The Rolling Stones’ classic album ‘Tattoo You’ was released 40 years ago today


Today, August 24, marks the 40th anniversary of the release of The Rolling Stones‘ classic 1981 album Tattoo You.

Tattoo You spent nine consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 in the fall of ’81, holding the top spot on the chart longer than any other Stones album.

Tattoo You featured three singles that reached the Billboard Hot 100’s top 20 — “Start Me Up,” “Waiting on a Friend” and “Hang Fire,” which peaked at #2, #13 and #20, respectively.

Respected music journalist and author Alan Light tells ABC Audio that many people consider Tattoo You to be “the last great Rolling Stones album,” while noting that it’s “such a funny and odd project” in the band’s history.

What made Tattoo You unusual was that it was put together from unfinished outtakes that The Rolling Stones had recorded during various sessions throughout the 1970s and that the band revisited to complete for the album.

Because of this, ex-Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, who left the group in late 1974, actually appears on two of the record’s tracks.

Tattoo You also features contributions from a variety of guest musicians, including keyboardists Nicky Hopkins, Ian Stewart and Billy Preston, founding Santana percussionist Michael Carabello, The Who‘s Pete Townshend and legendary jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins.

Townshend sang backing vocals on the song “Slave,” while Rollins delivered a memorable solo on “Waiting on a Friend,” and also played on “Slave” and “Neighbors.”

To date, Tattoo You has sold over 4 million copies in the U.S. As announced last week, The Rolling Stones will release a 40th anniversary reissue of the album on October 22. The reissue’s deluxe versions will feature nine previously unreleased tracks from that period to which the band has added new vocals and guitar.

Here’s Tattoo You‘s original track list:

“Start Me Up”
“Hang Fire”
“Little T&A”
“Black Limousine”
“Worried About You”
“No Use in Crying”
“Waiting on a Friend”

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