A Bigger Bang is the 22nd British and 24th American studio album by the Rolling Stones, released on Virgin Records in September 2005. It is the follow-up to their previous full-length studio album Bridges to Babylon from 1997; that gap of eight years was up to that time the longest between studio albums of the band's recording career. Released as a double album on vinyl and a single CD, it was produced by Don Was and the Glimmer Twins.
The album used a stripped-down style reminiscent of Some Girls (1978), but with a harder, more contemporary edge. Although initial reports stated that the Stones had "returned to their roots" with the record, the minimal instrumentation, rough mix, tough blues and "garage" rock hybrid bear certain similarities to the style of contemporary artists like the White Stripes and the Black Keys.
Many songs were recorded with just the core band of Jagger, Richards and Watts. Ronnie Wood was absent from many sessions, playing on only ten of the sixteen tracks, with only occasional contributions from outside musicians comprising the recording of the album. This is also the first album where Jagger plays bass guitar on some tracks.
The Stones said in a statement that the album's title reflects "their fascination with the scientific theory about the origin of the universe."
The first single, "Streets of Love"/"Rough Justice", reached No. 15 in the UK singles chart, while A Bigger Bang peaked at No. 2 on the UK charts. Another song from the album was "Sweet Neo Con", which was critical of the conservative Christian movement in American politics.
In August 2005, the Rolling Stones embarked on the 90-show A Bigger Bang Tour in support of the album. It was met with sold-out tickets at every destination, usually within minutes of going on sale. The tour was extended into 2007 because Richards got hurt falling out of a tree in Fiji and required surgery in New Zealand. It concluded on August 2007 at the O2 Arena in London.
Critical reaction was mostly positive. The aggregate score of the album by Metacritic was rated 73 out of 100, categorizing the reviews as "generally favorable."A Bigger Bang was touted as the best Rolling Stones album in years. Nevertheless, all of the Stones albums since 1989's Steel Wheels had been similarly lauded, and many critics and fans felt that the Stones had yet to record a late-period album truly up to their high standards. It was chosen as one of Amazon.com's Top 100 Editor's Picks of 2005, and ranked the second-best album of the year by Rolling Stone magazine, behind rapper Kanye West's Late Registration.
A Bigger Bang went platinum in the US and Germany, and gold in Japan. According to Nielsen SoundScan it sold 546,000 copies in the US, and as of 31 March 2006, 2.4 million copies worldwide according to EMI.
In 2009, A Bigger Bang was reissued by Universal Music Group. The US re-release was handled by Interscope Records, while Polydor Records handled all other territories.
Darryl Jones – bass guitar on "Rough Justice", "Let Me Down Slow", "It Won't Take Long", "Rain Fall Down", "Streets of Love", "Biggest Mistake", "Oh No, Not You Again", "Laugh, I Nearly Died", "Look What the Cat Dragged In", and "Driving Too Fast"
Chuck Leavell – piano on "Rough Justice", "Streets of Love" and "Driving Too Fast", organ on "It Won't Take Long", "Streets of Love" and "Biggest Mistake"
Matt Clifford – programming; keyboards and vibraphone on "Rain Fall Down"; piano, organ, and strings on "Streets of Love"