Rolling Stones 79104

Producer: The Glimmer Twins

Track listing: Hot Stuff / Hand of Fate / Cherry Oh Baby / Memory Motel / Hey Negrito / Melody / Fool to Cry / Crazy Mama

Black and blue

May 15, 1976
4 weeks (nonconsecutive)

By the time the Rolling Stones settled down to record their 15th studio album, they had lost their second guitarist, but this time he lived to tell the tale. “The last five-and-half years with the Stones have been very exciting and proved to be a most inspiring period,” said the prepared statement from Mick Taylor. “And as far as my attitude to the other four members is concerned, it is one of respect for them, both as musicians and for I have nothing but admiration the group, but I feel now is the time to move on and do something new.” Yet Taylor’s statement was only part of the truth, as it has been reported that he was upset that he didn’t receive co-writing credits on the Stones songs and was not allowed to fully express himself creatively in the band.

Glyn Johns, who along with his brother Andy worked as engineers on such Stones albums as Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St., was called to produce the session with Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who once again received credit under the pseudonym “the Glimmer Twins.” Johns recalls, “I agreed to go in with them and produce the album under the condition that if I didn’t finish the album with them, I wouldn’t receive a co-producer credit.” By this time Johns had an extensive history with the band — he was actually the first to record them, although those early sessions were never released.

“The night before we left for Munich to start making the record, Mick Taylor resigned, so they turned up in Germany without a second guitar player,” Johns recalls. “As a result, we got on tremendously well and we cut an immense amount of material in an extremely short period of time. Ii was great for me to be back with them.”

In Munich, Johns found that the Stones actually worked better without Taylor. “He is a brilliant guitar player and he did contribute tremendously when he was in the band, but as his career with the band progressed, he became more difficult and was contributing as much as Keith to the length of time it took to record things.”

After breaking for Christmas, the Stones decided to take the mobile unit
to Rotterdam, Holland, to complete album. “They got this hall that was suitable for symphony orchestras, but it was certainly not the right place to make a record, and then they started auditioning people. They were using the recording time to audition guitar players.”

Three guitarists who auditioned for ¬the Stones are featured on Black and Blue. Harvey Mandel, from John Mayall’s Blues Band, played on “Hot Stuff” and “Memory Motel.” Noted session player Wayne Perkins was also on the latter track, as well as on “Hand of Fate” and “Fool to Cry,” the later which went on to become a top 10 hit. It was ex-Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood, however, who played on “Cherry Oh Baby,” “Hey Negrito,” and “Crazy Mama,” who eventually became Taylor’s replacement.

The Stones’ lax approach to recording soon wore Johns down. “There was an argument between me and Keith and I lost my rag. I said my piece and told the Rolling Stones they could go fuck themselves. As far as I was concerned, the record was nearly finished, but then they spent nine months finishing it off.” Despite such hassles, Johns has respect for the Stones. “When did get it together, they were fantastic ¬and unbeatable,” he says.

The record-buying public agreed. In its second week on the chart, Black and Blue became the Stones’ sixth Number One album.

Week of May 15, 1976

1. Black and Blue, The Rolling Stones
2. Wings at the Speed of Sound,
3. Frampton Comes Alive!, Peter Frampton
4. Presence, Led Zeppelin
5. I Want You, Marvin Gaye