Their Satanic Majesties Request Album Cover in frame (12 X 12") - No LP included
- Item Number
- Estimated Value
- $25 USD
- $25 USD to BidFan2215
- Number of Bids
- 5 - Bid History
Their Satanic Majesties Request is the sixth British and eighth American studio album by the Rolling Stones, released in December 1967 by Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States. Recording sessions saw the band experimenting widely with a psychedelic sound in the studio, incorporating elements such as unconventional instruments, sound effects, string arrangements, and African rhythms. The album's title is a play on the "Her Britannic Majesty requests and requires ..." text that appears inside a British passport. It is the first Stones album to feature the same track listings in both its UK and US versions.
Upon its release, Satanic Majesties received mixed reactions from critics and members of the group itself. The album was criticised as being derivative of the contemporaneous work of the Beatles, particularly their June 1967 release Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, with the similarities extending to the LP's lenticular cover. In subsequent decades, however, it has gradually risen in critical reputation. Following the album's release, the Rolling Stones abandoned their psychedelic style for a stripped-down return to their roots in blues music.
Begun just after Between the Buttons had been released on 20 January 1967, the recording of Their Satanic Majesties Request was long and sporadic, broken up by court appearances and jail terms. For the same reasons, the entire band was seldom present in the studio at one time. Further slowing productivity was the presence of the multiple guests that the band members had brought along. One of the more level-headed members of the band during this time, Bill Wyman, wary of psychedelic drugs, wrote the song "In Another Land" to parody the Stones' current goings-on. In his 2002 book Rolling with the Stones, Wyman describes the situations in the studio:
Every day at the studio it was a lottery as to who would turn up and what ? if any ? positive contribution they would make when they did. Keith would arrive with anywhere up to ten people, Brian with another half-a-dozen and it was the same for Mick. They were assorted girlfriends and friends. I hated it! Then again, so did Andrew (Oldham) and just gave up on it. There were times when I wish I could have done, too.
The Stones experimented with many new instruments and sound effects during the sessions, including Mellotron, theremin, short wave radio static, and string arrangements by John Paul Jones. Their producer and manager Andrew Loog Oldham, already fed up with the band's lack of focus, distanced himself from them following their drug bust and finally quit, leaving them without a producer. As a result, Their Satanic Majesties Request would be the Stones' first self-produced album. Mick Jagger later opined this was not for the best:
There's a lot of rubbish on Satanic Majesties. Just too much time on our hands, too many drugs, no producer to tell us, "Enough already, thank you very much, now can we just get on with this song?" Anyone let loose in the studio will produce stuff like that. There was simply too much hanging around. It's like believing everything you do is great and not having any editing. According to Brian Jones, a month before the album's planned release date the group "hadn't got anything put together":
It's really like sort of got-together chaos. Because we all panicked a little, even as soon as a month before the release date that we had planned, we really hadn't got anything put together. We had all these great things that we'd done, but we couldn't possibly put it out as an album. And so we just got them together, and did a little bit of editing here and there.
The working title of the album was Cosmic Christmas. In the hidden coda titled "Cosmic Christmas" (following "Sing This All Together (See What Happens)"), Wyman says in a slowed-down voice: "We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!'" Some of the album's songs were also recorded under various working titles, some appearing rather non sequitous and radically different from the final titles. These working titles include: "Acid in the Grass" ("In Another Land"), "I Want People to Know" ("2000 Man"), "Flowers in Your Bonnet" ("She's a Rainbow"), "Fly My Kite" ("The Lantern"), "Toffee Apple" ("2000 Light Years from Home"), and "Surprise Me" ("On with the Show"). In 1998, a bootleg box set of eight CDs with outtakes from the Satanic sessions was released, and it shows the band developing the songs over multiple takes as well as the experimentation that went into the recording of the album.
Keith Richards himself has been critical of the album in later years. While he likes some of the songs ("2000 Light Years from Home", "Citadel" and "She's a Rainbow"), he stated, "the album was a load of crap."
Packaging and design
One proposed cover, a photograph of Jagger naked on a cross, was scrapped by the record company for being "in bad taste". Initial LP and reel-to-reel releases of the album featured a three-dimensional picture of the band on the cover by photographer Michael Cooper. When viewed in a certain way, the lenticular image shows the band members' faces turning towards each other with the exception of Jagger, whose hands appear crossed in front of him. Looking closely on its cover, one can see the faces of each of the four Beatles, reportedly a response to the Beatles' inclusion of a doll wearing a "Welcome the Rolling Stones" sweater on the cover of Sgt. Pepper. Later editions replaced the glued-on three-dimensional image with a photograph, due to high production costs. A limited edition LP version in the 1980s reprinted the original 3D cover design; immediately following the reissue, the master materials for reprinting the 3D cover were intentionally destroyed. The 3D album cover was featured, although shrunk down, for the Japanese SHM-CD release in 2010.
The original cover design called for the lenticular image to take up the entire front cover, but finding this to be prohibitively expensive it was decided to reduce the size of the photo and surround it with the blue-and-white graphic design.
The entire cover design is elaborate, with a dense photo collage filling most of the inside cover (along with a maze) designed by Michael Cooper, and a painting by Tony Meeuwissen on the back cover depicting the four elements (Earth, Water, Fire, and Air). In some editions the blue-and-white wisps on the front cover are used in a red-and-white version on the paper inner sleeve. The inner-cover collage has dozens of images, taken from reproductions of old master paintings (Ingres, Poussin, da Vinci, among others), Indian mandalas and portraits, astronomy (including a large image of the planet Saturn), flowers, world maps, etc. The maze on the inside cover of the UK and US releases cannot be completed: a wall at about a half radius in from the lower left corner means one can never arrive at the goal labeled "It's Here" in the centre of the maze.
It was the first of four Stones albums to feature a novelty cover; the others were the zipper on Sticky Fingers (1971), the cut-out faces on Some Girls (1978), and the stickers on Undercover (1983).
At some point around 1997 rumors were first heard that the album existed as a promo version including a silk padding.A pink padded version was presented by photo accompanied by a letter from the Decca Copyright Department, but it was shown that the letter does not match the album it was intended to authenticate making it almost entirely certain that this was a forgery. (Wikipedia)
Item Special Note
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