The Rolling Stones Release 'Beggars Banquet'
Of the 19 songs on the two albums, there are two that stand out head and shoulders above anything else.
And no, they aren't the obvious ones most would think of. I'm talking about "Jigsaw Puzzle" and "Monkey Man". Unfortunately ignored on 40 Licks, both tunes capture the band's blues rock at its finest. "Jigsaw Puzzle" starts a bit stilted before finding its legs by the second verse and definitely by the initial chorus.
Beggars Banquet is the seventh studio album by the English rock band The Rolling Stones. It was released by Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States in December 1968. It marked a return to the band's R&B roots, generally viewed as more primal than the conspicuous psychedelia of Their Satanic Majesties Request.
Following the long sessions for the previous album in 1967 and the departure of producer and manager Andrew Loog Oldham, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards hired producer Jimmy Miller, who had produced the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic. The partnership would prove to be a success and Miller would work with the band until 1973.
In March, the band began recording their new album, aiming for a July release. One of the first tracks cut, "Jumpin' Jack Flash", was released only as a single in May 1968, becoming a major hit.
Beggars Banquet was Brian Jones's last full effort with the Rolling Stones. In addition to his slide guitar on "No Expectations", he played harmonica on "Dear Doctor", "Parachute Woman" (along with Mick Jagger) and "Prodigal Son"; sitar and tambura on "Street Fighting Man"; mellotron on "Stray Cat Blues" and backing vocals on "Sympathy for the Devil".
By June, the sessions were nearly completed in England, with some final overdubbing and mixing to be done in Los Angeles during July. However, both Decca Records in England and London Records in the US rejected the planned cover design - a graffiti-covered lavatory wall. The band initially refused to change the cover, resulting in several months' delay in the release of the album. By November, however, the Rolling Stones gave in, allowing the album to be released in December with a simple white cover imitating an invitation card. (The letters R.S.V.P. that appear on this version of the cover are an abbreviation of the French phrase répondez, s'il vous plaît, which means "please respond".) The idea of a plain album cover was also implemented by The Beatles for their eponymous white-sleeved double-album, which was released one month prior to Beggars Banquet. This similarity, coupled with Beggars Banquet's later release, garnered the Rolling Stones accusations of imitating the Beatles. In 1984, the original cover art was released with the initial CD remastering of Beggars Banquet.
Critics considered the LP as a return to form. It was also a clear commercial success, reaching #3 in the UK and #5 in the US (on the way to eventual platinum status).
The original LP pressing did not credit Rev. Robert Wilkins as the writer of "Prodigal Son". His performance of "Prodigal Son" at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival was included on the Vanguard LP Blues at Newport, Volume 2; that performance is similar to the Stones' cover.
On 10–11 December 1968 the band filmed a television extravaganza entitled The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus featuring John Lennon, Eric Clapton, The Who and Jethro Tull among the musical guests. One of the original aims of the project was to promote Beggars Banquet, but the film was shelved by the Rolling Stones until 1996, when it was finally released officially.
In August 2002, ABKCO Records reissued Beggars Banquet as a newly remastered LP and SACD/CD hybrid disk. This release corrected an important flaw in the original album by restoring each song to its proper, slightly faster speed. Due to an error in the mastering, Beggars Banquet was heard for over thirty years at a slower speed than it was recorded. This had the effect of altering not only the tempo of each song, but the song's key as well. These differences were subtle but important, and the remastered version is about 30 seconds shorter than the original release.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 57 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In the same year the TV network VH1 named Beggars Banquet the 67th greatest album of all time. The album is also featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.