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The Stones in the '80s

Vincent Vega

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In the mid 1980's, tensions in the Rolling Stones were very high. Mick Jagger, the singer of the group, went ahead with plans to forge a solo career, a move that infuriated guitarist Keith Richards. By 1983, the band was recording separately; Mick would come in at early hours and lay his parts down, and at times even have Keith's erased; the rest of the band would come in and do their own parts and erase Mick's. This made recording for the album "Undercover" (1983) very diffcult, and the quality of the album suffered; It broke an 11 year string of Number 1 hits. Tensions further increased as Jagger refused to tour behind Undercover and by 1984 and 1985 the band had pretty much broken up. Mick's solo career, the death of Mick and Keith's friendship, (drummer) Charlie Watt's heroin addiction and the death of keyboardist Ian Stewart (who was the ''conscience'' of the stones, and a founding member and really the Sixth Stones) were major blows to the band and helped further the Death of the Stones in the 1980s. They no longer spoke or worked directly with each other and this is evidenced by their appearences at Live Aid in 1985; Mick appeared seperately as solo artist while Keith and lead guitarist Ron Wood appeared with Bob Dylan. Yet they managed to record another album, "Dirty Work" (1986), which was written and recorded largely without Jagger (though his vocals are on the album) and drummer Charlie Watts. By 1987, the Stones were over, and they would not speak or meet for another year. In September '88, the band met to discuss the future of the name and the Stones as an entity and this sparked a reunion. Keith Richards, who had went ahead with his own solo career brought some of his material to the meeting as did Mick. With this renewal of chemistry and the thoughts of a megamillions generating reunion tour, the Stones were back together and in 1989 released "Steel Wheels" which was thought of as a return to form. They also embarked on their first American tour in eight years in 1989, the Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle tour which spanned from 1989 to 1990 and became the highest grossing tour of all time.

It's a shame GN'R didn't do the same.

Edited by Mr. Miser
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  • 3 weeks later...

Good article. Dirty Work is actually one of their underrated albums. I didn't know it was recorded under those conditions.

Undercover is a pile of shit though.

Steel Wheels is a gem in their discography. If you are young, and just now getting into the Stones, I highly recommend Steel Wheels. Voodoo Lounge and Steel Wheels are their two best albums since their 60's-70's heyday.

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