The POlice in New York City
They chased a boy right through the park
“Goats Head Soup” was a disappointment after “Exile On Main Street.” Then again, what could follow up that two-disc set.
Now “Exile On Main Street” did not set the world on fire. It entered the chart at number one and fell off by time the Stones completed their ’72 tour. Yes, you could get a ticket in ’69, if you were hip to “Let It Bleed.” But most people were not. After the misstep of “Satanic Majesties,” the Beatles had eclipsed the Stones. It was suddenly no contest, until “Beggars Banquet.”
Well-reviewed, “Sympathy For The Devil” and “Street Fighting Man” really didn’t get much airplay. The former really didn’t become famous until the Altamont movie.
But then came “Let It Bleed,” with its eerie intro track “Gimmie Shelter.” You could drop the needle, turn out the light, and venture to another land. And this was before “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was in “The Big Chill,” the band was still playing to fans.
And then came “Sticky Fingers.”
That was the Stones’ “Thriller.” When it all added up. With Mick Taylor wailing and an Andy Warhol cover with a real zipper, “Brown Sugar” was ubiquitous. The party didn’t start until it was played. It was the anthem of Friday night. And the pent-up demand from “Sticky Fingers” filled arenas on the ’72 tour. There really hasn’t been anything like it since, in terms of the news coverage. Every stop generated photos and ink. Truman Capote was along for the ride. And Princess Radish, aka Lee Radziwill. There was a private plane and debauchery and the film of the tour, “Cocksucker Blues,” has never been released, although Annie Leibovitz’s photo of Keith Richards in shades by the water cooler became iconic, it enhanced Keith’s rep.
And the paradigm being a new studio album before every tour, “Exile On Main Street” was released just before the band hit the road. And although “Tumbling Dice” got airplay, Linda Ronstadt’s cover had more impact. But the band was on the road and you needed to own the album and if you listened to it enough, you got it. It’s dark, it’s unique, today it is legendary, back then it was seen as an of the moment relative stiff.
But how do you follow that up?
The truth is the band couldn’t. “Goats Head Soup” was a disappointment.
We read about “Star******,” but when it was released, it was entitled “Star Star,” which seemed too safe. It wasn’t the band’s call, but the holding back of profanity stuck to them.
Now once again, with time “Goats Head Soup”‘s rep has improved.
Actually, “Angie” got traction on the radio, but Johnny Winter rode the “Silver Train” longer than the Stones. But the second side of the LP, with “Hide Your Love,” “Winter” and “Can You Hear The Music,” was trance-like.
But my favorite song on the album was the one quoted above, “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker).” Never a hit, it’s still one of my favorite Stones songs. Especially the way Mick Jagger emotes.
And I know every lick of “Goats Head Soup” by heart, but I hadn’t thought of it recently until I saw Andrew Zimmern’s show “Bizarre Foods: Delicious: Delicious Destinations” tonight.
I know the legend of Anthony Bourdain, but I’ve never seen his show. Ditto on Zimmern, even though I’ve read all about him. I know he checked in to Hazelden, I know he lives in Minneapolis, but… That’s me, I’m a print guy. Who’s got time for TV shows?
But tonight while eating a hamburger Felice had the “Cooking Channel” on and lo and behold the host was Andrew Zimmern, and they were in Tel Aviv, and they were going to the hot spots to uncover shawarma and other delicacies and I couldn’t take my eyes off the show, I wanted to go.
And when the clock struck nine, it shifted to “Bizarre Foods,” and now the location was Kingston, Jamaica. I’ve never been there. Yes, it was de rigueur to go to the islands when I was in high school, but I was too busy skiing. And I loved Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” and purchased “Burnin'” and “Natty Dread” but I really didn’t get Marley until the live album in ’75. One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain. But you know that.
And they go through a long explanation of how you make jerk chicken, and it was pretty interesting, but then they moved on to goat curry.
And I saw the head. And I started to think of the Stones album and its title but there wasn’t a soup, until…
They had a whole segment on “mannish water.” And as I’m watching, I realize this is it, GOATS HEAD SOUP!
There was no internet back then. And the mainstream media barely covered rock and roll. You had to read the rags, like “Rolling Stone,” “Creem” and “Fusion,” but so many questions were left unanswered.
And I always exalted the performers, never thought I was their equal, always thought they were special, not like you and me.
But as time has passed, I realize so much of what I thought was hassled over and debated was an instant choice at the last minute.
I don’t know what inspired the Stones to name the album “Goats Head Soup,” but now I finally know what it is!