Tuesday, June 21, 2016

THE FINAL ROUND: Salt Of The Earth vs. Moonlight Mile

Side One

Side Two

I know that at some point prior to 1989, I loved "Salt Of The Earth," though never as much as "Moonlight Mile." But thanks to the performance above and one Axl Rose, a man who can sabotage the greatest moments in musical history by merely existing, I can never hear "Salt Of The Earth" the same way again.


kevin m said...

Moonlight Mile by a ummmm a mile.

Anonymous said...

Hello all...no, please remain seated,

Moonlight Mile; not even close. If memory serves me well (gratuitous Dylan quote), MM was developed from a Keith riff with the working title "Japanese Thing". The two Micks made a masterpiece out of it.

Sidebar discussion: songs associated with the two Micks are pretty darn good. Moonlight Mile, Sway, Stop Breaking Down, Ventilator Blues, Winter, Till the Next Time.

Finally...this has been fun. I think, song-by-song, Sticky Fingers is a better album that Beggars Banquet. But I also think that BB is the more important album. Mentally, I always inlcude Jumping Jack Flash as a BB song, even though it's not on the album. In 1968, Flash, Street Fighting Man and Sympathy for the were world beaters and set the stage for the fully-developed Stones style and image. Thank god, we get to keep both albums.


buzzbabyjesus said...

Moonlight Mile.

Mick "Two" was surprised he didn't end up with a writing credit.

I agree with RichD,

"song-by-song, Sticky Fingers is a better album that Beggars Banquet. But I also think that BB is the more important album".

I don't know which band I like least, Guns N' Roses, or Jane's Addiction.

rick said...

Moonlight Mile is my favorite song on the album and one of my favorite songs of all time. I used to think the song went, 'I am just living to be dying by your side' and was disappointed to learn it's 'lying by your side'. I think 'dying' works better; it would make it the perfect bookend lyric to 'Let's do some living after we die'. I'll mention it to Mick next time I see him...

Jim G said...

Was about to post while the clip was still playing that the worst thing about it was Axl's snake dance, which has not aged well. Everybody sang well enough and the performance wasn't bad, until they got to the ending vamp/improv. That ruined it for me. As for the song competition, not sure I can pick. Love them both but listen to Salt more. That doesn't make it better but Moonlight Mile is a treasure to be listened to and savored more occasionally. Sorry, that's the best I can do.

Shriner said...

I like both of these songs, actually, fairly equally. I abstain here.

A walk in the woods said...

Fascinating... I love both songs, but easily, "Moonlight Mile" is the winner. In fact, it's in my Top 10 Stones songs... and one of my fave songs by anyone.

Bombshelter Slim said...

Moonlight Mile is probably the best Stones album-closer ever, so it gets my vote. Beggars Banquet was the album where the Stones had something to prove, so they did! And then came Let It Bleed: can we do a track by track LIB vs. Goat's Head Soup?? Ha!

Dr Wu said...

'Moonlight Mile'! Everything came together for them on this album closer. Like Rick above, I always thought the lyrics were 'to be dying by your side.' (and like Rick, I think it's better that way) I think the Stones tried it again with 'Winter' - less successfully.

Tumblingdice70 said...

Definitely Moonlight Mile. The Stones did have a good run of album closers, from You Can't Always Get What you Want to Soul Survivor to Shattered to Waiting on a Friend.

Zippy said...

Boy, when I think about Salt of the Earth I start thinking I'm going to choose it, defend it, even maybe defend Axl's touching it (for me, nobody can take away a great song, as long as the original version exists. Vanilla Ice cannot take away Under Pressure. Jimmy Fallon or Joe Piscopo cannot ruin Born To Run. I live by that rule) But then if I just let Moonlight Mile play in my head for a mere instant, this entire debate crosses the finish line.
They're both amazing songs (this is the Stones at the height of their powers, after all) but it's hard to imagine this one not being unanimous for Moonlight Mile.
(though you do have a few contrarian commenters, so I await in this thread the guy who'll suddenly say both are weak and the Stones never had a good song after Aftermath. This dynamic is part of what I/we love about this blog)
Thanks for seeing this one through.

Chris Collins said...

This one isn't even close. I love "Salt of the Earth", but "Moonlight Mile" is transcendent. Their best closer.

cmealha said...

Always thought that 'Salt of the Earth' was just an exercise in writing and not really inspired. 'Moonlight Mile' by a moonlight mile.

dogbreath said...

Unlike the UK's upcoming EU "Stay or Leave" Referendum, this is pretty unanimous and I'm with everyone else: it's Moonlight Mile for me. A beauty of an album closer.

Noam Sane said...

I'm with Moonlight Mile too, it's got some honesty underpinning its emotion...whereas Salt strikes me as kinda phony.

Robin said...

Moonlight Mile

Michael Giltz said...

Is a moonlight mile about the same distance as a nautical mile? Can I travel it in my seven league boots?

Oh how I want to vote for "Salt Of The Earth." The terrific final track to what I thought was the better album. That fade out, with the female backup singers driving it home, the lyrics summarizing the spirit of the album, the weird, off-hand audio mix of the vocals.... It ain't easy for rock stars to salute the common man but what makes it work here is the weird climax: melodically, vocally (before the women take off), it peaks when Jagger follows up the usual Springsteen-like tributes to the common man by admitting "And when I search a faceless crowd/ A swirling mass of grey and / Black and white/ They don't look real to me/ In fact they look so strange." WTF? The entire album is rootsy and rooted and celebrates the "real" and at the end Jagger sings yeah, the regular folk, the common man, the hardworking stiff -- I gotta admit, they blur together and just look sort of weird from up here on stage. Thank you and good night!" I love its discordant note.

But of course "Moonlight Mile" is "better." Like "Sympathy For The Devil," it's one of the really unique Stones tracks. "Sympathy" is a hard to beat opener and the mysterious, moving "Mile" is a hard to beat closer. Great fade out.

What's the take-away here? I had fun! And I guess any great album however awesome from beginning to end is gonna have four or five stand-out tracks and those will triumph opposite the merely terrific tunes that fill out a classic. I assume each album will actually play better than our thunderdome compilation here -- "Sticky Banquet?" "Beggars Fingers?" Because these really are albums. But who knows? Maybe I'll take a breath and clear my head and play our megamix and see what I think. Certainly any album that opens with Sympathy and closes with Moonlight Mile is going to be damn memorable.

Next time, I say make it one track a day, keep the voting open until the end for every song (no winner until we're all done -- more people might feel inclined to join in) and keep re-posting to the top so they read in order scrolling down from Track 1 to Track 10 or whatever with a new entry for each faceoff so people don't have to squint to find where one debate ends and the next begins.

Joni MItchell's Blue Vs Court And Spark?
Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home vs Highway 61?
Aretha's I Never Loved... Vs Lady Soul?
Beatles Rubber Vs Revolver?
Led Zep II vs III?

Bring it on!

Michael Giltz said...

So I went back and checked -- I voted for literally five songs from BB and five songs from Sticky Fingers. And yet historically, I've always listened to exile, beggars banquet and some girls, plus hot rocks, with other albums far behind. Why not similar passion for Sticky Fingers? I blame the album cover. It's just so damn...sexual. Too much so for this closeted Catholic boy. I was probably embarrassed to even buy the damn thing -- I mean it's called "Sticky Fingers!" And that crotch! (It took me several trips to Peaches before I manned up and wasn't too embarrassed to buy Culture Club too.) Mind you, it's Mick Jagger we're talking about so i said sexual, not sexy. Like Mick himself, I'm more of a Bowie man.