Beggars Banquet was released at a critical crossroads in The Rolling Stones‘ career. It followed a year after Their Satanic Majesties Request took a psychedelic left turn.
The seventh studio album from the band, Beggars Banquet saw a returns to roots. It also served as the last full release with Brian Jones before he passed away (although two of his songs would appear on Let It Bleed released after his death.)
The inner turmoil of the band still bled through the recording sessions of Beggars Banquet. Producer Jimmy Miller noted Richards as focused, while Jones’ emotional problems and drug issues caused tension. Jones would only show up occasionally and the show would have to go on with or without him.
“When he would show up at a session—let’s say he had just bought a sitar that day, he’d feel like playing it, so he’d look in his calendar to see if the Stones were in,” said Miller Now he may have missed the previous four sessions. We’d be doing let’s say, a blues thing. He’d walk in with a sitar, which was totally irrelevant to what we were doing, and want to play it. I used to try to accommodate him. I would isolate him, put him in a booth and not record him onto any track that we really needed. And the others, particularly Mick and Keith, would often say to me, ‘Just tell him to piss off and get the hell out of here’.”
The band let Jones play sitar and tanpura on “Street Fighting Man”, harmonica on multiple tracks and slide guitar on “No Expectations”.
Beggars Banquet tough sound stuck more than the psychedelic phase, in which subsequent Stones albums would follow a similar path.
In 2003, the album was ranked at number 58 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Rolling Stones have prepped a 50th anniversary reissue of Beggars Banquet that includes: a gatefold jacket, with a bonus 12″ of their hit single “Sympathy For the Devil” in Mono cut at 45rpm, backed with an etching of the original ‘toilet’ cover. Also included is a replica of the rare Japanese bonus flexi disc containing a phone interview with Mick Jagger from 1968, and a download code for the album plus interview. The landmark album has been newly mastered by Grammy Award winning engineer Bob Ludwig, lacquers cut at Abbey Road and pressed on 180g vinyl.