August 23-September 6, 1978: RCA Studios, Los Angeles, USA
January 22-February 12, 1979: Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas
June 25-August 30, 1979: Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris, France
September 16-October 8, 1979: Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris, France
October 26-Mid-November 1979: Electric Lady Studios, New York City, USA
December 9-Late December 1979: Electric Lady Studios, New York City, USA
March-April 1980: Electric Lady Studios, New York City
Associate producer & chief engineer: Chris Kimsey
Mixer: Chris Kimsey
Released: June 1980
Original label: Rolling Stones Records (on WEA & EMI)
Contributing musicians: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Ron Wood, Ian Stewart, Bobby Keys, Nicky Hopkins, Sugar Blue, Max Romeo, Michael Shrieve, Arif Mardin (arranger), Jack Nitzsche (arranger).
Dance (Pt. 1)
Send It to Me
Let Me Go
Where the Boys Go
Down in the Hole
She's So Cold
All About You
that title?) (Laughs) I was looking at Ronnie desperately...
Ron: No, this is Ronnie saying that Mick is too embarrassed because he's a very shy lad to say that he came up with that title. Am I right or wrong, Charlie?
Charlie: (Joking) No, you're wrong.
Ron: Right... - wrong?
Mick: Well, it sounded nice. Nobody came up with anything better really.
Ron: But also you find it comes in everyday sentences these days, you know. People walk down the street, Oh last night, I had such an emotional rescue! (laughs)
We've already got a few things finished and mixed, because the ten tracks on Some Girls comprise the bare minimum. In actual fact we recorded something like 42 tracks in Paris, and although some of it isn't finished it all has the same basic feel... There's also a really good finished track called Everything's Turning to Gold and both Hang Fire and So Young are mixed and ready.
It got very laid back because Keith was safe by then. Spaced-out, whereas Some Girls was a very focused album. A lot of reggae was being listened to at that time, I remember.
It took FOREVER. I started writing a ton of songs last summer, then Charlie and I did a few demos. Some of them came out of that. Some had been written before. Then we recorded a whole lot of newer things, which weren't really complete. THEN, we went back and more or less chose the ones we started with. I mean, it was just so haphazard and slapdash. Too much work was made out of it. I think Parkinson's disease or whatever sets in if you've got no real cutoff date, 'cause you just keep going until you've done EVERYTHING you can possibly think of. And then you say, well, great, but now we've got 40 songs, some of which are good and some of which COULD be good if only they were, you know, DIFFERENT. At the end, you think, Jesus, WHERE am I? It's STUPID. That's a DUMB way of doing it. We DO have a lot of material, admittedly, but that's NOT the point. The point is that it took 2 years to get it. You could've easily made it in nine months. Nobody had any proper vision of it. NOBODY fucking knew where they were going. That includes me. You get bored with things very quickly. My attention span is so limited. You know, I just love to make up songs and I don't even like to finish the words. I just like to sing ooooh all the way through. And then I'm happy after that. I don't want to do anymore. That's IT. I don't even want to hear it again.
I don't think Emotional Rescue was as coherent a bunch of sessions as Some Girls. All the fast, punk things had gone by then. We were doing more of the dance thing.
We cut enough for two albums. That was almost as big a problem as not having enough - knowing what to leave out. It's not that we used the best of what we had; we just used what fitted together. My idea is to try to get out another album this year, and then we can get these motherfuckers on the ROAD! Instead of the same old treadmill of road, studio, road, studio, road, studio, we can make extended road trips or do anything else we want to do: be moving stars or make solo albums.
The material on Emotional Rescue was a little bit more diverse than had gone on before. If anything, it was a little more soul-orientated and laid back than the Some Girls album. A lot more relaxed. The writing for that album was a little bit more experimental. There hadn't been a long writing period. All of this built-up frustration had come out in Some Girls, but the Emotional Rescue felt a little bit left over.
Ron: You have to be prepared to lose a lot (of songs), 'cause you get attached to songs.
Bill: It's also the ones that get finished the quickest, as well.
Mick: Yeah, that's one of my points. You know, the ones who get finished quickest are the ones that are gonna get used...
Bill: The other prospect, the whole problem of... if you do 4 or 5 songs in the same key at the same tempo, you can't use 'em all (...)
Mick: Yeah, what he's saying is right.
Bill: You've got 2 other really great tracks that you all love, but you can't (use them) all because you've got Where the Boys Go.
Mick: You've got 4 similar things is what Bill is saying.
Bill: And the same applies to slow ballads, which we've got lots of really great ones. You can only put so many on an album. One, maybe 2 if you're lucky.
Mick: During the whole thing, I mean I really wish there was someone that could do a lot of this. Cause there's a lot of donkey work making records, you know. You hear about bands making... spending 2 years making (records.) A lot of it is donkey work 'cause what you do is a really stupid way of making records. Instead of going in with 10 songs saying, These are the 10 songs we all know and like, you know - they're all rehearsed, great, fantastic, here they come... (Again we did) 30! - it's like making a movie. And so... and then you start, Oh, I wish we could use that one!, and Ronnie's going, What about that one? (laughs) ... And so you wither it down from 30 down to 10 and it's a very slow process...
Ron: (Jokes) And there's guitar lessons for Mick, you know. They take weeks and weeks....
(Mick and Keith) fought a lot during that album because Keith thought Mick was getting his way too much, and Keith had to fight for what he believed. Keith fights for his half of the Glimmer Twins.
It seemed like Keith and Mick were a little bit more polarized at that time. There wasn't quite the same vibe when everyone was gathered together as there had been in the Exile On Main Street days.
(T)he tracks were too similar! That's why I screamed. I was the maniac on that album, always complaining, always going to battle. It's more difficult to get people to go along with certain ideas now because it's become such a fucking organization. If you're the odd one out who speaks out and says, Look, I know we can do that song better, they they turn around and say, Everybody loves it. And you end up being the agitator, the paranoiac, you know... What's HE on?
There's a lot of pastiche all over the album. It's all our piss-taking, in other words. Pastiche is just a big word for it.
I think people are misinterpreting Emotional Rescue. It's just a lot of fun. A humorous, tongue-in-cheek record. It's not supposed to be taken seriously.
Emotional Rescue is sort of half Rolling Stones working within the basic mold, and the other half is trying out things.
I don't think (it's a New York City album). To me, New York is like Lou Reed and all those other bands.. (The rhythms in Dance and Emotional Rescue), (t)hat is New York, yeah. English people hate it, 'cause they say it's all disco. I know (it's not), but that's what THEY think it is, you see. It's just black music.
(W)ell, it's not TOO misogynous. But there IS a bit of a one-track mind in there. Everyone's been reminding me that the album has only got one subject, which is GIRLS. Obviously, that's got to change... Maybe I'll become a Marxist rock & roller and make a Marxist album. Fuck all this girl stuff. Make an album with anonymous musicians - apart from MYSELF - who won't get paid.
(I)t doesn't (have the resonance of Some Girls). You know, Emotional Rescue is a lot of leftovers from Some Girls. Really.
One thing's for sure: Emotional Rescue isn't the news-break that 1978's Some Girls was. The Rolling Stones haven't suddenly gone salsa (in spite of some south-of-the-border horns). Old hands haven't stepped out of early retirement to show cocky young punks exactly how best to offend, and radio censors won't have a case... If the Stones have adopted a gentlemanly attitude these days, their prime concerns - sex and money - are the proletariat's, too. But when Mick Jagger is desperate enough to mail-order lovers wholesale, you can't help but wonder who's supposed to be rescuing whom. At least he has fun with the idea. I will be your knight in shining armor, he intones at the end of the title track, sounding like a high-priced fantasy gigolo gone silly with the strain. After nearly eighteen years of well-paid nights and approximately twenty-seven albums of acted out desires, maybe these guys can't help getting lust and cash confused... Still, judging by Emotional Rescue's language, the Rolling Stones - Jagger and Richards at least - are feeling as vulnerable as zombies can. Never ones to be self-deprecating, they've translated that feeling into global terms. A jilted Jagger fools around (literally) with foreign affairs in Send It to Me, proposing an energetic redevelopment program - a sort of self-help sexual capitalism: She may work in a factory/Right next door to me. In Indian Girl (where the Stones meet mariachi), Central American political realities are seriously, if rather vaguely, considered: Mister Gringo, my father he ain't no Ché Guevara/He's fighting the war in the streets of Masaya. And in the agonizingly slow blues, Down in the Hole, the black markets, foreign zones and diplomatic immunities of modern rebellion merely become so much barbed wire in a private war of emotional imperialism...
But so much of Emotional Rescue seems vague and not quite real - life seen from very far away - that it's hard to take the LP seriously. Even when it comes to simple desire, the Stones act like tourists in a foreign country. In the night, I was crying like a child, Jagger confesses in the middle of Emotional Rescue, and his voice sounds as estranged and bewildered as the echoing horn.... (E)ven two years back, Some Girls still had a good bit of impudent, anticipatory spark - or at least an experienced, I told-you-so air that was second best. With its fusion of redneck rudeness and elegant, discofied languor (and its honking, conspicuous New York orientation), Some Girls placed itself near the front of the Old Guard... Nowadays, Sugar Blue is buried in the mix, and there's a weird sort of powerlessness in even the funniest numbers... And for all the Stones' tongue-in-cheek insistence that ladies are commodities to be mail-ordered or tinkered with, it doesn't seem to make them any easier to control. (I tried rewiring her, Mick Jagger sings in She's So Cold. I think her engine is permanently stalled.) Once I would have believed that such irony meant Jagger knew better, but now I think he's hoping his feelings of powerlessness will pass for cynicism. Sometimes when I turn up the volume, looking for the connection I can't believe isn't there, I imagine that the Stones have actually died and this word-perfect, classic-sounding, spiritless record is a message from the grave. That would be the only irony that could save Emotional Rescue, the only vantage point that would explain the Rolling Stones' insulated view of wide horizons, their passionless disillusionment, their foreigner's confusion about sex, money and worldly possessions. Otherwise, unless the Stones are born again or something, I'm afraid that people won't be calling them survivors much longer.
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