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Music / Their Satanic Majesties Request

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"Why don't we sing this song all together? / Open our heads, let the pictures come / And if we close all our eyes together / Then we will see where we all come from."

Their Satanic Majesties Request is the sixth studio album (eighth American album) by The Rolling Stones, released in 1967. The album cover is well-known for being one of the very first 3D album covers. Their Satanic Majesties Request remains contested, as it's the Stones at their most experimental. It was recorded during a tumultuous time in the band's history, when Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Keith Richards were under threat of prison charges for drug possession. Bill Wyman even got one of his songs ("In Another Land") on the album, and it's the only Stones song with Wyman on lead vocals.

Another reason the album got mixed reviews at the time was because it followed in the wake of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band earlier that year and many saw it as a blatant rip-off, both in music as well as design. John Lennon expressed this opinion too in a 1971 interview, also saying that "She's a Rainbow" was an imitation of "All You Need Is Love" from Magical Mystery Tour. Both Lennon and Paul McCartney provided uncredited backing vocals on some of the songs from this album. Also, the Stones themselves saluted Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the album cover and graphic artist Michael Cooper designed the covers of both albums, thus unfavourable comparisons would be unavoidable.

While its generally not remembered for being among the Stones finest albums - several of the songs have become highly popular, including Mick Jagger's own favourites - "She's a Rainbow" and "2000 Light Years from Home", while "Citadel", "In Another Land" and "2000 Man" are also well regarded today.


Side One

  1. "Sing This All Together" (3:46)
  2. "Citadel" (2:50)
  3. "In Another Land" (3:15)
  4. "2000 Man" (3:07)
  5. "Sing This All Together (See What Happens)" (8:33)

Side Two

  1. "She's a Rainbow" (4:35)
  2. "The Lantern" (4:24)
  3. "Gomper" (5:08)
  4. "2000 Light Years from Home" (4:45)
  5. "On with the Show" (3:40)

Principal Members:

  • Mick Jagger - lead vocals, percussion, maracas
  • Brian Jones - guitar, mellotron, keyboard, flute, brass, saxophone, dulcimer, recorder, percussion, organ
  • Keith Richards - guitar, vocals
  • Charlie Watts - drums, percussion, tabla
  • Bill Wyman - bass, backing and lead vocals, piano, percussion

Satanic Tropes:

  • Album Filler: Keith Richards described the album as "a lot of crap", while Jagger had the opinion:
    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.
  • Avant-Garde Music: This is the most psychedelic and experimental album the normally not so avant-garde band ever recorded. As a result the general audience don't like it that much, but fans of experimentation like it a lot more.
  • Bowdlerize: The album was released in South Africa and the Philippines as The Stones Are Rolling, because of the word "Satanic" in the title.
  • Concept Album: Like many Psychedelic Rock albums of the time.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: "2000 Light Years from Home"
    It's so very lonely, you're six hundred light years from home
  • Crowd Song: "Sing This All Together", the opening track, is sang with a crowd of people.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The cover by Michael Cooper, who also designed Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The collage inside the sleeve features photos cut from Renaissance and baroque paintings, as well as Arabic and Hindu art.
  • Dream Within a Dream: "In Another Land", according to Bill Wyman:
    The idea for the song is about this guy who wakes up from a dream and finds himself in another dream
  • Epic Rocking: The 8:33 "Sing This All Together (See What Happens)".
  • Face on the Cover: The band, seated in costumes.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: "The Lantern" opens with church bells resounding.
  • Gratuitous French: "On with the Show"
    We'll bid you all a fine adieu
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: The inclusion of the word "Satanic" caused some controversy.
  • In the Style of: "On with the Show" is done in the style of an old-fashioned English music hall, with sound effects of an attending crowd.
  • Last Note Nightmare: "She's a Rainbow" has a good driving beat, Mick sings the praises of a girl who dresses up in colours, underlined with a cheerfully inane 'la la la' chorus, he alternates verses with a sprightly Baroque piano playing the tune...then it ends with strings in a shrill chittering discord with a low-end chord of doom under it bursting through everything else!
  • Leave the Camera Running: "In Another Land" ends with the sound of Bill Wyman snoring, which was stuck onto the track by Mick and Keith as a joke.
  • New Sound Album: Though Between the Buttons and Aftermath (Album) were psychedelic as well, it wasn't nearly as full-blown as it was here.
  • One-Woman Song: "She's a Rainbow".
  • One-Word Title: "Citadel" and "Gomper".
  • Psychedelic Rock: One of the most famous examples of it and, together with Between the Buttons the only album the Stones recorded in this style.
  • Rainbow Motif: "She's a Rainbow"
    She's like a rainbow
    Coming, colours in the air
    Oh, everywhere she comes in colours
    She comes in colours everywhere
  • Stock Sound Effects: Church bells resound at the start of "The Lantern".
  • Shout-Out:
    • On the album cover the message Welcome The Beatles can be read. This is a reference to the doll with the text Welcome The Rolling Stones on The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The faces of each of the Fab Four are also hidden in the cover art.
    • Among the paintings depicted on the collage inside the cover, art fans can recognize images from paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolas Poussin and Jean-Dominique Ingres.
    • "On with the Show"
      We'll start with "Old Man River", then maybe "Stormy Weather" too.
    • The American neo-psychedelic band The Brian Jonestown Massacre (yes, they are indeed partially named after Brian Jones) called their fourth album Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request from 1996.
  • Special Guest:
  • Spoken Word in Music:
    • "She's a Rainbow" opens with a brief snippet of a carnival barker's patter.
    • "On with the Show" has a man welcoming people to "come visit the show".
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Bill Wyman sings lead on "In Another Land" which was written by him. It is the only Stones song with lead vocals by Wyman.
  • Textless Album Cover: Just a picture.
  • Three-Dimensional Episode: The cover of this album originally featured a lenticular 3D image of the band. The image was meant to take up the whole of the LP sleeve, but was shrunken down to cut costs. The effect is replicated on most recent LP reissues on the album, as well as a Japan-only SHM-CD reissue.
  • 12-Bar Blues: "2000 Light Years from Home" is a particularly trippy take on the progression.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "2000 Light Years from Home".