Undercover (album)

Undercover (album)

Infobox Album | Name = Undercover
Type = Album
Artist = The Rolling Stones

Released = 7 November 1983
Recorded = 11 November -
17 December 1982,
May 1983,
late June - 1 August 1983
Genre = Rock
Length = 45:00
Label = Rolling Stones/Virgin
Producer = The Glimmer Twins
and Chris Kimsey
Reviews =
*Allmusic Rating|3.5|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:qwamqj5bojfa link]
*"Rolling Stone" Rating|4|5 [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/therollingstones/albums/album/108060/review/5947032/undercover link]
*Robert Christgau (C+) [http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=rolling+stone link]
Last album = ""Still Life" (American Concert 1981)"
This album = "Undercover"
Next album = "Rewind (1971-1984)"
(1984) |

:"For the 2005 Ozzy Osbourne album, see "Under Cover (Ozzy Osbourne album)". "Undercover" is also the title of a 2003 album by the German band the Puhdys"

"Undercover" is an album by The Rolling Stones and was released in 1983. After their preceding studio album, "Tattoo You", which was mostly patched together from a selection of outtakes, "Undercover" was their first release of all newly-recorded material in the 1980s. With the advent of the MTV generation, The Rolling Stones attempted to re-invent themselves for a new era.


Due to the recent advancements in recording technology, The Glimmer Twins (a.k.a. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) were officially joined in the producer's seat with Chris Kimsey, the first outside producer The Rolling Stones had used since Jimmy Miller. Recording began in November 1982 in Paris, soon after the summer end of the band's European Tour 1982. After breaking for the holidays, they completed the album in New York City the following summer.

The making of "Undercover" was an arduous process, largely because Jagger and Richards' famous mid-1980s row began during these sessions. Jagger was keenly aware of new styles and wanted to keep The Rolling Stones current and experimental, while Richards was seemingly more focused on the bands rock and blues roots. As a result, there was friction, and the tension between the two key men in The Rolling Stones would increase over the upcoming years.

The lyrics on "Undercover" are among Mick Jagger's most macabre, with much grisly imagery to be found in the lead single and Top 10 hit "Undercover of the Night", a rare political track about South America, as well as "Tie You Up (The Pain Of Love)," and "Too Much Blood," Jagger's attempt to incorporate contemporary trends in dance music. Musically, "Undercover" appears to duel between hard rock, reggae, and new wave, reflecting the leadership tug of war between Jagger and Richards at the time. "Pretty Beat Up" is largely a Ronnie Wood composition, and Jagger and Richards were both reportedly reluctant to include it on the album.

"Undercover" was released in November 1983 to generally warm reviews and reached #3 in the UK and #4 in the United States. It was a relative disappointment however, breaking a streak of eight #1 albums (excluding compilations and live albums) in the U.S. and failing to spawn any huge singles. Its cover artwork was covered with real peel-off stickers on the original vinyl edition, which when removed revealed other patterned geometric shapes.


"Undercover" continues to divide critics and fans alike. Although it was largely praised on release ("Rolling Stone" awarded it a near-classic four-and-a-half stars), many fans came to regard it as among The Rolling Stones' weaker releases, a view echoed by Jagger himself in later interviews. While some critics tend to blame the then-contemporary production and eclecticism, it should be noted that a large part of the album was done in a hard-rock style ("She Was Hot", "Too Tough," "All The Way Down," "It Must Be Hell"), leading many to fault the generally inconsistent material. A great deal of the tension during the recording of the album stemmed from the fact that Keith Richards had emerged (to an extent) from his destructive lifestyle of the previous decade, and thus sought a more active role in the creative direction of the band.

As with several latter-day Stones records, recent critical analysis has been kinder, noting the album's eclecticism and nastiness as a reflection of the Jagger/Richards feud. It would also prove to be the last album that seriously attempted to take the band's music in new directions; critics often fault the Stones' later (and more popular) albums as relying too comfortably on their early-70's hard rock and blues formula. However, the record is still one of the Stones' less popular and more obscure releases.

In 1994, "Undercover" was remastered and reissued by Virgin Records.

In 2005, "Q" magazine included the song "Undercover of the Night" in a list of "Ten Terrible Records by Great Artists".

Track listing

All songs by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted.

#"Undercover of the Night" – 4:32
#"She Was Hot" – 4:41
#"Tie You Up (The Pain Of Love)" – 4:16
#"Wanna Hold You" – 3:52
#"Feel On Baby" – 5:07
#"Too Much Blood" – 6:14
#"Pretty Beat Up" (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards/Ronnie Wood) – 4:04
#"Too Tough" – 3:52
#"All The Way Down" – 3:14
#"It Must Be Hell" – 5:04


* Mick Jagger - Vocals, Backing Vocals, Electric Guitar, Harmonica
* Keith Richards - Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals, Vocals, Bass
* Charlie Watts - Drums
* Ronnie Wood - Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals, Bass, Slide Guitar
* Bill Wyman - Bass, Percussion, Piano

* Ian Stewart - Piano, Percussion
* Jim Barber - Electric Guitar
* Sly Dunbar - Percussion
* Chuck Leavell - Keyboards, Organ, Piano
* David Sanborn - Saxophone
* Robbie Shakespeare - Bass
* CHOPS - Horns
* Moustapha Cisse - Percussion
* Brahms Coundoul - Percussion
* Martin Ditcham - Percussion




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