The '90s were a transformative time for the Rolling Stones. Not long after the release of 1991's Flashpoint live album, original bassist Bill Wyman exited the band, permanently trimming the lineup down to a quartet.

Rather than being slowed by Wyman's departure, however, the shake-up helped them turn in their strongest studio effort in more than a decade. Voodoo Lounge, released on July 3, 1994, was the first Rolling Stones album with new bassist Darryl Jones, who had been hired that March after an extensive search.

A veteran of Sting's The Dream of the Blue Turtles album, Jones was also a protege of Miles Davis – and that jazz background reportedly appealed to Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts. Jones had laid down some tracks during the initial sessions in Ireland in the fall of 1993, but didn't learn he had the job until he was called to help put some finishing touches in Los Angeles a few months later.

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"One night I went down to the studio, and met Keith [Richards], who asked if I’d seen Charlie," he said. "I said no, then he says, ‘Charlie asked me if we were going to play with you? We’ve auditioned all those guys, chose you to play on the record – I don’t think we’re now gonna go choose someone else.’ Charlie said, ‘Maybe someone should tell him!’ So I’m telling you, you’re gonna go with us,’ and that was the first I heard of it!"

The Rolling Stones also enlisted Don Was to help assemble their first studio record since 1989's Steel Wheels. The former Was (Not Was) bassist had recently helmed successful albums by Bonnie Raitt, Bob Seger and Jackson Browne.

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Was told Rolling Stone magazine that he was invited to discuss the possibility producing the album, only to be given a lecture from Richards on why the group really didn't need a producer. He conceded that he wouldn't be producing the Stones but thought to himself: "At least I've got something to tell my grandchildren."

Of course, Was did eventually come on board for the making of Voodoo Lounge. Was told Sound on Sound that his role was only to help identify the strongest songs, rather than trying to force his concept of what a Rolling Stones record should be.

"I never felt that my job was to impose creative concepts on them, but just to help distill the wealth of ideas that they had," Was said. "I would point things out if I didn't think something was going to work, but I didn't think it was my position to say, 'Here, Keith, give me your guitar for a minute. I'll show you what to play.' That would be like grabbing the sax from Charlie Parker! Keith's got so many ideas and they're all so original that I couldn't come up with them in 100 years. That's the amazing thing – the simplicity of what he does is so deceptive. There's so much happening within a few notes."

The Rolling Stones had certainly endured their share of internal band strife in the decade prior to Voodoo Lounge. They were in total disarray during the making of Dirty Work, leading to what was perhaps their lowest of moments.

Richards acknowledged that the Rolling Stones had come through those rough waters, and felt that Voodoo Lounge was the first record in a significant amount of time where they were operating as a cohesive unit. "To not just sound like the Stones but be them," he told Rolling Stone. "Like I told Mick, 'You gotta play a lot of harp' – because with the Stones, that was one of the original instruments. And his phrasing is so uncanny on the harp, if that can roll over onto the vocals. After all, it's just pushing air out of your mouth."

Voodoo Lounge was the Rolling Stones' opportunity to prove that they could indeed still rock, despite being elder statesmen. The album's first single "Love Is Strong" featured an accompanying eye-catching video – and some great bluesy harmonica. Another of the album's tracks, "You Got Me Rocking," became a staple of the Rolling Stones' dynamic live show. Even the HBO television show The Sopranos acknowledged the coolness of Voodoo Lounge, featuring "Thru and Thru" in its second season finale in 2000.

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Voodoo Lounge may have seen the band working together better than they had in years, but Jagger nonetheless revealed mixed feelings about the record more than a year after its release – in particular Was' decisions.

"I think it’s a good frame of reference of what the Rolling Stones were about during that quite limited time in Ireland in that year," he said during in-depth interview with Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner. "It’s very much a kind of time-and-place album. In that way, I was quite pleased with the results. But there were a lot of things that we wrote for Voodoo Lounge that Don steered us away from: Groove songs, African influences and things like that. And he steered us very clear of all that – and I think it was a mistake."

In his defense, Was said he was "certainly not anti-groove, just anti-groove without substance in the context of this album. They had a number of great grooves, but it was like, 'Okay, what goes on top of it? Where does it go?' I just felt that it's not what people were looking for from the Stones. I was looking for a sign that they can get real serious about this, still play better than anybody and write better than anybody."

Despite Jagger's issues with Was at the time, they appeared to have mended fences. Was continued as a steady presence with the Rolling Stones. Voodoo Lounge might not have completely met Jagger's expectations, but the multi-platinum album became the band's first No. 1 record in their native Britain since 1980's Emotional Rescue. An international tour grossed hundreds of millions of dollars over 117 dates performed on six continents.

The record also earned a Grammy award for Best Rock Album, while the video for "Love Is Strong" won for Best Short Form Music Video. Amazingly, these were the Rolling Stones' first-ever Grammys, even though they were given a lifetime achievement award in 1986.

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