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Mick Jagger on ‘Tattoo You’ marketing promo video, 1981
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Tattoo You conclusively proved that stuck-in-the-back-of-the-fridge-and-about-to-expire-warmed-over Stones was better than most rockers of the 80s could produce in their wildest dreams.
The origins of the album are unusual, to say the least. According to Keith Richards, “The thing with Tattoo You wasn’t that we’d stopped writing new stuff, it was a question of time. We’d agreed we were going to go out on the road and we wanted to tour behind a record. There was no time to make a whole new album and make the start of the tour.” Hmm. A glance at the timeline tells us that there was plenty of time to record a new release: they’d wrapped up recording for Emotional Rescue in October 1979, played a couple of launch parties for that album in 1980 and a stray gig here and there. The only possible conclusion you can draw from Keith’s explanation is that The Stones needed serious training in time management and event planning.
Keith’s recollections were contradicted by the guy most intimately involved in cobbling the album together—associate producer Chris Kimsey. “Tattoo You really came about because Mick and Keith were going through a period of not getting on. There was a need to have an album out, and I told everyone I could make an album from what I knew was still there.” Kimsey rummaged through outtakes and unfinished tracks dating back to Goats Head Soup then handed over the batch to the Stones for overdubs, fills, add-ons and one fabulous guest star.
Sure sounds like a funny way to make an album, but Tattoo You was the first Rolling Stones album to earn a Grammy.Okay, the Grammy was for the album cover, but still . . .
It is a great cover, but what’s inside is pretty good, too. Side one features The Stones at their best, dishing out great R&B-driven rock & roll. Side two is devoted to slow and mid-tempo stuff, and though it isn’t nearly as exciting as side one, it does contain a couple of gems (along with some yawners).
(Ref. marketing video)
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