As the world of music continues to evolve, we see the Rolling Stones continue to move with the times. Some people would say that “Some Girls”, their 1978 release, is their best album ever. I may or may not agree with them, but I would be hard-pressed to argue. I will say that I believe it is one of the last two great albums they produced, with one more still to come. There are several of their very best later-era songs on this record, and it is rated #468 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Their most contemporary song leads off the album, the classic disco/samba-esque “Miss You”. I’m getting to the point where I can associate many of these albums and songs with a particular memory in my life, and this will always take me back to 1978 basketball camp with Matt and legendary hoops coach Larry Brown, where this song was on constantly. It isn’t an all-time favorite for me, but it certainly is classic Mick, as is this entire album.
Next comes one of several straightforward rockers, “When the Whip Comes Down”, followed by their cover of The Temptations’ classic, “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)”. I really love the title track, it is overflowing with the personality and raunchy persona of Mick. The end of side one gets back to basics with “Lies”.
Side two is a pretty spectacular collection of songs. We start with the wonderfully absurd “Far Away Eyes”, with Mick posing as a country-gospel-blues vagabond. One more straight up-rocker follows, with “Respectable”, and then we turn it over to Keith Richards for one of his best-known solo vocals, “Before They Make Me Run”. This was always a particular favorite of my friend John, back in the early 80s.
As good as those first eight songs were, the real enduring greatness of this album fully emerges on the last two tracks, both of which feature some really sublime drumming from Charlie Watts. We start with “Beast of Burden”, featuring an opening riff from Keith that is timeless, and one of the most profound and impactful songs ever released by the Stones. The final track is sheer greatness, their ode to New York City and its manic and disastrous state in the late 1970s, “Shattered”. I have always loved this song, but one memory stands above the rest for me on this track. The year was 1988, and I was due to return to my hometown from my college town, which was about a 1.5-hour drive. It was a warm summer day, and my 1981 Camaro and the best stereo system I had ever owned were ready to roll. A younger schoolmate and friend of mine from Parker named Mike was to join me for the ride. Now Mike and I were not close, he is not one of the 5+ Mikes who make my current life as good as it is. That being said, for that day, we were tight, and excited for the ride home. For whatever reason, we latched on to “Shattered”, somehow the mix just sounded perfect in my car. For pretty much that entire ride, we kept that song on continuous loop and it just got better and better. Like many days tied to the music of my life, it is a moment I will never forget. I honestly don’t know if I ever saw Mike again, and sadly he passed away a year or two ago. So, Mike… tonight I hopped on the closest highway and played that song as loud as I could on repeat, just for you, my friend. Thanks for the company and the lifelong memory, once upon a time…