Personalities | The Rolling Stones (1973) | Key Events
Nicaragua, Hawaii, New Zealand And Australia
Plans to tour the Far East were hampered when Tokyo refused to let convicted drug users Mick and Keith into the country. Performing an Earthquake Relief Benefit concert in Nicaragua as a warm-up show, the group then played two shows in Hawaii. They filled the Tokyo gap by travelling to LA to work on new songs, before playing Hong Kong, Australia (who decided to lift a ban similar to Tokyo’s) and New Zealand.
Meet Ron Wood
Out at London’s Tramps club one night, Keith bumped into Chrissie Wood, the beautiful blonde wife of Ronnie Wood – guitarist in The Faces, the Rod Stewart-fronted pub-rock band that had risen from the ashes of The Small Faces. Inviting Richards inside after he gave her a lift home, his initial thoughts of having a good time with Wood’s wife were quashed when, being led into the house’s basement studio, he met up with Ron himself, who, significantly, was working with Mick Jagger on the song that would become ‘It’s Only Rock’n’Roll’.
Goats Head Soup
With many Goats Head Soup tracks being born in Jamaica, where Mick and Keith had spent a lot of time since Exile, it was no surprise that the album – one which began the Stones’ ‘lean period’ – saw them focus less on their songwriting, and more on establishing grooves. Ian Stewart called it ‘bloody insipid’ upon release, though it included a few worthy tracks; and while songs like ‘Starfucker’ (retitled ‘Star Star’ on the sleeve) caused some controversy, it certainly lacked the flame of their previous four albums.
Mistakenly believed to be written for David Bowie’s wife Angie, the song was actually written for Anita Pallenberg, and was the Stones’ first US No. 1 in five years (since ‘Honky Tonk Women’). Awash with strings, it became the Stones’ biggest radio-friendly ballad to date, reaching No. 5 in the UK. With Keith’s heroin use beginning to consume him, ‘Angie’ was noteworthy for being the moment of Jagger’s most overt taking control of the band – something that would continue well into the 1980s – and the moment where, on radio at least, the Stones became a softer ballads band.
Goats Head Soup Tour Starts
Perhaps their most depraved tour so far (even Mick Taylor had begun using heroin), the Stones set out across Europe through September to October. Keith was entering one of his lowest points, arguing with Anita, and forgetting the words to ‘Happy’ – his song from Exile – on most nights. In Switzerland, he and Marshall Chess – head of Rolling Stones Records and son of Chess label founder Leonard – went on a three-day treatment that filtered heroin from their bloodstreams, which led to rumours that Keith was receiving blood transfusions to allow his continued heroin intake. Rumours also spread that he was going to be the next major rock’n’roll death, following Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin...
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