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Album: Let It Bleed

Let It Bleed is an album by English rock band The Rolling Stones, released in December 1969. The follow up to Beggars Banquet (1968), it appeared shortly after the band's 1969 American Tour. History Although they had begun the recording of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" in March 1968, before Beggars Banquet had been released, recording for Let It Bleed began in earnest in February 1969 and would continue sporadically until November. Brian Jones performs on only two tracks, the autoharp on "You Got the Silver" and percussion on "Midnight Rambler". His replacement Mick Taylor also plays on two tracks, "Country Honk" and "Live With Me." Keith Richards, who had already shared vocal duties with Mick Jagger on a handful of songs ("Connection", "Something Happened to Me Yesterday" and "Salt of the Earth"), sang his first solo lead vocal on a Rolling Stones recording with "You Got the Silver." During 1968, Richards had been hanging out in London with Gram Parsons, who had left The Byrds on the eve of their departure for a tour in the Republic of South Africa. By all accounts, Parsons had significant impact on Richards' taste in country music, and perhaps as a result of his influence, the band recorded a true honky-tonk song, "Country Honk," a more uptempo and rock and roll version of which would appear as their next single, "Honky Tonk Women." The LP track featured fiddle player Byron Berline, who worked with Parsons frequently throughout the latter's career. Parsons frequently took credit for the arrangement of "Country Honk", although both Jagger and Richards have stated that it was actually the original arrangement of the song as written and conceived while vacationing in Brazil in late 1968. In any event, Parsons had recently introduced the group to his cache of traditional country records and was at least indirectly responsible for this sea change. The singer's own cover, released on the 1976 rarities compilation Sleepless Nights, features a slightly different set of lyrics and yet another arrangement that combines elements of both Stones versions. Recorded under trying circumstance owing to the band having reached the final impasse with Jones, the album has been called a great summing up of the dark underbelly of the 1960s. In addition to being one of their all-time classics, Bleed is the second of the Stones' run of four studio LPs that are generally regarded as among their greatest achievements artistically, equalled only by the best of their great 45s from that decade. The other three albums are Beggars Banquet (1968), Sticky Fingers(1971), and Exile on Main Street (1972). Steven Van Zandt said the albums represented the "Second Great Era" of the Rolling Stones and called it "the greatest run of albums in history". Released in December, Let It Bleed reached #1 in the United Kingdom (temporarily knocking The Beatles' Abbey Road out of the top slot) and #3 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart in the United States, where it eventually went double platinum. The album was also critically well-received. In 1998 Q magazine readers voted Let It Bleed the 69th greatest album of all time, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 28 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2001, the TV network VH1 placed Let It Bleed at number 24 on their best album survey. In 2003, it was listed as number 32 on the List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In August 2002, this album was reissued in a new remastered CD and SACD digipak by ABKCO Records. Cover The cover displays a surreal sculpture designed by Robert Brownjohn. The image consists of the Let It Bleed record being played by the antique tone-arm of a turntable, which is fitted with a tall record-changer-style spindle supporting, in place of a stack of records, a number of items stacked on a dinner plate (bottom-to-top): a magnetic tape/movie reel canister labelled Stones - Let It Bleed; a clock face; a pizza; a small tyre; a cake with kitsch icing, reminiscent of art-deco-style plaster rendering; and the band itself in the form of wedding-style topping figures. The cake parts of the album cover construction were prepared by then unknown cookery writer Delia Smith. The artwork is inspired by the working title of the album, which was "Automatic Changer" (source: Bill Wyman, Rolling with the Stones). The reverse of the LP sleeve shows the same "record-stack" melange partially "consumed", with a slice of the uppermost cake layer removed and the mini-Stones knocked over into the frosting; the tyre hacked and nailed, bandaged and patched; film stray from the tape/film canister; and the supporting plate chipped; a slice of pizza with a bite taken lies on the shattered vinyl; along with the detached tone-arm -- as if evidence of the aftermath of a wild party. The inside of the album sleeve features the message "This record should be played loud". The track listing on the record sleeve did not follow the tracklisting on the record. According to Brownjohn, he altered the track listing purely for visual reasons. The correct orders were shown on the record's label. When ABKCO first issued the album on CD in 1986, the CD track listing followed that of the LP sleeve, not the actual track order of the original album. This was corrected on the 2002 re-issue. Personnel Mick Jagger – vocals, backing vocals, harmonica Keith Richards – acoustic, electric guitar, slide guitar, bass, vocals Brian Jones – autoharp, percussion (congas) Mick Taylor – electric guitar, slide guitar Charlie Watts – drums Bill Wyman – bass, autoharp, vibes Ian Stewart – piano Nicky Hopkins – piano, organ Jimmy Miller – percussion, drums, tambourine Merry Clayton – vocals, backing vocals on "Gimme Shelter" Ry Cooder – mandolin on "Love in Vain" Nanette Workman – backing vocals on "Country Honk" (not actress Nanette Newman as credited on the LP) Byron Berline – fiddle on "Country Honk" Bobby Keys – tenor saxophone on "Live with Me" Leon Russell – piano and horn arangenment on "Live with Me" Al Kooper - piano, french horn, and organ on "You Can't Always Get What You Want" Jack Nitzche - choral arrangements on "You Can't Always Get What You Want" Rocky Dijon - percussion on "You Can't Always Get What You Want" The song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" also features The London Bach Choir, but the group asked to have its name removed from the album's credits. 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