Beggars Banquet is the album that changed everything for the Rolling Stones.
From the manner it was recorded at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London, to the track selection, a mixture of rockers (“Street Fighting Man”), blues numbers (“Prodigal Son”, “No Expectations”) and ballads (“Salt Of The Earth”), the band truly came into their own, and the Rolling Stones’ music of today is a reflection of what happened in that studio in 1968, they reached their musical manhood.
The genesis of the epic song “Sympathy For The Devil” is well documented in the Jean Luc Goddard film One Plus One . While 1967’s Their Satanic Majesties was recorded after Mick and Keith’s traumatic and unjust, drugs bust, it was almost too soon to be reflected in their songwriting. Whereas “Sympathy For The Devil”, and much of Beggars Banquet hint at a defiance at what they’d been through, and a strength from the experience.
The album also marks a change in musical direction for the band, with the debut of Jimmy Miller as producer, who went on to collaborate with the band on Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main St and Goats Head Soup. Miller had also produced Traffic and Spooky Tooth, and co-wrote “I’m A Man” with Steve Winwood. Other musicians who appeared on the album are Nicky Hopkins on piano, Dave Mason on guitar and mandolin and a gospel choir from Los Angeles.
The only non Jagger/ Richards song on the album, “Prodigal Son” is a cover of Robert Wilkins’ “That Ain’t No Way To Get Along”, which he first recorded in 1929. A year earlier Wilkins recorded the first known song to be entitled, “Rolling Stone”.