The Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger (vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards, vibraphone, bass guitar, percussion); Keith Richards (guitar, piano, bass guitar, background vocals); Ron Wood (guitar); Darryl Jones (bass guitar); Charlie Watts (drums).Personnel: Keith Richards (vocals, keyboards, percussion); Mick Jagger (slide guitar, background vocals); Ron Wood (slide guitar); Matt Clifford (strings, piano, organ).Additional personnel: Chuck Leavell (piano, organ); Don Was (piano); Matt Clifford (keyboards, vibraphone, programming); Lenny Castro (percussion); Blondie Chaplin (background vocals).Audio Mixers: Krish Sharma; Dave Sardy; Jack Joseph Puig.Recording information: France; St. Vincent, St. Vincent.Editor: J.D. Andrew.Illustrator: Nick Knight.Photographer: Nick Knight.In 2005, given their advanced age and the seemingly endless trajectory of their rollercoaster career, it is hard to believe that the Rolling Stones would have energy enough to remain standing, much less create an album of new, inspired, and vital material. But the World's Greatest Rock Band have been challenging assumptions since their earliest days, and with 2005's A BIGGER BANG, their first studio record since 1997's BRIDGES TO BABYLON, they surprise yet again by returning to classic form with all guns blazing.For starters, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are writing together again, and the album's 16 songs show a return to the revved-up, bluesy sound of the immortal STICKY FINGERS and EXILE ON MAIN STREET. Like those albums, this one bears potent doses of raw Chicago blues ("Back of My Hand"), honky-tonk balladry ("This Place is Empty"), mid-tempo melodic rock ("Let Me Down Slow"), simmering soul ("Laugh, I Nearly Died"), and barnstorming rock ("Rough Justice"), but what impresses most is how energized and fierce the band sounds, with churning rhythms, rollicking guitar riffs, and Mick yowling like it's 1971. A BIGGER BANG is the Stones' best and most cohesive effort since 1981's TATTOO YOU.