World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Let It Bleed

Article Id: WHEBN0000603257
Reproduction Date:

Title: Let It Bleed  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: The Rolling Stones, Honky Tonk Women, Gimme Shelter, Live with Me, Monkey Man (The Rolling Stones song)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Let It Bleed

Let It Bleed
Studio album by The Rolling Stones
Released 5 December 1969
Recorded November 1968, February–November 1969
Studio Olympic Studios, London; Elektra Studios, Los Angeles
Genre Hard rock, blues, country blues
Length 42:21
Label Decca (UK)
London (US)
Producer Jimmy Miller
The Rolling Stones chronology
Beggars Banquet
Let It Bleed
Sticky Fingers
Singles from Let It Bleed
  1. "Honky Tonk Women"/"You Can't Always Get What You Want"
    Released: July 1969
  2. "Let It Bleed"/"You Got the Silver"
    Released: January 1970 (Japan only)

Let It Bleed is the eighth British and tenth American album by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, released in December 1969 by Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States. Released shortly after the band's 1969 American Tour, it is the follow-up to 1968's Beggars Banquet and the last album by the band to feature Brian Jones as well as the first to feature Mick Taylor.


  • Background 1
  • Music and lyrics 2
  • Artwork 3
  • Release and reception 4
  • Track listing 5
  • Personnel 6
    • The Rolling Stones 6.1
    • Additional personnel 6.2
  • Charts 7
  • Certifications 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Although the Stones had begun the recording of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" in November 1968, before Beggars Banquet had been released, recording for Let It Bleed began in earnest in February 1969 and would continue sporadically until early November"[1] Brian Jones performs on only two tracks: playing the autoharp on "You Got the Silver", and percussion on "Midnight Rambler". His replacement, Mick Taylor, plays guitar on two tracks, "Country Honk" and "Live With Me", as well as on "Honky Tonk Women" which was recorded during the Let It Bleed sessions. Keith Richards, who had already shared vocal duties with Mick Jagger on "Connection" and sung separate lead vocals on parts of "Something Happened to Me Yesterday" and "Salt of the Earth", sang his first solo lead vocal on a Rolling Stones recording with "You Got the Silver".[2] The London Bach Choir sang on "You Can't Always Get What You Want" but publicly disassociated itself from the album, citing what author Stephen Davis terms its "relentless drug ambience".[3]

Let It Bleed was originally slated for release in July 1969. Although "Honky Tonk Women" was released as a single that month, the album itself suffered numerous delays and was eventually released in December 1969, after the band's US tour for it had already completed. The majority of the album was recorded at Olympic Studios in London, with further work taking place at Elektra Studios in Los Angeles while the Stones prepared for the tour.[4] The Los Angeles-recorded portions included overdubs by guest musicians Merry Clayton (on "Gimme Shelter"), Byron Berline (on "Country Honk"),[5] and Bobby Keys and Leon Russell (on "Live With Me").[6]

Music and lyrics

A sample of The Rolling Stones's "You Can't Always Get What You Want" from Let It Bleed

Problems playing this file? See .

According to Don Heckman from The New York Times, Let It Bleed was a "heavy" and "passionately erotic" album of hard rock and blues, influenced by African-American music.[7] Richie Unterberger, writing for AllMusic, said it "extends the rock and blues feel of Beggars Banquet into slightly harder-rocking, more demonically sexual territory."[8] Mojo magazine's James McNair felt the record had an emphasis on "earthy" country blues.[9]


The album cover displays a surreal sculpture designed by Robert Brownjohn.[10] The image consists of the Let It Bleed record being played by the tone-arm of an antique phonograph, and a record-changer spindle supporting several items stacked on a plate in place of a stack of records: a tape canister labelled Stones – Let It Bleed, a clock dial, a pizza, a tyre and a cake with elaborate icing topped by figurines representing the band. The cake parts of the construction were prepared by then-unknown cookery writer Delia Smith.[11] The reverse of the LP sleeve[12] shows the same "record-stack" melange in a state of disarray. The artwork was inspired by the working title of the album, which was Automatic Changer.[13]

The album cover for Let It Bleed was among the ten chosen by the Royal Mail for a set of "Classic Album Cover" postage stamps issued in January 2010.[14][15]

Release and reception

Professional ratings
Retrospective reviews
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music [16]
Entertainment Weekly A[17]
The Great Rock Discography 9/10[16]
MusicHound 5/5[18]
NME 9/10[19]
Rolling Stone [20]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide [21]

Released in December, Let It Bleed reached number 1 in the UK (temporarily demoting The Beatles' Abbey Road) and number 3 on the Billboard Top LPs chart in the US, where it eventually went 2x platinum. In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone magazine, music critic Greil Marcus said that the middle of the album has "great" songs, but "Gimme Shelter" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" "seem to matter most" because they "both reach for reality and end up confronting it, almost mastering what's real, or what reality will feel like as the years fade in."[22]

Let It Bleed was the Stones' last album to be released in an official mono version, which is rare and highly sought-after today. The album was released in US as an LP record, reel to reel tape and 8-track cartridge in 1969, and as a remastered CD in 1986. In August 2002, it was reissued in a remastered CD and SACD digipak by ABKCO Records, and once more in 2010 by Universal Music Enterprises in a Japanese only SHM-SACD version.[23]

According to Rolling Stone, Let It Bleed is the second of the Stones' run of four studio LPs that are generally regarded as among their greatest achievements artistically, equalled only by the best of their great 45's from that decade. The other three albums are Beggars Banquet (1968), Sticky Fingers (1971) and Exile on Main St. (1972).[24] In a retrospective review, NME magazine said that the album "tugs and teases" in various musical directions and called it "a classic".[19] In his 2001 Stones biography, Stephen Davis said of the album "No rock record, before or since, has ever so completely captured the sense of palpable dread that hung over its era."[3] In a five-star review for Rolling Stone in 2004, Gavin Edwards praised Keith Richard's guitar playing throughout the album and stated, "Whether it was spiritual, menstrual or visceral, the Stones made sure you went home covered in blood."[20] Jason McNeil of PopMatters wrote that Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed are "the two greatest albums the band’s (or anyone’s) ever made".[25]

In 2000, Q magazine ranked it at number 28 in its list of "The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever". In 2001, the TV network VH1 placed Let It Bleed at 24th on their "100 Greatest Albums of R 'n' R" survey. In 1997, it was voted the 27th "Best Album Ever" by The Guardian.[16] In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it at number 32 on the magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[26]

Track listing

The track listing on the back of the album jacket did not follow the one on the album itself. According to Brownjohn, he altered it purely for visual reasons; the correct order was shown on the record's label. Additionally, "Gimme Shelter" is rendered as "Gimmie Shelter" on the jacket.

All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except "Love in Vain" by Robert Johnson. Early US editions of the album credit the song to Woody Payne, a pseudonym used by a music publisher of the songs of Robert Johnson.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Gimme Shelter"   4:31
2. "Love in Vain"   4:19
3. "Country Honk"   3:09
4. "Live with Me"   3:33
5. "Let It Bleed"   5:26
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Midnight Rambler"   6:52
2. "You Got the Silver"   2:51
3. "Monkey Man"   4:12
4. "You Can't Always Get What You Want"   7:28


The Rolling Stones

Additional personnel


Year Chart Position
1969 UK Albums Chart 1[27]
1969 Billboard Pop Albums 3[28]
Preceded by
Abbey Road by The Beatles
UK Albums Chart number-one album
20 – 27 December 1969
Succeeded by
Abbey Road by The Beatles


Country Provider Certification
(sales thresholds)
United States RIAA 2× Platinum
United Kingdom BPI Platinum


  1. ^ Egan, Sean (2005). Rolling Stones and the making of Let It Bleed. Unanimous Ltd. pp. 206–.  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ a b Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. New York, NY: Broadway Books. p. 306.  
  4. ^ Bonanno, Massimo (1990). The Rolling Stones Chronicle. London: Plexus Publishing. pp. 86, 93.  
  5. ^ Wyman, Bill (2002). Rolling with the Stones. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 356.  
  6. ^ Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. New York, NY: Broadway Books. pp. 304, 305.  
  7. ^ Heckman, Don (28 December 1969). "Pop: No, The Rolling Stones are Not Fascists; Mick's Not Fascist".   (subscription required)
  8. ^ a b  
  9. ^ "The Rolling Stones Top 10 Albums" > "2. Let It Bleed".  
  10. ^ Robert Brownjohn from the Design Museum website
  11. ^ Delia Smith from
  12. ^ Back cover image from the Design Museum website
  13. ^ Wyman, Bill. 2002. Rolling With the Stones
  14. ^ "Classic Album Covers: Issue Date – 7 January 2010".  
  15. ^ Michaels, Sean (8 January 2010). "Coldplay album gets stamp of approval from Royal Mail". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  16. ^ a b c "Let It Bleed"The Rolling Stones .  
  17. ^ "Let It Bleed CD". Muze Inc. Retrieved 21 June 2008. 
  18. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. pp. 950, 952.  
  19. ^ a b "Review: Let It Bleed".  
  20. ^ a b Edwards, Gavin (2 September 2004). "Review: Let It Bleed". Rolling Stone (New York): 147. 
  21. ^ "The Rolling Stones: Album Guide". Archived version retrieved 15 November 2014.
  22. ^ "Album Reviews: The Rolling Stones – Let it Bleed". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  23. ^ Walsh, Christopher (24 August 2002). "Super audio CDs: The Rolling Stones Remastered". Billboard. p. 27. 
  24. ^ Steven Van Zandt. "The Immortals – The Greatest Artists of All Time: 4) The Rolling Stones". The RollingStone. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  25. ^ MacNeil, Jason (23 August 2004). "The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet / Let it Bleed".  
  26. ^ "Let It Bleed". Rolling Stone. January 2003. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  27. ^ Record Retailer
  28. ^ "The Rolling Stones Complete Hit Albums List (1964–2008)". BeatZenith. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 

External links

  • Let It Bleed at Discogs (list of releases)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.