A Bigger Bang is the 22nd British and 24th American studio album by the Rolling Stones, released on Virgin Records in September 2005 as a double album on vinyl and a single CD. This is their last studio album of original compositions to date though a followup has been long promised.

A Bigger Bang
A painting of the band members with an explosion of light in the center
Studio album by
Released6 September 2005 (2005-09-06)
RecordedNovember 2004, 7–9 March, 6–28 June 2005
StudioFrance, West Indies and Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles; mixed at Village Recorders, Los Angeles
GenreHard rock, blues rock, garage rock, punk blues
Length64:23
LanguageEnglish
LabelVirgin, Rolling Stones
ProducerDon Was and The Glimmer Twins, with Matt Clifford ("Streets of Love")
The Rolling Stones chronology
Bridges to Babylon
(1997)
A Bigger Bang
(2005)
Blue & Lonesome
(2016)
Singles from A Bigger Bang
  1. "Streets of Love"/"Rough Justice"
    Released: 22 August 2005
  2. "Rain Fall Down"
    Released: 5 December 2005
  3. "Biggest Mistake"
    Released: 21 August 2006

Unlike their prior effort eight years before, the sprawling and eclectic Bridges to Babylon, which had a bewildering array of producers, musical styles, and guest musicians, the Stones set out to make a basic, hard rock album that hearkened back to their 1970s heyday. A single producer, Don Was, was brought in to co-produce the album alongside the band's principle songwriting and production team of vocalist Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Joining the two were band members Ronnie Wood on guitar and Charlie Watts on drums, contract players Darryl Jones on bass and Chuck Leavell on keyboards, and multi-instrumentalist Matt Clifford. Most of the basic tracks were recorded as a simple trio of Jagger, Richards, and Watts, with overdubs added later by other players.

The return-to-basics method of recording the album paid off for the Stones, who saw the album reach number three in the US, number two in the UK, and number one in eleven countries around the world. The lead single, "Streets of Love", failed to chart in the US, but was otherwise successful around the world, reaching number 15 in the UK and top-40 in over a dozen other counties. Two other singles were released to moderate worldwide sales. Reviews of the album were generally favorable; while critics noted that the album was not up to the standards of the Stones classic period, it nonetheless was among the best reviewed of their later albums. The follow-up tour, which lasted two years, would become the highest-grossing tour of all time by its completion. A Martin Scorsese-directed concert film titled Shine a Light documented the tour.

Contents

HistoryEdit

The album used a stripped-down style reminiscent of Some Girls (1978), but with a harder, more contemporary edge. Although initial reports stated that the Stones had "returned to their roots" with the record, the minimal instrumentation, rough mix, tough blues and "garage" rock hybrid bear certain similarities to the style of contemporary artists like the White Stripes and the Black Keys.

Many songs were recorded with just the core band of Jagger, Richards and Watts. Ronnie Wood was absent from many sessions, playing on only ten of the sixteen tracks, with only occasional contributions from outside musicians comprising the recording of the album. This is also the first album where Jagger plays bass guitar on some tracks.

The Stones said in a statement that the album's title reflects "their fascination with the scientific theory about the origin of the universe."[1][2]

Release and receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic73/100[3]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [4]
Blender     [5]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[6]
The Guardian     [7]
Mojo     [8]
NME6/10[9]
Q     [10]
Rolling Stone     [11]
Uncut     [12]
The Village VoiceA−[13]

The first single, "Streets of Love"/"Rough Justice", reached No. 15 in the UK singles chart, while A Bigger Bang peaked at No. 2 on the UK charts.[14] Another song from the album was "Sweet Neo Con", which was critical of the conservative Christian movement in American politics.[15]

In August 2005, the Rolling Stones embarked on the 90-show A Bigger Bang Tour in support of the album. It was met with sold-out tickets at every destination, usually within minutes of going on sale. The tour was extended into 2007 because Richards got hurt falling out of a tree in Fiji and required surgery in New Zealand. It concluded in August 2007 at the O2 Arena in London.

Critical reaction was mostly positive. The aggregate score of the album by Metacritic was rated 73 out of 100, categorizing the reviews as "generally favorable."[3] A Bigger Bang was touted as the best Rolling Stones album in years.[4][16][17][6][18] Nevertheless, all of the Stones albums since 1989's Steel Wheels had been similarly lauded,[19] and many critics and fans felt that the Stones had yet to record a late-period album truly up to their high standards. It was chosen as one of Amazon.com's Top 100 Editor's Picks of 2005, and ranked the second-best album of the year by Rolling Stone magazine, behind rapper Kanye West's Late Registration.[20]

A Bigger Bang went platinum in the US[21] and Germany,[22] and gold in Japan.[23] According to Nielsen SoundScan it sold 546,000 copies in the US,[24] and as of 31 March 2006, 2.4 million copies worldwide according to EMI.[25]

In 2009, A Bigger Bang was reissued by Universal Music Group. The US re-release was handled by Interscope Records, while Polydor Records handled all other territories.

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

No.TitleLength
1."Rough Justice"3:11
2."Let Me Down Slow"4:16
3."It Won't Take Long"3:54
4."Rain Fall Down"4:54
5."Streets of Love"5:10
6."Back of My Hand"3:32
7."She Saw Me Coming"3:12
8."Biggest Mistake"4:06
9."This Place Is Empty"3:12
10."Oh No, Not You Again"3:46
11."Dangerous Beauty"3:48
12."Laugh, I Nearly Died"4:54
13."Sweet Neo Con"4:33
14."Look What the Cat Dragged In"3:57
15."Driving Too Fast"3:56
16."Infamy"3:47

DVD special edition bonus discEdit

No.TitleLength
1."Introduction to A Bigger Bang"10:45
2."Streets of Love" (video)4:25
3."Streets of Love" (TV performance)4:03
4."Rough Justice" (TV performance)3:10
5."Rain Fall Down" (Remix)6:10
6."Under the Radar"4:36
7."Don't Wanna Go Home"3:34
8."Streets of Love" (With commentary from director Jake Nava)4:25
Total length:41:22

PersonnelEdit

  • Mick Jaggerbass guitar (6, 7, 11, 13, 14), guitars (1–5, 8, 10–16), harmonica (6, 13, 16), keyboard (4, 12, 13, 16), percussion (6, 7, 12, 15, 16), production (all tracks), slide guitar (6, 9), vibraphone (4), vocals (all tracks)
  • Keith Richards – bass guitar (9, 10, 16), guitars (all tracks), keyboard (16), piano (9), production (all tracks), vocals (2, 3, 7–9, 16)
  • Charlie Watts – drums (all tracks)
  • Ronnie Wood – guitars (3–5, 7, 12, 14, 15), slide guitar (1, 2)

Additional musiciansEdit

ProductionEdit

  • J.D. Andrew – editing (all tracks), engineering (all tracks)
  • Andy Brohard – engineering (1)
  • Ryan Castle – engineering (1)
  • Pierre de Beauport – guitar technician (all tracks), engineering (all tracks)
  • Tony King – artwork
  • Nick Knight – photography
  • Stephen Marcussenmastering (all tracks)
  • Michael Nash – artwork
  • Dean Nelson – engineering (2, 3, 5–11, 15)
  • Jack Joseph Puigmixing (2, 3, 5–11, 15)
  • Stewart Whitmore – editing (all tracks)
  • Dave Sardy – mixing (1)
  • Krish Sharma – mixing (4, 6, 12–14, 16)
  • German Villacorta – mixing (4, 6, 12–14, 16)
  • Don Was – production (all tracks)

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[53] Platinum 40,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[54] Gold 15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[55] Platinum 100,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[56] Gold 20,000^
France (SNEP)[57] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[22] Platinum 200,000^
Greece (IFPI Greece)[58] Gold 10,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[23] Gold 100,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[59] Gold 40,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[60] Gold 7,500^
Poland (ZPAV)[61] Gold 10,000*
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[62] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[63] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[21] Platinum 1,000,000^
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[64] Platinum 1,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

ReferencesEdit

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