Photo by Robert Altman
Jimmy Miller produced “The Rolling Stones” 4 best albums:
- Exile on Main St. (1972)
- Sticky Fingers (1971)
- Let It Bleed (1969)
- Beggars Banquet (1968)
He really connected with the band & Keith Richards in particular.
“It was really a gas to work with him. Jimmy Miller could turn the whole band on and make a nondescript number into something.”
Miller was a huge Stones fan before he started working with the band..
‘The night Jagger phoned I just knew he was gonna ask me to produce them. I glided over to his house on a cloud.’
James “Jimmy” Miller (23 March 1942 – 22 October 1994) was a Brooklyn, New York-born record producer and musician who produced dozens of albums between the mid-1960s and early 1990s, including landmark recordings for Blind Faith, Traffic, the Plasmatics, Motorhead, The World Bank and Primal Scream. He was perhaps best known for his lengthy association with the Rolling Stones, for whom he produced a string of singles and albums that all rank among the most critically and financially successful works of the band’s career: Beggars Banquet (1968), Let It Bleed (1969), Sticky Fingers (1971), Exile on Main St. (1972) and Goats Head Soup (1973).
Prior to working with the Rolling Stones, Miller rose to fame by producing successful releases for The Spencer Davis Group including their breakthrough hit “Gimme Some Lovin'” and the follow-up smash “I’m A Man,” which Miller co-wrote with the band’s singer-keyboardist, Steve Winwood. In addition to his production work for yet another Winwood band, Traffic, Miller also contributed the lyrics to the Traffic song “Medicated Goo.” Miller produced the only album by the Clapton/Winwood supergroup Blind Faith.
The Spencer Davis Group – Gimme Some Lovin’:
Traffic – Dear Mr. Fantasy:
Blind Faith – Can’t Find My Way Home:
Following his work with Blind Faith, Miller co-produced (with Delaney Bramlett) the hit Delaney & Bonnie album On Tour with Eric Clapton, recorded live at Croydon, United Kingdom, on 7 December 1969. He went on to produce Delaney & Bonnie keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, Kracker, the Plasmatics, Motörhead and the UK band Nirvana.
A drummer himself, Miller was known for the distinctive drum sound that characterized his productions, especially his work with the Rolling Stones, on whose recordings he occasionally played percussion parts such as the famous opening cowbell on “Honky Tonk Women” and the full drum kit on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Happy,” “Tumbling Dice” and “Shine a Light.”
The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet (1968) [full album]:
The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed (1969, Remastered) Full Album:
The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (1971) (Full Album):
The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street (1972) (Full album):
Miller went on to work with Primal Scream on their breakthrough album Screamadelica and William Topley’s band The Blessing (Miller appears on their DVD Sugar Train during the song “Soul Love”). In the 1980s, Miller produced some acts including Johnny Thunders, Matrix and Jo Jo Laine (wife of Denny Lane, on “Moody Blues & Wings”). In 1990 he Co-Produced (along with Phil Greene) “What’s in A Name” for Florida band Walk the Chalk.
Among Miller’s last productions were three tracks on the 1992 Wedding Present project, Hit Parade 2. Jimmy also produced four tracks on The World Banks “In Debt Interview” which featured artists such as Billy Preston and Bobby Keys, a rare musical sideline from author Hunter S. Thompson. Jimmy traveled to Woody Creek, Colorado in 1994 to meet with Hunter S. Thompson for a memorable weekend in May shortly before he passed on. He died in October 1994.
Album of the day – Exile on Main St. (1972):
|Greeted with decidedly mixed reviews upon its original release, Exile on Main St. has become generally regarded as the Rolling Stones’ finest album. Part of the reason why the record was initially greeted with hesitant reviews is that it takes a while to assimilate. A sprawling, weary double album encompassing rock & roll, blues, soul, and country, Exile doesn’t try anything new on the surface, but the substance is new. Taking the bleakness that underpinned Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers to an extreme, Exile is a weary record, and not just lyrically. Jagger’s vocals are buried in the mix, and the music is a series of dark, dense jams, with Keith Richards and Mick Taylor spinning off incredible riffs and solos. And the songs continue the breakthroughs of their three previous albums. No longer does their country sound forced or kitschy — it’s lived-in and complex, just like the group’s forays into soul and gospel. While the songs, including the masterpieces “Rocks Off,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Torn and Frayed,” “Happy,” “Let It Loose,” and “Shine a Light,” are all terrific, they blend together, with only certain lyrics and guitar lines emerging from the murk. It’s the kind of record that’s gripping on the very first listen, but each subsequent listen reveals something new. Few other albums, let alone double albums, have been so rich and masterful as Exile on Main St., and it stands not only as one of the Stones’ best records, but sets a remarkably high standard for all of hard rock.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)