The Rolling Stones iconic ‘Let It Bleed’ album has turned 50.
‘Let It Bleed’ released on 5 December 1969. It was the second album in an incredible run of Stones records following ‘Beggars Banquet’ (1968) and preceding ‘Sticky Fingers’ (1971) and ‘Exile On Main Street’ (1972).
Steve Van Zandt calls those four releases “the greatest run of albums in history”.
All four albums were produced by Jimmy Miller who continued working with The Stones one more time for the next album ‘Goats Head Soup’ (1973).
‘Let It Bleed’ happened during the departure of Brian Jones, who only appears on two songs playing autoharp on ‘You Got The Silver’ and percussion on ‘Midnight Rambler’. He was replaced by Mick Taylor who also only plays on two songs, slide guitar on ‘Country Honk’ and electric guitar on ‘Live With Me’.
It was a prolific time for The Rolling Stones. The band recorded “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” with the London Bach Choir, and created The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, and starred in Jean Luc Goddard’s One Plus One/Sympathy For The Devil. They also released the non-album singles “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Honky Tonk Women”, shot the innovative promo for “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and performed in London’s Hyde Park before completing a US tour in the final months of 1969.
‘Let It Bleed’ has some special guests. Leon Russell played piano on ‘Live With Me’, Ry Cooder is on mandolin on ‘Love In Vain’, Al Kooper plays piano, French horn and organ on ‘You Can’t Always get What You Want’ and those incredible co-vocals on ‘Gimme Shelter’ are from Merry Clayton, who would record a solo version of the song a year later as the title track for her debut album.
‘Let It Bleed’ reached no 1 in the UK deposing The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’.
‘Let It Bleed’ reached no 1 in the UK, no 2 in Australia and no 3 in the USA.