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4.3 out of 5 stars
Their Satanic Majesties Request
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
At the end of the year in which LSD-fuelled psychedelia exploded into popular consciousness, TSMR released in December 1967 was widely seen as the Stones' attempt to emulate the Beatles' `Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'. The album received `mixed reviews' from the press, and Keith Richards famously described it retrospectively as "A load of cr*p".

From a 21st century perspective we can now see TSMR as a period oddity, distinctly of its time. The album has a handful of good tunes (`She's a Rainbow' and `2000 light years from home' maybe the most memorable) and much that is mediocre. Unusually for the Stones in this period, the recordings feature many guest musicians: Nicky Hopkins on assorted keyboards, John Paul Jones arranging the strings on `She's a Rainbow', Lennon & McCartney singing on the opener `Sing this all together', and some un-credited violinists. The result is a very distinctive sound, quite unlike any other Stones album yet retaining that trademark streak of rebelliousness, that dark bad-boy edginess.

The album's title is a play on the phrase `Her Britannic Majesty's Request' which at that time used to be printed in British passports, and in some parts of the world was released as `The Stones are Rolling' because the word `Satanic' was considered taboo.

Verdict: possibly only for the Stones completist, or fans of the offbeat and curious. If you can find the original 12" vinyl LP with lenticular 3-D image on the front cover, it's considered a collectors' item.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2010
To some it's their worst..to me it's one of their best..
This album has been slagged off a lot i.e 'the sgt pepper' spin of etc. However, if you like psychedelic music, this is the album you must have in your collection.

And yes It fits in with sgt. pepper, although I think this is far more psychedelic, and a lot darker, but dark in a nice atmospheric way.

It's a must have realy...Light an inscence stick, etc...(close your eyes and listen..I recomend head phones!)

have a pleasant & joyfull journey into this weird magical musical wonderland ....

p.s this is the most unique stones album you will ever hear!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2013
I first listened to this album back in the early 70's but failed to appreciate it's qualities at the time, no doubt due to the fact that I had been brought up on the more familiar earlier Stones such as Out of Our Heads and Aftermath.
Thankfully I have lately "re-discovered" it and thanks to some excellent restoration work on the CD it comes over as both melodic and innovative. Most of the credit for the bold instrumentation and arranging will no doubt be down to Brian Jones as he seemed to be the one true musician in the group at the time. To say that he was irreplaceable as a key member of the Stones is an understatement.
The well-known tracks are She's a Rainbow and 2000 Light Years From Home but other really good numbers include 2000 Man with it's acoustic guitar intro and excellent drumming, The Lantern with it's fuzz guitar and Citadel which has a psychedelic early Pink Floyd sound to it.
Younger Stones fans who tend to play safe and only listen to their stuff from the 80's and later would be well advised to take a chance on this but make sure that they listen to it on headphones so as to really take in the diverse nature of what is on offer. For us of the 60's generation it is a journey back to halcyon days.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2012
The phrase 'ill-advised' is always bandied about whenever critics cover this phase of the Stones' career, but what is more ill-advised - settling into a cosy cul-de-sac that a straitjacket label like 'The World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band' leads to, or being brave enough to transcend genres with a vision of pop music as a limitless vista of endless possibilities?
For me, the Stones were at their best when they escaped the confines of R&B and widened their musical horizons, something they were equipped to do with aplomb courtesy of Brian Jones' ability to play any instrument he picked up. Now that 'Pop' has become as much of a restrictive dead-end as any other label, the province of test-tube boy-bands churning out focus group-approved ballads so saccharine Pat Boone would have baulked at singing them, it's refreshing to revisit an era when Pop was actually a platform for invention, innovation and adventure; and despite their best efforts to subsequently distance themselves from it and find money-spinning solace in the repetition of The Riff, the Stones were once as sonically ambitious as the Beatles, as this album proves.
I first bought 'Satanic Majesties' on vinyl in the 80s - that poor-quality 'flexi' vinyl typical of the period and housed in a cheap cardboard sleeve that began to disintegrate within months. I mainly bought it for '2000 Light Years From Home' and that seemed to be the only track I ever played before flogging the LP along with a bunch of others at my local second-hand record shop. But giving the album a fresh hearing 25 years later has certainly been worthwhile. In many respects, it's a miracle the Stones managed to record anything in 1967, let alone a brave experiment like this one. Of course it will always languish in the shadow of 'Sgt. Pepper', but that's an unfair comparison for any record to suffer and 'Satanic Majesties' deserves better.
There are some unsung gems hidden away on this record - 'The Lantern', 'Citadel', '2000 Man' - as well as a couple of acknowledged classics like 'She's A Rainbow' and '2000 Light Years' - and even if the extended stoned jam of 'Sing This All Together (See What Happens)' is cited as an example of the band losing their way, is it any more rambling than 'Revolution No.9' or some of the Doors' lengthy noodlings from the same period?
I agree the inclusion of 'We Love You' would have been welcome, but with its distinctly London take on Psychedelia, 'Satanic Majesties' reminds the listener of the crucial difference between dropping acid in £sd England and dropping it in LBJ America - that Lewis Carroll was always more of an influence than Timothy Leary. If Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley and Carroll had collaborated on a musical project in the 1880s, perhaps it would have sounded closer to this than the Grateful Dead; and if you feel, like me, that the Stones lost something a good deal more than a blond guitarist when Brian Jones left the stage, this album is worth investing in as a luminous artefact from an age when pop music was an intoxicating recipe capable of containing any ingredients its fearless alchemists poured into the blender!
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2004
Dismissed by many as a barefaced Sgt. Peppers rip-off, this album divides audiences and critics alike. It's rather like Marmite in that you either love it or you hate it. Me, I'm somewhere in the middle! While Their Satanic Majesties Request pales alongside the Stones' next album, Beggars Banquet, that doesn't mean to say it's bad. Indeed, in many ways it was the first real album they produced.
In keeping with the time, this record is a journey rather than a mere collection of songs. And the songs are not half bad, either. Sing This All Together, 2000 Man, She's a Rainbow and 2000 Light Years From Home are perfect slices of gothic psychedelia that sound nothing like anything The Beatles were doing at the time. The lengthy space-jam Sing This All Together (See What Happens) is like the more accomplished spiritual cousin of Aftermath's Goin' Home, the difference being that this track actually works. Then there is the closer, On With The Show, an hilarious piece of burlesque showmanship from Mick and the band.
Given the troubles the Stones were going through at the time - Mick and Keith's respective jail sentences, the deterioration of Brian Jones - it is a miracle this album was made at all. Given that it is such an interesting and unique piece in the Stones' puzzle, it should be celebrated for what it is, not condemned for what it isn't.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2008
Disregard the myth (mainly among some critics) that this album is a weak copy of Sgt Pepper. True, it was inspired by Pepper. (Good idea!) However to say it is "woefully misguided" or other such rubbish is to miss the fact that this album on its own is one of the top ten psychedelic albums of all time. If it was by any other band, it would be hailed as such. Unfortunately, many critics fail to see (and hear) this fact and continue to perpetuate the myth that the Stones "made a mistake" based on comparisons with the other Stones albums. Absolute bollocks! Listen for yourself: "She's a Rainbow", "2000 Light Years from Home", "Citadel", "In Another Land", "Gomper". Classic brain warpers on par with S.F. Sorrow, Pepper, Floyd's Piper, The End - Introspection. It is, in fact, as brilliant in its own way as Bleed, Banquet, Exile. Check out this baby at once!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2010
To start compairing this album to other Stones albums is really missing the point. To see(or hear) what's going on with any artist it's essential to view everything chronologically. When the Rolling Stones started they did versions of already existing music that excited them and presumably had made them want to form a band in the first place. Eventually they start experimenting doing their own stuff so by "Aftermath" they have an album with all their own compositions ....But still it's boys enthusiastically exploring and discovering what they are capable of. It's a fascinating trajectory if followed in sequence, so 'Satanic Majesties' is not such a great leap from 'Between the Buttons'... They cover a very broad range in these first six (British) albums,some more contrived than others, but all interesting and important both for them and the wider evolving youth culture. People tend to focus on 'Exile on Main Street' as the stones most decadent album but 'Satanic Majesties' is the band at it's most unfocused and spaced out. The combination of drug enthusiasms and external pressures from arrests and overwork and rapid Cultural flux means that 'Satanic Majesties' is the polar opposite of their first album's gritty directness and simplicity. As such, between those two extremes the Stones begin to be able to define themselves.
During the break from incesant touring and after taking stock obviously they decided they didn't want to get more spacy and 'experimental' but to dig in to what they loved most, hence the sequence of'BeggarsBanquet'-'Let it Bleed' & 'Sticky Fingers' (and the bonus of 'Ya Ya's') is boy's turning into men...(creatively speaking)still not without awkward and contrived moments but all fantasticly entertaining and exciting. The importance of "Exile" is that finally we see a band that knows itself and is relaxed enough not to really care what anyone else thinks, so it comes across as completely natural and at ease with itself within an amazingly broad spectrum of music....without ever taking themselves too seriously!.....a priviledge to listen to! That maturing process many bands never achieve. It gives the Rolling Stones subsequent work an authority that even makes the cock-ups interesting! They really are a unique band.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2003
If I had to save just one Stones album for posterity "Their Satanic Majesties Request" would be my unconditional first choice. I think a lot of the unjustified opprobrium this album has received is a result of John Lennon's remark (in "Lennon Remembers"), born of hypersensitivity and possessiveness about The Beatles, that it was just a pale imitation of "Sgt Pepper". It's sad to see the way the Stones themselves have been bullied into virtually disowning it by the usual dreary crew of rock journalists, who misinterpret musical complexity as inauthenticity. This album is by no means a complete departure; there were indications of its direction on its superb predecessor, "Between The Buttons". Any other album boasting as many great songs ("Citadel", "In Another Land", "2000 Man", "She's A Rainbow", "The Lantern", "Gomper", "2000 Light Years From Home") would be hailed as a classic, but the leather-jacket rock-journo brigade remain unmoved. More fools them! Still, those of us not paid to tout narrow-mindedness in the rock press can relish this rich, colourful, melodious, cohesive and utterly original album while admiring the excellent artwork of its packaging. If you want to hear a mess (albeit a fairly lovable one) try the rock journos' favourite, "Exile On Main Street"!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2014
It has taken me four decades to get round to buying what received wisdom says is The Rolling Stones' worst studio album. "Surely it can't be worse than Emotional Rescue!" I thought. "Or Between The Buttons!" But it is! The Beatles had just spent six painstaking months on Sgt Pepper and for reasons known only to the Stones themselves, they decided to go into the studio and just muck about. A bunch of ten-year-olds picked at random could've produced something similar! There are two or three enjoyable tracks, my favourite being Citadel, but overall the record is interesting as an artefact, a snapshot of the time when flower power and hallucinogens combined to intoxicate those at the pinnacle of popular culture and made them lose control of the ball and behave in inexplicable ways.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2009
I have loved this album for 35 years and have never really understood the bad press. Every track is good and some are great: citadel, in another land, 2000 man, she's a rainbow, the lantern, 2000 light years etc. A rip off of Sgt Pepper?? where and how? apart from the piano note that ends 'sing this all together (see what happens)' theres nothing musically that sounds like anything off Pepper. sure it has psychedelic influences but most of the music that came out in 1967 did. For me it sounds like the stones but also unlike any other album they made before or since. This was the last stones album that Brian Jones was heavily involved with, playing a variety of exotic instruments...his influence is all over it and he deserves more credit..

I believe there are 2 factors as to why satanic majesties has always been seen as a poor Sgt Pepper rip off: 1) the album cover - imagine if it had come out with the 'Between the Buttons' or 'beggars banquet' cover' and 2) John Lennon famously said that it was a Pepper rip off in his 1970 Rolling Stone interview (Lennon Remembers)..
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