My favorite Rolling Stone’s album is most likely Steel Wheels. It is hard to believe when I think back that it was released in 1989. Of note, it was also the first all digital Rolling Stone’s album.
It is interesting to note in retrospect, that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had both not worked together for some years prior to the Steel Wheels Album, and were both pursuing less memorable solo albums (Mick Jagger’s Primitive Cool, and Keith Richard’s better received Talk Is Cheap). However, their former differences were set aside after the induction of The Rolling Stones into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in early 1989. While their more recent previous work had more modern underpinnings, for Steel Wheels they wanted to return to their more classic signature, Stones sound. Steel Wheels is considered their “Reunion album.” It took the band five years after Steel Wheels for their next album, Voodoo Lounge.
The most memorable track from the album was the single, “Mixed Emotions.” It was a somewhat biographical reference to the tumultuous relationship between Richards and Jagger at the time. The reunited duo ended up writing all the tracks for the album, except for the track “Continental Drift.”
The energy continues in the album with “Sad, Sad, Sad,” and “A Rock and a Hard Place;” both hold up well with the decades, and will forever be classic Stones fare. However, “Hearts for Sale,” and “Hold On To Heart” start to sound a little monotonous, and dated when listened to now. “Blinded By Love” a ballad, was consistently one of the tracks on my skip list (which was more difficult to fast forward on a cassette tape than to skip ahead on a CD or mp3).
In support of the Steel Wheels album, was the Steel Wheels Tour, which is still talked about today. This arguably may have been The Rolling Stones at the peak of their craft. If not, it still may have been one of the loudest tours around with the seats at NY’s Shea Stadium literally jumping from the bass. While I did not get to see them at the time, there is still opportunity to see “The Stones” on their upcoming tour.
Overall grade: B
Reviewed by Jonas