The Rolling Stones' In Mono: it's great but it borders on abuse

The Stones’ monaural 60s box: eight albums, 16 discs, six kilograms-plus of wallet-rinsing duplication

The Rolling Stones In Mono packshot
(Image: © ABKCO)

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Have you got so much money that the current economic crisis doesn’t bother you in the slightest? Are you a Rolling Stones fan who somehow hasn’t got around to buying any of their records up to and including Let It Bleed? Prefer mono to stereo? Vinyl to digital? Do colours still thrill you as much as they did when you were a toddler? If so, then this could be the product you’ve been searching for.

The Rolling Stones released eight albums between ’63 and ’69, but there are 16 discs here. So that’ll be an unexpectedly generous eight entire albums of previously unreleased material, then? 

Apparently not. In Mono’s compilers have included the near-duplicate UK and US versions of The Rolling Stones (blue/yellow), Out Of Our Heads (different blue/green), Aftermath (purple/grey) etc, so you get a significant number of duplicate tracks for your cash (though the double Stray Cats comp tacked on at the end certainly helps matters by sweeping up non-album essentials – Honky Tonk Women, Jumpin’ Jack Flash et al – fairly comprehensively). 

Ah well, anyone willing to shell out over 300 quid isn’t going to haggle over small details like paying twice for the same thing. And how else were ABKCO going to deliver the six kilograms-plus of floor-space-filling value that today’s superannuated pop punter invariably demands?

Ultimately, this is great. You don’t need me to tell you (again) that the Stones’ 60s output is essential. But, bloody hell, really? Exploiting collectors is one thing, but this surely borders on abuse.

Ian Fortnam

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 20 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.