|Studio album by|
|Released||11 July 1994|
|Recorded||September, 3 November – 11 December 1993|
|Studio||Ronnie Wood's house, Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin; mixed and overdubbed at A&M Studios, Los Angeles and Right Track Recording, NYC|
|Producer||Don Was, The Glimmer Twins|
|The Rolling Stones chronology|
|Singles from Voodoo Lounge|
Voodoo Lounge is the 20th British and 22nd American studio album by British rock band The Rolling Stones, released in July 1994. As their first new release under their new alliance with Virgin Records, it ended a five-year gap since their last studio album, Steel Wheels in 1989. Voodoo Lounge is also the band's first album without long-time bassist Bill Wyman. He left the band in early 1991, though the Stones did not formally announce the departure until 1993. In 2009, the album was remastered and reissued by Universal Music. This album was released as a double album on vinyl and a single CD and cassette.
After the departure of Wyman, the Stones chose not to replace him as a band member and continue as a four-piece with Mick Jagger (vocals), Charlie Watts (drums), Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood (both guitars). Bass guitar was played by Darryl Jones, who would perform with the Stones in the studio and on tour as a contracted player. Keyboards were provided by Chuck Leavell. Jones and Leavell, though not band members, would remain collaborators with the group for the next quarter century. Don Was was brought in to produce the album alongside Jagger and Richards.
The album sold well enough, reaching either gold or platinum status in several countries, but failed to produce a US top-40 hit. The song "Love Is Strong", did peak at No. 14 in the UK, and "You Got Me Rocking" (No. 23 UK) became a staple on most subsequent Stones tours. The album was well-received by critics and won the inaugural Grammy Award for Best Rock Album in 1995.
Following the release of Keith Richards' Main Offender and Mick Jagger's Wandering Spirit in 1992 and 1993, respectively, both leaders of the Rolling Stones began composing new songs in April 1993, deciding upon Don Was (who has produced several Grammy-winning records) as co-producer for the upcoming sessions. In November, after rehearsing and recording at Ronnie Wood's house in Ireland that September, the Stones shifted to Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin and began cutting Voodoo Lounge. Although not joining the band officially, Darryl Jones would be taking Bill Wyman's place as the group's regular bassist, at the suggestion of drummer Charlie Watts.
Don Was, noted for his retro rock production sensibilities, was reportedly responsible for pushing the band towards more conventional territory in an attempt to reproduce the archetypal "Rolling Stones" sound. Although this approach pleased critics and the Stones rock-oriented fan base, Jagger in particular expressed some dissatisfaction with Was's aesthetic, commenting in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone:
... there were a lot of things that we wrote for Voodoo Lounge that Don steered us away from: groove songs, African influences and things like that. And he steered us very clear of all that. And I think it was a mistake.
Was responded that he was not "anti-groove, just anti-groove without substance, in the context of this album. They had a number of great grooves. But it was like, 'OK, what goes on top of it? Where does it go?' I just felt that it's not what people were looking for from the Stones. I was looking for a sign that they can get real serious about this, still play better than anybody and write better than anybody."
The result was an essentially classicist recording that drew on the blues, R&B, and country that had informed the Stones classic late 1960s/early 1970s recordings. Jagger would insist on a more diverse, contemporary production cast for the subsequent Bridges to Babylon (1997). Nevertheless, Was remains the Stones producer to this day. After a period of recording in Los Angeles in the first few months of 1994, Voodoo Lounge was complete and The Rolling Stones moved onto the rehearsals for the (yet another massive, worldwide) Voodoo Lounge Tour which would begin in August.
During the recording of the album, Richards adopted a stray cat in Barbados which he named Voodoo, because they were in Barbados, and the kitten had survived the odds. He dubbed the terrace of the house, Voodoo's Lounge. "Sparks Will Fly" was written by Richards after a blow up with Jerry Lee Lewis in Ireland. Richards invited Lewis to Wood's home to jam on a few songs. Lewis took it seriously and thought they were making an album, and upon playback of the session, he started to pick apart Richards' band, which outraged Richards.
Release and reception
|Christgau's Consumer Guide|||
|Entertainment Weekly||C+; originally B|
|Los Angeles Times|||
Released in July 1994, Voodoo Lounge received strong reviews and debuted at No. 1 in the UK (their first chart-topper there since 1980's Emotional Rescue) and No. 2 in the US (behind the soundtrack to The Lion King) where it went double platinum.
Writing for Vox magazine in August 1994, Steven Dalton thought that the album's strongest tracks were filled with "echoes of the band's halcyon days", most notably 1972's Exile on Main Street and 1978's Some Girls. He went on to surmise that Voodoo Lounge "reminds us why we liked the Stones in the first place", and singled out "New Faces", "Out of Tears" and "Blinded by Rainbows" as the album's highlights, despite also stating that the record contained "too many sketchy, arsing-around-in-the-studio jobs" to be considered one of the group's overall best albums.
"Love Is Strong", which was inspired by Richards' solo "Wicked as It Seems", was released as the first single, reaching No. 14 in the UK. However, although the track was a hit on US rock radio, it stalled on the overall US singles charts at No. 91, and (at least in the US) became the Rolling Stones' worst performing lead single from an album to that time. Two follow-up US singles also received strong rock radio airplay, but failed to cross over into top 40 hits: "Out of Tears" peaked at No. 60, and "You Got Me Rocking" fared even worse, peaking at No. 113. Consequently, Voodoo Lounge would be the first Rolling Stones album to not produce significant hits in the US, even with two million copies sold. In the UK, "Love Is Strong", "You Got Me Rocking", "Out of Tears", and "I Go Wild" were all top 40 chart hits.
Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge CD ROM
An interactive CD-ROM titled Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge CD ROM was published by GTE Interactive Media in 1995, to mixed reception. It uses early QuickTime video technology for Windows 3.1 and Macintosh.
All tracks are written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
|1.||"Love Is Strong"||3:46|
|2.||"You Got Me Rocking"||3:34|
|3.||"Sparks Will Fly"||3:14|
|6.||"Moon Is Up"||3:41|
|7.||"Out of Tears"||5:25|
|8.||"I Go Wild"||4:19|
|9.||"Brand New Car"||4:13|
|11.||"Suck on the Jugular"||4:26|
|12.||"Blinded by Rainbows"||4:33|
|13.||"Baby Break It Down"||4:07|
|14.||"Thru and Thru"||5:59|
- Track 15 was included only on CD in 1994, but is also featured on the 2010 vinyl (2xLP) release.
|"The Storm"||"Love Is Strong" B-side|
|"Jump on Top of Me"||"You Got Me Rocking" B-side|
|"I'm Gonna Drive"||"Out of Tears" B-side|
The Rolling Stones
- Mick Jagger – lead vocals, guitars, harmonica, percussion
- Keith Richards – guitars, backing vocals; lead vocals on "The Worst" and "Thru and Thru"
- Ronnie Wood – guitars, pedal steel, backing vocals
- Charlie Watts – drums, percussion
- Darryl Jones – bass
- Chuck Leavell – keyboards, backing vocals
- Bernard Fowler – backing vocals
- Frankie Gavin – fiddle, pennywhistle
- Mark Isham – trumpet
- Luís Jardim – percussion, shaker
- Flaco Jimenez – accordion
- Phil Jones – percussion
- David McMurray – saxophone
- Ivan Neville – backing vocals, organ
- Benmont Tench – organ, piano, accordion
- Bobby Womack – backing vocals
- Max Baca – bajo sexto
- Lenny Castro – percussion
- Pierre de Beauport – acoustic guitar
- David Campbell – string arrangement
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||Gold||25,000*|
|Canada (Music Canada)||3× Platinum||300,000^|
|France (SNEP)||2× Gold||295,400|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Gold||7,500^|
|Norway (IFPI Norway)||Gold||25,000*|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Gold||25,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||2× Platinum||2,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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