In late 1973, a six-week run through Europe in September and October saw the Rolling Stones play 32 shows, often with two on the same day. Less than a month after that tour ended in Germany, the band were back in that country, at Musicland Studios in Munich, to start production on the record that became their next album, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Buy or stream It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll.
The LP was released on October 16, 1974 and took the Stones to the top of the US chart on November 23. That came during a period of British domination in which the Stones succeeded John Lennon’s Walls and Bridges for a week, before Elton John’s first Greatest Hits album took over for the rest of the year.
The Stones’ 12th UK studio album, the record seized the momentum of the title track and opening single, which reached No.10 in the UK in August – although it performed more modestly, for the Stones, in the US, peaking at No.16. The album saw the band at something of a crossroads, as their last to feature guitarist Mick Taylor and the first for seven years to be produced by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, going by the unofficial collective of the Glimmer Twins for the first time.
The video for the title track, with Charlie Watts disappearing thanks to an out-of-control bubble machine, is a much-loved visual highlight of the band at the time. Another clip that captures the era is the official video for their cover of the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” released as a US single. The band’s sartorial choices are a thing to behold.
Strong new compositions such as “Time Waits For No One” and “Fingerprint File” helped the album to a strong reception, especially in the US. Greg Shaw in Phonograph Record called it “the Stones’ most consistent album in years, their most open and alive sounding, and certainly their most healthy in terms of the direction it opens for them — although as always it would be a mistake to expect them to continue in a straight line.”
It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll was the fourth of eight consecutive No.1 LPs in America, where it turned platinum; it peaked in the UK at No.2, and made the Top 3 across much of Europe.
Buy the 15LP Rolling stones box set The Studio Albums Vinyl Collection 1971-2016.