Personalities | The Rolling Stones (1972) | Key Events
Inspired by Monte Carlo casinos near to Keith’s Nellcote villa, ‘Tumbling Dice’ (No. 5 in the UK and No. 7 in the US) was a smoky jam telling the story of a gambler who can’t remain faithful to women. As the public’s first taste of the forthcoming Exile On Main St. album, it’s interesting in that it saw Mick Taylor play bass in Bill Wyman’s absence, and Jagger playing guitar. During the Exile sessions, Keith had often taken too much heroin to perform overdubs.
Exile On Main St.
Completely schizophrenic, with slow blues, acoustic tracks and uptempo numbers, Exile On Main St. reflects its recording circumstances. Songs were put together sporadically and captured on the Stones’ mobile studio, which they installed in the basement and used whenever Keith would record (his schedule was ruled by heroin and his son’s waking hours). Still the best Stones album for many, Exile On Main St. was a sprawling 18-track double-LP that was also the fourth and final bona fide classic they would record, signalling the end of their great mid-period.
Start Of North American (STP) Tour
For their STP (Stones Touring Party; or Stop Tripping Please) tour the stadiums were getting bigger and the setup more elaborate, with a huge mirror erected over the stage to reflect light across the band. Keith, increasingly strung out on heroin, hated the tour and the large arenas it covered. Playing 90-minute sets of recent hits and Exile tracks, the group – all mostly wrecked throughout – burned out too easily, making it one of their more lackluster US jaunts.
Following the group around the US on the STP tour was director Robert Frank, who was filming a cinema vérité documentary that the Stones instantly vetoed upon watching it back, for fear that the sexually explicit footage, gratuitous drug-taking and other potentially illegal footage would cause them to be banned from the States. Though available illegally as a bootleg, rumour has it that there is a court order on the film that forbids it from being shown unless the director is physically present.
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