Sound is Art #3: Rolling Stones — ‘Let It Bleed’

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Background:

‘Let it Bleed’ is one of those album covers that looks attractive and unique at first glance, before appearing possibly a tacky looking in-joke the more one studies it. Royal Mail did think it worthy enough for commemorative stamp in 2010. It is unique, but it’s also a bit nonsense. What is the wider meaning of a tyre, pizza and cake (albeit rather tasty looking cake) stacked together like a platter-changer pivot while the LP plays beside? Who knows…

Does the cover represent the music within?

This takes us to where we left off previously. No. And yet, I guess, yes. Sort of.

Anything else?

Well, two things. The album knocked ‘Abbey Road’ off the UK no 1 album chart. And that cake was baked by no other than TV chef Delia Smith (who nobody had heard of at the time).

We say:

‘Let It Bleed’ is undoubtedly a consistent Stones LP, their second surefooted record in a row. More tight and pared down compared to ‘Beggars Banquet’. This all after 1967’s hit-and-miss, slightly pretentious– though also a bit tongue-planted-in-check–, flower-power, queer sounding ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’. Things here continue down that dark, rugged, deep south country and blues swagger first properly showcased on that previous record. “Earthy”, according to Mojo, while NME says that the record’s style “tugs and teases”. By the time of the album’s recording, the hopes and dreams of the sixties were proving to be misplaced, hence the album’s mixed themes of up and down, light and dark, strut and confusion.

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