Goat’s Head Soup – The Rolling Stones  

by Madeline Bocaro


© 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.

The Stones’ eleventh studio album in America was released fifty years ago, on August 31, 1973. This was the follow-up to their masterpiece Exile on Main St., also produced by Jimmy Miller. It was recorded partly in the USA, Jamaica and in the U.K. The album reached No. 1 in the USA, in the U.K. and elsewhere.

In the wake of their then recent onslaught of greatness, following Exile On Main St., (and their three preceding classics) Beggar’s Banquet, Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers, Goat’s Head Soup received divisive reviews.

The album artwork did not help matters. Superstar photographer David Bailey dressed Jagger from the neck up (in close-up) as Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen, with his face and head wrapped in mosquito netting and a hat, which was ridiculous. Bailey used the same treatment on the other band members, also in blurred photos – which was not too pretty. The disturbing cardboard insert of a goat’s head staring up at us from a bowl of blood-red soup (representing a delicacy from Jamaica) was revolting. The color of the cover is the hideous yellow of the eyes of a goat.

Bill Wyman plays bass on three tracks, while Keith Richards and Mick Taylor took over on the remaining songs. Additional players were Billy Preston and Nicky Hopkins, Ian Stewart and the wonderful sax of Bobby Keys.


The album was released in the midst of the Glam Rock phenomenon (Bowie had released Aladdin Sane in April), with Jagger wearing eyeshadow, gold nail polish and a shiny gold Ossie Clark jumpsuit, and Mick Taylor wearing his best Easter bonnet (and smiling!) when The Stones’ promotional videos appeared on American television. The songs showcased were live vocal performances of  ‘Silver Train,’ ‘Dancing with Mr. D’ and ‘Angie’ from the album. However, the material on Goat’s Head Soup was far from glamourous and more like glam on smack.

WATCH  Dancing with Mr. D https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hw1SKn5eFM

WATCH Silver Train: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOUetwr3h04

WATCH Angie – Version 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcZn2-bGXqQ

WATCH Angie – Version 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K7jMLS-7iw

The devil makes another appearance on the sax-laden opening track on this album of all Stones originals. ‘Dancing with Mr. D.’ Jagger dances at the graveyard (and with Mrs. D). I wonder if the devil appreciated Mick’s glam get-up during his television presentation! Mick is singing about Mr. D, but it is Mrs. D (Wearing black silk gloves and a black silk hat) who gets him in the last dance!

‘100 Years Ago’ is simply gorgeous. The lyrics convey dreamy fond memories of distant youth morphing into worries of adulthood. We are carried away in the song’s second half by a stunning Taylor excursion as Jagger begs for a kiss.

Watch this video with the lovely lyrics.


Coming Down Again’ starts off like an Elton John ballad, then transforms into a tale of woe sung by Keith, about hooking up with Brian Jones’ girl (Anita Pallenberg) with whom he would have a long-lasting relationship and some children.

‘Doo Doo Doo Doo Heartbreaker’ has disturbing lyrics about children in New York City being shot and shooting up. The horns on this really make it hit home.


‘Angie,’was a No. 1 single in America (top 5 in the U.K). This gorgeous ballad is NOT about David Bowie’s wife. This is perhaps Jagger’s most heart-felt vocal performance, with Spanish-style acoustic guitar backing. I love how he whispers her name in the middle. The lyrics are reflective of his past relationship with Marianne Faithfull.

Silver Train’ opens Side Two. This had been recorded during the sessions for Sticky Fingers, but was remade for this album. In this cool simple rocker, the singer interacts with a prostitute.

‘Hide Your Love’ takes us back to an old-school Stones groove with some basic blues – a nice leftover from Sticky Fingers.

‘Winter’ is beautifully dreamy, punctuated with a gorgeous string arrangement, eliciting an exotic warm and fuzzy feeling… until we remember that the singer is the same fiend who has a threesome with fifteen-year-old girls in ‘Stray Cat Blues!’

Sometimes I cry about you

Sometimes I wanna wrap my coat around you
Sometimes I wanna keep you warm

‘Can You Hear the Music’ is a delicate exotic piece, enhanced by odd percussion instruments including delicate cymbals, lending an otherworldly ambiance. There is another trance-inducing showcase by Taylor.

Re-named ‘Star Star,’ but retaining the ‘Star Fucker’ lyrics, this is just a ton-of-fun classic Stones rocker with filthy language, about a groupie to the stars. The funniest line is,

Yeah, I’ll make a bet that you’re gonna get
John Wayne before he dies

I wonder if she did!

Shame on the critics who called this the demise of the Stones!




Outtakes from the album were later included on Tattoo You (1981) – ‘Waiting on a Friend’ and ‘Tops.’

The album was remixed by Giles Martin in 2020. This deluxe edition includes bonus tracks, instrumental versions, alternate mixes and outtakes, some of which previously appeared on bootlegs.


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