Aside from a few unprintable lyrics that admittedly haven’t aged all that well, few Rolling Stones albums have endured quite as much as the band’s genre-hopping, expectation-floating masterpiece, Some girls. (Seriously, is there anything as deliciously and decadently sloppy as Mick going all out at the end of “Shattered,” or Keef waving his way through his floaty rebel anthem “Before They Make Me Run”?)
The attitudinal album – released a whopping 45 years ago, on June 9, 1978 – still sounds as gritty and urban and sexy as ever, but it’s also a fascinating document of a turbulent and musically transitional era, when punk and disco took their entered. over and threatens to make all the classic rock bands of the sixties obsolete. The Stones responded to such changing times by unleashing one of their hookiest, cockiest and downright Stonesy-est albums yet.
“Without a doubt the punks have definitely made us look around and say, ‘Oh my God, we’ve been around for 10 years!'” Stones guitarist Keith Richards told Yahoo Entertainment at the time of the album’s deluxe re-release in 2011. . “The energy of the punk thing was affecting Some girls in many ways. The only problem with the punks is that none of them really could play! I liked the attitude, you know, but where’s the music? And that was their disappointment. But beyond that, it was more a matter of attitude than anything. It was about energy, and it was a kick in the ass.”
“I think it was pretty aware of living in the day,” mused Richards’ Glimmer Twins counterpart, frontman Mick Jagger. “This was a very interesting music time in New York, where I lived a lot at the time. You kind of had a return to very basic rock music – you know, the Sex Pistols and stuff – but you also had the beginnings of hip-hop, the beginnings of rap, and you had a lot of kinds of dance music, very different kinds of dance music. Early dance music was quite innovative in many ways. So you had a lot of genres, and this one pollinated everything. I think this album somehow reflects some of that time, and I think that makes it an interesting album.”
“And the disco thing, I don’t know, that was just what happened in clubs, and you kind of picked up a beat. And we just decided to do a disco song [the polarizing “Miss You”]Richards added. “At the time it wasn’t necessarily ‘disco music’ for us; it was just another rhythm-and-blues beat. Spending a lot of time in bars and clubs undoubtedly had something to do with it.”
Rock purists at the time were horrified that the Stones had sold out and gone “disco” – a laughable non-scandal now, given the number of rock acts of this current century, from Måneskin and Royal Blood to Muse to the Killers, or just about any band to ever released a remix, drew on dance music. “Purists of any kind really piss me off,” Richards observed in his dry and delightful drawl. “Of course there are some who will think this or that. But that’s their prerogative; it’s cool with me. Not everyone will get it the first time.
“Yeah, I mean, now it’s ridiculous to even think about it,” Jagger marveled. “It’s kind of like Bob Dylan going electric, right? It’s ridiculous to even think people made a fuss about it. Now you look back and think, ‘How stupid that was That?’ There were a lot of people who were very narrow-minded about it. For me, I wasn’t raised so much on rock music as on blues and soul music, and a lot of that music used to be dance music. It is specially made for dancing. You know, I love to dance, so as far as I’m concerned, all sorts of fast songs are all made for me to dance to. So it is clear that I would be very interested in making dance music. And that particular groove was the groove of the moment. You don’t really play the grooves of yesteryear when you make records; you play the grooves of today. And that kind of beat was the thing that was going around at the time. It was a big hit for some people, but not everyone liked it.”
Interestingly, though, many of the unreleased tracks on 2011’s Some girls boxed set traffic not in disco or punk but in the kind of bluesy, drunken country stomp of the famous Some girls cut out “Distant Eyes.” There’s the bar band rocker “Claudine” (“That should have been on the original album; it’s a damn good song,” said Richards), the twangy ballad “No Spare Parts,” and covers of country classics like Hank Williams’ “You Win Again,” Freddy Cannon’s “Tallahassee Lassie,” and the Waylon Jennings/Conway Twitty standard “We Had It All” (the latter featuring Richards’ “Before They Make Me Run”-worthy lead vocals). vague genre lines: “We made diametrically opposite types of music at the time: dance music on the one hand, country on the other. We were a kind of jack-of-all-trades here.”
No Some girls retrospective would of course be complete without a look at the album’s famous artwork. The original die-cut cover, created by Peter Corriston, featured a parody of a vintage wig commercial, featuring the wigged Stones in drag alongside Hubert Kretzschmar illustrations of iconic female celebrities such as Farrah Fawcett, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Raq
uel Welch, and Judy Guirlande. But early album pressings quickly became collectibles due to imminent legal action from these famous women and/or their estates.
“The original album featured old-fashioned movie stars, but because we were stupid and never got permission from them, we were often stopped from using them,” Jagger explains. Subsequently, other versions of the controversial album cover were created — one featuring hand-drawn generic women, another featuring 1970s celebrities such as Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Britt Ekland, and even President Jimmy Carter in cross-dressing (the last of which, of course, never saw a commercial release seen). But the version most fans have in their record collections is probably the one with all the faces removed and a banner that says “Pardon Our Appearance — Cover Under Reconstruction” (“as if the cover were a Manhattan department store doing renovations.” ‘, according to liner notes author Anthony DeCurtis).
Today, Richards is nostalgic for a bygone era when album covers were fun Some girls and the Stones’ functional zipper Sticky fingers were big business. “The meaning of an album cover, it has a thousand uses apart from holding a record. You can roll joints on it; you can go either way with it. And it was a good size to watch. A CD is a bit small. Miniature. And with downloads you don’t get any cover at all.” What will Stones fans roll their joints on next? “Tough shit, I don’t know,” Richards shrugged.
Regardless of the appearance or size of the packaging in 2023, Some girls holds up, and the band is understandably still very proud of it. “It’s one of my favorite Stones albums, I think, because it’s as listenable as an album, and it gets straight to the point, it’s not nagging, and it’s concise,” said Jagger. “It’s not stretching, it’s to the point, it’s got a lot of style and it’s got this energy. I think it’s all a very good album. I think it is underrated. I don’t know where it comes from in the ratings, to be honest. In Mine ratings, it’s going to be very high – just don’t ask me what number.
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