||12 May 1972
||July 1971 - March 1972
||Rock, blues-rock, country, folk, gospel, boogie-woogie
||"One of the best, if not the best, Stones album. Contains so many classics covering a wide range of genres."
A few tracks off the album were recorded as early as 1968 in Mick Jagger's residence, Stargroves, and Olympic Studios. Mick Jagger has said that once their contract with Allen Klein had ended, they didn't want to give him any of these tracks, so they were used for Exile. Their ex-manager had alluded to the fact that The Rolling Stones were worth a fortune, but in truth they actually owed the British government more tax than they could afford to pay, having to pay 93% income tax. So, the Rolling Stones migrated to the south coast of France.
Here they looked all over the place for a decent studio in which they could record a new album, but they were unsuccessful. Eventually they were forced to settle with using the basement of Keith Richards' rented mansion, Villa Nellcôte, using their mobile recording truck. The atmosphere in the mansion was very come-and-go, so it was the case that most of the time the full band was never recording together.
After the France sessions, the Stones went to Sunset Sound recorders in Los Angeles to finish the tracks off. A couple of tracks were also recorded from scratch in Los Angeles, namely "Torn and Frayed" and "Loving Cup". The idea to include a gospel choir on some of the tracks was inspired from when Mick Jagger and Billy Preston visited a local evangelical church.
Release & Aftermath
Although spawning a couple of major hits, Exile was generally not received very well by critics. However, the overview on the album gradually changed. Keith Richards has said, "When [the album] came out it didn't sell particularly well at the beginning, and it was also pretty much universally panned. But within a few years the people who had written the reviews saying it was a piece of crap were extolling it as the best frigging album in the world." Nowadays, Exile on Main St. is considered by many to be the Rolling Stones's best studio album.
In 2010 the album was re-released with 10 bonus tracks. Included are studio outtakes, over-dubs and alternate versions.
The cover is a collage of photographs taken by photographer Robert Frank and arranged/designed by John Van Hamersveld and Norman Seeff.
The Rolling Stones
Mick Jagger - lead vocals, backing vocals, harmonica, guitar, percussion, tambourine, and maracas
Keith Richards - guitar, bass guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Happy" and piano
Mick Taylor - guitar, slide guitar, bass guitar and backing vocals
Charlie Watts - drums, percussion
Bill Wyman - bass guitar and upright bass
Nicky Hopkins - piano
Ian Stewart - piano
Bobby Keys - saxophone and percussion
Jim Price - trumpet, trombone, and organ
Billy Preston - piano and organ
Jimmy Miller - drums, percussion, and maracas
Al Perkins - pedal steel guitar
Bill Plummer - upright bass
Clydie King - backing vocals
Mac Rebennack (Dr. John) - backing vocals and piano
Venetta Fields - backing vocals
Shirley Goodman - backing vocals
Tami Lynn - backing vocals
Joe Green - backing vocals
Richard Washington - marimba
Jerry Kirkland - backing vocals
Kathi McDonald - backing vocals
In 1972 the album sailed to the top of both the Uk and US album charts. When released in 2010 it went to #1 in the UK album charts and #2 in the Billboard 200 chart.