The summer of 1967 was all about exploring brave new sounds. It was the summer of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s.. Are You Experienced and Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Everyone wanted to be part of the new paisley-colored psychedelia that was shading pop music, including one of the biggest groups on the planet: the Rolling Stones…… Like Sgt. Pepper’s, Their Satanic Majesties Service helped music go into “technicolor?.Using the kaleidoscopic Between the Buttons — their 5th album, which was released earlier in 1967 — as a starting point and Sgt. Pepper’s as a template, The Stones spent a sizable chunk of the year recording an album that was to rival the Beatles’ pop-art masterpiece. The band were broke and manager, Andrew Loog Oldham had stepped down because he couldn’t put up with the madness, mounting legal fees for a “bogus” drug charge; so the band had to produce for the first time this album themselves. The sessions were “dodgy” at best. Keith Richards later lamented that the album was a piece of “SHIT.!
Released in December 1967, the result was Their Satanic Majesties Request was a tangle of psychedelic mannerisms and studio trickery; complete with vomit-inspired 3D cover art which when you looked carefully you could see the heads of the Beatles. Where it had The Stones staring at each other…. Many countries in the Far East refused to carry the album because of using “Satanic” in the title…
Unlike Sgt. Peppers’ embracement and fascination with the psychedelic world revolving quickly the greatest rock band in the world were not about to let a creative opportunity pass them by. The original album title was “Cosmic Christmas”..One cover concept that was mulled about was Mick Jagger hanging on a cross but Decca Records was absolutely against that… Looking closely on its cover, one can see the faces of each of the four Beatles, reportedly a response to the Beatles’ inclusion of a doll wearing a “Welcome the Rolling Stones” sweater on the cover of Sgt. Pepper. Later editions replaced the glued-on three-dimensional image with a photograph, due to high production costs..
Their Satanic Majesties Request is a bit more skeptical about it.We get a glimpse into the inner isolation aspect of the hallucinogenic drugs as opposed to the communal sharing; which the Beatles clearly were more able to document this path. Now, fifty years later with the help of technology Sgt. Pepper becomes in spirit a “new” album… for the young and old…
Without a doubt, no Rolling Stones’ album — and very few rock albums from any era — split critical opinion as much as “Satanic’s” psychedelic outing. Many dismiss the record as sub-Sgt. Pepper posturing; others confess (if only in private) to a fascination with the album’s inventive arrangements which incorporated some African rhythms, Mellotrons, and full orchestration all masterminded by the great Brian Jones. What’s clear is that never before or after did The Stones take so many chances in the studio. Some critics and fans feel that the record has been unfairly undervalued, partly because purists expects them to constantly champion a blues ‘n’ raunch worldview. About half the material is very strong, particularly the glorious “She’s a Rainbow,” with its beautiful harmonies, piano, and strings; the riff-driven “Citadel”; the hazy, dream-like “In Another Land,” was Bill Wyman’s debut writing and singing… a bit of a melancholic burden.
Probably the best song on “Stanic” was the majestically dark and doomy cosmic rocker “2000 Light Years from Home,” with some of the creepiest synthesizer effects (devised by Brian Jones) ever to grace a rock and roll record. The downfall of the album was caused by some weak songwriting on the lesser tracks, particularly the interminable psychedelic jam “Sing This All Together (See What Happens).” It’s a much better record than most people give it credit for being, though, with a strong current of creeping uneasiness that undercuts the gaudy psychedelic flourishes. In 1968, the Stones would go back to the basics, and never wander down these paths again, making this all the more of a fascinating anomaly in the group’s discography.
Recorded as part of the Satanic Majesties sessions in 1967, We Love You was a thank you to everyone that supported the Stones on their arrest earlier in the year. The song starts with the rattling of hangman’s keys, ominous footsteps and the sound of a cell door slamming shut. The promo video directed by Peter Whitehead. It features Keith Richards as the judge and Marianne Faithfull with her famous fur with Jagger’s impudence shown as indisputable evidence of their decadence. (It’s supposed to be Oscar Wilde’s trial). Brian Jones is looking rather stoned in the studio footage in the clip.