Beggars Banquet

The Rolling Stones

ABKCO, 1968

REVIEW BY: Shane M. Liebler


Before it was used in a bunch of movie soundtracks, as a clever radio dedication to George W. or inspiration for a remix EP, “Sympathy For The Devil” was the big bang that kicked off a fertile era for England’s newest hit-makers.

Beggars Banquet was a quick recovery from the experimental (read: shitty) Their Satanic Majesties Request and a stark separation from the bluesy pop fare the mop-topped Stones offered up earlier on in the 1960s.

Beggars also ignited an arguably unmatched stretch of productivity for the one-time British invaders. Joining the artistic ranks of converted brethren like the Who and Kinks, Jagger, Richards & Co. released one gem after another, beginning with this potluck meal.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

And there was much more beneath the hits like the sly “Sympathy,” the urgent “Street Fighting Man” and the anthemic “Salt Of The Earth,” all of which still sound pretty fresh and exciting, by the way.

“No Expectations,” the album’s second track, offers an appetizing sample of what would become the vibe behind the band’s country & western classics “Wild Horses,” “Country Honk” and “Sweet Virginia” on the remarkable LPs that followed. With feet firmly planted in their classic Americana roots and heads presumably in some drug-induced fog, they produced the echo-y mid-album tracks “Parachute Woman” and “Jigsaw Puzzle,” which seem equal parts 12X5 and Exile On Main St.

There’s a palpable transition over the course of the 10 tracks, almost like watching one of those thousand-frame-per-second nature films where the flower quickly blooms and dies. Here we see the petals of Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile starting to drop. Beggars provides the nectar at the center.

This is the freeze frame-worthy peak of their development as a band, currently England’s oldest hit-players. Don’t try to tell me “Start Me Up” isn’t “Jumping Jack Flash” sprinkled with “Brown Sugar” or that everything the band has put out since the early ’70s isn’t at least inspired by “Sympathy” or “Gimme Shelter.”

As someone who confidently places Exile among the very greatest records of all time, it pains me to say these guys should have called it quits frickin’ decades ago. As long as they are touring, though, they’d be doing all their fans a favor by just sticking to tracks from this fantastic four-album stretch.

For those of you unfamiliar with the band, it all starts here. Bon appetit.

Rating: A-

User Rating: A-



© 2007 Shane M. Liebler and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of ABKCO, and is used for informational purposes only.