Mick Jagger Doesn’t Like the Lyrics on This Classic Rolling Stones Album

The Rolling Stones released many classic songs, however, Mick Jagger doesn’t see all of their songs as real songs. He once said one of The Rolling Stones’ albums contains many song that are “not songs at all” and have unmemorable lyrics. Here’s a look at how the public reacted to this album.

Mick Jagger with a microphone
Mick Jagger | Evening Standard/Getty Images

Mick Jagger thought The Rolling Stones would never finish this album

In 2001, Jagger gave a wide-ranging interview to Paul Du Noyer’s website. During the interview, he commented on everything from Chuck Berry’s personality to Che Guevara to his solo record, Goddess in the Doorway. Du Noyers asked him about the creation of one of The Rolling Stones’ most famous albums: Exile on Main St.

Jagger said The Rolling Stones worked on the album in several places. These locations included Jagger’s home in the English countryside and a home Keith Richards rented in the South of France. Jagger said the album’s creation had a “party vibe,” commenting “I never thought it was ever going to get finished.” 


RELATED: Mick Jagger: This Singer ‘Made a Name’ for Herself Off The Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger’s mixed feelings about ‘Exile on Main St.’

Jagger’s concern the album wouldn’t get finished is interesting given he doesn’t view many songs on the album as true songs. “But when you actually come to do them, there’s a lot of songs that are really, like, not songs at all, like ‘Casino Boogie,’” Jagger opined. “They’re really nicely played and everything, but there’s no hooks in them and there’s no memorable lyrics in them.”

Afterward, Jagger commented on individual songs from Exile on Main St. ‘Sweet Black Angel,’ these are very nice songs, but nobody’s ever gonna… It’s not my thing to get up and play them. Some of them I might do, ‘Tumbling Dice’ is good, and ‘Sweet Virginia’ is good. Then we had a revival of ‘Shine A Light,’ and someone did a gospel cover of ‘Just Wanna See His Face’ recently. I heard it in one of my local shops that I go in. But there’s not a list of outstanding songs, I think that’s what we’re saying. But somehow, as an album, it has a great mood.” 

“Sweet Virginia”

RELATED: The Classic Rolling Stones Album Mick Jagger Called ‘a Bit Overrated’

How critics and the public reacted to ‘Exile on Main St.’

Although Jagger likes Exile on Main St. as a whole, he was critical of the album’s hooks and lyrics. Do critics and fans agree with him? In 2020, Rolling Stone released a list of the 500 greatest albums ever. Exile on Main St. was No. 14 on the list, above certified classics like The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Clash’s London Calling, and Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited. Critics certainly embraced the album — bit did the public?

Exile on Main St. reached the pinnacle of the Billboard 200. Clearly, fans liked the album as a whole. In addition, the single “Happy” reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Jagger was critical of the album but critics and fans liked it a lot.