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Beggars Banquet

Beggars Banquet
Studio album by The Rolling Stones
Released 6 December 1968
Recorded 17 March – 25 July 1968 at Olympic Studios, London
Genre Roots rock[1]
Length 39:44
Label Decca (UK)
London (US)
Producer Jimmy Miller
The Rolling Stones chronology
Their Satanic Majesties Request
Beggars Banquet
Let It Bleed
Alternate cover
The originally planned "toilet" cover was rejected by both Decca and London in 1968. It was later featured on most Compact Disc reissues.[4][3]
Singles from Beggars Banquet
  1. "Street Fighting Man"/"No Expectations"
    Released: 31 August 1968 (US)

Beggars Banquet is the seventh British and ninth American studio album by English rock band The Rolling Stones. It was released in December 1968 by Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States. The album was a return to roots rock for the band following the psychedelic pop of their 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request.[1]


  • Background 1
  • Cover art dispute, and Rock and Roll Circus 2
  • Critical reception 3
  • Reissue 4
  • Track listing 5
    • Other songs 5.1
  • Personnel 6
  • Chart positions 7
  • Certifications 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11


Glyn Johns, the album's recording engineer and longtime collaborator of the band, said that Beggars Banquet signalled "the Rolling Stones' coming of age ... I think that the material was far better than anything they'd ever done before. The whole mood of the record was far stronger to me musically."[3] Producer Jimmy Miller described guitarist Keith Richards as "a real workhorse" while recording the album, mostly due to the infrequent presence of Brian Jones. When he did show up at the sessions, Jones behaved erratically due to his drug use and emotional problems.[3] Miller said that Jones would "show up occasionally when he was in the mood to play, and he could never really be relied on:

When he would show up at a session—let's say he had just bought a sitar that day, he'd feel like playing it, so he'd look in his calendar to see if the Stones were in. Now he may have missed the previous four sessions. We'd be doing let's say, a blues thing. He'd walk in with a sitar, which was totally irrelevant to what we were doing, and want to play it. I used to try to accommodate him. I would isolate him, put him in a booth and not record him onto any track that we really needed. And the others, particularly Mick and Keith, would often say to me, 'Just tell him to piss off and get the hell out of here'.[3]

Jones played sitar[5] and tanpura on "Street Fighting Man",[6] slide guitar on "No Expectations",[7][8][9] harmonica on "Parachute Woman", "Dear Doctor" and "Prodigal Son",[10] and Mellotron on "Jig-Saw Puzzle" and "Stray Cat Blues".[11] Jones is sometimes mistakenly credited for playing the slide guitar on "Jig-Saw Puzzle"; both guitars are played by Keith Richards[12][13] The basic track of "Street Fighting Man" was recorded on an early Philips cassette deck at London's Olympic Sound Studios, where he played a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar, and Charlie Watts played on an antique, portable practice drum kit.[14] Richards and Mick Jagger were mistakenly credited as writers on "Prodigal Son", a cover of Robert Wilkins's Biblical blues song of the same name.[3] According to Keith Richards the name Beggars Banquet "comes from a cat called Christopher Gibbs".[15]

Cover art dispute, and Rock and Roll Circus

On 7 June 1968, a photoshoot for the album, with photographer Michael Joseph, was held at Sarum Chase, a mansion in Hampstead, London.[16] Previously unseen images from the shoot were exhibited at the Blink Gallery in London in November and December 2008.[17] The album's original cover art, depicting a bathroom wall covered with graffiti, was rejected by the band's record company, and their unsuccessful dispute delayed the album's release for months.[3]

On 10–11 December 1968 the band filmed a television extravaganza entitled The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus featuring John Lennon, Eric Clapton, The Who, Jethro Tull, and Marianne Faithfull among the musical guests. One of the original aims of the project was to promote Beggars Banquet, but the film was shelved by the Rolling Stones until 1996, when it was finally released officially.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [18]
Blender [19]
Boston Herald [20]
eMusic [21]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music [22]
Entertainment Weekly A[23]
The Great Rock Discography 10/10[24]
NME 8/10[25]
Rolling Stone [3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide [26]

Critics considered the LP a return to form.[18] It was also a commercial success, reaching No. 3 in the UK and No. 5 in the US (on the way to eventual platinum status). According to music journalist Anthony DeCurtis, the "political correctness" of "Street Fighting Man", particularly the ambivalent lyrics "What can a poor boy do/'Cept sing in a rock and roll band", sparked intense debate in the underground media.[3] Music critic Robert Christgau ranked it as the third best album of the year, and "Salt of the Earth" the best pop song of the year, in his ballot for Jazz & Pop magazine's annual critics poll.[27]

In a retrospective review for eMusic, music critic Ben Fong-Torres called Beggars Banquet "an album flush with masterful and growling instant classics", and said that it "responds more to the chaos of '68 and to themselves than to any fellow artists ... the mood is one of dissolution and resignation, in the guise of a voice of an ambivalent authority."[21] Colin Larkin, writing in the Encyclopedia of Popular Music (2006), viewed it as "a return to strength" which included "the socio-political 'Street Fighting Man' and the brilliantly macabre 'Sympathy for the Devil', in which Jagger's seductive vocal was backed by hypnotic Afro-rhythms and dervish yelps."[22] Larry Katz from the Boston Herald called Beggars Banquet "both a return to basics and leap forward."[20] In Rolling Stone magazine, DeCurtis said the album was "filled with distinctive and original touches", and remarked on its legacy:

For the album, the Stones had gone to great lengths to toughen their sound and banish the haze of psychedelia, and in doing so, they launched a five-year period in which they would produce their very greatest records.[3]

According to Martin C. Strong, Beggars Banquet was the first album in "a staggering burst of creativity" in a five-year period that ultimately comprised four of the best rock albums of all time.[24] In 2003, the album was ranked No. 58 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[28] In the same year, the TV network VH1 named Beggars Banquet the 67th greatest album of all time. The album is also featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[29]


In August 2002, ABKCO Records reissued Beggars Banquet as a newly remastered LP and SACD/CD hybrid disk.[30] This release corrected an important flaw in the original album by restoring each song to its proper, slightly faster speed. Due to an error in the mastering, Beggars Banquet was heard for over thirty years at a slower speed than it was recorded. This had the effect of altering not only the tempo of each song, but the song's key as well. These differences were subtle but important, and the remastered version is about 30 seconds shorter than the original release.

Also in 2002 the Russian label CD-Maximum unofficially released the limited edition Beggars Banquet + 7 Bonus,[31] which was also bootleged on a German counterfeit-DECCA label as Beggars Banquet (the Mono Beggars).[32]

It was released once again in 2010 by Universal Music Enterprises in a Japanese only SHM-SACD version;[33] and on 24 November 2010 ABKCO Records released a SHM-CD version.[34]

On 28 May 2013 ABKCO Records reissued the LP on vinyl.[35]

Track listing

All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except "Prodigal Son" by Robert Wilkins.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Sympathy for the Devil"   6:18
2. "No Expectations"   3:56
3. "Dear Doctor"   3:28
4. "Parachute Woman"   2:20
5. "Jigsaw Puzzle"   6:06
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Street Fighting Man"   3:16
7. "Prodigal Son"   2:51
8. "Stray Cat Blues"   4:38
9. "Factory Girl"   2:09
10. "Salt of the Earth"   4:48

Other songs

Title Length Notes
"Jumping Jack Flash" single
"Child of the Moon" "Jumping Jack Flash" B-side

"Jumping Jack Flash" was a single only release and is a stop gap between the albums "Their Satanic Majesties Request" and "Beggars Banquet". It was another massive hit for the Stones, reaching #1 in the UK & #3 in the US.


[36] [37] [38] [39]

Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1968 UK Albums Chart[40] 3
1968 French Albums Chart[41] 1
1969 US Billboard 200[42] 5
Year Single Chart Position
1968 "Street Fighting Man" The Billboard Hot 100[43] 48
1971 "Street Fighting Man" UK Top 40 Singles[40] 21


Country Provider Certification
(sales thresholds)
United States RIAA Platinum


  1. ^ a b  
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j  
  4. ^
  5. ^ Karnbach, James; Bernson, Carol (1997). The Complete Recording Guide to the Rolling Stones. Aurum Press Limited. p. 234.  
  6. ^ Elliot, Martin (2002). The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962–2002. Cherry Red Books LTD. p. 131.  
  7. ^ Elliot, Martin (2002). The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962–2002. Cherry Red Books LTD. p. 142.  
  8. ^ Egan, Sean (2005). Rolling Stones and the making of Let It Bleed. Unanimous Ltd. p. 64.  
  9. ^ Wyman, Bill (2002). Rolling with the Stones. Dorling Kindersley Limited. p. 314.  
  10. ^ Clayson, Alan (2008). The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet. Billboard Books. pp. 165, 186, 245, 246.  
  11. ^ Clayson, Alan (2008). The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet. Billboard Books. pp. 192, 246.  
  12. ^ Elliot, Martin (2002). The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962–2002. Cherry Red Books LTD. p. 129.  
  13. ^ Clayson, Alan (2008). The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet. Billboard Books. p. 187.  
  14. ^ The Wall Street Journal 
  15. ^ Egan (ed), Sean (2013). Keith Richards on Keith Richards interviews and encounters (1st ed.). Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 79.  
  16. ^ Hayward, Mark; Evans, Mike (7 September 2009). The Rolling Stones: On Camera, Off Guard 1963–69. Pavilion. pp. 156–.  
  17. ^ "Our Work". Metro Imaging. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  18. ^ a b AllMusic review
  19. ^ Blender review
  20. ^ a b Katz, Larry (16 August 2002). "Music; Stoned again; Band's early albums reissued in time for tour".   (subscription required)
  21. ^ a b  
  22. ^ a b  
  23. ^  
  24. ^ a b  
  25. ^ "Review: Beggars Banquet".  
  26. ^ "The Rolling Stones: Album Guide". Archived version retrieved 15 November 2014.
  27. ^ Christgau, Robert (1969). "Robert Christgau's 1969 Jazz & Pop Ballot". Jazz & Pop. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  28. ^ "Beggars Banquet". Rolling Stone. January 2003. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  29. ^ Dimery, Robert, ed. (2011). 1001 Albums: You Must Hear Before You Die. Preface by Michael Lydon.  
  30. ^ Walsh, Christopher (24 August 2002). "Super audio CDs: The Rolling Stones Remastered". Billboard. p. 27. 
  31. ^ 2002 Russian limited editionBeggars Banquet + 7 Bonusdiscogs -
  32. ^ 2002 German bootlegBeggars Banquet (the Mono Beggars)discogs -
  33. ^ 2010 Universal International ref# UIGY 9038Beggars Banquetdiscogs -
  34. ^ 2010 ABKCO ref# UICY-20001Beggars Banquetdiscogs -
  35. ^ 2013 Vinyl reissueBeggars Banquetdiscogs -
  36. ^
  37. ^ Stone Alone - Bill Wyman
  38. ^ Rolling With The Stones - Bill Wyman
  39. ^ Satanic Sessions - Midnight Beat - CD box sets
  40. ^ a b Type in "Rolling Stones" under "Name of Artist"
  41. ^ Tous les Albums classés par Artiste, Note : user must select The Rolling Stones in the list
  42. ^
  43. ^

Further reading

  • MacNeil, Jason (23 August 2004). "The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet / Let It Bleed".  

External links

  • Beggars Banquet at Discogs (list of releases)
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