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Album: Their Satanic Majesties Request

Begun just after Between the Buttons had been released, the recording of Their Satanic Majesties Request was long and sporadic, broken up by court appearances and jail terms. Starting with this release, non-compilation albums from the band would be released in uniform editions across international markets. Released in December 1967, Their Satanic Majesties Request reached #3 in the UK and #2 in the US (easily going gold), but its commercial performance declined rapidly. It was soon viewed as a pretentious, poorly conceived attempt to outdo The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (released June 1967), often explained by drug trials and excesses in contemporary musical fashion, although McCartney and Lennon did provide backing vocals on "Sing This All Together." The album was the first, and only, album produced by the Stones themselves. The production, in particular, came in for harsh criticism from Jon Landau in the fifth edition of Rolling Stone Magazine, and the Stones turned to Jimmy Miller to produce their subsequent albums. The response of the audience and the growing rejection of the flower power scene by Jagger and Richards would mean a turning point for the Stones: in 1968 the Stones would return to the hard driving blues that earned them fame early in their career. In 1998, a bootleg box set of eight CDs with outtakes of the Satanic sessions was released on the market. The box set shows the band developing the songs, and striking is the cooperation between Brian Jones, Keith Richards and session pianist Nicky Hopkins. Richards is leading the sessions and most songs seem to be written by him, and both Hopkins and Jones indulge in creating elaborate soundscapes, with Brian Jones' parts created on the Mellotron being especially important for the sound and atmosphere of the album. Indeed, admiration and love of the album has grown over the years as a kind of punk rockers' own ragged flipside to the Beatles more cheerful masterpieces from the same period. Songs such as "Citadel" have been covered by a number of young rock bands. Initial releases of the album featured a three-dimensional picture of the band on the cover by photographer Michael Cooper. When viewed in a certain way, the lenticular image shows the band members' faces turning towards each other with the exception of Jagger, whose hands appear crossed in front of him. Looking closely on its cover, one can see the faces of each of the four Beatles. Later editions replaced the glued-on 3-dimensional image with a standard photo, due to high production costs. A limited edition LP version in the 1980s re-printed the original 3D cover design. Immediately following the re-issue, the master materials for re-printing the 3D cover were intentionally destroyed. It was the first of four Stones albums to feature a novelty cover (the others were the zipper on Sticky Fingers, the cut-out faces on Some Girls, and the stickers on Undercover). The maze on the inside cover of the UK and US releases cannot be completed. It has a wall at about a half radius in from the lower left corner. One can never arrive at the "It's Here" in the centre of the maze. The working title of the album was Cosmic Christmas. In the hidden coda titled "Cosmic Christmas", Wyman tells (it's slowed-down: "We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!") The album was released in South Africa as The Stones are Rolling because of the word "Satanic" in the title. The Bill Wyman-composed "In Another Land" was released as a single, with the artist credit listed as Bill Wyman, rather than the Rolling Stones. (The B-Side, "The Lantern" was credited to The Rolling Stones.) There are only two songs from the album which The Rolling Stones performed live, "2000 Light Years from Home" (1989 U.S. Tour and 1990 Tour of Europe), and "She's a Rainbow" (1997-98 Bridges to Babylon Tour). In August 2002, Their Satanic Majesties Request was reissued in a new remastered CD, LP and DSD by ABKCO Records. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

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