Keith Richards is amazed at how beloved the Rolling Stones‘ Tattoo You album remains. The band has just released its Tattoo You: 40th Anniversary deluxe edition, which features a new remaster of the 1981 nine-week chart-topper, a bonus disc of nine previously unreleased — yet heavily bootlegged tracks — and a two-disc June 1982 performance art London’s Wembley Stadium.
In a new chat with Apple Music, Keith Richards shed light on how the band cobbled some choice outtakes to have on the market for the band’s legendary 1981 North American tour: “Tattoo You was, like, a few sessions from Paris, and then we realized that over the years, we had left a whole lot of stuff trailing behind us that we really needed to catch up on, y’know? ‘Start Me Up’ was at least five-years-old by the time it got on this album (laughs), Y’know? So. . .”
When pressed as to how the Stones could possibly keep an era-defining tune like “Start Me Up” on its cutting room floor for a half-decade, Richards was quick to explain it wasn’t as obviously a classic as it seemed: “I can explain that by saying that we did, I think, 45 takes of ‘Start Me Up’; I was convinced it was a reggae song. And we took a break and Charlie (Watts) and I said, ‘Let’s twist (laughs) it around.’ And then we went back to doing more reggae versions — and then we found it five years later. There’s one rock n’ roll version, which means you should really check out (laugh) what you leave in the can, y’know? (Laughs).”