The Rolling Stones’ career has been far from plain sailing, and they’ve overcome more than their fair share of adversity over their almost 60-year career. In fact, they’ve been written off more times than Mick Jagger has become a father, and on occasion, even he has kicked the boot in on his band.
The longevity of The Stones will never cease to be impressive, but what comes with that omnipresent tag is having to overcome being labelled as yesterday’s news. They have seen swathes of bright young upstarts arrive, and be christened as the hot new band, yet, only for The Rolling Stones to outlive them.
Even towards the end of the ’60s, some people began to question whether The Rolling Stones could keep up with their contemporaries as the swinging sixties drew to a close, and a new generation of kids wanted something fresh from bands. Or at least, that’s what people assumed until The Stones proved them wrong for the first time, but not for the last.
However, it was different almost a decade from their first face-off with hardship, The Stones were firmly on the slide by 1978, and it had started to get to Jagger. The musical landscape was incomparable to the one that they emerged from, they didn’t fit into punk rock, or disco and the blues were firmly out of fashion.
The Stones needed to adapt to change, but they were blighted by well-documented personal problems at this time, too, with Keith Richards’ heroin bust in Toronto throwing his future in the band into question. Their next album had to be a reinvention of sorts after two fairly uninspiring albums in It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll and Black and Blue. Their reputation was hanging on by a thread, and they couldn’t afford to slip up.
The reaction to the last two records had riled up Jagger, and Some Girls was an active response to silence their doubters. Ronnie Wood reinvigorated the group, and they dipped their toes into multiple genres across the record, which reconfirmed their relevance.
In the press run for the album, however, Jagger was expecting the reaction to the record to be identical to the one they had become accustomed to in recent years. With that in mind, he decided to beat journalists to their criticisms of the record.
Jagger was in a hostile mood when speaking to NBC News in a now-infamous clip. When the interviewer brought up what critics have said about Some Girls, the frontman didn’t let him finish his sentence before he interrupted by saying it “stinks”.
“I think it stinks. Wait until the next one,” Jagger added. He then faced criticism that the album is “racist and sexist”. In response, the singer slurred, “The next one is going to be more racist and more sexist. It’s going to be a whole bunch better.”
Jagger looked inebriated throughout the interview and wasn’t in a stable frame of mind during this period of his life. Despite the unconventional circumstances surrounding its creation, Some Girls resuscitated The Stones’ reputation and showed they had the facilities to move with the times.
It remains possibly the most important album of their career and one which helped forge their legendary status.