The Rolling Stones’ Some Girls was one of the albums of the Summer of ’78 which makes that season so memorable. Easily the strongest tunestack since Exile on Main Street but with even more variety, Mick and Keef gave us rockers “When the Whip Comes Down”, “Shattered”, and “Respectable”; a stone cold country send-up “Faraway Eyes”; a tasty Temptations cover of “Just My Imagination”; and two megahits which seemed ubiquitous that summer, “Miss You” and “Beast of Burden”.In the Studio writer/ producer alumnus Joe Rhodes pointed out to me once that, in spite of the reams of rock commentary written about the Rolling Stones since the May 1978 release of the Some Girls album, precious little was about the music itself. It seems like everybody who ever had a backstage pass to a Stones show has written a book. There have been countless critiques of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ lifestyles; about Mick’s Seventies jet-setting and Keith’s drug taking in the same period; about busts and riots and all manner of rock decadence. But, Rhodes maintains, there had been precious little about the Rolling Stones albums themselves, surprisingly, about the circumstances behind the creation of the music and writing of the songs. On AllMusic.com writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine reminds, “During the mid ’70s the Rolling Stones remained massively popular, but their albums suffered from Jagger’s fascination with celebrity and Keith Richards’ worsening drug habit. By 1978, both Punk and Disco had swept the group off the front pages.” To trace the circuit to the igniter plug that would spark Some Girls into becoming one of the Stones’ greatest albums ever, you have to go back even further to lead guitarist Mick Taylor’s quitting the band prior to the 1975 World Tour. The guitarist who replaced him, Ronnie Wood then of The Faces, is joined here In the Studio by Mick and Keith for Some Girls .
The first time I interviewed Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones it was January 1989. The band had been on hiatus for the last half of the decade, and seeing into the Stones’ future was at its murkiest. When asked at that time which were his personal favorite Rolling Stones albums, Keith replied, “The body of work from Beggars Banquet up through Exile on Main Street (which includes Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers ), and Some Girls .” Even as we prepare to make the pilgrimage to The Rolling Stones No Filter Tour, with more than twenty-five studio albums from which to choose, I wager that assessment of Summer 1978’s Some Girls ( Rolling Stone magazine ranks it at #468 on their Top 500 All Time list, either a typo or an exposure of blatant absurdity) would place it on any Stones fan’s Top Five list, as well. Just look at this tune stack and immediately you see why: flat-out rockers “When the Whip Comes Down”,”Respectable”,” Keith’s rehab rocker “Before They Make Me Run”, and “Shattered” ; the huge hits “Miss You” and the timeless “Beast of Burden”; and the impeccable cover of the Temptations’ “Just My Imagination”. Keith Richards is joined in this classic rock interview by Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, and former Faces keyboard player the late Ian McLagan who played on this Rolling Stones #1 Billboard album and single (“Miss You”). –Redbeard