Great Rock Albums of 1983: Rolling Stones- Undercover


If the Rolling Stones 1981 album “Tattoo You” was a move away from the band’s disco albums (at least I thought so) of the late 1970s, then the 1983 “Undercover” album moved them even further away. Saying that, when I first heard the album’s first single “Under Cover of the Night,” I thought it was a bit of a dirge. It did take me a couple of listens to get used to it. By then, the second single, “She Was Hot” came out and was, in my humble opinion, much better than its predecessor. Unfortunately, memories of the song will be forever in twined with the cheesy video for it. That was one drawback with MTV, good songs could be ruined by bad videos that stick in your mind but anyway.

A shot from the video for "She Was Hot." Cheesy or not?

A shot from the video for “She Was Hot.” Cheesy or not?

One thing about the Rolling Stones over the decades was that if I didn’t buy an album myself, someone I knew would and eventually I would listen to it. That’s what happened with “Undercover.” I listened to it and I liked it. “Undercover” takes the Rolling Stones even further back to their roots. This album is more hard rock than anything that they had put out in years, at least I thought that back in 1983. After the two singles are done and dusted at the beginning of the album, the third track, “Tie You Up” starts the hard rock off in earnest. And goes on that path for the next two songs. Then comes the track, “Too Much Blood,” which for me is a song of two halves. At first, I thought the jazz infusion, with the horns was nicely done. Then somewhere in the middle, it begins sounding like a dance track making me think they hadn’t totally gotten over the disco thing.

“Pretty Beat Up” also has horns and a bit of a rock/jazz fusion and the best part is that it doesn’t become a dance tune anywhere I can hear. For me, the best is saved for last. “Undercover” goes out on a real high with the last three tracks. All of them are hard rockers and sound like the Stones of the 1960s that I grew up on. If anything, it is these closing songs that has kept me coming back to the album after so many years.

Track Listing:

  1. Under Cover of the Night
  2. She Was Hot
  3. Tie You Up (The Pain of Love)
  4. Wanna Hold You
  5. Feel On Baby
  6. Too Much Blood
  7. Pretty Beat Up
  8. Too Tough
  9. All the Way Down
  10. It Must Be Hell
Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger- vocals, harmonica, guitar

Keith Richards- guitar, lead vocals on “Wanna Hold You”

Ronnie Wood- guitar, backing vocals

Bill Wyman- bass, percussion, piano on “Pretty Beat Up”

Charlie Watts- drums

It has been said that “Undercover” is one of the weaker albums by the Rolling Stones. I never agreed with that or really cared, I just liked it.

Next post: John Cougar Mellencamp- Uh Huh

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10 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1983: Rolling Stones- Undercover”

  1. I’m quite fond of Undercover. I’m glad you are too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just picked up lovely LP copies of this one, Tattoo You, and Emotional Rescue for $1 each. It’s a beautiful world!


  3. This is one I need to revisit … a nice write up and a few other fans here!


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