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GREIN ON GRAMMYS: SURPRISES ON THE GRAMMY BALLOT
You can't tell the categories without a scorecard. (10/17a)
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE BIBLE'S CHART CHIEF
Silvio is stuck in the middle. (10/17a)
GREIN ON GRAMMYS: WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT FOR BEST NEW ARTIST
Grammy Whisperer is getting busy. (10/17a)
NEW RELEASES:
WAY IN THE P!NK (UPDATE)
You might say "shocking P!nk" this time. (10/17a)
iHEART SETS FORUM ALT ROCK SHOW
Some mainstream visibility for several excellent cutting-edge bands. (10/17a)
HITS GRAMMY SPECIAL
You buy ad now, yes?
WE WILL NEVER EAT PIZZA AGAIN
Of course, we said that last time.
EMINEM
The cypher vs. the cipher.
A WHOLE NEW CHESSBOARD
You can't tell the players without a trade rag.
Critics' Choice
THE PSYCHEDELIC STONES
GET A SECOND LOOK
9/21/17

By Bud Scoppa

Their Satanic Majesties Request isn’t an obvious subject for the deluxe-reissue treatment—but the very fact that this so-called “answer to Sgt. Pepper” from 1967 is one of the most misunderstood and least highly regarded LPs in The Rolling Stones’ bountiful, classic-filled discography renders it an intriguing anomaly.

ABKCO, which owns the rights to the band’s recordings through 1969’s live classic Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!, has pulled out all the stops with Their Satanic Majesties Request – 50th Anniversary Special Edition . The package, which folds out to a card-table-sized 48 x 48 inches, contains stereo and mono mixes on two 180-gram vinyl discs and two SACDs, all newly remastered by Bob Ludwig. The record is especially immersive in mono, which was the preferred format at the time, as we’ve learned from reissues of the Beatles catalog. “In general, the mono version is much punchier than the stereo, with the bass and bass drum hitting the listener squarely in the solar plexus,” Rob Bowman accurately points out in his liner notes. The cover boasts the original album’s now-quaint 3-D lenticular band portrait by Michael Cooper.

“In the case of the critics, in December 1967 rock criticism was so new that most commentators were ruefully unequipped to properly evaluate the record, musically or historically,” Bowman writes, setting the LP in the context of the times. “On the Stones’ part, on both a personal and a group level they were working under insane pressure. Consequently, at the time the album was being made they were extremely dysfunctional, the sessions were not particularly pleasant, many were conducted with one or more members missing, and sessions were constantly interrupted for weeks at a time. It is not surprising that nobody, including engineer Glyn Johns, has pleasant memories of making Their Satanic Majesties Request. The result, in my opinion, is that, savaged at the outset by critical opinion, the band has bought into the critical mythology about the album and written it off (although Mick did say in 1974 that he had recently heard it and that he liked it). When I asked Charlie Watts about the album in 2003, he couldn’t remember any of the songs on it and had not had any interest in listening to it since it was made.”

But Charlie vividly remembered the vibe in the studio during the recording. “The sessions were a lot of fun because you could do anything,” he told Bowman. “It was so druggy—acid and all that. Also, I was listening to Albert Ayler, Sun Ra and people like that, which opened up a lot. Anything we did was nothing as radical as [what musicians like Ayler and Sun Ra were doing], so to me it was a natural step. But, for Mick and Keith it was a serious one. I don’t know if much good came out of Satanic Majesties because I can’t remember what’s on it, but I just remember that anything we wanted to do, we had a go at and most of the time we did it ourselves, which was great fun. After that it became very serious. If you wanted a tabla, you’d ask an Indian [musician] to come in and do it. In those days, if you wanted a tabla, you had to try and play the thing which is what we all did. Mick would be banging something and I would be banging something—let’s all play this song together.”

Here's the newly made lyric video to "She's a Rainbow":