The Rolling Stones are a legendary rock band that has been around for over 50 years. They have released numerous albums, with Some Girls being one of their most popular. The Rolling Stones Some Girls album was released in 1978 and has been praised for its music and lyrics. The album was recorded in a time when the band was experiencing tension and conflict, which is evident in the lyrics.
Today, we revisit this classic album to see how it has held up over time along with discussing which version is worth purchasing for your collection.
A Brief Overview of the Some Girls Period
In the absence of Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, and the Beatles, the Rolling Stones chose to record an album that was more serious than their previous incarnations. It is a serious album but nothing overly ambitious. There are piano ballads, soulful blues songs, and some more upbeat rock ‘n’ roll numbers.
The year was 1978 when Some Girls made its debut, but the Rolling Stones were still able to draw crowds of 50,000 people at their concerts. When the album was first released, it had a difficult time finding its footing and there were some cover art controversies which we will touch on but was critically acclaimed and a major stepping stone for furthering their hold on the US audience. Overall, it was a monumental moment for the Stones in America, with Some Girls becoming their most popular album in the United States to date.
Writing and Recording
Jagger has said a great deal of Some Girls was inspired by New York and its people (source). That may have given it a little extra oomph and tenacity.
During the writing and recording of the album, Keith Richards’ had some legal troubles which led Jagger to solo write “Miss You,” “Lies,” and “When the Whip Comes Down”.
Part of the revitalization of the Stones was the inclusion of Ronnie Wood. Wood’s guitar approach, in contrast to Mick Taylor’s, melded with Richards’, and his slide guitar playing would go on to become a trademark of the band. On Some Girls, he used the instrument in an innovative way, and he was involved in the creative process.
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First time since Beggars Banquet in 1968, the core band of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman would be the primary musicians on a Rolling Stones record with only a few other collaborators.
Some Girls, one of the Stones’ meanest records rivaling Beggars Banquet, was recorded during very productive sessions in Paris in the fall of 1977 that would also serve as the inspiration for 1980’s Emotional Rescue and 1981’s Tattoo You.
A lot of the Stones’ mythology places too much emphasis on the relevance of drugs in their music, but there’s no denying the hysteria pulsing through “When The Whip Comes Down” and “Lies,” which stand apart from the Quaalude fog of their mid-’70s output.
A month after Some Girls rehearsals began in October 1977, recording began in November, with breaks before Christmas and restarting after New Year’s before ending in March of that year. They were able to record at EMI’s Pathé Marconi Studios in Paris under their new British recording deal with EMI Warner Music Group in North America alone, a location they would use regularly for the next several years.
Two big studios, both having 24-track recording capabilities, and a more modest studio with 16-track capabilities were made available to the band. Despite Mick Jagger’s desire to go to a larger studio, the band decided to stay in the smaller one and record there instead.
Rolling Stones Some Girls Album Art
With illustrations by Hubert Kretzschmar, Peter Corriston came up with the concept and design for Some Girls’ album cover. He would go on to design the next three covers as well.
One of the most elaborately die-cut designs, it included the Rolling Stones’ faces alongside those of select female celebrities put into a reproduction of an old Valmor Products Corporation commercial. Lucille Ball, Farrah Fawcett, Liza Minnelli, Raquel Welch, and the estate of Marilyn Monroe threatened to sue over the use of their likenesses without authorization on the cover design of the book.
Even if the celebrities had not objected, the album was swiftly reissued with a new cover design that did not feature any of them. Pardon our appearance – cover under development changed the celebrity photographs with black and punk style garish colors. Jagger later apologized to Liza Minnelli when the two crossed paths during a party at the venerable Studio 54 discotheque. Only former Beatles member George Harrison’s visage remained intact. The new sleeves’ color schemes differed from market to market, just like the original design.
The 1986 CD edition featured a third version of the album cover that featured the hand-drawn faces from the original Valmore ad.
Packaging and Pressings
Some Girls is a must have for any music collectors catalog in my opinion. It has some amazing songs, an interesting story with the album art and the addition of Ronnie to the band it really gives this album a lot of character. But what I love most about this album is the packaging and the different editions because there are so many cool versions to collect and each one has its own unique look and feel.
Best Vinyl Pressings of Some Girls
With this, unfortunately they will not be cheap to add some of the best vinyl pressings to your collection. In case you are not already aware, I have always loved this album and have went through I do not know how many copies. I do not keep records of all my pressings but know the one’s I kept have been my favorites. Below is a quick rundown.
Original US Version – Diecut – Mastered by Ted Jensen – COC 39108
This is my favorite version and probably my go to if I wanted to show off the record. I have one playable copy and was lucky enough to pick up a still sealed NOS copy in the early 90s from a record store that was closing for not much.
Check current Some Girls Original Vinyl Pressing Available
For me the two standouts in this mastering is Jagger’s vocals and the guitar work of Wood and Richards. I love the harmonics you get on this wonderful remastering, the sound just seems to jump out of my speakers.
I have never owned the original UK version but have had friends that have it and say it is also excellent and features the same Ted Jensen master.
Mobile Fidelity Some Girls Vinyl
Honestly if I could keep just one copy in my collection I would be hard pressed to choose if I wanted to keep an original pressing or the 1983 MoFi mastering of this album. See current listings available: Rolling Stones Some Girls MFSL vinly
I am a big fan of a lot of the Mobile Fidelity pressings but they missed the mark on some of the Stones albums (looking at you Sticky Fingers, although I do not think they received a good master copy for it).
Find other great vinyl pressing reviews, Nirvana Nevermind Vinyl Pressing Shootout
Back on topic, the Some Girls MoFi album turns up the rhythm section and give a big sound stage with more separation of the instruments that was missing in the original. At the same time, it looses some of the grittiness of the Sterling mastering. Overall you could not go wrong with either pressing and it would be more of a personal preference.
Original Dutch Orange Vinyl – 5 C062-61016
Another great original recording of the album. Unfortunately, my copy is a bit noisy and sounds a bit thinner on some cuts. I do not have and probably will not add another copy to find out if it is an issue with my copy, so I prefer the US version and MoFi over it for me. You can check availability here. Rolling Stones Some Girls Orange Vinyl Dutch Pressing
2020 Some Girls Vinyl Remaster – CUN 39108
If you are not wanting to search for a used copy in excellent shape or are on a bit of a budget, the 2020 remaster may be right up your alley. The half-speed remaster was done at Abbey Road from the original tapes and is a great sounding remaster. Honestly, considering the price difference, if I was getting my first copy, this is where I would start.
Some Girls Japanese Pressing – ESS-81050
I never known if I lucked out with a great pressing for this or if they all sound this good but I had no problem adding it to my top 5. The vinyl is dead flat and quiet and compares nicely to the original US. Check current listings for Some Girls Japanese Vinyl
What to Avoid
Off the top of my head, I would avoid I believe it was somewhere in the 2008 – 2010 range reissues. This version to me I instantly regretted purchasing. It sounds very bright and thin and is missing the warmth and dynamics of the better pressings. I will look at the exact reissue and add it back when I am back home.
Musicianship and Songs
Now that we covered the different vinyl pressings, I will add in a bit of my thoughts on the album and how it holds up after many years.
Some Girls is seen by most Stones fans as the final great stones album and also one of their best. It has some really terrific songs such as the Clash-like “Respectable” and “Beast of Burden”.
Some Girls Side 1
The opening track, “Miss You,” features a revolving riff and a distinctive sax solo. That “Miss You” is one of the Stones’ most adored songs—and not just another trendy sellout like Rod Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy”—says something about how skillfully the band (especially Jagger) adapted to shifts in the music scene throughout their first half of their career.
When Some Girls was released in late 1970s, it didn’t seem like a new generation of bands was trying to take over for the Stones and their aging peers. It was a purposefully contemporary late-’70s pop record that was not an attempt to pander or plunder from a new generation of bands intent on taking their place. On the contrary, the Stones proved with Some Girls that they still had it in them to pull off the old magic with a few bright new tricks.
Richards’ riff drives the next song, “When The Whip Comes Down,” which is about an American hip-hop hustler and the city life he encounters. In this case, “Imagination” is an updated version of one of the Temptations’ classics, reworked with an organ section. “Some Girls” doesn’t hold back as it switches between folk, acid, blues, and anything in between. The exotic run that concludes with “Lies” on the first side, featuring its steady pace and muddled direction, is a highlight of the album.
Some Girls Side 2
Side two begins with “Far Away Eyes,” which always seemed like a bit of filler to me. “Respectable” more than makes up for it with an infectious punk rhythm. “Before They Make Me Run” is a Richards song in which he takes the outlaw road to deal with his own troubles.
Wood and Richards go all out on their interwoven guitar lines in the iconic single “Beast Of Burden,” while Jagger dishes perhaps his best vocal effort to bare on the blues tune. My fave Keef guitar riff to this day.
The lavish disco arrangement of “Shattered,” the album’s final track, calms everything down.
As you can tell, this is a favorite of mine. I really think it has stood the test of time and is a must have for any music collector.