Is there a better rock n' roll album than the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St.? Likely not, especially now that the 1972 classic has been remastered from the original master tapes and boasts absolutely extraordinary sound on this vinyl 2LP pressing. The double album is universally regarded as one of the five greatest albums in rock 'n' roll history and the most defining in the Stones' legendary catalog.
Upon its release more than three decades ago, Exile on Main St. wove varying musical genres, instruments, and artists into a compelling masterpiece. The 18-track double-album was famously recorded in various stages at multiple locations, including Olympic Studios in London, Keith Richards' mansion Nellcote in France, and in Los Angeles, where the literal 'Main Street' influenced the album's title. Atypical circumstances surrounding the recording process greatly affected the album's outcome, itself highly reflective and influenced by the socio-political turbulence that marked the late 60s and early 70s.
As detected throughout Exile, the Stones nixed the flower-child era's influences and directed their creative process with an edgier, excessive, "more is more" approach. Consequently, Exile reveals a sprawling mix of genres peppered with blues, country, R&B, and gospel, all mixed with lyrics that fervently demand release and liberation. The album also called on an electric array of talent, including Dr. John, Billy Preston, and pianist Nicky Hopkins. Guitarist Mick Taylor, who replaced Brian Jones in the band shortly before the latter died in 1969, brings his fervent intensity and bluesy elegance to the table to go along with Richards' landmark riffs.
Due to the confluence of chemistry, personnel, circumstances, and songs, there is no other album in history that sounds like Exile on Main St. Remastered from the original tapes, it now sounds truly unbelievable in analog. You need to hear it to believe it.