Friday 12/2/22 10pm ET: Feature LP: Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels (1989)

Steel Wheels is the 19th British and 21st American studio album by the English rock band the Rolling Stones. Released on August 19, 1989, it was the final album of new material the band would record for Columbia Records.

Heralded as a major comeback upon its release, the project is notable for the patching up of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ relationship, a reversion to a more classic style of music and the launching of the band’s biggest world tour to date. It is also long-time bassist Bill Wyman’s final full-length studio album with the Stones, preceding the announcement of his departure in January 1993. Wyman’s final tenure with the band would be on two studio tracks for 1991’s Flashpoint. It was also the first album not to feature former member and frequent contributor on piano Ian Stewart, who died shortly before the release of their previous album Dirty Work. It was produced by Richards and Jagger along with Chris Kimsey, who had previously produced 1983’s Undercover.

After the relative disappointment of their prior two albums, Steel Wheels was a hit, reaching multi-platinum status in the United States, reaching top-five status in numerous markets around the world, and spawning two hit singles: “Mixed Emotions,” which peaked at number one in Canada and number five in the United States, and “Rock and a Hard Place,” the band’s last top-40 U.S. hit. Critics were generally lukewarm on the album, exemplified by Stephen Thomas Erlewine: “It doesn’t make for a great Stones album, but it’s not bad, and it feels like a comeback.”

1. “Sad Sad Sad” 3:35
2. “Mixed Emotions” 4:38
3. “Terrifying” 4:53
4. “Hold On to Your Hat” 3:32
5. “Hearts for Sale” 4:40
6. “Blinded by Love” 4:37
7. “Rock and a Hard Place” 5:25
8. “Can’t Be Seen” 4:09
9. “Almost Hear You Sigh” 4:37
10. “Continental Drift” 5:14
11. “Break the Spell” 3:06
12. “Slipping Away” 4:29

Mick Jagger – lead and backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars; harmonica, percussion, keyboards on “Continental Drift”
Keith Richards – electric, acoustic and classical guitar, backing vocals; lead vocals on “Can’t Be Seen” and “Slipping Away”; bicycle spokes on “Continental Drift”
Ronnie Wood – electric and acoustic guitar, bass guitar and acoustic bass, backing vocals, dobro
Bill Wyman – bass guitar
Charlie Watts – drums

Chuck Leavell – organ, piano, keyboards
Matt Clifford – electric and acoustic piano, clavinet, harmonium, percussion programming, strings
Sarah Dash – backing vocals
Lisa Fischer – backing vocals
Bernard Fowler – backing vocals
Luis Jardim – percussion
Phil Beer – mandolin, fiddle
The Kick Horns – brass
Roddy Lorimer – trumpet
The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar Farafina – African-Moroccan instruments
Sonia Morgan – backing vocals
Tessa Niles – backing vocals