When Universal Music Group re-releases The Rolling Stones’ 1972 epic Exile on Main Street in May, neither the re-mastered sound, the inclusion of rare art or the documentary bonus DVD will generate as much buzz as the 10 newly released unreleased gems.
For a band as prolific as the Stones, finding unreleased material has been difficult over the years. And these tracks, some recorded more than 40 years ago, will be the big draw.
On Friday, UMG announced that the never-before-heard tracks will be available in the United States on May 18, and were recorded during the Exile era and re-mastered to stay true to the essence of the original release. That’s a tricky order because much of the album was recorded between 1968 and 1970 in various locations, including England and France, with later songs done in Los Angeles in 1971.
Partly because of the erratic recording scheduled, partly because of increased drug use by certain members of the groups and partly because of disagreements with manager Allen Klein, the album was panned by rock music critics upon its release. Only in retrospect did Exile on Main Street come to be viewed as one of the greatest rock albums ever.
This new compilation features unearthed tracks which include such titles as “Plundered My Soul,” “Dancing in the Light,” “Following the River” and “Pass The Wine” along with alternate versions of “Soul Survivor” and “Loving Cup,” which were part of the original release.
The original 18-track double-album was recorded in various stages at multiple locations, including Olympic Studios in London, Keith Richard’s mansion Nellcote in France, and in Los Angeles where the literal “Main Street” influenced the album title. Exile reveals a sprawling mix of genres with undertones of blues, country, R&B and gospel.
Exile on Main Street will be available in two CD formats: the original 18 track release; a deluxe CD edition with the 10 special bonus tracks; and a super deluxe package that also includes vinyl, a 30-minute documentary DVD with footage from Cocksucker Blues, Ladies and Gentlemen… the Rolling Stones, the BBC documentary Stones in Exile, and a 50-page collector’s book with photos and postcards from the Exile era.