There are a few periods in music history I would like to have been a part of, just to witness the madness; the 40s in New York when Bird and Miles were the rock stars of their day, the 60s in London, the late 60s and early 70s in the US. But the all time favourite would have to be the summer of 1971 at Villa Nellcôte in the South of France where the Rolling Stones recorded Exile on Main Street.
It’s not neccessarily that the Stones are my favourite band, but the mythology surrounding them at this point in their career fascinates me. Keith Richards rented Villa Nellcôte, a mansion dating from 1899 located near Villefranche-sur-mer on the Côte d’Azur, when the band were unable to live in the UK for tax reasons. After searching for somewhere to record their next album nearby, the band eventually decided to install a studio in the basement of the mansion and they then spent the next few months recording their classic double album, Exile on Main Street.
A number of famous faces passed through the house during this time; John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Gram Parsons, Jimmy Miller, Madeleine D’Arcy, Ian Stewart and Jean de Breteuil. Photographer Dominique Tarle was on hand to document the whole experience and he released a very luxurious limited edition book which contains his photographs plus interviews with those who were there at the time.
The book is called Exile – it originally sold for $250 for the regular edition and $375 for the deluxe edition and only 260 copies of the deluxe edition were printed. It’s for sale on Snap Galleries website but the price now is £6,500, which definitely makes it the most expensive item on my books wishlist.
(All photos by Dominique Tarle from the book “Exile”)