Half a century ago, around the height of the soon-to-be deteriorating hippie movement, the Rolling Stones released Let It Bleed—one of the best albums from its decade-plus streak of really good albums. In celebration of the record having just reached the ripe old age of 50, a commemorative website has just been launched in order to mark not just an important anniversary in the Stones’ long career, but also to remind listeners of the historical context in which it was written and recorded.
The site, which basically resembles a digital museum gallery, is packed with some of the landmark events of 1968 and ‘69—the two years in which the Stones recorded and released Let It Bleed (and, overlapping with this period, Beggar’s Banquet). Scroll through and read, watch, or listen to entries on the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the signing of the Civil Rights Act, Nixon’s election, widespread Vietnam War protests, Woodstock, and the Manson Murders.
For those uninterested in revisiting the biggest cultural moments of these years, there’s a toggle that filters out all those boring old moon landings and seismic global changes in order to display only what the Stones were up to throughout 1968 and ‘69. Brian Jones departure from the band and death are recorded alongside important tour and session dates and, of course, the release of both Beggar’s Banquet and, on December 5th, 1969 in the UK, Let It Bleed.
Its creators describe the site as a way for listeners to “fully appreciate the original construct of [Let It Bleed]” by looking back at “the era in which the band’s masterwork came to be.” It definitely accomplishes this, providing both a snapshot of the Stones career during one of their most celebrated periods and the kind of historical context necessary to understand the state of the world that informed—and was informed by—their music.
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