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GREATEST HITS ALBUM REVIEW
Released - October 2, 2007 on Atlantic/Rhino Records. Produced by Mick Jagger, Jack Nitzsche, John Lennon, Peter Tosh, Bill Laswell, Clive Langer, Alan Winstanley, David A. Stewart, Rick Rubin, Lenny Kravitz, Matt Clifford and Marti Frederiksen
Mick Jagger - Lead & Backing Vocals, Guitars, Harmonica, Percussion, Clavinet
Jeff Beck - Guitars on tracks 3, 11 & 12
And also: Guitars: Jesse Ed Davis, John Lennon (?), Jim Barber, Vernon Reid, Kevin Armstrong, Dave Lee Bartel, Marti Frederiksen, Earl Slick, Mike Mao Chang, Craig Ross, Ally McErlaine, Danny Kortchmar, Frank Simes, Paul Size, Jimmy Rip, Brendan O'Brien, Donald Kinsey; Bass: Jack Bruce, Yolanda Charles, Doug Wimbish, Phil Spalding, Matthew Seligman, John Regan, Cris Fredriksson, Dean Garcia, John Pierce; Keyboards: Al Kooper, Herbie Hancock, Phillip Ashley, Wally Badarou, David Bianco, Richard Cottle, Guy Fletcher, Bill Laswell, Chuck Leavell, Robert Lyn, Ron Magness, Mike Rowe, Denzil Miller, Steve Nieve, Greg Phillinganes, Rabbit, Pat Seymour, Rob Rio, Keith Sterling; Drums: Jim Capaldi, Bill Bateman, Neil Conti, Aiyb Dieng, Chris Sharrock, Simon Phillips, Omar Hakim, Anton Fier, Ian Thomas, and with others helping out on on Percussion; Horns: Bobby Keys, David Sanborn, Lenny Pickett, Courtney Pine, Bill Evans, Jon Faddis, Luther François, Stan Harrison, Trevor Lawrence.
Addional Backing Vocals: Bernard Fowler, Harry Nilsson, Jocelyn Brown, Lynn Davis, Craig Derry, Marti Frederiksen, Harrison College Choir (Barbados), Karis Jagger, Brenda King, JayDee Mannes, Jean McClain, Cindy Mizelle, Royce Nelson, Tessa Niles, Jeff Pescetto, Helena Springs, Cava Leers, Ruby Turner.
All songs written by Mick Jagger unless noted below.
This is the very first Mick Jagger solo album that I ever purchased. Back in the early 1980s when Mick started to release solo albums, as a hard-nosed Stones fan I knew that if I and all my fellow Stones fans went out and bought his solo works, then the end of the Rolling Stones would soon follow. This of course was the very last thing Stones fans wanted to see, and as it was, the tension between Mick and the rest of the band was very high at the time because of this going solo thing. As a very unhappy Keith Richards made it clear, Mick making a solo album was a bad thing and his doing so was taking away good material that the Stones could have used and recorded. Richards was 100% correct, and us Stones fans knew it and boycotted the two Jagger solo albums that followed in '85 and '87. It always has been true that all successful artists get to where they are because of fan support, if the fans are not there, the artist goes nowhere, and with the Stones fans ignoring Jagger's solo work, they made sure the Stones would continue. So after his first two releases, Mick saw the light wasn't bright for him as a solo artist, and the Stones survived.
The thing was, Jagger's solo albums have really not been bad at all, and perhaps it isn't fair to have a hard-nosed Stones fan like myself, who was totally against knowing or caring what solo Mick had to offer - to go ahead and review any of his work, since we can be so bias against the songs in general, no matter how great they may be. But now, well over 20 years since Jagger's first solo release, it is clear today that at this point in time, a solo Mick Jagger LP is in no way going to lead to the breakup of the Stones. Yes, his solo work will still take material away from the Stones, but this is a greatest hits album, nothing new on here to take from any new Stones releases in the near future, and perhaps the reason why I allowed myself to buy this album.
Yet the truth it, it is hard for me to review this still today, because as a Stones fan I'm still going to look at these songs and say something like - damn, this would had made a very good or great Stones song. Heck, about 15 of the 17 songs on here would have, with "Evening Gown", "Lucky in Love" and "Put Me in the Trash" more so than any of the other ones. Yet again, is it really fair for me to say that? Mick had every right to make a solo album, but again, as the ones who helped make Mick and the Stones one of the most loved and successful rock bands ever, we have a right to bitch about his solo stuff, too. But I'll stop doing that now that I made my point.
Yet you can't help but read the opening paragraphs to the booklet that comes with this album to see that the gal who wrote this stuff doesn't seem to make any sense in her writings in trying to show just how much of a solo album this is. First, she didn't need to, we all know it is. But she goes out of her way to make a point how the song, "Memo from Turner", could not have ever been a Stones song - yet it is the only song found on here that was a Stones song - not this version, but the Stones (minus Richards) did record a version of this one (found on their Metamorphosis LP)!
It only figures that the best song on this best of LP isn't even a Mick Jagger song, that being Peter Tosh's great cover of "(You Got to Walk And) Don't Look Back". Why is this one on here? Heck, they should have added in Carly Simon's "Your So Vain" if they have the Tosh's song included. No question, Mick's vocals on this did help to make the song a great record, and it might be a solo Mick visit to another artist's recording session - but it is not a Mick Jagger solo song. Still, since I only had this great song on cassette, I'm happy to own it now on CD.
So of the true Jagger solo songs on here, the two best ones are - "Put Me in the Trash", with it's catchy back-up vocals helping to bring this one almost to perfection. Then we have "Lucky in Love", the bastard child of "Tumbling Dice", and almost as good. Heck, this song was so good that back when it came out, I said hell to the boycott and actually played it regularly on my radio show - but always in the middle of a long music block, so I didn't have to say anything to my listeners about it being a solo Jagger song once it ended.
There are three songs on here that were recorded years ago and never released till now. One of them being the early '70s recording of the John Lennon produced "Too Many Cooks (Spoil the Soup)". An excellent tune sounding like Mick singing lead for Sly and the Family Stone! In the booklet's notes (which claim this song was ahead of its time, give me a break, it wasn't), it says that Mick could not recall if Lennon played any guitar or not on the song, but he didn't need to, as this one gets it kicks from Bobby Keys and Trevor Lawrence blowing sax.
So is this a great album? Well it is a greatest hits LP, even if it is called a "best of" instead, and I can live with that wording better. All of the songs on here are fun to spin and I enjoyed hearing these songs over and over, as I played it often in the last two weeks.... so yes, it is a very good album. Yet it's time now to store it away in my CD collection and I'm more than happy to get back to playing my Stones CD collection instead, thank you.
- Keno, 2007
To listen to some soundclips from The Very Best of Mick Jagger, or to purchase it, click on: Very Best Of Mick Jagger
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