Satanic Majesties Revisioned

“2000 Man”

By Tony Sclafani (February 2008): “It was 40 years ago today… Um, well. OK, let’s hold the fanfare. Unlike the 40th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, there were no memorials or tributes pouring out when the Rolling Stones’ psychedelic opus Their Satanic Majesties Request turned 40 on Dec. 8, 2007. The reason for this, as all students of rock know, is that Satanic Majesties is a ‘bad’ album, a one-off aberration into ‘weird’ music in which the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band ‘lost focus.’ … We know all of the above, of course, because rock critics have handed down these pronouncements for eons. And when you listen to Satanic Majesties within the context of the Stones’ albums, the critics do have a point. This isn’t your classic Stones album. It sorely lacks classic guitar riffs, snarling vocals and hard-hitting rhythms. Instead, it resounds with trumpets, strings and enough percussion to make Santana jealous. And even if you altered the arrangements, the ten songs that make up this album wouldn’t sound anything like classic Stones songs anyway. And that’s why Satanic Majesties is arguably the boldest piece of work the Stones ever conceived. Despite its flaws, it’s a radical departure from the norm that few artists have ever attempted. For one time only, it seems, The Stones ditched their monochromatic sound and worldview for a multihued, anything-goes mindset that really was ‘like a rainbow,’ to paraphrase the disc’s only major hit song. … When I reunited with the (exact same!) album in eighth grade, the first thing that struck me was how it seemed to deliver more than just music. Satanic Majesties seemed like a gateway into the unknown – a strange mysterious world of the past with endless possibilities, ideas and mysteries. … The life-after-death conceit of ‘The Lantern’ kept me listening over and over to the lyrics, wondering what they meant. Then there were the sounds. … I could go on and on about the sounds. There are trumpets, flutes, recorders, processed vocals, tape loop effects and even an eerie tolling bell (the first sound heard on ‘The Lantern’). The great, ominous orchestral sounds in ‘2000 Light Years from Home,’ I later learned, were made by a device called the Mellotron and played by the late Brian Jones. The sound of the album was so markedly different than anything I had heard up to that point, it left me in a permanent state of intrigue. … Eventually, I’d discover there were a lot of artists who pushed boundaries and would embrace artists like Captain Beefheart and The Velvet Underground. But I have Satanic Majesties to thank for opening my mind in the first place. … The Stones’ album, by contrast, was anything but. That’s its beauty. …”
[PDF] Their Satanic Majesties Request – The Title…
YouTube: Their Satanic Majesties Request (Full Album) (Deluxe Edition) 12 videos, Their Satanic Majesties Request ¶ 11 videos

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