Released April 15, 1966
© Madeline Bocaro, 2023. No part of this site may be reproduced or re-blogged in whole or in part, in any manner without permission of the copyright owner.
Aftermath is the first Rolling Stones album with all original compositions. The band was beginning to expand their horizons, just as The Beatles were putting an end to their touring days and would start to experiment more in the studio.
It was The Stones’ fourth British album, released on April 15, 1966 in the UK (in July in the USA – with a different album cover and track listing). It hit No. 1 in the UK and No. 2 in the USA.
The Stones had just finished their 4th US tour – after the huge success of ’Satisfaction.’ Recording started at RCA studios in Hollywood in December 1965 – when The Beatles released Rubber Soul, with Revolver soon to follow. Dylan would soon release Blonde on Blonde.
This brilliant “first” album of Jagger/Richards originals is rife with new international sounds; sitar, koto, harpsichord, marimbas, bells and dulcimer. It is still especially odd to see the old film of Brian Jones sitting cross-legged and playing a sitar on Ready Steady Go!
The track listings differ in the USA / UK, but it’s incredible that so many amazing hit songs were made during those sessions (‘Paint It Black’, ‘Under My Thumb’, ‘Out Of Time…). It’s a bit disturbing that the lyrics bore so much anger and wrath toward women (‘Stupid Girl’, ‘Doncha Bother Me’, ‘Mother’s Little Helper’, ‘High and Dry’). But the Stones almost make up for this with the elegant, baroque ‘Lady Jane.’
In keeping with their roots, there is also a massive 11-minutes plus blues epic, ‘Goin’ Home.’
Brightly styled instrumentation masks the darkness of the lyrics, which would only become more sordid once the band got more heavily into drugs. Brian Jones was already descending into the abyss. (He died three years later).
This positions the Stones lyrically as The Velvet Underground of Swinging London. Aftermath is a subversive snapshot of London’s seemingly innocent and happy pop scene, just as the VU brought the sordid, druggy New York underground to the surface, around the same time. Musically, the Stones were much more palatable than the VU, but in comparison to The Beatles, they were wicked.
With all the talk about the popular songs on the album, ‘I Am Waiting’ is perhaps the most distressing lyrically. Although the tone is comforting and the lyrics simplistic, any other band’s song with the repeated lines, “Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere” would be about the coming of a savior. However, in the case of The Rolling Stones, it is almost certain that this delicate pop song intimating the end of the world is about something much darker, with escalating fear and the warning, “You will find out.” Songs about Lucifer himself and “Mr. D” would soon follow.
© Madeline Bocaro 2023. No part of this text may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or re-blogged in whole or in part, without prior written permission. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. All text written by Madeline Bocaro is protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without prior written permission.
See more in my Playlist category:
About A Song
Eat to the Beat
madelinex.com is a non-profit blog created for educational and research purposes.
Any content that may violate copyright or free usage laws will be removed immediately upon request.