This record was cut using a specialist technique known as half-speed mastering. This artisan process results in cuts that have superior high frequency response (treble) and very solid and stable stereo images. In short, a very high quality master that helps to create a very high quality record. The original cut for this record was half speed mastered at Abbey Road Studios.
Exile On Main Street was released in 1972 and was The Rolling Stones' tenth studio album. While some tracks dated from the sessions for their previous long player, Sticky Fingers, the rest were recorded in the basement of Nellcôte, a mansion leased by Keith Richards in the south of France after the band had found it expedient to leave Britain for tax reasons.
Although first received with mixed, hesitant reviews, Exile... reached No. 1 in the UK and the US, where it has also achieved platinum status and is now widely regarded as one of the group's very best records. With Mick Jagger's vocals low in the mix and the sessions notorious for many participants' prodigious use of narcotics and booze, the album should have been set-up for failure. Even Bill Wyman struggled amongst the chaos and therefore only featured on backing vocals on eight of its eighteen tracks. Instead, the results were so powerful and enduring that the album eventually ended up at No. 7 on Rolling Stones Magazine's Top 500 albums of all time.
The sleeve is famous for the collage of images taken from Robert Frank's 1958 book The Americans. Characters used in the artwork include Joe Allen, "The Human Corkscrew", a renowned contortionist from the 1950s and, perhaps most famous of all, Three Ball Charlie. Three Ball Charlie was a man able to fit a tennis ball, a golf ball, and a "5" billiard ball simultaneously in his mouth – a remarkable feat - and his image is the one that many people associate most readily with this unimpeachable rock classic.