Which album more “made” the Stones: Beggar’s Banquet or Let it Bleed?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Roger Wilco, Aug 5, 2022 at 6:09 PM.

  1. Roger Wilco

    Roger Wilco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Queens, New York
    For my money, Let it Bleed is the “make or break” album for the Stones. By which I mean, this album was the test of whether they’d continue as a band, and more importantly, actually find their completely own identity

    With Beggar’s Banquet, Brian Jones (who, it is forgotten, was very popular among fans) was still part of the band fully. His contributions may have lessened from TSMR, but he still contributed in some way to 8 of 10 songs on that album.

    He was still there adding color, texture, and more importantly, continuity to the past, and legitimacy, as the third founding member and a fan favorite.

    Not only that, but as much as Beggar’s was a return to roots, it also was safe: Very Dylan inspired. Very acoustic. It leaned as much on their influences as it was original

    With Let it Bleed, Jones was barely involved, his sole contributions being two ghostly parts on two songs. It was not only their first album without his contribution being there in any meaningful way, but it was the first that was released after he was no longer part of the band. The 1969 tour was also the first without him

    Not only that, but it was the first album on which Mick, Keith, Bill and Charlie had to rely on each other fully.

    Mick Taylor is barely present on Let it Bleed, playing only two songs also. The band on LIB is mainly a four piece.

    And these were also highly original, shocking new compositions. Very different from anything they’d ever done. Go compare Aftermath to Let it Bleed, it sounds like the work of two different bands, because in a way, it is.

    LIB was the real test if the band could progress to their next phase.

    If the fans rejected Stones Mk 2, it was over. If Hyde Park didn’t go over well, it was over. If Mick Taylor proved to be a square peg in a round hole, it was over. If fans didn’t accept and embrace him as replacing Brian, it was over.

    I think it’s not really realized how much was at stake for them in the summer of 1969.

    Let it Bleed, in my opinion, is the album that made the Stones.

    For the first time they were completely out of Jones’ shadow, embracing fully their own self made image and identity, and playing material that would come to be known as 100% “Stonesy.”
  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product

    I was born in 68, so my context maybe/probably is very different....

    Brian certainly was an important member of the band, but Jagger/Richards had all the songwriting credits.

    I think the bands albums are very good through the sixties (I understand it was still partially the singles era)
    I think Aftermath proved they could make a great album and Between The Buttons took it to the next level for me....

    Satanic Majesties may perhaps have been a misstep, in time, but it isn't a bad album... it fit with the general scene of the time, and also showed the Stones could be more than one thing, and in many ways ends up being an important and liberating album in many ways....

    Beggars Banquet is rock solid, and a wise return to roots, but shows a very different face than the pre Majesties albums.

    Let It Bleed builds on that and knocks it out of the park... in my opinion.

    I think somewhat more importantly, in some ways.
    1967 starts off like a sonic explosion
    Let's Spend The Night Together
    Ruby Tuesday...

    Aug We Love You... pretty good, and did pretty well.

    Sept Dandelion... not bad, but probably faltering a little

    Dec In Another Land......

    Dec She's A Rainbow... great song, but folks are starting to wonder a little what's going on with the Rolling Stones

    Dec 2000 Light Years From Home... it's a good track, but people aren't really sold on this new Stones sound

    Then Sonic Boom
    May 1968
    Jumpin' Jack Flash

    Aug 1968 Street Fighting Man... holds the momentum and interest

    Dec 68 Beggars

    Feb 1969 Sympathy For The Devil... amazingly failed to bother the scorers, except in France.... but in 69, that title may have been kept off playlists

    Jul 1969 Honky Tonk Women.... Boom

    Dec 1969 Let It Bleed

    Beggars did really well, 7 top ten spots around the world
    Let It Bleed broke it wide open - 9 top five placings 3 of them no 1, and they even got to 11 in Japan...

    Then you get Ya Ya's in 70 doing very well, particularly for a live album.

    Sticky comes out in Apr 71 top 10 in ten countries 8 of them number 1, and the upper echelon legendary status of the band is sealed, constantly in the top ten with every album since....

    I may be completely wrong, but it seems like Jumpin Jack Flash and Honky Tonk Women came out at just the right time to boost the band into the minds eye of pretty much the next generation of Stones fans, bring some of those who faded off with Majesties back, and then two very strong albums at the same time cemented them into the history books.

    But like I say, I wasn't there, but that's what it seems like
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022 at 7:00 PM
  3. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA.
    I think I like the stripped-back sound of Let It Bleed for that reason. More Keef, more beef, at least in the riffage.

    Begger’s was notable for the band turning the corner on their psychedelic era for a new chapter. I wouldn’t say it was entirely safe. It was a bit of a make or break record in the way that it determined whether the band would keep going, with or without Brian.
    mark winstanley likes this.
  4. Spitfire

    Spitfire Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest
    The non-album singles Jumpin' Jack Flash and Honky Tonk Women were huge too.
  5. Roger Wilco

    Roger Wilco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Queens, New York
    Jumpin is still part of the original lineup era, Honky Tonk is the first post Brian single
  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product

    It's the impact and momentum of those singles, and the timing of the albums. It all worked together I reckon
  7. dmiller458

    dmiller458 Forum Resident

    Midland, Michigan
    Beggars is my all-time favorite.
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  8. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    I think Beggars Banquet is one if the great comeback albums, along with the "Jumping Jack Flash" single.
    These records got them back to their blues and rock'n'roll roots and solidified their approach to country music.
    Jimmy Miller was the perfect producer for this music.
    Let It Bleed is a great record too but it follows the template of the previous album. Anthemic opening tracks and closers, a blues cover, country dabblings, songs filled with sexual innuendo.
    Of course the next studio album, Sticky Fingers, was the biggest seller of the three.
    But it all started with Beggars Banquet.
  9. Sixpence

    Sixpence Zeppelin Fan

    Let It Bleed
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  10. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader

    ontario canada
    Charts are not really an indication of talent or ability or reflect ' best of' an artist.
    Having said that, let the record show that Their Satanic Majesties Request' charted higher ( #2 Billboard) than either 'Beggar's Banquet ' or 'Let It Bleed'.
  11. Roger Wilco

    Roger Wilco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Queens, New York
    It’s a great album, just needed a bit of editing.
  12. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident

    Sheboygan, WI
    I think it was Jumping Jack Flash. It signaled they were back, ready to rumble. The albums after that reinforced that.
  13. apb

    apb Game on!

    Satisfaction made them. JJF reaffirmed them.
  14. Peter Mork

    Peter Mork Forum Resident

    Out of Our Heads. The American version had Satisfaction and The Last Time, plus others - overall a better selection - and a better cover photo. And that photo is what got the kids excited, because those guys are not cute like the you-know-whos, but they sure look kinda dangerous.
  15. Aftermath

    Aftermath Senior Member

    IMO, Beggars Banquet was considered the comeback album after the group's dabbling in psychedelia, and, together with "Jumping Jack Flash," was very much a turning point after Satanic Majesties and Between the Buttons, so it gets my vote as the make-or-break album. Let it Bleed has quite a few acoustic numbers itself, so IMO, it simply built on the sound of Beggars Banquet.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022 at 8:01 PM
  16. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Senior Member

  17. human riff 999

    human riff 999 "Let Me Be Who I Am, And Let Me Kick Out The Jams"

    Beggars Banquet was a return to where The Stones had strayed from, and LIB cemented that return; both lps, along with JJF and HTW are what made the Stones the legends they are as the greatest rock and roll band in the world!

    Early Stones was influenced and driven by Brian...Little Red Rooster Cant Be Satisfied, Not Fade Away Mona Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, I'm Moving On Route 66....this was Brian and the roots. Mick and Keith were into it...perhaps Keith more...Mick was the campy singer out front...Brian and Keith weaved the guitars that gave them their sound, and were really good together for a while. Andrew Loog Oldham pressured Mick and Keith to write ("look at Paul and John") said they cannot keep doing covers. That was the beginning of the end...Brian could play anything but was not a writer that we know of. So you get a string of singles pop/rock flower power 60s...Satisfaction, 19th Nervous, Mothers Helper, Paint It Black, Thumb, Get Off My Cloud, Have You Seen Your Mother....AM radio power pop...they follow the Beatles down the psychedelic rabbit hole Dandelion, We Love You, Shes A Rainbow to Satanic Majesties. Brian got off the boat when the singles started happening...he was never happy with them.....he hated Satisfaction....he loved being a pop star but no so much pop music...he added fine plumes and feathers to the music....but never liked it.

    Brian contributed a lot to Beggars Banquet...he was lost but still a player...and this was like a return for him to roots...but it was too late...he was mentally out of it...he always said man I"ll never make 30...and he did not! JJF comes out May 68...then Beggars in Dec 68....a real return to the blues country...the American blues and the South...more roots....away from the psychedelic Beatles to where Country Uncle Bob Dylan was...Woodstock 67-69 with The Hawks/Band and John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline. Bobs new sound greatly affected both Beatles and Stones (they all were in awe of him...he was the crown jester...perhaps Brian knew him best they were friends)....Beggars led to LIB....and Brian by this time was out of it...drugs, Keith and Anita, drink, losing "his" band.

    ...like someone said....Let It Bleed was Mick Keith Charlie and Bill....Brian was on the way out...Mick T just on board. However Mick Taylor joining the band, combined with the tunes on both albums Sympathy, SFM, Stray Cat, Rambler, Live With Me, Gimme Shelter, and JJ Flash, HT Women, and the decision to return to touring.....these events fired...no exploded on all cylinders on the 1969 American Tour...this is where we get the true essence of The Stones: Beggars Bleed JJ Flash Honky Tonk....adding Mick Taylor and the first real barnstorming tour of America in 1969....!!!! The Beatles were fading, Bob was living in the country, and the Stones were the only Gods visible on Olympus!!!!

    After 69, the bootlegs started coming out, spreading the word that the Stones live were IT....(and boots persisted through the Taylor era driving and cementing the legend of TGRRBITW ), Ya Yas comes out, the Stones toured Europe in 70, and prepared to leave GB in 71....but added Bobby Keys, Jim Horn and the great Nicky Hopkins making them a true travelling r and b band.....they did a tour of GB, adding more decadent songs...Brown Sugar, Bitch, Dead Flowers...cut Sticky Fingers...then barnstormed across the US on the huge STP Tour in 72 behind the ultimate decadent Exile and its excesses.....fueled by a great performer/average singer up front, fierce, contrasting, powerful styles of interplay between MT and Keef (there has never been a better matched pair), a powerhouse dynamite engine room driven two reclusive yet great musicians in Bill and Charlie...and the horns of Bobby and Jim P....and made complete by Nicky Hopkins. They did a tour of the South Pacific....driven by the songs from BB LIB SF and Exile.....then destroyed Europe in the fall of 73, adding more Stones filth and decadence from Goats Head.....then the Golden Era was over as the great MT left in 1974!!!

    A lot of things fell into place to get the Stones to where they are...still today...as good a live band as you would ever want....and 69-73 ....as good as it gets. These 2 albums, and JJ Flash and HT Women....were the keys to the rise to the top of the mountain; but other things fell into place that had to happen for it to happen. Brian and Keith would never have powered The Stones to the top. Brian was a good slide player as was Keith...Brian was not a lead player....he played a passable rhythm. Keith was and is a fantastic rhythm player....the true riff master.... a serviceable lead player on his kind of music, but neither of them was a top lead player . They would never have been one of the best with their 2 guitar styles....bunch of rhythm songs, no leads! They could never have played any of the tunes from 69-73 the way we know them. Brian was destined to die; he almost wanted to...and he did. There were rumors the Stones approached Roy Buchanan to join....absolutely not....Roy was a all time great but also a pathological liar... So without Brian, where do they go? MJ spoke with Mayall about Taylor...and that was the key to their greatness. Taylor....one of the very best on lead and slide...and quite the rhythm player as well....and was like Bill and Charlie...quiet and reclusive. So now we have A great band finding its roots, and adding one of the great players in the world....combined with a fantastic batch of songs and singles (BB LIB JJF HTW). They started touring again, and in 69 it was different people were listening grooving getting high....not screaming and throwing jujyfruits. They take these lps and singles on the road in America and the word spreads like fire...they're baaaack. The bootlegs, added players mentioned, Sticky Fingers, Exile, 70-73 massive tours all sealed their legend...that still grows today....they still rock!!!

    These 2 albums along with JJF and HTW....and adding Mick Taylor are the reason they are who they are. Mick and Keiths tunes, Charlie and Bills musicianship combined with MT makes it all possible....a lot happened....a lot of destiny....but it had to be this way; no Taylor no GRRBITW.
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  18. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Great post! :edthumbs:
  19. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    Arizona desert
    Beggar's came first. I was 15 when I bought the album and I'm still not tired of it. Let It Bleed is a masterpiece too. I'm not tired of that one either.
  20. It was the back-to-back releases that did that.
    Library Eye and rockerreds like this.
  21. Absolutely, and not just for the Stones... the rate of new releases from bands that were touring heavily was astounding by modern standards; essentially an album a year plus tours. The resulting momentum really propelled many acts to the top of heap.
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  22. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Out Of Our Heads.
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  23. Remy

    Remy Forum Resident

    Brooklyn NY
    I love Beggars but agree that Let It Bleed made the stones. In the 70’s just about every song from it got pretty good airplay in the NY area. It was pretty much their “Rumours”.
  24. human riff 999

    human riff 999 "Let Me Be Who I Am, And Let Me Kick Out The Jams"

    It was a turning point in history for the band....I think had they carried on...had Brian not had a series of tragedies with drugs and life....they would have been a really good band.....but Mick Taylor changed the game. He was a kid when he joined them in 1969...he was 20 they were all 26 and older....and his guitar style was perfect for them. They have never had a musician like him in their lineup. Very very gifted player....I always wonder what if he had stayed on with them....so when Bill left....RW could have joined....and they could switched off on instruments...as MT KR and RW all can play guitar and bass. The music that happened on these sides...combined with MT and the exposure they got from the big tours are what really put them on top and earned the name GRRBITW.....it was only in the 69 73 Taylor years that this name applies....they are as good as anybody now....they sell every show out.....but with MT on board they ruled!!!!!

    another thing that really pushed the envelope for them and still are very important today are bootlegs. Some people do not like them, appreciate them, like them, or approve of them.....I have worshiped them since my first copy of Liver Than You'll Ever Be...Oakland 69 Second Show.....the shows from 69 to 73 are the living proof of my post; the shows with MT were phenomenal pieces. I do not have all of them....but I have many many of them...and look for them all the time. The interplay between the band in general and MT and Keith in particular are incredible. I especially enjoy the shows from 71 and 72 with Bobby Keys, Jim Price and the great Nicky Hopkins.....a true r and b band....they really play well. The legit live stuff they have released is good...but much of it is later shows..they did release Marquee Club 71 and Brussels 73....and they are gems!! Fortunately I have been collecting bootlegs since 1970...Vinyl, CD, cassette....and I have many gems from the MT era 69 - 73....and look for stuff all the time.

    The golden era of The Stones is with MT...and draws on JJF HTW Beggars Let It Bleed Sticky Exile and Goats Head....the perfect storm of Mick and Keiths writing, a great band with great support players, the rise of the bootleg, and the addition of Michael Kevin Taylor in 1969 at age 20.......what a perfect storm!

    I have been so fortunate to meet MT twice....I moved to Richmond in 1989....and other than my girlfriend who had moved here and a great aunt knew nobody. MT came to a small club on Broad Street....I'd say there were 50 -60 people there...the only cats I knew were from a mid 80s band from Richmond that played in my small hometown of Radford many times the great Strokers....they knew of the magic of Mr Taylor.....and oh man did he let it rip. Small place plenty of room fall night cold beer....man I could not keep my eyes off his hands....he made it look so simple.....he came out on fire....opened with Driving Sideways Freddie King tune he did with JMs Bluesbreakers....he did Red House, Mr Censorship Man, Leather Jacket Broken Hands....the man was incredible. Dressing room is upstairs and he took time to chat with the autograph seekers....about 20 or so....I'm last in line....people had albums cds shirts to get signed...dude in front of me is a classic nurd...black specs, black cons...glasses taped in the middle.....has a cd and a sharpie....MT starts to sign....dude says "why'd you quit the Rollin Stones?"....Taylors hand jerks across the cd....I thought you idiot! So he looks at me, and I smoked then, and I said would you like a Dunhill?....he smiled and said yea....I told him I was very fond of the music he had done with JM Bluebreaksers, and his solo stuff...and that Driving Sideways by FK was unreal opener...told him I was a big FK fan..he kind of sat back and it was like he thought this is a guy who just loves my music...which is me spot on! I was working with a guy doing carpet removal at the time, and came straight from work...no dinner, some beers a Sat night...and I had some cds at my apt...but brought nothing...I had some white business cards...I asked him could he sign the back of 2 of them...one for me, one for my best friend JR who lived in Manassas....and he did ....simply written Best Wishes Mick Taylor....I floated down those steps....saw him a few years later at a Guitar Store in MD....to have an interaction with a guy who saw the world from 67 when he joined Mayall and from 69 to 73 with The Stones.....was a great experience for me. He was just a normal reserved guy who is one of the great guitarists of all time....great great menory for me....and I really enjoy his works!
  25. tonyballz

    tonyballz Roogalator

    I agree with the majority of the OP; Let It Bleed is my favorite Stones LP by miles, nothing else they ever did touches it. I could go on and on about the countless little things that make it great ...

    BUT ...

    Sympathy For The Devil is the watershed. NOTHING in their previous catalog even remotely prepares the listener for it. Thanks to advances in recording technology, the Stones spent 1967 creating more elaborately dense music (Satanic Majesty's, the We Love You / Dandelion single) but all this is stripped away in Sympathy For The Devil. Even Jumpin' Jack Flash, great as it is, more or less fits the standard form of a rock and roll single. Sympathy is unlike anything heard from a pop band in 1968, from the sparsely menacing intro with its voodoo percussion, Mick's yelps, Nicky Hopkins' piano and the audacious unveiling of Lucifer as "a man of wealth and taste" through Keith's nasty piercing guitar solo and the ladies' woo-woos, this is the Stones in uncharted territory. Even the Beatles never came up with something this disturbing and evil and made it so damn catchy. The Stones would expand upon this with Midnight Rambler, then realize they had gone too far and spent the rest of their career backtracking.

    So yes, Let It Bleed refined and solidified the themes set out in Beggars Banquet, such as the use of acoustic guitars as lead instruments, the mock country hoot, the hallelujah finale and thrown-off songs that are actually meticulously constructed. But Sympathy For The Devil kicked the door down for everything that followed.
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