Tattoo You is an album primarily composed of outtakes from previous recording sessions, some dating back a decade, with new vocals and overdubs. Along with two new songs, the Rolling Stones put together this collection to have a new album to promote for their worldwide American Tour 1981/European Tour 1982 beginning that September. Guitarist Keith Richards commented in 1993:"The thing with Tattoo You wasn't that we'd stopped writing new stuff, it was a question of time. We'd agreed we were going to go out on the road and we wanted to tour behind a record. There was no time to make a whole new album and make the start of the tour."
The album's associate producer, Chris Kimsey, who'd been associated with The Stones dating back to Sticky Fingers (1971) said "Tattoo You really came about because Mick [Jagger] and Keith were going through a period of not getting on. There was a need to have an album out, and I told everyone I could make an album from what I knew was still there."
He began sifting through the band's vaults: "I spent three months going through (the recording tapes from) like the last four, five albums finding stuff that had been either forgotten about or at the time rejected. And then I presented it to the band and I said, 'Hey, look guys, you've got all this great stuff sitting in the can and it's great material, do something with it."
Many of the songs consisted at this point of instrumental backing tracks for which vocals had not been recorded. Jagger said in a 1995 interview, "It wasn't all outtakes; some of it was old songs... I had to write lyrics and melodies. A lot of them didn't have anything, which is why they weren't used at the time – because they weren't complete. They were just bits, or they were from early takes".
Despite the eclectic nature of the album, the Rolling Stones were able to divide Tattoo You into two distinct halves: a rock and roll side backed with one focusing on ballads.
The earliest songs used for Tattoo You are "Tops" and "Waiting on a Friend". The backing tracks for both songs were cut in late 1972 during the Goats Head Soup (1973) sessions and feature Mick Taylor, not Ronnie Wood, on guitar. Taylor, who was not credited, later demanded and received a share of the album's royalties.
The album opens with "Start Me Up", originally rehearsed under the working title "Never Stop" and as a reggae-influenced number in 1978 during the Some Girls sessions, and the balance of it was recorded during these particular sessions in Paris (at Pathé Marconi studios) sessions where the more rock-infused track was recorded. Dating from the Black and Blue sessions are the backing tracks for "Slave" and "Worried About You". They feature Billy Preston on keyboards and Ollie E. Brown on percussion. Wayne Perkins plays the lead guitar on "Worried About You".
"Start Me Up", "Hang Fire" and "Black Limousine" were worked on during the 1978 Pathé Marconi recording sessions for Some Girls.
The basic tracks for "No Use in Crying", "Little T&A", "Neighbours", "Heaven" and "Hang Fire" came from the Emotional Rescue (1980) sessions.
The vocal parts for the songs on Tattoo You were overdubbed during sessions in October–November 1980 and April–June 1981. Mick Jagger was the only member of the band present at some of these sessions. Other overdubs, such as Sonny Rollins' saxophone parts on "Slave" and "Waiting on a Friend", were also added at these sessions. The album was mixed at Atlantic Studios, Electric Ladyland, Hit Factory and Power Station in New York City
In the 1995 Rolling Stone interview during which editor Jann Wenner called Tattoo You the Stones' "most underrated album", Jagger said, "I think it's excellent. But all the things I usually like, it doesn’t have. It doesn’t have any unity of purpose or place or time."
"There were so many leftover songs, or at least scraps of songs, from Goats Head Soup, Black and Blue and even Some Girls, when it came time to put together a follow-up to 1980's Emotional Rescue, which, like its six predecessors, hit No. 1, they pretty much dug around in their vaults and pulled out 11 songs that needed cleaning up a bit, required some work with new vocals or were pretty much ready to go as is.
Seeing that the tour planned to take the band to the U.S. in 1981 and then to Europe the following year, the decision was made to quickly go into the studio, record some new vocals and instrumental sections, slide them into the some of the best songs left in the can from 1972-79 and get a new album out there.
Two tracks dated back to the Goats Head Soup sessions, "Tops" and "Waiting on a Friend," which featured Mick Taylor, who left the Stones in 1974, on guitar. (He wasn't originally credited for his work on the songs, but later received compensation.) Another pair, "Slave" and "Worried About You," were left over from Black and Blue.
The Some Girls sessions yielded three songs, including two singles (and two of its best songs), "Start Me Up" and "Hang Fire," and the four remaining tracks got their start during the recording of the Stones' most recent album, Emotional Rescue. Mick Jagger recorded some new vocals here and there, jazz great Sonny Rollins overdubbed some saxophone and on Aug. 24, 1981, a new Rolling Stones album, Tattoo You, hit shelves a month before they launched their American tour.
And the thing is, it's one of the Stones' best albums -- certainly of the period -- and better than most of the albums its songs were originally omitted from. It also holds together surprisingly well -- especially for an album with a recording history that spans a decade, at least half a dozen sessions and various changes in band personnel and collaborators. It's also their toughest and most direct LP in years, even with the material essentially divided into hard and soft sides.
From the defining opening riff that kicks "Start Me Up" into place to the hectic "Neighbours" (from the Emotional Rescue sessions, but which sounds more like the punk appropriations the Stones were toying around with on Some Girls) to the falsetto-guided ballad "Worried About You" (there's no mistaking its Black and Blue roots) to the closing drift of Rollins' sax on "Waiting on a Friend," Tattoo You pulls together its disparate sources and fashions them in a way that most fans had no idea they were getting reheated songs.
It continued the band's streak of No. 1 albums, staying at the top of the chart for nine weeks, their all-time record. The tour, which kept the band on the road through the end of the year, and then again for two months in 1982, was one of their biggest, setting records throughout its run. It would be another two years before the Stones made another album, and another seven before they would tour again.
The Rolling Stones
Mick Jagger – lead vocals (all but 4), backing vocals (all but 5); electric guitar (9, 10); harmonica (track 5), percussion (track 9)
Keith Richards – electric guitar (all but 9), backing vocals (1-4, 6-7, 10); lead vocals and bass guitar (track 4)
Ronnie Wood – electric guitar (all but 7, 8, 9, 11), backing vocals (1-2, 4, 6, 10); bass guitar (track 2)
Bill Wyman – bass guitar (all but 2, 4); synthesizer, electric guitar, and percussion (track 9)
Charlie Watts – drums; percussion (track 9)
Mick Taylor – electric guitar (8, 11)
Nicky Hopkins – piano (8, 10-11); organ (10)
Ian Stewart – piano (2, 4-6)
Billy Preston – keyboards (3, 7)
Wayne Perkins – electric lead guitar (7)
Ollie Brown – percussion (3, 7)
Pete Townshend – backing vocals (3)
Sonny Rollins – saxophone (3, 6, 11)
Jimmy Miller – percussion (8)
Michael Carabello – cowbell (1); conga (3); guiro, claves, cabasa and conga (track 11)
Chris Kimsey – electric piano (9)
Barry Sage – handclaps (1)
Overdubbed & mixed:
October 11-November 12, 1980: Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris, France
November 25-mid-December 1980: Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris, France
April-May 1981: Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, warehouse, Paris, France
May-July 1981: Atlantic Studios, Electric Ladyland, Hit Factory and Power Station, New York CityLittle T&A
Recording date: January-February 1979 & April-July 1981
Recording locations: Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas; Atlantic Studios,
Electric Ladyland Studios, Hit Factory & Power Station, New York City, USA
Producers: The Glimmer Twins Associate producer & chief engineer: Chris Kimsey
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-11-18 18:46 by exilestones.