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Album: It's Only Rock 'n Roll

It's Only Rock 'n' Roll is an album by The Rolling Stones, released in 1974. It would be the last Rolling Stones album for guitarist Mick Taylor and the songwriting and recording of the album's title track would have a connection to Taylor's eventual replacement, Ronnie Wood. The album has a more firm rock sound than their previous album, the more funk and soul-inspired Goats Head Soup. The album reached number one on the United States charts and number two in the United Kingdom. History Work would begin on It's Only Rock 'n' Roll following The Rolling Stones' fall 1973 European tour. Production would begin in November at Munich, Germany's Musicland Studios. According to guitarist Keith Richards, "We were really hot (off the road) and ready just to play some new material." Recording The album was at first developed as a half-live, half-studio production with one side of the album featuring live performances from The Stones' European tour while the other side would be composed of newly recorded cover versions of the band's favorite R&B songs. Covers recorded included a take of Dobie Gray's "Drift Away", Shirley & Company's "Shame, Shame, Shame", and The Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud to Beg". Soon the band began working off riffs by Richards and new ideas by Mick Jagger and the original concept was scrapped in favor of an album with all new material. The cover of "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" would be the only recording to make the cut, while the "Drift Away" cover is a popular bootleg. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll would mark The Stones' first effort in the producer's chair since Their Satanic Majesties Request, and the first for Jagger and Richards under their pseudonym "The Glimmer Twins". On the choice to produce, Richards said at the time, "I think we'd come to a point with Jimmy (Miller) where the contribution level had dropped because it'd got to be a habit, a way of life, for Jimmy to do one Stones album a year. He'd got over the initial sort of excitement which you can feel on Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed. Also, Mick and I felt that we wanted to try and do it ourselves because we really felt we knew much more about techniques and recording and had our own ideas of how we wanted things to go. Goats Head Soup hadn't turned out as we wanted to - not blaming Jimmy or anything like that... But it was obvious that it was time for a change in that particular part of the process of making records." Starting with this release, all future Rolling Stones albums would either be produced by them or in collaboration with an outside producer. Most of the album's backing tracks were recorded first at Musicland, with Jagger's vocals recorded after, with Richards saying, " often comes up with his best stuff alone in the studio with just an engineer.". The song "Luxury" (early version named "Living In The Heart Of Love") would show the band's growing interest in reggae music, while "Till the Next Goodbye" and "If You Really Want to Be My Friend" would continue the band's immersion into ballads. Seven of the album's 10 songs crack the four-minute mark, a quality that would come to be disparaged during the rising punk rock scene of the late 1970s. Ronnie Wood, a longtime acquaintance of the band, began to get closer to The Rolling Stones during these sessions after he invited Mick Taylor to play on his debut album, I've Got My Own Album to Do. Taylor spent some time recording and hanging out at Wood's house The Wick. By chance, Richards was asked one night by Wood's wife at the time, Krissy, to join them at the guitarist's home. While there, Richards recorded some tracks with Wood and quickly developed a close friendship, with Richards going as far as moving into Wood's guest room. Jagger soon entered the mix and it was here that the album's lead single and title track, "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)", was first recorded. Wood worked closely on the track with Jagger, who subsequently took the song and title for their album. The released version of the song It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I like it) features Wood on 12-string acoustic guitar. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll would be Mick Taylor's last album with The Rolling Stones, and he played on just seven of the 10 tracks. Taylor reportedly had made contributions to the songs like "Till the Next Goodbye" and "Time Waits for No One" but on the album jacket, all original songs were credited to Jagger/Richards. Taylor said in 1997, "I did have a falling out with Mick Jagger over some songs I felt I should have been credited with co-writing on It's Only Rock 'n' Roll. We were quite close friends and co-operated quite closely on getting that album made. By that time Mick and Keith weren't really working together as a team so I'd spend a lot of time in the studio.". Jagger stated in a 1995 Rolling Stone interview about "Time Waits for No One" that Taylor "maybe threw in a couple of chords." Alongside the usual outside contributors, namely Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, and unofficial member Ian Stewart, Ray Cooper would act as percussionist for the album. Several songs were finished songs and overdubs and the mixing were performed at Jagger's home, Stargroves, in the early summer of 1974. Release and aftermath In July, the lead single, "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)," was released, and despite the familiar sound, it surprised many by not reaching the top ten. With its sing-along chorus, it has become a staple at Rolling Stones concerts. The B-side "Through the Lonely Nights" dates back to the previous years Goat's Head Soup sessions. A cover of "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," originally a 1966 hit by The Temptations, was released as the second single in the United States only, where it also became a top-twenty hit. Its parent album appeared in October with brisk initial sales, reaching number two in the U.K. (breaking a string of number-one albums that stretched back to 1969's Let It Bleed) and number one in the United States, where it eventually went platinum. Reviews were largely positive, with Jon Landau saying in Rolling Stone, "It's Only Rock 'n Roll one of the most intriguing and mysterious, as well as the darkest, of all Rolling Stones records." However rock critic Lester Bangs disparaged the album in The Village Voice, much like Goats Head Soup, saying, "The Stones have become oblique in their old age, which is just another word for perverse except that perverse is the corniest concept extant as they realized at inception... Soup was friendly and safe. I want the edge and this album doesn't reassure me that I'll get it, what a curious situation to be stuck in, but maybe that's the beauty of the Stones, hah, hah, kid? This album is false. Numb. But it cuts like a dull blade. Are they doing the cutting, or are we?" Instead of immediately touring to promote the album, the band decided to head back into the Munich studios to record the next album, to Mick Taylor's disappointment and subsequent resignation from the band — a tour didn't happen until the following summer in the United States, the "Tour of the Americas '75", with future member Ronnie Wood taking Mick Taylor's place on guitar. In order to promote the album, music videos were filmed for several of the songs. The most commonly seen video from the album was the video for "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (but I Like It)", featuring the band (in sailor suits) playing in a tent, which gradually fills with soap bubbles. Videos were also filmed for "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" and "Till The Next Goodbye." Two different versions of "Luxury" exists. A shorter version of 4:30 is included on the early CD version from 1986. While the version of 5:01 was originally released on vinyl in Europe, and on the 1994 and 2009 cd remaster. In 1994, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll was remastered and reissued by Virgin Records, and again in 2009 by Universal Music. One of the Rolling Stones' largest fan clubs goes by the name "It's Only Rock'n Roll," though its members typically refer to it as 'IORR.' Track listing All songs by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted. Side one "If You Can't Rock Me" – 3:47 "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" (Norman Whitfield/Eddie Holland) – 3:31 "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)" – 5:07 "Till the Next Goodbye" – 4:37 "Time Waits for No One" – 6:38 Side two "Luxury" – 5:01 "Dance Little Sister" – 4:11 "If You Really Want to Be My Friend" – 6:17 "Short and Curlies" – 2:44 "Fingerprint File" – 6:33 Personnel The Rolling Stones Mick Jagger – lead vocals, backing vocals, and guitar Keith Richards – electric and acoustic guitar, backing vocals, and bass guitar Mick Taylor – electric, acoustic guitar, and slide guitar, backing vocals, synthesizer, congas, and bass guitar Charlie Watts – drums Bill Wyman – bass and synthesiszer Additional musicians Nicky Hopkins – piano on "Till the Next Goodbye", "Time Waits for No One", "Luxury", "If You Really Want to Be My Friend", and "Fingerprint File" Billy Preston – piano, clavinet on "If You Can't Rock Me", "Ain't Too Proud to Beg", and "Fingerprint File" Ian Stewart – piano on "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)", "Dance Little Sister", and "Short and Curlies" Ray Cooper – percussion Charlie Jolly – tabla Ed Leach – cowbell Blue Magic – backing vocals on "If You Really Want to Be My Friend" Kenney Jones – drums on "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)" Willie Weeks – bass guitar on "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)" David Bowie – backing vocals on "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)" Ronnie Wood – 12-string acoustic guitar and backing vocals on "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)" Chart positions Album Year Chart Position 1974 UK Top 50 Albums 2 1974 Billboard Pop Albums 1 Singles Year Single Chart Position 1974 "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" UK Top 50 Singles 10 1974 "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" The Billboard Hot 100 16 1974 "Through the Lonely Nights" B-side of "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" Mainstream Rock Tracks 50 1974 "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" The Billboard Hot 100 17 User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

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