Must-Watch New Video: The Rolling Stones – “2000 Light Years from Home”

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Conventional wisdom says that The Rolling Stones’ 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request was knocked off quickly and casually by the Stones in a desperate attempt to get in on that year’s psychedelia craze, and as such it didn’t really yield much of lasting musical value.

As usual, the conventional wisdom is mostly right. The album flopped and the Stones pretty much disowned it afterwards, and over the years both Jagger and Richards have called the album rubbish. A couple of months after it was released the Stones pulled a 180 musically and started work on Beggars Banquet, a triumphant return to roots rock which included “Sympathy For The Devil”, probably the most definitive Stones track of all time. So, inasmuch as Satanic Majesties kickstarted the Stones into making Beggars Banquet, it was an important album.

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In recent years however a revisionist view says that Their Satanic Majesties Request deserves a second look as an album revealing the young Stones fearlessly exploring new musical territory in a way they never did before or since. Most people agree there were two standout tracks on the album: “She’s a Rainbow” which featured the brilliant stylings of pianist Nicky Hopkins, and “2000 Light Years From Home”, which seamlessly merged the space trippy stuff with the best rhythm section in Rock.

ABKCO Records is releasing a 50th Anniversary edition of the album on September 22, and it’ll have all the usual goodies these re-issues usually provide. This week they released a new lyric video for “2000 Light Years From Home”, and it is definitely worth a watch.

For one thing, they’ve fixed up the sound really nicely. Stones albums from this era generally sounded so tinny compared to the Beatles of the same period, because they weren’t recorded with nearly the same care or attention to detail. The Stones had no George Martin to guide them, in fact they had no producer at all for this album, and it shows.

But listen to those amazing sounds Brian Jones was finding on the mellotron at the beginning and throughout the entire song, that great grungy guitar bit in the middle, and of course that rhythm section. One can easily imagine this album as a kind of trial run that led the band to “Sympathy For The Devil” and beyond. As musicologist Rob Bowman writes in the re-issue liner notes, “Their Satanic Majesties Request should be recognised as an important stepping stone in the Rolling Stones’ development from an R&B-inspired band to the inventors of modern rock for the 1970s.”

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