Rolling Stones Summer of 1971

On a mission to find Nellcote in Villefranche-Sur-Mer on the French Riviera. No problem as l have been there before plus l know someone who knows the joint, so Quids in as they say in some quarters. Anyway l'm duty-bound by myself as l happen to be on the Cote-d'Azur and l know The Rolling Stones recorded tracks for their Double Album "Exile On Main Street" round these parts, so l'm making a pilgrimage to finding and checking out the vibe where those songs were recorded, why? because "Exile On Main Street" is very special to me. Keith Richards rented Nellcote, a great big villa right next to the sea where it was decided to record tracks for a forthcoming album in order for the The Stones to tour the USA, this album would become "Exile On Main Street". As l'm sitting here looking out on the pristine mediterranean waters at Villefranche-sur-mer, looking out over the harbour, l can only imagine what it must have been like to be here in 1971, to get an idea of what it was like you should check out the car chase scene from the first episode of the Persuaders starring none other than Roger Moore and Tony Curtis, a TV adventure series form the early 70's. Today Villefranche is a tourist hotspot serving visiting Cruise ships as they make their regular stops at various beauty spots all around the mediterranean and not forgetting the unforgettable jet-set, it's such a picturesque surrounding, no wonder it was favoured by the impressionist painters. l was made aware of this place through reading various Rolling Stones books, I was also told by those that were in the know that this place was unreachable to also being told that this place was rubble, two lies no less. This place is easy to find and it's not rubble, true there is no evidence of the Rolling Stones ever being there like for example no placard, no mention of Rolling Stones graffiti on the walls next to the railway path that leads to the house like you have outside Abbey Road Studios. I came by car last time with Kristen, Ryan and my guitar playing buddy Jody Porter who is also a connoisseur of things Rolling Stones related as well as being an excellent singer/songwriter of his own calibre and a member of the American band Fountains Of Wayne. This time l came by train with Fabienne who is well informed about these parts as she lived in the South of France for some time, lucky her.This is even easier to get to, catch a plane to Nice then jump on the train towards Vintimille and get off at Villefranche-Sur-Mer and head to the beach, follow the railway then up the stairs turn right and in no time you will reach the large gate that stand outside Nellcote and that's it really.The Stones lived here in Exile to avoid the huge taxes they now faced in Great Britain, something that by todays standards would be frowned upon needless to say it ended up costing them more to stay on the Cote-d'Azur as it would have cost them to pay their taxes in the first place, take note Starbucks et al.As it happens the band only made a handful of recordings including 'Happy' which was to become Keith Richards Tour De Force signature number on future Stones performances.The band were plagued with all sorts of mishaps that only a few of the tracks on the18 song double Album were made here. For more information l would recommend the fantastic "Season In Hell" by Robert Greenfield a well detailed book written by a witness to those events which reminds me, Jody are you finished with reading this book l gave you? If you're a Rolling Stones fan and happen to get to the coast in the South Of France please drop by and get some sun, mind you the prices are a bit in the high range for anything including accommodation, food and drink, if you're on a budget, bus and a carry out is always a possibility. Chris McDougall IMG_9881

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