Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Steel Wheels is the 19th British and 21st American studio album by The Rolling Stones and was released in 1989. Heralded as a major comeback upon its release, the project is notable for the patching up of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' relationship, a reversion to a more classic style of music and the launching of the band's biggest world tour at the time. It is also long-time bassist Bill Wyman's final studio album with the Rolling Stones, preceding the announcement of his departure in January 1993.

Following the release of 1986's Dirty Work, and Jagger's active pursuit of a solo career, relations between him and the Stones-committed Richards worsened considerably. While Jagger released the tepidly received Primitive Cool in 1987, Richards recorded Talk Is Cheap, his solo debut, which would be released in 1988 to rave reviews. The two years largely apart appeared to have healed the wounds sufficiently to begin resurrecting their partnership and
their band.

Meeting in January 1989, just preceding the Stones' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the chemistry between Jagger and Richards easily outshone whatever differences they had and after composing some 50 songs in a matter of weeks, Ronnie Wood, Wyman and Charlie Watts were called in to begin recording what would become Steel Wheels, beckoning Undercover co-producer Chris Kimsey to perform the same role.

Recording in Montserrat and London during the spring months, Steel Wheels was designed to emulate a classic Rolling Stones sound. The one notable exception was "Continental Drift," an Eastern-flavored piece, with The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar, recorded in June 1989 in Tangier, coordinated by Cherie Nutting. With much of the past disagreements behind them, sessions for Steel Wheels were fairly harmonious.

The massive, worldwide Steel Wheels Tour was launched in late August 1989, concurrently with Steel Wheels' arrival and the release of lead single "Mixed Emotions", a partially biographical reference to Jagger and Richards' recent woes that proved to be the Rolling Stones' last major hit single in the US, reaching #5. Critical reaction was warm, with Steel Wheels reaching #2 in the UK and #3 in the US where it went double-platinum. Follow-up singles were "Rock and a Hard Place", "Almost Hear You Sigh" and "Terrifying". The mammoth Steel Wheels Tour, which finished in mid-1990 after being re-titled the Urban Jungle Tour, was an enormous financial success. In 1990, FOX aired a 3-D television special of the Steel Wheels tour. Unlike anaglyphic 3-D which requires the familiar red and green glasses, the method used was the Pulfrich Effect which permitted full-color video. The film was shot by Gerald Marks of PullTime 3-D in NYC. An IMAX film of the tour was released the next year, which still plays sporadically at IMAX venues around the world.

The album was the Rolling Stones' first digital recording. In 1994, Steel Wheels was remastered and reissued by Virgin Records, and again in 2009 by Universal Music.

This is also the first Rolling Stones album without any musical contributions from pianist Ian Stewart, who died during production of their previous record.

All songs by Jagger/Richards, except where noted.

1. "Sad Sad Sad" – 3:35
2. "Mixed Emotions" – 4:38
3. "Terrifying" – 4:53
4. "Hold on to Your Hat" – 3:32
5. "Hearts for Sale" – 4:40
6. "Blinded by Love" – 4:37
7. "Rock and a Hard Place" – 5:25
8. "Can't Be Seen" – 4:09
9. "Almost Hear You Sigh" (Jagger/Richards/Steve Jordan) – 4:37
10. "Continental Drift" – 5:14
11. "Break the Spell" – 3:06
12. "Slipping Away" – 4:29

The Rolling Stones

* Mick Jagger – lead and backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, harmonica
* Keith Richards – electric, acoustic and classical guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Can't Be Seen" and "Slipping Away"
* Ronnie Wood – electric and acoustic guitar, bass guitar, backing vocals, dobro
* Charlie Watts – drums
* Bill Wyman – bass guitar

Additional personnel

* Chuck Leavell – organ, piano and keyboards
* Matt Clifford – keyboards, electric and acoustic piano, clavinet, harmonium
* Sarah Dash – backing vocals
* Lisa Fischer – backing vocals
* Bernard Fowler – backing vocals
* Luis Jardim – percussion
* Phil Beer – mandolin, fiddle
* The Kick Horns – brass
* Roddy Lorimer – trumpet
* The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar Farafina - African-Moroccan instruments
* Sonia Morgan – backing vocals
* Tessa Niles – backing vocals

Marshall Haze 40 Guitar Combo Amp