“They used up 1,000 cassettes of just ridiculous jamming”: Steve Lillywhite on working with The Rolling Stones on 1986 album Dirty Work

It was a tumultuous time for the relationship between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.


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Five-time Grammy-winning producer Steve Lillywhite has revealed what it was like to work with The Rolling Stones on their 1986 album Dirty Work.

This period was particularly rocky for the band due to a fallout between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. According to Far Out Magazine, Richards would often refer to the frontman patronisingly as “His Majesty”, as a response to Jagger’s orders. At the same time, Jagger started to find success with solo projects, such as his collaboration with David Bowie.

As a result of the Richards and Jagger drama, it meant that they hadn’t settled on a new producer, until Lillywhite was recommended to them by Elton John.

However, as Lillywhite explained during a recent interview on Produce Like a Pro, it didn’t stop Ronnie Wood and Keef from jamming like hell in the sessions.

“The studio was booked from January 1 in Paris. And, of course, on January 1 no one arrives, or maybe a couple of roadies. Then the gear arrives, and then Keith and Ronnie arrived on the fourth of January. Still no one else… So they go in the studio at midnight, and they just go nose-to-nose, jamming 12-bar blues for three hours.

“At three o’clock in the morning, the engineers are starting to get a bit tight. Keith and Ronnie are still wide awake. They come into the control room and go like ‘Okay, play that back.’ From three o’clock till six o’clock, the two of them are there, and by this point, the engineers are [exhausted].

“And at six in the morning, Keith goes like, ‘Can I have a cassette of that?’ Six o’clock ’till nine o’clock, they have to play it again [laughs]. “By the time I got there, they used up 1,000 cassettes of just ridiculous jamming.”

In other Rolling Stones news, fans recently spotted an ad in a local London newspaper which seemingly hinted at the coming of a new Stones album in the near future.

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