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Exile on Main St.: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones
Recorded during the blazing hot summer of 1971 at Villa Nellcote, Keith Richards's 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 Nellcote's 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.
By 1971, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones and Janis Joplin were dead and Jim Morrison soon would be. Equally troubled, the Rolling Stones, those bad boy icons of the era, took their decadent circus to the French Riviera to escape British taxes and record an album. In a slang-filled present tense, Greenfield (Dark Star: An Oral Biography of Jerry Garcia) gives good gossip about the mayhem that ensued at the Villa Nellcote, the palatial mansion--and supposed former Gestapo headquarters--that Keith Richards rented as his getaway. Greenfield tells of who slept with whom, Keith's outlaw antics and the massive amounts of drugs consumed. The central story, however, is the struggle between Keith and Mick Jagger, who was increasingly drawn to high society, typified by his marriage to Bianca Perez-Mora. A who's who of celebs passed through Nellcote that summer, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono and Gram Parsons. In the last analysis, it's amazing that the Stones managed to record an album at all, but Exile on Main Street may well be their greatest. Greenberg's writing is cliched at times, but his account is energetic. In the end, he takes sides (Keith's mostly) and settles scores, but that only ups the entertainment value. (Nov.)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Da Capo Press
November 12, 2007
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