Photo from UMe

May 12, 1972: Rolling Stones Release ‘Exile On Main St.’

From 1968-1972, The Rolling Stones released four albums that not only are considered the best work of their career but some of the best albums in rock history, and with the release of Exile On Main Street, the final album (a double album, no less) helped close out that truly epic tetralogy in the grandest of fashion that only the Stones could accomplish.

While we all know the origin story of the band fleeing to Keith Richards’ rented villa in the South of France as a result of Britain’s tax laws on high earners, the album’s lush mix of blues, soul, country and rock provide for a sound that’s anything but European.

A rarity in the realm of double album lore, it’s 18 tracks of all killer, no filler.

There’s “Rocks Off,” which is perhaps one of the greatest side one/track one’s ever…

…the classic blues boogie in “Tumbling Dice…”

…the incredible country twang on all of side two, from “Sweet Virginia” to “Loving Cup…”

…one of Richards’ finest Stones’ moments in “Happy…”

…the achingly beautiful nod to the late Brian Jones in “Shine a Light…”

We really, truly could go on and on in our gushing admiration.

Despite the album being greeted by mixed reviews upon release, it’s clear that history has treated Exile well and will undoubtedly continue to do so.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock reporter. The first man she ever loved was Jack Daniel.  (True story.)