Forty Licks is a double compilation album by The Rolling Stones. A 40-year career-spanning retrospective, Forty Licks is notable for being the first retrospective to combine their formative Decca/London era of the 1960s, now licensed by ABKCO Records (on disc one), with their self-owned post-1970 material, distributed at the time by Virgin/EMI but now distributed by ABKCO's own distributor Universal Music Group (on mostly disc two). Four new songs are included on the second disc. The album was a commercial success, as it reached No. 2 on both UK and US charts. Concurrently with the album's release, the Stones embarked on the successful, year-long international Licks Tour, which would result in Live Licks in 2004.
In 1970, the Rolling Stones had an acrimonious break-up with their former manager, Allen Klein, and their former record label, Decca Records (who licensed their recordings to London Records for release in the US). Because of the terms of their former contract, all of their pre-1970 recordings were all under Klein's control, up to and including Let it Bleed, some tracks that made it on Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street, as well as outtakes, unreleased recordings, and live recordings. The Stones would immediately form Rolling Stones Records as a result, that gave them control over all of their subsequent recordings. As a result, any career retrospectives tended to be divided into two eras: prior to the split, and after the split. Klein's ABKCO Records and Decca Records would continue to release unauthorized greatest-hits records, outtakes and rarities records, and other compilations throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Any compilations or retrospectives released by the Rolling Stones after 1970, by any of their distributors or partners (such as Atlantic Records or Virgin Records) were always restricted to material recorded and released from 1971 onward. Because of various business deals and mergers of various record companies over time, the barriers to creating a unified retrospective compilation album had been resolved by the early 2000s.
Rolling Stones - Forty Licks
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