A May 12, 1972 “Exile on Main Street”, considered one of the best albums in history, would see the light after the voluntary exile of the band. 50 years after its launch, at Rock&Pop we tell you the story behind this tremendous production.
What is the history of “Exile on Main St”?
In 1971 and with the world at their feet, The Rolling Stones were recognized as the most important and current band on the rock scene. They came from a complex period. The death of its founding member Brian Jones and the Altamont festival tragedy.
That same year the band would release an album that would make musical language their own and superlative. This influenced by American roots like blues, gospel and country. “Sticky Fingers” it would be the definitive break of the perspective of the rock of the sixties.
Next year, the band would make the decision to go into self-exile, due to tax problems in the United Kingdom. allan kleinband manager at the time, had put the group in huge trouble after years of evading taxes to the national treasury.
On the advice of Prince Rupert Loewenstein, a descendant of the Rothschild family and a friend of Mick Jagger, they fled from England. To avoid bankruptcy and went into exile in France.
«The first time I saw Nellcote I thought she was surely going to be able to handle the curse of exile. It was an incredible house, right on the edge of Cap Ferrat, overlooking the bay of Villefranche (…) I woke up thinking: is this my house? It was time for things to be done right. We felt we deserved such greatness after the misery of the UK.” It states Keith Richards, band guitarist, in “Life”, his autobiography.
Villa Nellcotewas a dilapidated mansion that had been used by the Gestapo during the Nazi occupation in World War II. The band had to improvise a studio, stealing electricity from a nearby train station because the house did not have enough. To this was added the daily change of technical personnel.
Taking advantage of this situation and the breadth of the facilities, the band decided to organize a mobile recording studio to start the endless night sessions that started in July 1971.
The history of the place, the architecture and the atmosphere of the house influenced much of the album’s artistic concept. the cover of “Exile on Main Street” would later influence future generations of punk like Sex Pistols.
The production from “Exile on Main Street” it happened between alcohol, drugs and other excesses were part of the creative process. It was a place without order or schedules. Back then, Keith was having a hard time, he was addicted to heroin. During the 1970s, dealers filled the shores of the Mediterranean Sea with drugs.
Nellcote became a vacation center that came to host seventy people a day in the house, where the party, bohemia and lack of control reigned under the hand of Richards. The idea of breaking the system by self-exiling caused chaos and the release of the album seemed like a miracle.
The adventure in the mansion came to an end in October 1971, after the French police began to investigate and question its residents about the visit of drug dealers.
From this period came the first versions of “Sweet Black Angel”, “Let It Loose” and “Rip This Joint”. And the final versions of “Casino Boogie”, “Happy”, “Rocks Off”, “Soul Survivor” and “Ventilator Blues”.
The end result was a double album, a dangerous move for a rock record. But in the case of “Exile on Main St” its length was one of its best selling points.
For you to continue celebrating 50 years since the launch of the famous “Exile on Main Street” We leave you the digitized version of one of the best albums in history.