Both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards look back at the Rolling Stones' Goats Head Soup as a turning point for the band. The 1973 chart-topper is set for a deluxe edition release on Friday (September 4th).
The Stones, who were living and recording their second straight album as British tax exiles, were starting to feel the strain at being nomads, just in order to hold on to their fortune. Keith Richards told Mojo, “Although Exile (On Main St.) was our first out-of-England experience recording-wise, (recording in France) we were just across the road, really. By the time we got to cut the next one, we'd been exiled for another year or two. Also in those two years, Mick and I had not seen each other as much as we usually did, so I guess we were figuring out a new way of how the hell to work together.”
Richards went on to say that recording Goats Head Soup meant more than just churning out new product: “To me it was important that we keep our team together — (producer) Jimmy Miller and (engineer) Andy Johns — I thought that was vital. We were determined to say, 'Hey, we can keep this band together, even though we can't actually be at home.'”
Mick Jagger recalled the album's sessions at Kingston, Jamaica's decidedly low-fi — but brilliant sounding Dynamic Sound studio: “We obviously didn't wanna remake Exile any more than we wanted to go to Jamaica to make a reggae record. We didn't do that either.”
He touched upon the album's lead single — the October 1973 Number One hit ballad, “Angie,” remembering, “Keith was the prime writer of that one. I obviously wrote a lot of the melodies and lyrics, but the chorus and the music he wrote. Credit where it's due. . . It was just a name. Keith made it up. People always say all kids of things when they wrote songs. Half of the time you don't know when you write a song what you're really writing about. And girl's names-tites are easy to write, y'know? I'll always go for one of those: if someone says 'This is called 'Angie,' I'll go, 'OK, I can run with that — that's easy.'”
Mick Jagger was asked if while looking back at the Stones' first half-century, he focuses on the positive or dwells on the negative: “Bad times. There's lots of bad times in the career. Y'know, the Rolling Stones had a pretty long career and obviously there's been, like, good things and bad things. People die, and y'know. So. . . but I mean I guess most of the times it's been pretty positive.”