Rolling Stones Tattoo You 40th Anniversary Reissue Review

Rolling Stones Tattoo You Review

Photo: : Blueee77 / Shutterstock.com

It doesn’t seem like it was forty years ago that The Rolling Stones released one of the greatest albums of unreleased songs in the history of classic rock. At the time, most rock fans and even most Rolling Stones fans had no idea that Tattoo You was an album of unreleased tracks. To most music fans fans, it was simply a new Rolling Stones album. Of course, if you read the reviews at the time, they all talked about it being a album of unreleased and unfinished material from previous recording sessions. Yet, in 1981, The Rolling Stones’ new album was regarded by fans as a great new Rolling Stones album fueled by the unbelievable new single “Start Me Up,” that had become very quickly a new Rolling Stones classic in the same vein as a “Brown Sugar,” or a “Tumbling Dice.” The Rolling Stones had returned with a vengeance after the slightly disappointing Emotional Rescue album.

The Rolling Stones album Tattoo You  is often considered the last great Rolling Stones album. We don’t necessarily  agree with that because the band did continue to put some great records out after that even though critics and some fans always complained about them. We would argue it’s the last great 70s sounding Rolling Stones album as the group did update its sound and songwriting as Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were also updating their lives. It’s called maturity. One can’t write songs like their eighteen forever. Your perspectives change as you age and so does you writing.

The Rolling Stones Tattoo You album was the first new Rolling Stones album of the MTV era. The two two singles “Start Me Up,” and “Waiting For A Friend,” received a lot of airplay on MTV.  Both videos were fantastic as we all got a much closer look at the Rolling Stones and their individual personalities. We watched those videos over and over again at least once or twice an hour on MTV. It was a nice break from the Tommy Tutone video that was played all the time. Did MTV have an effect on sales of Tattoo You. Of course it did, but even without the MTV promotional push the album was played heavily on FM radio and would have been a huge seller even without the help from the music channel that was dominating pop culture in 1981.

This was the Rolling Stones. They could spit on MTV  and it wouldn’t of had an effect on them at all. We are talking The Rolling Stones baby. They were still as strong as they ever were in 1981. Led Zeppelin was gone with the passing of John Bonham, The classic Who band were gone forever with the death of Keith Moon and of course there would never be a Beatles reformation with the murder of John Lennon a year earlier. The Rolling Stones were the last band standing in 1981 from the big four legendary bands from the 1960s and 70s. Give me another band that was bigger than The Beatles, The Stones or The Who. You can’t do it. There were other big ones of course, The Kinks, The Doors,  and many more, but The Who, The Beatles.  Led Zeppelin and The Stones were in their own league. If we had to add another one to the mix it would be Pink Floyd, but all of that is an argument for another time.

The songs on the Tattoo You album came from various recording sessions that occurred during the recording of previous Rolling Stones albums mostly in the 1970s. “Start Me Up,” stemmed from the Some Girls session in Paris as well as “Hang Fire,” and “Black Limousine.” Songs like “Little T&A” “Neighbours,” “No Use in Crying.” ” and “Heaven” had begun to evolve during the Emotional Rescue sessions. Some songs like “Waiting On A Friend,” went all the way back to the Goats Head Soup sessions in 1972. Many of the songs were just backing tracks, some were close to being finished, some were completely redone and supposedly some songs were just thrown on the Tattoo You album as they were. It really was a mixed back of songs that came from everywhere in many different forms but the Rolling Stones tuned it all into to one kicking and fabulous album that would become legendary.

The Rolling Stones Tattoo You 40th Anniversary Reissue is so much more than just a remastered single disc of the original album. There are many configurations available so let’s take a look at them starting with the simplest.

The most basic reissue is the original LP on 180 gram vinyl with the entire album remastered for 2021

All photos are Amazon links if your interested in purchasing  the sets.

Side A
1. Start Me Up
2. Hang Fire
3. Slave
4. Little T&A
5. Black Limousine
6. Neighbours
Side B
7. Worried About You
8. Tops
9. Heaven
10. No Use In Crying
11. Waiting On A Friend

There is also a deluxe two record set reissue of Tattoo You containing the following tacks on 180 gram vinyl. It’s also available as a two cd set

This set features nine unreleased tracks on the second vinyl LP which is what makes this reissue so special.

Side A
1. Start Me Up
2. Hang Fire
3. Slave
4. Little T&A
5. Black Limousine
6. Neighbours
Side B
7. Worried About You
8. Tops
9. Heaven
10. No Use In Crying
11. Waiting On A Friend
Side C
1. Living In The Heart Of Love
2. Fiji Jim
3. Trouble’s A Coming
4. Shame Shame Shame
5. Drift Away
Side D
6. It’s A Lie
7. Come To The Ball
8. Fast Talking Slow Walking

There is also an amazing 5 LP Box set or 4 Cd set called Super Deluxe LP Boxset  that contains the original remastered album, the nine unreleased tracks and an additional three record set live from Wembley Stadium in 1982. The box set also contains a 140 page booklet.

Side A
1. Start Me Up
2. Hang Fire
3. Slave
4. Little T&A
5. Black Limousine
6. Neighbours
Side B
7. Worried About You
8. Tops
9. Heaven
10. No Use In Crying
11. Waiting On A Friend
Side C
1. Living In The Heart Of Love
2. Fiji Jim
3. Trouble’s A Coming
4. Shame Shame Shame
5. Drift Away
Side D
6. It’s A Lie
7. Come To The Ball
8. Fast Talking Slow Walking
9. Start Me Up (Early Version)
3rd, 4th & 5th vinyl is Wembley Stadium Live 1982
Side E
1. Under My Thumb
2. When The Whip Comes Down
3. Let’s Spend The Night Together
4. Shattered
5. Neighbours
Side F
6. Black Limousine
7. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)
8. Twenty Flight Rock
9. Going To A Go Go
Side G
1. Chantilly Lace
2. Let Me Go
3. Time Is On My Side
4. Beast Of Burden
Side H
5. Let It Bleed
6. You Can’t Always Get What You Want
7. Band Introductions
8. Little T&A
Side J
1. Tumbling Dice
2. She’s So Cold
3. Hang Fire
4. Miss You
5. Honky Tonk Women
Side K
6. Brown Sugar
7. Start Me Up
8. Jumpin’ Jack Flash
9. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Rolling Stones Tattoo You 40th Anniversary Reissue Review article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021

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