Bridges to Babylon
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Bridges to Babylon

Bridges to Babylon
A painting of a stone lion standing on two legs in the sand
Studio album by The Rolling Stones
Released 29 September 1997 (1997-09-29)
Recorded March-July 1997, Los Angeles, California
Genre Hard rock, blues rock
Length 62:27
Label Virgin
Producer Don Was, The Glimmer Twins, with Rob Fraboni, Danny Saber, Pierre de Beauport, and The Dust Brothers
The Rolling Stones chronology
Voodoo Lounge
(1994)
Bridges to Babylon
(1997)
A Bigger Bang
(2005)
Singles from Bridges to Babylon
  1. "Anybody Seen My Baby?"
    Released: 22 September 1997
  2. "Saint of Me"
    Released: 26 January 1998
  3. "Out of Control"
    Released: August 1998

Bridges to Babylon is the 21st British and 23rd American studio album by British rock band The Rolling Stones, released by Virgin Records on 29 September 1997. It was their last full-length release of new songs until 2005's A Bigger Bang. Released as a double album on vinyl and a single CD, the album was supported by the year-long worldwide Bridges to Babylon Tour that met with much success.

Background and recording

Following the Voodoo Lounge Tour, and Stripped projects of 1994/1995, the Stones afforded themselves a brief respite before Mick Jagger and Keith Richards began composing new songs together in the summer of 1996 with demos to follow as they met in New York in November and London the following month. Another writing session took place in Barbados on January 1997.[1]

In March 1997, the band arrived in Los Angeles to start the recording sessions at Ocean Way Studios. After many albums recorded in isolated islands, working in a big city allowed for the contribution of various musician friends of the band. Bridges to Babylon was recorded until July, and the four-month production made it one of their most concise periods of recording in years. The sessions were frequently all-nighters that lasted until Richards got tired by the morning.[1]

Although Don Was produced again, Jagger arrived before the other Stones to seek local producers. First were The Dust Brothers, who had impressed Jagger with their work on Beck's Odelay and the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique.[2] The Dust Brothers' contributions were initially five, but were reduced to three, which mark the only Stones songs to feature sampling. Danny Saber and Babyface were also brought in by Jagger, though the latter's contributions to the track "Already Over Me" were eventually discarded. Richards was not keen on the idea of working with "loop gurus," going as far as expelling Saber from the studio once he found him overdubbing guitars. Richards brought in Rob Fraboni for his solo material, and Was made sure to work with Richards and Jagger in separate rooms. Drummer Charlie Watts would relieve the tense environment by working with percussionist Jim Keltner, who he later drafted for a solo project. By the final week of recording, the Stones were not on speaking terms, with Jagger boycotting sessions arranged by Richards' crew and Watts leaving Los Angeles as soon as he finished his contributions.[1]

During the album's mastering, the projected lead single "Anybody Seen My Baby?" was found to resemble k.d. lang's 1992 hit "Constant Craving" in its chorus, a discovery brought to Richards' attention by his daughter Angela. Seeking to avoid possible future legal entanglements, lang and her co-writer Ben Mink were credited along with Jagger and Richards on the new song.[3] It reached No. 22 in the UK and also became a U.S. radio rock hit.

A total of eight different musicians played bass on the sessions for the album: Jeff Sarli, Jamie Muhoberac, Blondie Chaplin, Don Was, Danny Saber, Darryl Jones, Me'shell Ndegeocello, and Doug Wimbish.

Packaging

Once the Rolling Stones picked Stefan Sagmeister to be the album's art director, Jagger told him to seek inspiration from Babylonian art exhibited at the British Museum. Sagmeister was most impressed by a Lamassu sculpture, featuring a lion with a human head and beard, and commissioned artist Kevin Murphy to paint a similar Assyrian lion in an attack stance. The first million units of Bridges to Babylon were encased in a special manufactured filigree slipcase, that gave the impression that the lion was embedded into the design. The desert background of the cover was extended throughout the booklet, featuring ruins that were the basis for the Bridges to Babylon Tour stage design.[4][5]

Release and reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic3/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[7]
Entertainment WeeklyB[8]
NME7/10[9]

Bridges to Babylon, containing an unprecedented three solo vocals by Richards, was released to mixed reviews. It reached No. 6 in the UK, No. 2 in France and No. 3 in the US, where it was certified platinum by the RIAA in November 1997.[10] As of January 2010, Bridges to Babylon has sold 1.1 million copies in the U.S.[11] Further singles "Saint of Me" and concert staple "Out of Control" were also minor hits.

The Stones had become a touring phenomenon by this point. The Bridges to Babylon Tour in 1997 consisted of 108 shows, with an elaborate stage design Jagger aimed to make similar to U2's PopMart Tour.[1]

In 2009, Bridges to Babylon was remastered and reissued by Universal Music.

Track listing

All tracks written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted.

No.TitleLength
1."Flip the Switch"3:28
2."Anybody Seen My Baby?" (writers: Jagger, Richards, k.d. lang, Ben Mink)4:31
3."Low Down"4:26
4."Already Over Me"5:24
5."Gunface"5:02
6."You Don't Have to Mean It"3:44
7."Out of Control"4:43
8."Saint of Me"5:15
9."Might as Well Get Juiced"5:23
10."Always Suffering"4:43
11."Too Tight"3:33
12."Thief in the Night" (writers: Jagger, Richards, Pierre de Beauport)5:15
13."How Can I Stop"6:53

Personnel

The Rolling Stones

Production

  • The Glimmer Twins - production (all tracks)
  • Don Was - production (all but "Saint of Me", "Might As Well Get Juiced" and "Gunface")
  • The Dust Brothers - production ("Anybody Seen My Baby?", "Saint of Me", "Might As Well Get Juiced")
  • Rob Fraboni - production, mixing ("You Don't Have to Mean It"), engineering
  • Danny Saber - production ("Gunface")
  • Pierre de Beauport - production ("Always Suffering")
  • Tom Lord-Alge - mixing
  • John X Volaitis - mixing ("Gunface")
  • Wally Gagel - mixing ("Out of Control")
  • Bob Clearmountain - mixing ("Already Over Me")
  • Stefan Sagmeister - art direction and design
  • Hjalti Karlsson - design
  • Max Vadukul - photography
  • Kevin Murphy - illustration
  • Gerard Howland (Floating Company) - illustration
  • Alan Ayers - illustration

Additional musicians

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[33] Platinum 60,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[34] Platinum 50,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[35] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[36] 2× Gold 200,000*
Germany (BVMI)[37] Platinum 500,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[38] Gold 25,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[39] Gold 50,000*
Sweden (GLF)[40] Gold 40,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[41] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[42] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[43] Platinum 1,000,000^
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[44] Platinum 1,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References

  1. ^ a b c d Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. Crown/Archetype. pp. 504-8. ISBN 0767909569. 
  2. ^ Janovitz, Bill (2013). "48: Saint of Me". Rocks Off: 50 Tracks That Tell the Story of the Rolling Stones. MacMillan. pp. 360-5. ISBN 1250026326. 
  3. ^ Richards, Keith; Fox James (2010). Life. Great Britain: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 457. ISBN 978-0-297-85439-5. 
  4. ^ Hot Designer Matches Concepts to Music
  5. ^ Rolling Stones "Bridges to Babylon"
  6. ^ "Allmusic review". 
  7. ^ "Bridges to Babylon". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014. Retrieved 2016. 
  8. ^ "Bridges to Babylon | EW.com". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com. Archived from the original on 4 December 2016. 
  9. ^ "NME.COM - THE ROLLING STONES - Bridges To Babylon - 20/9/97". 17 August 2000. Archived from the original on 17 August 2000. 
  10. ^ "Gold and Platinum Database Search". Retrieved 2010. 
  11. ^ Christman, Ed, et al. "Future Shock". Billboard. 23 January 2010
  12. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Australian Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011. 
  13. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Austrian Charts (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011. 
  14. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Ultratop (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011. 
  15. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Ultratop (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011. 
  16. ^ "The Rolling Stones Album & Song Chart History: Canadian Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2011. 
  17. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Finnish Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011. 
  18. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Les Charts (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011. 
  19. ^ "Chartverfolgung / ROLLING STONES, THE / Longplay". Music Line (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 2011. 
  20. ^ "Archivum: Top 40 Album". MAHASZ (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2011. 
  21. ^ "Artist Ranking CD Album". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Retrieved 2011. 
  22. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011. 
  23. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011. 
  24. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Norwegian Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011. 
  25. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Swedish Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011. 
  26. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon (Album)" (ASP). Swiss Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011. 
  27. ^ "Chart Archive: Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive - 11th October 1997". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 5 January 2013. Retrieved 2011. 
  28. ^ "The Rolling Stones Album & Song Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2011. 
  29. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 2016. 
  30. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 2016. 
  31. ^ a b c d e "The Rolling Stones: Charts & Awards - Billboard Singles". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011. 
  32. ^ a b c "Featured Artists: Rolling Stones". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 2011. 
  33. ^ "Argentinian album certifications - Rolling Stonse - Bridges to Babylon". Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers. 
  34. ^ "Austrian album certifications - The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter The Rolling Stones in the field Interpret. Enter Bridges to Babylon in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen.
  35. ^ "Canadian album certifications - The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon". Music Canada. 
  36. ^ "French album certifications - The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  37. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Rolling Stones; 'Bridges to Babylon')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  38. ^ "Norwegian album certifications - Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. 
  39. ^ "Polish album certifications - The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. 
  40. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat - År 1987-1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  41. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (The Rolling Stones; 'Bridges to Babylon')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  42. ^ "British album certifications - Rolling Stones - Bridges to Babylon". British Phonographic Industry.  Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Enter Bridges to Babylon in the search field and then press Enter.
  43. ^ "American album certifications - Rolling Stones, The - Bridges to Babylon". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.
  44. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards - 1998". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. 

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