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Exile on Main Street Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.5 out of 5 stars 942 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, July 26, 1994
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Rolling Stones Exile On Main St. UK CD album

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Before Keith Richards's bad habits took over for a time in the mid-'70s, his work ethic was quite high. Stories abound of the long, if somewhat off-schedule, hours he spent working on this classic album in the basement of his home in France. Hanging together as much because of great songwriting ("Rocks Off," "Soul Survivor") as its fabled grungy atmosphere, Exile caps the Stones' great 1968-'72 run with a force that belies their supposed spiritual tiredness. What some of these songs are about is anybody's guess--Keith claims "Ventilator Blues" was inspired by a grate, while the song plays like an ode to a pistol--but that's just part of this album's hazy game. --Rickey Wright
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 26, 1994)
  • Original Release Date: 1972
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Virgin Records Us
  • ASIN: B000000W5L
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (942 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,748 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 26, 1999
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I came to terms with Exile when asked by a friend what I thought the five all-time greatest Stones songs were - songs that will still be alive 50 years from now. My response was fairly quick - Satisfaction, Gimme Shelter, You Can't Always Get What You Want, Wild Horses, and Sympathy for the Devil. Just my opinion. But I realized immediately none were from Exile, which I think is the Stones' all-time best album. Yes, Tumbling Dice and Happy are up there, and some cuts on Exile are, IMHO, absolutely awesome (viz their cover of Robert Johnson's Stop Breaking Down) - but clearly Exile is not not rich in standout hits. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Like few other albums, Exile is a world, a place I immerse myself in - a distillation of American blues and gospel and country and rock - a funky smokefilled bar or afternoon fishfry or steamy bordello, with beer and bourbon, pianos and slide guitars and hard-partying working people letting it loose, shining a light, shaking their hips, boogieing, scraping the sh*t off their shoes, rocking the joint all down the line. Exile critics cite no outstanding hit songs and too much "fill" and murky production/garage band sound. But that's the point, the genius of the album.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
For decades, it has been a truism that Exile on Main Street is the greatest album the Stones ever made, and that after this album, their career has gone slowly but exorably downhill. Lately I've seen posts on this and other sites challenging "Exile," saying essentially that the album is wildly overrated, and doesn't have the songs that other Stones albums have--"Beggars Banquet," "Let it Bleed" "Sticky Fingers" "Some Girls" and even "Goats Head Soup" getting the nods from these revisionist thinkers.
They have half a point, these folks. There is nothing that hits the incredible highs of "Gimme Shelter," "Street Fighting Man," "Brown Sugar," "Angie," "Beast of Burden," "Wild Horse" or "Shattered" on this album. The two hits that this album generated, "Tumbling Dice" and "Happy" are much-loved, but didn't have the impact of the above singles. And against their earlier 60s hits like "Paint it Black" or "Satisfaction"--forget it.
All that's granted. If someone wanted to be very reductive, much of "Exiles..." just sounds like a boogie album typical of its era--in the early 70s there was sort of a roots revival going on, so lots of bands were doing a sort of combination of blues and gospel with lots of tambourines shaking, pianos rolling, and backup women singers. Stretches of "Exile..." certainly have that Delaney and Bonnie feel. Other songs sound like attempts to emulate early Little Feat, or Gram Parsons, who famously partied with Keith throughout the making of some of this album.
So what makes this album their greatest?
It's hard to describe, but here's my best shot: It's about "feel." Never before or since did the Stones manage to create such a consistent and compelling mood that lasts from the first song to the last. It is a very naked album, both musically and lyrically.
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Format: Audio CD
With much respect to the album (among my favorites) and without causing any offense to those who like the sound of the reissued disc---the sound is not so much to my liking. Heavily compressed, just like the other 2009 Stones remasters. I have done back-to-back comparisons of the 1994 Virgin remaster and this one with good equipment. The dynamics have been squeezed out, and I found myself reaching for the volume knob to turn the 2010 disc *down*--which is a real travesty for such a good-time rock record. Perhaps due to the compression and EQ choices, there seems to be a tad more detail, with more emphasis on the mid-range (this does bring out Mick's vocals quite well, as others have said), but to my ears, the sound is harsh and fatiguing and a tad lifeless. I do wish this album would have been treated as lovingly as the 2002 ABKO re-issues, which are mind-blowingly good. I cannot comment on the bonus tracks just yet.
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Format: Audio CD
Following an album like 1971's magnificent "Sticky Fingers" was always going to be a tall order, but The Stones did it with swagger and panache. "Exile On Main St" was released 12 May 1972 as a 2LP set on Rolling Stones Records COC 69100 in the UK and on COC 2-2900 in the USA. It reached the coveted number 1 spot on both sides of the pond - and like The Beatles "White Album" before it - is a flawed and sprawling thing, but considered by most to be a masterpiece nonetheless.

This 17 May 2010 reissue (18 May in the USA) is the 2CD expanded version of that double on Rolling Stones/Polydor 273 429-5. Disc 1 has the full compliment of 18 tracks at 67:18 minutes, while Disc 2 is a new 10-track mixture of previously unreleased outtakes and alternate versions at 41:12 minutes. All songs are by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards except "Ventilator Blues" which is co-written with Mick Taylor, while "Shake Your Hips" and "Stop Breaking Down" are Slim Harpo and Robert Johnson cover versions. As with "Sticky Fingers", the additional musicians and producer (Jimmy Miller) added hugely to the power of almost every song and should be noted for it - Bobby Keys on Saxophone, Jim Price on Trumpet, Nicky Hopkins, Ian Stewart and Billy Preston on Piano and Organ with lady-soul veterans Clydie King and Vanetta Fields on Backing Vocals. Dr. John also sang backup on "Let It Loose".

SOUND:
As with the 2009 reissues STEPHEN MARCUSSEN (over 1000 mastering credits to his name including the "Alfie" soundtrack with Mick Jagger) and STEWART WHITMORE of Marcussen Mastering have remastered the original tapes and the sound is glorious throughout. "Loving Cup" followed by "Happy" are beautifully clear and "Tumbling Dice" is at last full and in your face.
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