Rolling Stones still gives off vitality (excellent the idea of shooting the rock songs on the first side and the ballads on the second), but was inevitably born old.
The same ‘Start Me Up’ circulated since 1975 and was originally a reggae piece called ‘Never Stop’. The sweet ‘Waiting For A Friend’ dates back to 1972, but it was enough to add Sonny Rollins’saxophone to turn it into an eternal masterpiece.
The album as a whole was and remains an immortal rock-blues-soul classic. Again, Jagger’s lips deserve the last word: «Well, ‘Tattoo You’? I think it’s a very excellent work. Like all the things I like, this album in particular is without a purpose, a deadline, a direction and a stylistic unity». Could we have explained it better than Sir Mick’s words?