April 2, 1991: Release of FLASHPOINT, the Stones’ fifth live album (recorded during the 1989 Steel Wheels and 1990 Urban Jungle tours)
SIDE A: 1. (Intro) Continental Drift/ 2. Start Me Up/ 3. Sad Sad Sad/ 4. Miss You/ 5. Ruby Tuesday/ 6. You Can’t Always Get What You Want/ 7. Factory Girl/ 8. Little Red Rooster
SIDE B: 1. Paint It, Black/ 2. Sympathy for the Devil/ 3. Brown Sugar/ 4. Jumpin’ Jack Flash/ 5. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction/ 6. Highwire/ 7. Sex Drive
A 2-CD limited edition deluxe of the album titled Flashpoint + Collectibles including a second disc with rare never before released materialwas later issued in Europe.
Collectibles: 1. Rock And A Hard Place II/ 2. Miss You IV/ 3. Cook Cook Blues/ 4. Everything Is Turning To Gold II/ 5. Winning Ugly VI/ 6. Beast Of Burden (live)/ 7. Fancy Man Blues/ 8. Harlem Shuffle VI/ 9. Wish I’d Never Met You/ 10. Mixed Emotions IV
Read more: https://www.discogs.com/release/2108753-RollingStones-Flashpoint-Collectibles
Flashpoint is a live album by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, their first live album by the group since 1982’s Still Life. The album was compiled by Chris Kimsey with the assistance of Chris Potter.
The album was recorded in 1989 and 1990 on the Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle Tour and released in 1991. Steel Wheels Live, released in 2020, is another release from the tour, with a complete 1989 concert and a selection of live rarities.
The tour and the two studio tracks recorded for Flashpoint were the last for bassist and long-time member Bill Wyman as a Rolling Stone.
Recorded across North America, Europe and Japan, Flashpoint is also the first Rolling Stones release of the 1990s and, unlike previous live sets, includes two new studio tracks: “Highwire” and “Sex Drive”; the former was released as a single earlier in 1991 and was a comment on the Gulf War. The latter was described as a “basically a dance-track” by Chris Jagger, and a remix 12″ would be released of it later that year.
Although the live selections are mostly familiar hits mixed in with new tracks from Steel Wheels, Flashpoint also includes lesser-known songs like “Factory Girl” from 1968’s Beggars Banquet and “Little Red Rooster“, originally a No. 1 UK hit single in 1964, featured here with special guest Eric Clapton on guitar. According to Chris Jagger, some of the backing vocals were re-recorded and Ron Wood added guitar to three tracks afterwards.
Flashpoint was recorded using binaural recording. This gives the effect that the concert audience is behind the home listener. The audience cheer track was taken from the Rolling Stones’ 1970 live album Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!, complete with an audience member shouting out a request: “‘Paint It Black‘, ‘Paint It Black’, you devil”.
As Flashpoint was The Rolling Stones’ final release under their contract with Sony Music, the band signed a new lucrative long-term worldwide deal with Virgin Records in 1991, with the exception of Bill Wyman. After 30 years with the band, the 55-year-old Wyman decided that he had other interests he wanted to pursue and felt that, considering the size of the recently completed Steel Wheels project and tour, it was fitting to bow out at that time. Although he would not officially announce his departure until January 1993 – during the interim the rest of the band had repeatedly asked him to reconsider – he had talked about leaving the band for at least ten years. After Wyman’s departure, Ronnie Wood was taken off salary and made a full member of the Rolling Stones partnership, eighteen years after he joined the band.
Flashpoint was released in April 1991 and was generally well-received, with “Highwire” becoming a rock radio hit, and managed to reach No. 6 in the UK and No. 16 in the US, where it went gold.
In 1998, Flashpoint was remastered and reissued by Virgin Records, and again in 2010 by Universal Music.
From the udiscovermusic site:
‘Flashpoint’: The Rolling Stones Rock The World With ‘Undiminished Soul’
The live album catalog of the Rolling Stones is bigger than most bands ever amass with studio releases. It’s a collection that spreads from 1966’s Got Live If You Want It! to the present day. In their “official bootleg” series, 2018 brought Voodoo Lounge Uncut, 2019 Bridges To Bremen and Bridges To Buenos Aires, and 2020 Steel Wheels Live. On April 20, 1991, the band made the UK chart with what was already their fifth live set, Flashpoint. It commemorated one of their most memorable and epic tours.
Flashpoint was recorded on the shows that, many feel, introduced the modern era of the Stones as a live force. It was, indeed, a tour so huge that it had two names. The North American and Japanese legs of 1989 and early 1990 were named for the Steel Wheels album. The European Urban Jungle shows of later that year had a completely new set design.
Those tours raised the bar in spectacular stage design and production values, not just for the Stones but for all bands with aspirations to their stadium rock crown. They played no fewer than 115 shows, with dates spread over just six days short of a year. By the end of Urban Jungle, the extravaganza had a reported gross of an eye-popping $115 million.
Flashpoint not only gave fans a permanent record of those concerts, it offered up two brand new studio recordings. The live portion started, as the shows had, with the invigoratingly mystical “Continental Drift,” the percussive passage from the Steel Wheels album. That segued into the classic curtain-raiser “Start Me Up.” It was the first of many staples on an album that also included live versions of the Steel Wheels tracks “Sad Sad Sad,” “Rock And A Hard Place,” and “Can’t Be Seen.” Eric Clapton made a guest appearance on “Little Red Rooster.” The new songs were “Highwire,” released as a single and featuring an outspoken Mick Jagger lyric that he was moved to write by the events of the Gulf War, and “Sex Drive,” a distinct nod to his longtime admiration for James Brown.
The album entered the UK chart at its peak position of No.6, spending seven weeks in the Top 75. It went gold there and in the US, Germany and Canada. Rolling Stone’s review summed it up by observing that the Stones had “become what they’ve always aspired to be – rockers with the staying power of roots musicians, veterans who continue to practice their art with skill and verve and undiminished soul.”
From the Ultimate Classic Rock site:
When the Rolling Stones returned to the road in 1989 for the first time in seven years to support the album Steel Wheels, it was not only a massive undertaking, and easily the most anticipated concert tour of the decade.
Here were Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, back together despite a hardly hidden fractious relationship that had deteriorated so much throughout the ’80s that it looked like they might never return.
So, upon the tour’s conclusion, it was only natural there would be a live album to document what was then the band’s longest jaunt in their storied history. Enter Flashpoint, a mish-mash of 15 live performances and two new studio tracks released in April 1991.
The concert recordings were culled from eight separate shows. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with taking the source material from different locales, here it led to a feeling of disjointedness.
Lowlights include a terribly flat “Can’t Be Seen,” one of the weakest Keith Richards-sung tracks in the Stones’ catalog. It would’ve been much more prudent to include “Before They Make Me Run” or “Happy,” two other Keef songs played on the lengthy tour. “Sad Sad Sad” and “Rock and a Hard Place” both accurately reflect the over-production of Steel Wheels, itself a mixed bag of material.
Some of the standouts are “Miss You,” which feels reinvigorated and not-at-all welded to the disco-era from which it was spawned. A stripped-down version of “Ruby Tuesday” brings out the original essence of the song, and busting out the laid-back Beggars Banquet chestnut “Factory Girl” is refreshing in light of the over-the-top bombast of hits like “Satisfaction” and “Start Me Up.”
A take on Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster,” recorded in Atlantic City as the North American leg wound down, feels inspired, as is the case almost anytime the Rolling Stones step back in time to embrace their blues roots. It certainly helped a bit to have Eric Clapton solo on the song, which begs the question, where were the rest of the special guests? John Lee Hooker and Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin both appeared on the same bill, with the latter two providing a spark on “Salt of the Earth,” which hadn’t been done live by the Stones in over two decades.
Then there are the two new songs intended to lure in fans who don’t like live records in the first place. “Highwire” is a heavy-handed commentary on the Gulf War. The conflict ended about six weeks prior to Flashpoint‘s release, so it was already lyrically dated. Musically, though, it’s a powerful track, giving an idea of what Steel Wheels might have sounded like had the band spent a year on the road becoming a well-oiled machine prior to hitting the studio.
“Sex Drive” is a sonic retread of Black and Blue’s “Hot Stuff,” a shameless attempt at funk which came up short 15 years before and doesn’t even get out of the gate here. Most embarrassing though are Jagger’s lyrics, which had the then 48-year-old boasting about his libido; he describes, among other boasts, how he’ll “lick the fuzz right off the peach.” It’s neither sexy nor campy, but a feeble attempt at finding the provocative nature of Prince but ending up making Jagger look like a creepy old jester.
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