Tuesday 10/5/21 12am ET: Feature LP: Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock and Roll (1974)

It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll is the 12th British and 14th American studio album by English rock band the Rolling Stones, released on October 18, 1974 by Rolling Stones Records. It was the last Rolling Stones album to feature guitarist Mick Taylor; the songwriting and recording of the album’s title track had a connection to Taylor’s eventual replacement, Ronnie Wood. It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll combines the core blues and rock ‘n’ roll-oriented sound with elements of funk and reggae. It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll reached number one in the United States and number two in the UK.

Though it wasn’t as successful as their prior albums, It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll was an important transitional album for the Rolling Stones. Following the departure of long-time producer Jimmy Miller, the album was self-produced by guitarist Keith Richards and singer Mick Jagger under the pseudonym “The Glimmer Twins”. Taylor, bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts played on most of the tracks, while frequent collaborators Ian Stewart, Nicky Hopkins, and Billy Preston contributed additional instrumentation. The album featured the first appearance of percussionist Ray Cooper, who would continue to work with the Rolling Stones into the 1980s.

The title track bears special note as it was recorded separately from the rest of the album. The basic rhythm track had been laid down by members of the Faces, including Wood and drummer Kenney Jones, during a jam session with Jagger, David Bowie, and bassist Willie Weeks. Jagger liked the song so much, he brought the basic track to Richards, who added some guitar overdubs, and after some polishing, it was put on the album as-is. In 1975, the band began auditioning guitarists including Jeff Beck, Wayne Perkins, Harvey Mandel and Rory Gallagher as possible replacements, while recording the next studio album Black and Blue (1976).

  1. “If You Can’t Rock Me” 3:46
  2. “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” 3:30
  3. “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)” 5:07
  4. “Till the Next Goodbye” 4:37
  5. “Time Waits for No One” 6:37
  6. “Luxury” 5:00
  7. “Dance Little Sister” 4:11
  8. “If You Really Want to Be My Friend” 6:16
  9. “Short and Curlies” 2:43
  10. “Fingerprint File” 6:33

Mick Jagger – lead vocals (all tracks), backing vocals (1–6, 9), acoustic guitar (4), electric guitar (10)
Keith Richards – electric guitar (all including slide on 4), backing vocals (1–6, 8, 9), acoustic guitar (4, 8), bass guitar (1)
Mick Taylor – electric guitar (1, 5, 7–9), acoustic guitar (4, 5), bass guitar (10)
Bill Wyman – bass guitar (2, 4–9), synthesizer (5, 10)
Charlie Watts – drums (all but 3)
Nicky Hopkins – piano (4–6, 8, 10)
Billy Preston – piano (1, 2, 10), clavinet (2, 10), organ (8)
Ian Stewart – piano (3, 7, 9)
Ray Cooper – percussion (1, 2, 5, 6)
Blue Magic – backing vocals (8)
Charlie Jolly – tabla (10)
Ed Leach – cowbell (2)