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Aftermath, released April 1966 by Decca Records, is the fourth British studio album by the Rolling Stones. It was released in the United States in June 1966 by London Records as their sixth American album. The album is considered an artistic breakthrough for the band: it is the first to consist entirely of Mick Jagger/Keith Richards compositions, while Brian Jones played a variety of instruments not usually associated with their music, including sitar, Appalachian dulcimer,[1] marimbas, and Japanese koto, as well as guitar, harmonica and keyboards, though much of the music is still rooted in Chicago electric blues. It was the first Rolling Stones album to be recorded entirely in the US, at the RCA Studios in California, and their first album released in true stereo. It is also one of the earliest Rock albums to eclipse the 50-minute mark, and contains one of the earliest Rock songs to eclipse the 10-minute mark ("Goin' Home").

In August 2002 both editions of Aftermath were reissued in a new remastered CD and SACD digipak by ABKCO Records, with the UK version containing an otherwise unavailable stereo mix of "Mother's Little Helper".[2] In the same year the US edition of Aftermath was ranked No. 109 on the List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[3] The album was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[4]


According to Bill Wyman in Rolling With The Stones, the album was originally conceived as the soundtrack for the never filmed feature Back, Behind And In Front.[citation needed] The whole deal fell off, though, when Jagger met with the potential director, Nicholas Ray, but didn't like him. These recording sessions were also very busy for the group, as they recorded 21 Jagger/Richards compositions while in Los Angeles. They were also much more comfortable during that album's sessions, as they had room and time for experimenting and polishing the arrangements, something they weren't able to do on earlier albums due to the "rushed" way these sessions were done.

The main engineer for the album was also pivotal in making the group feel comfortable during the sessions as he, according to Wyman, let them experiment with instrumentals and teaming up with session musicians like Jack Nitzsche to variegate their sound. Wyman also stated that he and Brian Jones would pick up instruments that were in the studio and experiment with various sounds for each song. This album is also notable for being the first LP to feature completely original material for the group, as Jagger and Richards were growing not only as songwriters, but as arrangers as well. In 2003, Jagger recalled that Richards was writing a lot of melodies and the group would perform them in a number of different ways which were mainly thought out in the studio, as opposed to the strict arranging and recording planning of other groups of the epoch.

Brian Jones was very important in shaping the album's tone and arrangements, as he experimented with a vast array of ethnic instruments such as the marimba, sitar, Appalachian dulcimer, and organ, which contrasted with the folk, pop, country, blues and rock compositions, thus resulting in a very diverse melting pot of musical styles. Aftermath was also the first record on which the majority of the guitar playing was left to Richards due to Jones' multi-instrumentalism, a habit that served as an intense training period for Richards' craftmanship which culminated in his playing almost all of the guitars on Let It Bleed.[5]

Critical reception[]

At the time of its release, the album was well received, with Keith Altman of the New Musical Express stating that "those masterminds behind the electric machines - The Rolling Stones - have produced the finest value for money ever on their new LP".[5] In retrospect the album is considered a milestone in the group's career, with Allmusic writer Ritchie Unterberg giving it five stars, and praising the combination of different influences found there, but nevertheless opining that "some of the material is fairly ho-hum, to be honest, as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were still prone to inconsistent songwriting; "Goin' Home," an 11-minute blues jam, was remarkable more for its barrier-crashing length than its content''.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic (UK)5/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[6]
Allmusic (US)5/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[7]
Blender5/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[8]

Sputnikmusic has an aggregate score of 4/5 out of 376 votes, while the feature review states that the album is recommended for fans as well as newcomers to the group.[9] On its top 10 Rolling Stones albums list, NME listed Aftermath at no.6, while stating that "1966’s ‘Aftermath’ saw the Stones at once rejecting and redefining rock’n’roll lore. The first all-originals Stones album, it’s so classic-packed their reputation as sub-Beatles hopefuls never recovered"[10]

Release history[]

As with all the Stones pre-1967 LPs, different editions were released in the UK and the US. This was a common feature of British pop albums at that time—the same practice was applied to all the Beatles albums prior to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band—because UK albums typically did not include tracks that had already been released as singles.

British version[]

The original British version of Aftermath was issued in April 1966 as a fourteen-track LP. Issued between the non-LP single releases of "19th Nervous Breakdown" and "Paint It Black", Aftermath was a major hit in the UK, spending eight weeks at No. 1 on the UK album chart.

Track listing[]


North American version[]

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The American version featured different cover art and a shorter running order that eliminated "Out of Time", "Take It or Leave It", "What to Do", and "Mother's Little Helper". All four tracks were later issued in the US on other compilations, and "Mother's Little Helper" was also issued as a single in 1966, peaking at No. 8 on the Billboard charts.[11] In their place, the album substituted their current No. 1 hit "Paint It, Black". The revamped Aftermath still reached No. 2 in the US, eventually going platinum.[12]

Track listing[]


Other songs[]

Title Length Notes
"19th Nervous Breakdown" Single
"Sad Day" "19th Nervous Breakdown" B-side
"Long Long While" "Paint It, Black" B-side

Could You Walk on the Water[]

Several of the songs on the album were initially meant for the US release Could You Walk on the Water. This LP was rejected by Rolling Stones' American record company, London Records, who instead opted for the greatest hits package Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass). The track list for the shelved album includes "Take It or Leave It", "Mother's Little Helper", "Think", "Goin' Home" (short edit) and "Doncha Bother Me". Of these, all five would be released on the UK version of Aftermath, three on the US version. Of the remaining tracks, "19th Nervous Breakdown" and "Sad Day" were released as a single, "Sittin' on the Fence" and "Ride On, Baby" were later to be released on the US album Flowers, along with "Mother's Little Helper" and "Take It or Leave It". "Looking Tired" remains unreleased to this day.


The Rolling Stones

  • Mick Jagger – lead vocals, backing vocals, harmonica, percussion
  • Keith Richards – rhythm and lead guitars, backing vocals
  • Brian Jones – rhythm guitar, slide guitar, piano, organ, harpsichord, marimba, sitar, percussion, Appalachian dulcimer, harmonica, koto on "Take It or Leave It"
  • Bill Wyman – bass guitar, backing vocals, organ pedals
  • Charlie Watts – drums, percussion

Additional personnel

  • Jack Nitzsche – piano, organ, harpsichord, percussion
  • Ian Stewart – piano, organ



Year Chart Position
1966 UK Albums Chart 1[13]
1966 Billboard 200 2[14]
1966 French SNEP Albums Charts 25[15]
Preceded by
The Sound of Music by Original Soundtrack
UK Albums Chart number-one album
30 April – 25 June 1966
Succeeded by
The Sound of Music by Original Soundtrack


Year Single Chart Position
1966 "Paint It, Black" UK Singles Chart 1[13]
1966 "Paint It, Black" Billboard Hot 100 1[11]
1966 "Mother's Little Helper" Billboard Hot 100 8[11]
1966 "Lady Jane" Billboard Hot 100 24[11]
1990 "Paint It, Black" UK Singles Chart 63[13]
2007 "Paint It, Black" UK Singles Chart 70[13]
2010 "Paint It, Black" Billboard Rock Digital Songs 25[11]


Country Provider Certification
(sales thresholds)
United States RIAA Platinum


  1. 1.0 1.1 Template:Pop Chronicles
  2. Walsh, Christopher (24 August 2002). "Super audio CDs: The Rolling Stones Remastered". Billboard. p. 27.
  3. "Aftermath". Rolling Stone. January 2003. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  4. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Aftermath". Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  6. Allmusic review (UK)
  7. Allmusic review (US)
  8. Blender review Archived 16 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  9. "The Rolling Stones - Aftermath (album review ) | Sputnikmusic". Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  10. "The Rolling Stones' Top 10 Albums - Ranked | NME.COM". NME.COM. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 "Billboard Singles". All Media Guide / Billboard. Retrieved 23 March 2010. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  12. "RIAA searchable certification database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 "UK charts rchive". Retrieved 23 March 2010.
  14. "Billboard Albums". All Media Guide / Billboard. Retrieved 23 March 2010. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  15. Tous les Albums classés par Artiste, Note : user must select The Rolling Stones in the list

External links[]

  • Link to Patti Smith piece for Creem, January 1973, detailing her response to the Rolling Stones and Aftermath

Template:The Rolling Stones Template:The Rolling Stones albums

  2. Stone Alone - Bill Wyman
  3. Rolling With The Stones - Bill Wyman