The STONES Last Great Album
Tattoo You is the 16th British and 18th American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released in 1981. The follow-up to Emotional Rescue (1980), the album is mostly composed of studio outtakes recorded during the 1970s, and contains one of the band’s most well-known songs, “Start Me Up”, which hit second place on the United States’s Billboard singles charts.
The album proved to be both a critical and commercial success upon release, reaching the top of the Billboard charts, and selling more than four million copies in the United States alone. It was also the final Rolling Stones album to reach the top position of the US charts, thus concluding the band’s string of number-one albums there, dating back to 1971’s Sticky Fingers. It is considered by many fans and critics to be the Rolling Stones’ last great album.
Tattoo You is an album primarily composed of outtakes from previous recording sessions, some dating back a decade, with new vocals and overdubs. Along with two new songs, the Rolling Stones put together this collection to have a new album to promote for their worldwide American Tour 1981/European Tour 1982 beginning that September. Guitarist Keith Richards commented in 1993:
Release and Aftermath of TATOO YOU
“Start Me Up” was released in August 1981, just a week before Tattoo You, to a very strong response, reaching the top 10 in both the United States and UK, and number 1 in Australia. Widely considered one of the Stones’ most infectious songs, it was enough to carry Tattoo You to No. 1 for nine weeks in the United States, while reaching No. 2 in the UK with solid sales. It’s been certified 4x platinum in the United States alone. The critical reaction was positive, many feeling that Tattoo You was an improvement overEmotional Rescue and a high-quality release. “Waiting on a Friend” and “Hang Fire” became Top 20 US hits as well.
“Start Me Up” would prove to be The Rolling Stones’ last single to reach as high as No. 2 in the US, while Tattoo You is their last American No. 1 album to date.
The album title was originally planned to be simply Tattoo. Jagger claims to this day that even he has no clue how the “You” became attached to the title. The title caused friction between Jagger and Richards, with Richards suspecting that Jagger had changed the title without seeking his input. The album cover for Tattoo You had concept origination, art direction and design by Peter Corriston and illustration by Christian Piper. The album cover won the Grammy award in 1982 in the Best Album Package category. It was the first Grammy award for the Rolling Stones.
START ME UP
WAITING on a FRIEND
TATOO YOU 1981
Keith Richards & Mick Jagger on St. Marks Place
East Village, New York, NY
Shooting Video for WAITING on a FRIEND
Keith Richards bops his head out of the St. Marks Bar – Grill
The East Village 1981
Corner of St. Marks Place & 1st Avenue
The ROLLING STONES