In the summer of ’71, The Rolling Stones, seeking shelter from their UK tax woes, exiled to the South of France. Keith Richards set up house with Anita Pallenberg and their son Marlon in Villa Nellcôte– a 16 room waterfront mansion that once served as Gestapo headquarters for the Nazis during WWII. The infamy continued with it now best remembered among rock fans as the grand flop-house where Exile On Main Street was recorded.
French photographer Dominique Tarle chronicled perhaps the most notorious house party ever, and had full access to goings-on over a period of six crazy months. He later recounted to the New York Times– ”They built a studio in the basement of Keith’s house because the band knew it would be easiest for Keith,” says Dominique Tarlé, who had an all-access pass inside the villa for six months. “Engineers and technicians slept over, illegal power lines from the French railway system juiced their instruments, and when the temperature hit 100, they rehearsed with their pants off. A carnival of characters paraded through– Terry Southern, Gram Parsons, John Lennon, even a tribal band from Bengal… dope dealers from Marseille; petty thieves, who stole most of the drugs and half the furniture; and hangers-on, all of them there to witness what was happening.”