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Watch The New Official Music Video for Rolling Stones “2000 Light Years From Home”

Rolling Stones play The Roundhouse, London, UK in 1971. © Pete Smith

Next month sees the 50th anniversary reissue of the Rolling Stones psych record Their Satanic Majesties Requestit’s being released by record label Abkco. Originally released in December 1967, following the Summer of Love, it saw the band branch out into psychedelia, tapping into the lysergic sound and vibe of the time. The album’s unusual title was a pun on a line that featured on the inside of British passports at the time which stated, “Her Britannic Majesties Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Requests and Requires”

The experimental album was somewhat controversial when released though, not only did it see the band move away from their bluesy roots that had made them stars, it was thought of as uneven. Something that the fraught recording process couldn’t have helped.

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones were all having personal issues at the time (Anita Pallenberg, Jones’ girlfriend left him for Richards), and all were fighting drug charges. During the recording their manager and producer Andrew Loog Oldham quit too, after the band members continually turned up at the Olympic recording Studios in Barnes, West London with an entourage of hangers on and freeloaders who hindered the creative and recording processes.

Standing on the Thames during the first photo shoot, a very young looking Rolling Stones in 1963. © Philip Townsend

Speaking about recording the album Bill Wyman wrote in 2002’s Rolling with the Stones, “The making of this album was THE rock 'n' roll circus, well before we had the idea of a real one. 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 anything 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.”

It still remains a controversial record even now, but perhaps not the catastrophe it was once thought of. It was also released not long after The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, so obviously parallels were drawn and they weren’t good for the Rolling Stones. It’s an album that even the band members have distanced themselves from too, Keith Richards has called Their Satanic Majesties Request “a load of crap.” But some songs received praise, one of which was “2000 Light Years From Home.”

Rolling Stones 'Their Satanic Majesties Request'' 50th anniversary special edition vinyl. Image courtesy of Rolling Stones / Abkco Records.

The Abkco reissue, which will be released on 22 September and will come as a double vinyl or double CD with a fully restored 3D lenticular of Michael Cooper’s iconic cover art, comes at a time with many now reappraising the album.

Gene Simmons has called it an “underrated Stones record” and even the recording sessions, although shambolic, are seen as having been a good time at least. “The sessions were a lot of fun because you could do anything. It was so druggy—acid and all that.” notes Charlie Watts in the reissue’s press release. The press release also notes that The Damned, Bad Brains, KISS and Arcade Fire have all covered songs from the album.

Mick Jagger onstage in Hyde Park, London with The Rolling Stones at the 'Stones in the Park' Festival in July 1969. © Peter Sanders

Uncut have called it “a neglected psychedelic masterpiece” and in the liner notes Grammy award-winning music historian Rob Bowman writes, “Their Satanic Majesties Request should be recognised as an important stepping stone in the Rolling Stones’ development from an r&b-inspired band to the inventors of modern rock for the 1970s.”

Check out the new music video for “2000 Light Years From Home” below.

Rockarchive is delighted to be able to offer these iconic Rolling Stones images as limited edition photographic prints which you can buy here.

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