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Black and Blue is the 13th British and 15th American studio album by the band the Rolling Stones, released in 1976.

It was the band's first studio album released with Ronnie Wood as the replacement for Mick Taylor. Wood had played twelve-string acoustic guitar on the track "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)" from the It's Only Rock 'n Roll album and appears on half of the Black and Blue album tracks (mostly backing vocals) with Wayne Perkins and Harvey Mandel playing guitar on the remaining titles. Keith Richards would later comment "Rehearsing guitar players, that's what that one was about".[2]

The album showed the band incorporating its traditional rock and roll style with heavy influences from reggae and funk music. Though recorded at a transitional moment for the band, the release has received mixed to positive retrospective reviews from publications such as AllMusic, with critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine stating that the album's "being longer on grooves and jams than songs" ended up being "what's good about it".[3]

History

In December 1974, the Rolling Stones returned to Munich, Germany —where they had recorded their previous album It's Only Rock 'n' Roll—and began the recording of their new album at Musicland Studios, with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (as the Glimmer Twins) producing again. With a view to releasing it in time for the summer 1975 Tour of the Americas, the band broke for the holidays and returned in January in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to continue working—all the while auditioning new guitarists as they recorded. Among the hopefuls were Rory Gallagher, Steve Marriott, Jeff Beck, Harvey Mandel, Wayne Perkins, Peter Frampton, and Ronnie Wood (although only Mandel, Perkins and Wood's guitar work would appear on the finished album). With much work to follow, it was decided to delay the album for the following year and release the Made in the Shade compilation instead. "Cherry Oh Baby" (which was a cover version of Eric Donaldson's 1971 reggae song) would be the only song from the upcoming album sporadically played on the 1975 Tour of the Americas.

Following the conclusion of the tour, the band went to Montreux, Switzerland, in October for some overdub work, returning to Musicland Studios in Munich in December to perform similar work. After some final touch-ups, Black and Blue was completed in New York City in February 1976.

In February 1976 the Stones flew to Sanibel Island Beach on Sanibel Island, Florida, to be photographed by fashion photographer Hiro for the album cover art.[4]

Stylistically, Black and Blue embraces funk with "Hot Stuff"; reggae with their cover of "Cherry Oh Baby"; and jazz with "Melody", featuring the talents of Billy Preston – a heavy contributor to the album. Musical and thematic styles were merged on the seven-minute "Memory Motel", with both Jagger and Richards contributing lead vocals to a love song embedded within a life-on-the-road tale.

Release and reception

Template:Album reviews Released in April 1976 – with "Fool to Cry", a worldwide Top 10 hit, as its lead single – Black and Blue reached number 2 in the UK and spent an interrupted four-week spell at number 1 in the US, going platinum there. Critical view was polarised: Lester Bangs wrote in Creem that "the heat's off, because it's all over, they really don't matter anymore or stand for anything" and "This is the first meaningless Rolling Stones album, and thank God";[5] but in the 1976 Creem Consumer Guide Robert Christgau rated the album an A–.[6]

While all the album's songs except "Cherry Oh Baby" were officially credited to Jagger/Richards as authors, the credit for "Hey Negrita" specifies "Inspiration by Ron Wood" and "Melody" lists "Inspiration by Billy Preston". Bill Wyman would later release a version of "Melody" with his Rhythm Kings, crediting Preston as author.

The album was promoted with a controversial billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood that depicted the model Anita Russell, bound by Jagger[7] under the phrase "I'm Black and Blue from the Rolling Stones – and I love it!" The billboard was removed after protests by the feminist group Women Against Violence Against Women, although it earned the band widespread press coverage.[8]

Two extra tracks recorded in the Rotterdam sessions were later released on 1981's Tattoo You: "Slave" and "Worried About You".[9]

In 1994, Black and Blue was remastered and reissued by Virgin Records, again in 2009 by Universal Music, and once more in 2011 by Universal Music Enterprises in a Japanese-only SHM-SACD version. The 1994 remaster was initially released in a Collector's Edition CD, which replicated in miniature many elements of the original gatefold album packaging.

Track listing

All songs by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted. Template:Tracklist Template:Tracklist

Personnel

The Rolling Stones
  • Mick Jagger – lead vocals; backing vocals on "Hot Stuff", "Cherry Oh Baby", "Memory Motel" and "Fool to Cry"; harmony vocals on "Hey Negrita"; percussion on "Hot Stuff"; rhythm guitar on "Crazy Mama"; electric piano on "Fool to Cry"; acoustic piano on "Memory Motel"; foot stomp on "Melody"
  • Keith Richards – electric guitars; backing vocals on "Hot Stuff", "Hand of Fate", "Cherry Oh Baby", "Memory Motel", "Hey Negrita"; harmony vocals on "Cherry Oh Baby"; bass guitar on "Crazy Mama"; Fender Rhodes electric piano on "Memory Motel"; electric wah-wah rhythm guitar on "Hot Stuff", electric wah-wah guitar on "Fool to Cry", co-lead guitar on "Crazy Mama"
  • Ronnie Wood – lead electric guitar on "Hey Negrita"; electric guitar on "Cherry Oh Baby", co-lead guitar on "Crazy Mama"; backing vocals on "Hot Stuff", "Hand of Fate", "Memory Motel", "Hey Negrita", and "Crazy Mama"
  • Bill Wyman – bass guitar, percussion on "Hot Stuff"
  • Charlie Watts – drums, percussion
Additional personnel
  • Billy Prestonorgan on "Hey Negrita" and "Melody"; piano on "Hot Stuff", "Hand of Fate", "Hey Negrita", "Melody" and "Crazy Mama"; string synthesizer on "Memory Motel"; harmony vocal on "Melody"; backing vocals on "Hot Stuff", "Memory Motel" and "Hey Negrita"; percussion on "Melody"
  • Nicky Hopkins – piano and ARP String Ensemble on "Fool to Cry"; organ on "Cherry Oh Baby"
  • Harvey Mandel – lead electric guitar on "Hot Stuff" and "Memory Motel"
  • Wayne Perkinsacoustic guitar on "Memory Motel"; lead electric guitar on "Hand of Fate" and "Fool to Cry"
  • Ollie Brown – percussion on "Hot Stuff", "Hand of Fate", "Cherry Oh Baby", "Hey Negrita", and "Crazy Mama"
  • Ian Stewart – percussion on "Hot Stuff"
  • Arif Mardinhorn arrangement on "Melody"
  • EngineersKeith Harwood, Glyn Johns, Phil McDonald, Lew Hahn (edit)
  • Assistant engineers – Jeremy Gee, Dave Richards, Tapani, Steve Dowd, Gene Paul
  • Lee Hulko – LP mastering at Sterling Sound (original 1976)
  • Robert Ludwig – CD mastering at Gateway Mastering Studios (1994 Virgin issue)

Charts and certifications

References

  1. Overdub work 1975 and 1976
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  4. "Led Zeppelin Crashed Here – The Rock and Roll Landmarks of North America" by Chris Epting, pg. 109
  5. Creem Vol. 8 Number 2 July 1976 "State of the Art: Bland on Bland"
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  8. Child, Lee. (1977). "Really Socking It to Women". Time (7 February 1977).
  9. "Slave" and "Worried About You" recorded during sessions in January–February 1975
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