1978 was a curious time for the self-proclaimed "greatest rock and roll band in the world." For the very first time in their at-the-time still young history, the Rolling Stones position as rock's top dogs — and more importantly, their continuing relevance — was under serious challenge.
The Stones had, up until this time, weathered all of the shifting winds of rock's constantly changing trends — from psychedelia in the '60s, to early '70s glam rock and beyond.
Where other, less resilient bands fell by the wayside during these periods of volatile change, the Stones maintained their status on top mostly by staying true to their roots.
Even as they paid lip service to the trends of the day — with a touch of '60s hippie chic here, or a little bit of eye shadow there — the Stones never strayed far from their traditions as a raw and earthy rock and roll band with one foot firmly planted in the blues, by way of Chuck Berry and Robert Johnson.
But late '70s punk rock was something else, even for a band as mighty, and firmly entrenched as the Rolling Stones.
Even as bands like the Sex Pistols and The Jam were mostly updating the original '60s audacious outrage of the Stones and The Who for a younger '70s audience, they were also making an equal point of ridiculing their rock and roll elders as aging, over-the-hill dinosaurs.
In some respects, the taunts were deserved too. The Stones in particular had become ridiculously rich and out-of-touch rock star tax exiles, filling stadiums while largely coasting on such past glories as their last great album, 1972's Exile On Main Street.
But the Stones did take notice, and responded to the punks in kind with 1978's Some Girls album and tour. Still regarded by some fans as the Stones' last great album (although personally, I'd go with 1981's Tattoo You), Some Girls is largely perceived even today as a "Keith album" because of its rawer, back to basics approach.
Except, it's really not.
Some Girls in fact, is an album that belongs every bit as much to Mick Jagger as it does to Keith Richards. For every Keith Richards powered riff-rocker like "When The Whip Comes Down" or punk inspired, stripped down quickie like "Shattered," Mick Jagger's stamp is equally felt on songs like the New York club disco of "Miss You." Combine these two highly combustible elements with Motown covers like "Just My Imagination" and the Texas redneck country feel of "Far Away Eyes," and Some Girls is an easy candidate for the most diverse album of the Stones' career.