Remember When The Rolling Stones Scored a No. 1 Album with ‘Black and Blue’ While Welcoming a New Guitarist

On May 15, 1976, The Rolling Stones scored their sixth chart-topping album on the Billboard 200 with Black and Blue. The album was recorded during a transitional period for the band following the 1974 departure of guitarist Mick Taylor.

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During the Black and Blue sessions, several guitarists auditioned for the group, and three wound up playing on the album—Ronnie Wood of Faces, former Canned Heat member Harvey Mandel, and lauded session guitarist Wayne Perkins. Around the time the album was recorded, Wood, still a member of Faces, had taken part in The Stones’ 1975 tour.

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The album spent four non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in May and June of 1976. The Stones released two singles from the record, the ballad “Fool to Cry” and the funky “Hot Stuff.” “Fool to Cry” peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, while “Hot Stuff” only reached No. 49.

Other standout tracks include “Cherry Oh Baby,” a cover of a 1971 reggae song by Eric Donaldson, and the melodic ballad “Memory Motel.” “Memory Motel,” which features frontman Mick Jagger sharing lead vocals with guitarist Keith Richards, received a good amount of rock radio airplay.

Guest Keyboard Contributions

Keyboardists Billy Preston and Nicky Hopkins, both of whom were frequent Stones collaborators, contributed to multiple tracks on the album. Hopkins played organ on “Cherry Oh Baby,” and piano and synthesizer on “Fool to Cry.”

Preston played various keys on the album’s other six songs, and also sang backing vocals on four tracks. In addition, was credited with “inspiration” on the song “Melody,” which is based on a 1973 tune he co-wrote called “Do You Love Me.”

[RELATED: Watch The Rolling Stones Give 3 More Songs Their Tour Debut at Hackney Diamonds Show]

More About the Guest Guitarists

Wood played electric guitar on three tracks on Black and Blue, and lent his backing vocal talents to five tunes. He also was credited with “inspiration” on “Hey Negrita,” which was written around a riff he brought to The Stones when he and others were auditioning for the band’s vacant guitar position at a Munich, Germany, recording studio.

Perkins, who had previously recorded with Joni Mitchell and Bob Marley and the Wailers, played guitar on three songs, including “Fool to Cry.” Mandel, an on-and-off member of Canned Heat for many years, contributed guitar to “Hot Stuff” and “Memory Motel.”

Controversial Ad

To promote the 1976 album, a decidedly un-PC billboard was displayed on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. It featured scantily clad model Anita Russell bound with ropes and covered in fake bruises, along with the phrase, “I’m Black and Blue from the Rolling Stones – and I love it!”

The billboard was taken down after an outcry from the feminist group Women Against Violence Against Women. In a newsletter, the group wrote that the ad “exploits and sensationalises violence against a woman for the purpose of increased record sales.”

After The Stones’ label, Atlantic Records, pulled the campaign, the band apologized.

More About Black and Blue

Black and Blue went on to be certified platinum by RIAA for sales of 1 million copies in the U.S. Wood, of course, was chosen as The Stones’ new guitarist and is featured on the back cover of the album. He’s been a member of the band ever since.

About The Rolling Stones’ 2024 Tour

The next show on The Rolling Stones’ 2024 tour in support of their latest album, Hackney Diamonds, is scheduled for May 15 at Lumen Field in Seattle. The trek, which features a total of 19 concerts, runs through a July 17 performance in Santa Clara, California.

Tickets for The Rolling Stones’ concerts are available now via various outlets, including StubHub.

Black and Blue Track List:

  1. “Hot Stuff”
  2. “Hand of Fate”
  3. “Cherry Oh Baby”
  4. “Memory Motel”
  5. “Hey Negrita”
  6. “Melody”
  7. “Fool to Cry”
  8. “Crazy Mama”

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