There were several videos directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg for this album including: Reviews for Tattoo You were largely positive, proclaiming the album a return to form and ranking among the Rolling Stones' finest works.
Debra Rae Cohen commented in Rolling Stone: "Just when we might finally have lost patience, the new record dances (not prances), rocks (not jives) onto the scene, and the Rolling Stones are back again, with a matter-of-fact acceptance of their continued existence – and eventual mortality …" Though Robert Christgau gave the album a good review, however, when criticising "Start Me Up" in his Pazz and Jop essay in 1981, said, "its central conceit – Mick as sex machine, complete with pushbutton – explains why the album it starts up never transcends hand-tooled excellence except when Sonny Rollins, uncredited, invades the Stones' space.
The album proved to be both a critical and commercial success upon release, reaching the top of the Billboard charts, selling more than four million copies in the United States alone and over 8.5 million copies worldwide.
Tattoo You is an album primarily composed of outtakes from previous recording sessions, some dating back a decade, with new vocals and overdubs.
Guitarist Keith Richards commented in 1993: "The thing with Tattoo You wasn't that we'd stopped writing new stuff, it was a question of time.
Jagger said in a 1995 interview, "It wasn't all outtakes; some of it was old songs... A lot of them didn't have anything, which is why they weren't used at the time – because they weren't complete.
They were just bits, or they were from early takes".
Despite the eclectic nature of the album, the Rolling Stones were able to divide Tattoo You into two distinct halves: a rock and roll side backed with one focusing on ballads.
The earliest songs used for Tattoo You are "Tops" and "Waiting on a Friend".