Both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards remember making a choice to come back in 1973 showcasing a mellower side of the Rolling Stones. Set for release tomorrow (September 4th) is the deluxe expanded Goats Head Soup reissue.
The album's lead single, “Angie,” was released on August 20th, 1973 — 11 days before Goats Head Soup — and scored the band its second chart-topper of the new decade. Keith Richards, who was the primary writer of the song, told Uncut, “For the Stones to put out a ballad was unusual. But we'd put out 'Little Red Rooster' years before, which was the most unlikely single ever. I think that's one of the things I really liked about the band, especially in the early days — y'know, toss it on a dime and say, 'Yeah, that's a damn good record, and it makes a change — lets do it!'”
Mick Jagger went on to say that the Stones tackling ballads was not as unique as one might think: “Obviously, we'd had ballads before that had been successful, like 'As Tears Go By,' which was tuneful, with strings. 'Angie' was a very big hit — huge in France, Italy, and all that — and it drove the album.”
Regarding the fact that Goats Head Soup has been pegged over the years as being a dark, comedown album following the glory days of the Stones' end-of-'60s decadence, Jagger said, “I don't think of it in that way at all. That's more Exile (On Main St.) I don't think this is a depressing album, and there's nothing very dark about it. There's good songs on it, but you might say, there's only 10 of them, and maybe with the three extra songs you could've put on there. . . maybe it would've been a more interesting album. But here it is now!”
Keith Richards admitted that throughout the ups and downs of the Stones' long and storied career, allowing a certain element of the music to stay alive and in the moment is what's kept the band honest on stage: “It’s a strange balance of things, but, as I say, for a lead singer, for the frontman — so to speak — it’s important that he feels, like, totally confident in that he has a band behind him that’s not gonna fall apart if he tries anything. Be ludicrous, if you like, I mean — we’ll be there. Every gig is different, which is why I never got bored doing this stuff. Take the Stones on stage 1963 or now, it’s still that same sense of adventure.”