See the Rolling Stones’ Studio Receipt for ‘Wild Horses’ and ‘Brown Sugar’
These days, any musician with a laptop and a microphone can record pretty much anything they want, but back in the good old days, you actually had to enter a recording studio and purchase expensive reel-to-reel tape if you wanted to make the magic happen — even if you were part of a band that disregarded the rules as often as the Rolling Stones.
As proof, here’s an invoice from the December 1969 sessions that produced three of the songs on the Stones’ classic 1971 ‘Sticky Fingers’ LP, requiring payment of just over $1,000 in return for several reels of tape and more than 13 hours of studio time. As Dangerous Minds notes, the sessions in question were some of the first to take place at the now-legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Sheffield, Ala., which went on to host a lengthy list of famous artists, including Paul Simon, Rod Stewart, Bob Seger and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Though the Stones weren’t at Muscle Shoals for very long, the time they spent there was certainly fruitful; the band walked away with the future hits ‘Wild Horses’ and ‘Brown Sugar,’ as well as a cover of the traditional song ‘You Gotta Move.’ As the Dangerous Minds article points out (and the photo of the invoice reinforces), this session arrived at the tail end of the band’s association with manager Allen Klein, who’d soon find himself out of a job — but in an infamous bit of tricky dealing, he walked away with the copyrights to the Stones’ entire ’60s output as well as a partial claim to ‘Wild Horses’ and ‘Brown Sugar.’
‘Sticky Fingers’ ultimately ended up being an album of firsts for the Stones; in addition to marking their departure from Klein’s camp and the Decca roster for their own Rolling Stones Records, it also served as the full-length debut for guitarist Mick Taylor, who’d replaced Brian Jones. You can check out other photos from the band’s time at Muscle Shoals at this link.