The last Stones studio album of the '60s finds the band, for perhaps the first time, accurately reflecting the spirit of its age. The erstwhile bad boy outsiders of rock now foundthemselves firmly in the centre of the social and politicalpost-'68 whirlwind, and faced up to the challenge magnificently. The band's confident climb to its artistic peak was begun by BEGGAR'S BANQUET, but LET IT BLEED is a quantum leap even from that musical milestone.The album's opener, "Gimme Shelter", with its insinuating guitar introduction, leads us decisively out of Flower Power and into a world where rape and murder are "just a shot away", and the Devil of BANQUET is very much alive and taking names. There's a nod to seminal influence Robert Johnson, whose "Love in Vain" is a mandolin-accompanied highlight. The climax arrives in the formof "You Can't Always Get What You Want", bearing referencesto the fallout of the Swinging London era. LET IT BLEED finds the Stones brimming with musical confidence and artistic inspiration.