By Phyllis Pollack
The Rolling Stones announced on December 4, 2013 that they will continue touring, at least for now. The band announced four new dates, billed as their "4 On Fire" tour.
Meanwhile, it was 45 years ago this Saturday that the Rolling Stones released their final album that included guitarist Brian Jones, who was found dead in a swimming pool in July, 1969. That album, Beggars Banquet, was released in the U.S. on December 7, 1968.
The Stones will kick off their 14 On Fire tour with a performance in Abu Dhabi, slated for February 21, 2014, prior to touring the Far East and Asia, where they will play three shows in Tokyo and a one show in Macau.
The tour will also include dates in Australia, New Zealand, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Hanging Rock, Brisbane and Auckland. More concerts in Asia will also be included.
The 14 On Fire tour will also include Mick Taylor, who was a member of the Rolling Stones from 1969-1974, as a special guest.
Taylor left the band at age 26, and was replaced by Faces guitarist Ron Wood.
The band's 50 and Counting tour culminated in their Hyde Park gig in the UK in July.
The 45th anniversary of the historic release of Beggars Banquet by ABKCO Records on December 7, 1968 was commemorated by reissuing the album in a special Beggars Banquet collectors set in October, in association with Fender Guitar.
Alisa Coleman, ABKCO Music & Records Senior Executive Vice President, stated, "The Limited Edition Beggars Banquet guitar package expands the long and successful partnership between ABKCO and Fender. It is yet another opportunity for us to expose The Rolling Stones' music to guitar aficionados and fans around the world."
The album was originally recorded at Olympic Studios in London and completed Los Angeles. Produced by Jimmy Miller, it was released in the U.S. on December 7, 1968.
Miller also produced the band's 1969 iconic album Let It Bleed, their blues-driven Sticky Fingers in 1971, their masterpiece Exile on Main St. in 1972, followed by Goats Head Soup in 1973.
The album charted at number 3 in England. In America, the album stayed on the Billboard charts for 32 weeks, peaking at Number 5. Beggars Banquet is the band's seventh UK studio album, and ninth in the States.
Miller's musically diverse discography includes the outlandish Plasmatics, featuring the late Wendy O. Williams, to UK artist Stevie Winwood's Blind Faith and Traffic.
As the band continues their 50th and Counting tour, marking their 50th anniversary, songs from the album are still staple set list material performed from the band.
The Stones played almost one-half of Beggars Banquet on the opening night of the tour in Los Angeles, on May 3, 2013, offering "Factory Girl," "Dear Doctor," "Street Fighting Man" and Sympathy For The Devil."
This resulted in four of the album's ten tracks, a striking number.
Beggars Banquet was engineered by the late Andy Johns, who passed away this April. Johns also famously engineered most of Led Zeppelin's work, including the relentless "Stairway To Heaven."
In an interview with the author of this column, Johns pointed that one of the first sessions he worked on was with was Jimi Hendrix.
Beggars Banquet includes such classics as "Sympathy For the Devil," the subject of the Jean-Luc Godard film of the same title, "Street Fighting Man" and "Factory Girl." Guest musicians and vocalists on the album include the late Nicky Hopkins, Rocky Dijon, Ric Grech, Dave Mason and The Watts Street Gospel Choir.
The album's track listing includes Stones classics “Street Fighting Man,” “Sympathy For The Devil,” “Prodigal Son,” the populist “Factory Girl,” "Jig-Saw Puzzle," "Parachute Woman," "No Expectations," "Prodigal Son," the communal "Salt of the Earth" and the eternally lusty "Stray Cat Blues."
Fender recently collaborated with ABKCO Music & Records to celebrate the recent vinyl re-isse of Beggars Banquet by releasing the Limited Edition Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet Guitar Package.
The special package is limited to a run of just 300, and it available only in the US.
The music is boxed inside a replica of a Fender Telecaster, adorned with the origninal 1968 album artwork. A numbered neckplate, LP and a Fender wall hangar are also included in the set.
For the first time ever, using a novel state of the art printing process, the disc's artwork is imprinted on the guitar's body and pickguard.
The enclosed album is pressed on clear vinyl.
The inside gatefold artwork is on the back of the guitar, with another collectors item, an ABCKO and Fender branded guitar neck plate.
This special set can only be purchased through Amazon.
The Rolling Stones have long been equipped at their shows with stacks of blonde Fender blues amps.
The 1953 Fender Telecaster that Richards named "Micawber" is one of the most vital parts of Keefs' stash.
Alternately released in 1968 in the UK on ABKCO's legendary Decca label, the cover depicts a graffiti-laced toilet, which at the time was deemed too seedy for retail in the U.S., reulting in ABKCO scrapping the package, and issuing it in an all-white alternate cover.
ABKCO later re-issued the album with the original cover art.
This new version has quickly become referred to Stones by fans and collectors as the "Clearly Classic" version.
"The music on Beggars Banquet is as unique, powerful and timeless as the Telecaster guitar," said Justin Norvell, vice president of marketing for Fender. "By working with ABKCO and Amazon, we're able to create an instrument as raw and original as the album."
The upcoming Rolling Stones 14 ON FIRE dates are as follows:
Abu Dhabi du Arena (Yas Island) 21 February 2014
Tokyo Tokyo Dome 26 February 2014
Tokyo Tokyo Dome 4 March 2014
Tokyo Tokyo Dome 6 March 2014
Macau Cotai Arena 9 March 2014
Perth Perth Arena 19 March 2014
Adelaide Adelaide Oval 22 March 2014
Sydney Allphones Arena 25 March 2014
Melbourne Rod Laver Arena 28 March 2014
Macedon Hanging Rock 30 March 2014
Brisbane Entertainment Centre 2 April 2014
Auckland Mt Smart Stadium 5 April 2014
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