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Exile on Main Street: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stonesby Robert Greenfield
Synopses & Reviews
At The Moment, Nellcote is Quite The Happy Place to Be. All day long and well into the night, great music blares from Keith's stereo, everything from rough Jamaican reggae to classic old soul, blues, and rock 'n' roll. With nothing to do but have fun, every day is a brand new adventure. Keith may decide to take his red Jaguar XKE for a death-defying drive in the hills. He may hop into his newly purchased two thousand dollar speed boat for a ride across the bay. He may stop on a rocky beach to skim stones with his son Marlon or sit for hours at the dining room table playing the lick from The Jerk by The Larks on his black Gibson Hummingbird guitar over and over as big money promoters from America try to talk business to him. Late one night as Keith picks up the debris in the living room, he notices a pill lying on the floor. Although there is no saying who dropped it there or what it in fact may be, a leaper, a creeper, or a black bomber (but most certainly not a vitamin of any kind), he picks up the pill and examines it for a brief moment. Popping it into his mouth, he then goes upstairs to bed. Keith is living an extraordinary double life, involved with heavy drugs but also tanned and looking well and up every morning by ten to greet the brand new day. Surrounded by good friends and a few casual acquaintances, he is having the time of his life. As always where the Stones are concerned, things are going so good that something bad has to happen. And so it does. Recorded during the blazing-hot summer of 1971 in the basement of Keith Richards's palatial mansion by the sea in the south of France, Exile on Main Street freezes forever in time a moment when the Stones and theircounterculture audience found themselves at a crossroads. Groundbreaking music journalist Robert Greenfield was there. Night after night for weeks on end while their wives, girlfriends, and a crew of assorted hangers-on unrivalled in the history of rock smoked marijuana and hashish, snorted cocaine, drank whatever they could get their hands on, and injected themselves with heroin upstairs, the Stones descended like coal miners into a dank, humid basement to lay down tracks. As Mick and Keith were writing the songs that eventually comprised Exile, a variety of celebrities, among them John and Yoko Ono Lennon and Gram Parsons, descended on the villa, and so did a sinister band of local drug dealers known to one and all as les cowboys. While the work of recording any album is rarely joyful and the Stones themselves were already known to be perfectionists in the studio, the process that brought Exile on Main Street into the world was an exercise in extreme group dynamics unparalleled even in their own tortured history. Literally and figuratively, this was a record made in hell.
Recorded during the blazing-hot summer of 1971 in the basement of Keith Richards's palatial mansion by the sea in the south of France, "Exile on Main Street" freezes forever in time a moment when the Stones and their counterculture audience found themselves at a crossroads, and Greenfield was there.
The shocking, decadent, true story behind the making of the Rolling Stones' beloved double album Exile on Main Street
Recorded during the blazing hot summer of 1971 at Villa Nellcôte, Keith Richardss seaside mansion in southern France, Exile on Main Street has been hailed as one of the greatest rock records of all time. Yet its improbable creation was difficult, torturous...and at times nothing short of dangerous. In self-imposed exile, the Stones-along with wives, girlfriends, and an unrivaled crew of hangers-on-spent their days smoking, snorting, and drinking whatever they could get their hands on, while at night, Villa Nellcôtes basement studio became the crucible in which creative strife, outsized egos, and all the usual byproducts of the Stones legendary hedonistic excess fused into something potent, volatile, and enduring. Here, for the first time, is the season in hell that produced Exile on Main Street.
About the Author
Robert Greenfields latest books include Timothy Leary: A Biography, and S.T.P.: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones. An award-winning novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and journalist, he lives in California.
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