April 7 — ROCKS OFF, Rolling Stones (1972)

IMG_1754I’ve been nibbling for months on Pitchfork’s “200 Best Songs of the 1970s.” It’s quite a feast — seventeen hours worth — and it illustrated the musical girth and diversity of the period. Pitchfork’s rankings sweep together classics like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” alongside the Sex Pistols, Bill Withers, Dolly Parton and obscurities like Plastic Bertrand and Tom Ze.

Such an endeavor is bound to miss a few, and to me the most obvious omission is the entire Rolling Stones’ album “Exile On Main Street.” It’s the high-water mark of a band that over the years has several. Recorded primarily in Keith Richards’ basement in the south of France, the songs here are the Stones at their best — grit, swagger and cigarette smoke, a heady blend of early blues, gospel, rock ‘n roll, and soul.


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