This Album Changed My Life: The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main St. (1972)
Matthew Crossan, singer of Derry punk rock band Touts, on a rock’n’roll classic
Matthew Crossan, flanked by his Touts bandmates: “Exile and The Stones in general have taught me more than I could put into words.”
When I first heard Exile On Main St. at the age of 12 or so, I don’t think I was ready. However, after years of religiously listening to them and with the benefit of hindsight, I gave it another listen in its entirety, and now I can see why it is a genuine masterpiece. The backstory to the album really lifts the songs to another level. I could sit and write pages about it, but you are better looking it up yourself.
Musically, the album has plenty of influences and styles besides rock. You can hear the best bits of country, gospel, blues and soul on Exile. If there was a gun to my head, my favourite line from the album is from the opening track Rocks Off – “the sunshine bores the daylights out of me”.
Rolling Stones - Rocks Off
Exile and The Stones in general have taught me more than I could put into words. As far as influencing my own work, I think it taught me to give instruments room to breathe in a song and to just let loose. The album is just as relevant today as when it was recorded in the Nellcôte mansion in France. I don’t think it will ever not be relevant.
Do yourself a favour, read up on the album, learn about what sort of situation The Stones, and particularly Keith, were in at that time. Then listen to it and if you have a soul, it will certainly change it.
Touts support Blossoms in Dublin on November 29th in the Olympia Theatre. The band’s new EP Analysis Paralysis is out now.