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Mick Jagger And Keith Richards On ‘Exile’ And The Rolling Stones

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The Rolling Stones have been called The World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll band. And Exile On Main Street has been called by many the best album they ever recorded.

So this week's re-release of that 1972 classic is no small affair.

The original 18-song LP--which featured hits "Tumbling Dice" and "Happy" and was jam-packed with energetic and raw, bluesy numbers--has been bolstered by the addition of 10 previously unreleased tracks from the same era, including "Plundered My Soul," already out in video form and drawing raves from longtime fans.

Additionally comes the release of the fascinating documentary Stones In Exile--featuring an enormous array of previously unseen images, film segments and interviews, including contributions from Martin Scorsese, Anita Pallenberg, producer Jimmy Miller, and saxophonist Bobby Keys, among others. By any measure a worthy companion to Exile-the-album, it's directed by Stephen Kijak, produced by John Battsek and Victoria Pearman, and will be released on DVD by Eagle Vision on June 22.

And since nothing the Rolling Stones do is small, you may have noticed it was just Rolling Stones Week on TV's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon show, with artists such as Green Day, Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow, and Phish dropping in to perform their own takes of various Exile classics.

Still, when you're paying tribute to the masters, why not speak to the originals themselves?

So Y! Music did exactly that, late last week, and sat down for separate interviews with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in New York's posh Carlyle Hotel. All charm and elegance, the legendary pair recalled those very colorful days vividly--and with some humor--and were likely aided by the passing years to put everything in perspective.

"I was talking to Charle Watts just a couple of days ago about it," Richards said about the Stones In Exile film. "And we both looked and said the same thing. I had no idea there was any footage from there, you know? I guess we were operating on another plane. I don't remember any cameras being around--that's what shocks me about the movie."

The early '70s "was a very unstable period historically," Jagger notes, and mentions the Vietnam war, the bombing of Cambodia, and that era's coalition government in the UK--which, he adds, has arisen there yet again. In a perfect world, a piece of art should mirror society, he says, but whether Exile could really do that when the band was living in "self-imposed exile" in France for tax reasons remains a question.

"I think it's a really good album," says the singer. "I think it holds up now, I love the new material I worked on, and I think the film works out. So it's a nice thing to have--it's the Rolling Stones in that time. It's the Rolling Stones of the early '70s."

Check out the interview below for much more from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on the whole Exile On Main Street story.

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