Reviewing the Rolling Stones

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  1. #1

    Smile Reviewing the Rolling Stones

    Finally, I’ve come around to reviewing the Beatles’ arch rivals, the Rolling Stones. While the Beatles originally generated somewhat of a clean cut image despite their longish hair, the Rolling Stones sported a dirty image that showed in their R&B output at the time. And that’s what separated the two most successful bands in rock history in a way. While the Beatles were stretching the limits, musically speaking, the Stones were belting out straightforward rock and roll which gave them the deserved nickname as the World’s Greatest Rock n Roll band.
    So, I’ll be reviewing (hopefully) every studio song the Rolling Stones released from the beginning to today. This may take awhile since, unlike the Beatles, I’m going to have to relisten to a lot of the Stones’ music and, after Tattoo You, maybe hear Stones songs for the first time. Yeah, it’s that ambitious. So this may not be a daily thing, especially later on, but I’m determined to complete this thing, then I’ll have to figure out who to review next.

    The first installment to come soon.


    SOME GIRLS: 1/2
    TATTOO YOU: 1/2
    DIRTY WORK: 1/2
    Last edited by mrmustard615; November 14th, 2019 at 01:48 PM.
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  2. #2

    IN THE BEGINNING 1961-1962

    Thanks to the Rolling Stones Chronicle web page for reference

    The Rolling Stones story really starts in 1949 when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards meet and become childhood friends. It would last for three years or so when Keithís family move to a tougher part of Dartford. Meanwhile all five future Stones would find various interests in music by the mid 1950s. Independently of each other, Charlie Watts will take up the drums while Jagger becomes friends with Dick Taylor, an important figure in the Rolling Stonesí formation. Meanwhile, Bill Wyman, in the RAF forms a skiffle group and Brian Jones is learning a variety of different instruments and develops an interest in jazz. Finally, Keith Richards would take up the guitar in late 1958.

    So by 1960, the five future Rolling Stones had developed an interest in blues (Jagger and Richards), jazz (Jones and Watts) or straight out rock and roll (Wyman who, by the end of 1960, had formed the Cliftons). Speaking of Bill Wyman, he switched to bass with the Cliftons in 1961.

    The story of the Rolling Stones takes a critical turn when Mick Jagger reunites with Keith Richards and they discover their shared love of blues. Jagger introduces Richards to Dick Taylor and, with Bob Beckwith, form Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. Brian Jones, in the meantime, gets connected with Alexis Korner and his Blues Incorporated by early 1962. Coincidentally, Charlie Watts joins Blues Incorporated and it is at one their shows where he meets Brian Jones. They begin playing together when they meet Jagger and Richards, again at a Blues Incorporated show. Now four members of the still future Stones are playing off and on with Blues Incorporated, honing their craft. Brian Jones adds Ian Stewart and the beginnings of what will become the Rolling Stones are formed.

    So that leaves the question of where Bill Wyman is in all of this. Well, The Cliftonís drummer answers an ad to join this new band, still called Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, which also includes Dick Taylor. It was through him that Bill Wyman would join the band which, by then, will have been christened the Rolling Stones.

    But before that, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys decide on a name change. And yes, they become the Rolling Stones. At this point, the summer of 1962, they are a straight out blues band. This works for a few months when Dick Taylor leaves, leaving the band without a bass player. Taylor, incidentally, will go on to form the Pretty Things. And by the end of 1962, Charlie Watts would leave Blues Incorporated, thus making him available to the Rolling Stones who were also looking for a permanent drummer (Mick Avory, who would later play with the Kinks, was one of the drummers that didnít work out as well as the Cliftonsí ex-drummer).

    So in the backdrop of all that, we can review, at least in part, a couple periods in 1962 that involved Jagger, Richards, Jones, Stewart, and Taylor just before he left plus whoever they could get to play drums.

    Early recordings at Dick Taylorís house

    This is rather incomplete to be certain but you can hear there is a bit of polish already. Itís obvious the Rolling Stones have practiced a bit already. There doesnít seem to be a drummer until Johnny B Goode. Essentially, they sound like a high school garage band at this point and you canít really gauge the greatness that will soon be thrust upon them, plus donít forget, theyíre missing Watts and Wyman here. The best of these tracks appears to be Go On To School, the Jimmy Reed cover.

    Oct 1962 demos

    (Close Together, Soon Forgotten, You Canít Judge a Book By Its Cover)

    The Rolling Stones paid money to enter a studio for the first time at Curly Claytonís studio. They recorded three songs but apparently all I could find on YouTube was a scratchy acetate of Bo Diddleyís You Canít Judge a Book By Its Cover. Pity because the song sounds pretty good. I can only imagine the treatment they would have given Muddy Waters, who they worshipped, and Jimmy Reed who, of course, they already had covered and quite well. Of course they will cover Muddy Waters.

    But for now, anything can happen in the future. By now, Bill Wyman has filled in at bass for the Stones though he isnít a fully fledged member yet, nor is Charlie Watts, who the Stones think is way out of their league and will cost too much despite a mutual affection for each other. But surprises are on the horizon and, with the next installment, we will be reviewing the first bonafide Rolling Stones singles.

    So stay tuned.
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  3. #3


    In early 1963, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts became permanent members of the Rolling Stones. They would also sign with young impresario Andrew Loog Oldham as their manager. He would convince the Stones to dump Ian Stewart and make the band a five piece. Surprisingly, Stewart, despite his R&B background, was agreeable and the Stones, who didnít want Stewart out of the band to begin with, kept him on as their road manager and occasional keyboardist, a role he would keep until his death in 1985. In the meantime, the Rolling Stones became a hot attraction in the London R&B scene by early 1963. They were fired from the Marquee Club for asking for more money. It didnít matter, because Dick Rowe of Decca Records, the man who infamously turned down the Beatles, would not make the same mistake twice. He signed the Rolling Stones and they would record their first singles this year.

    So the Rolling Stones were on their way. Oldham engineered a meeting with John Lennon and Paul McCartney of the now popular Beatles. They gave them I Wanna Be Your Man, which would become a top twenty hit in England. By the end of the year, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards would be writing together and they would soon be recording originals with their R&B and blues covers. They would also be enjoying the first of many concert tours starting with a theatre tour of Great Britain. Everything seemed to be looking up for the lads.

    So how did their material fare in this, their first year as a recording group? Well, letís find out.
    The IBC Demos

    Iím not sure how the Rolling Stones came to recording five demos at IBC studios in March 1963. Giorgio Gomelsky, who was their unofficial manager at that time, may very well been trying to secure the Stones a recording contract. In any event these are the first legitimate recordings by the Rolling Stones even though there was no recording contract yet.

    Diddley Daddy: The first of two Bo Diddley covers and probably the best track on this demo. Some nice harmonica work and background vocals. Ian Stewart is on the piano.

    Road Runner: The other Diddley cover and a bit more recent than Diddley Daddy, having been released in 1960. Not as good as Diddley Daddy but certainly not a bad rendition.

    Bright Lights Bright City: The Jimmy Reed cover. You may sense that the Stones really liked Reed at this point. You can hear Stewart and the piano again. Itís a nice bluesy number and does Reed justice.

    Baby Whatís Wrong: A nice Jimmy Reed cover. Jagger sounds like heís being double tracked here. Some great guitar work and steady drumming by Watts here. This would have worked very well on an early Stonesí album.

    I Want To Be Loved: This is the Muddy Waters cover. This is another artist the Stones idolized. I donít think this works too well, mainly because they would do other songs that would do Waters better justice. Not terrible but not the strongest track on this set.

    1963 singles

    Come On: The Rolling Stonesí debut single on Decca is a workable Chuck Berry cover. Itís sort of note by note a replica of Berryís original only with Jagger singing. A decent song but pretty average by Stones standards

    I Want To Be Loved: The official single version of the Muddy Waters song. This is a slightly more polished version and it works a little better than on the IBC demo. You may also notice that the piano is missing here and Jonesí guitar work sounds a little different, better.

    I Wanna Be Your Man: The classic Stones cover that the Beatles had given them. Ironically, the Beatles had released their own version right about the same time, giving it to Ringo. I guess in a way Iím comparing apples and oranges here but I think I like the Stonesí version better. It has a harder edge and Jones plays a mean lead guitar. An early favorite.

    Stoned: This was an from an impromptu session as they didnít have anything for the B side. So they came up with this instrumental piece with Jagger saying Stoned at certain points. Itís also the first song with the Nanker Phelge songwriting label, something they would do a total of seven times. Itís certainly workable but nothing to write home about.

    Nanker Phelge

    Nanker Phelge was a pseudonym Brian Jones came up with when all of the Stones were involved with writing a song. At this point, Jagger and Richards were only beginning to write songs and the others never would be a factor in songwriting. Even Bill Wyman, who would write In Another Land years later, wasnít especially prominent as a songwriter and Jones didnít write at all save a jingle for Rice Krispies. So they came up with Nanker Phelge so all, including Ian Stewart as the unofficial sixth Rolling Stone, could share in the profits. Andrew Loog Oldham would claim it was a scheme by Allan Klein, who by then had signed on as business manager for Oldham to share in the royalties. Incidentally, Klein will be an interesting character in the Rolling Stones saga as he would be quite notorious in time. For now though Nanker Phelge would exist until 1965 when everything was from then on would be Jagger-Richards.

    So thatís about it for the Rolling Stones in 1963. 1964 will prove to be a promising and busy year as their dirty up their image even more and be part of the British wave that sweeps America. So stay tuned for the next installment.
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  4. #4
    I did actually see them play many moons ago at the Knebworth festival in the UK. It was August, 1976 and we were at the back end of the second consecutive summer of heat. We don't often have baking summers in England, but two in a row is practically unheard of. There was quite a line-up with 10cc, Todd Rundgren, Lynyrd Skynyrd (a few weeks before their plane went down), and others. Hot Tuna springs to mind as well, but that may be my memory playing tricks.

    Six of us went there complete with backpacks and made the journey across London to grab a train to Stevenage, the closest station to the festival. Anyone jumping out at Knebworth faced a far longer walk. At least it was easy to bum the trains in those days - fares were a waste of good scoring money.

    The field containing the stage was a natural amphitheatre, undoubtedly why it was chosen, and the stage was shaped like a large open mouth with a protruding tongue for performers to strut on.

    We only had a little weed and more was hard to come by, but there was a guy going around in a pink hooded gown who was selling acid, so we settled for six tabs - one each. I even remember they were 75p each, but that was an hour's pay in those days. We delayed dropping them so that we would be peaking when The Stones came on (usually about three hours from drop to peak), but we were thwarted because a dodgy P.A. system meant they performed late. We were so off our faces we thought the screeches from the P.A. were some musical enhancement. It was quite a weekend.

  5. #5


    1964 would be a transformative year for the Rolling Stones. They recorded their first album early in the year and their popularity began to grow to the point that London records in America began releasing Rolling Stones records. Jagger and Richards were still new at songwriting, but their abilities were growing at a rapid pace. Their image as unkempt cretins compared to the more clean cut Beatles was a brainstorm of Andrew Loog Oldhamís who was doubling as both manager and record producer. In fact, he had his own orchestra to play their own versions of Rolling Stones songs, something that I sense annoyed the five.

    In June of 1964, the Rolling Stones embarked on their first tour of the US. They endured a strange introduction by Dean Martin on the Hollywood Palace, and they made recordings in Los Angeles and Chicago, the latter at the famous Chess Studios. By the end of summer, Stones concerts would be marked by riots in Europe. Their fan base also differed from the Beatles to some extent as boys were be the ones who would flock to the stage quite often.

    In the fall of 1964, The Stones would again tour America, this time appearing on Ed Sullivan, no doubt to his chagrin (though they would make several appearances between 1964 and 1967). They recorded more tracks at Chess Studio for their second album and Time Is On My Side was near the top of the US charts. The Rolling Stones were big time stars now and their unkempt image seemed to be working for them.

    And their musical output in 1964 would become the stuff of legend. It was a mixture of blues and rock covers and Jagger- Richards originals. With an album a pair of EPs and some singles, there is a lot to cover, so here we go.


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    Recorded in 1963, this would more or less be the follow up to the I Wanna Be Your Man single. At times it is every bit as gritty as you will note by these tracks.

    Bye Bye Johnny: The thing you notice about the Stones in these early days is the unique guitar work even as they do a good job of imitating Chuck Berry, whose song this is. You can hear a little bit more recording polish at this point but the quality is still a bit grimy. Itís a good version of Berry.

    Money: This is probably my favorite Rolling Stones cover. Itís pure blues in my opinion. The deep guitar work compliments the harmonica and Jaggerís vocals. Itís head and shoulders above the Beatlesí version, which I like a lot, and comes close to even topping the Barrett Strong original (my all time favorite Motown song by the way).

    You Better Move On: Arthur Alexander must have been very popular with the British Bands. The Beatles covered Anna, and Soldier of Love and Where Have You Been All My Life were in their Hamburg repertoire. The Rolling Stones cover this classic and itís a decent job. Probably not typical of the Stones at the time, but certainly not a bad track.

    Poison Ivy: The Coastersí cover, this one, like Money and Bye Bye Johnny, will show up on Hot Rocks Volume II a decade later. Itís not terrible but probably not the best Stones song ever.


    Fortune Teller: There are actually two versions of Fortune Teller, the Benny Spellman cover. Needless to say, the Stones version is a bit rougher that the Spellman soul version. Itís a nice cover but nothing special. It got some airplay on American radio in 1966.


    Not Fade Away: The third single and their first top five in Britain. This Buddy Holly cover was also the first single in America later in the year. It has something of a Bo Diddley vibe, not unsimilar to Hollyís version except this sounds a lot closer to Bo Diddley. Itís a decent version but they would get better.


    This was the first of many Rolling Stones albums. Marketed (mostly) as Englandís Newest Hitmakers in the United States at about the same time, the debut album is mostly covers with only three originals, two with the Nanker Phelge label and the first Jagger- Richards composition with Phil Spector sharing songwriting credits (at the time also listed as Nanker Phelge). Itís a solid album, especially by 1964 standards, but it was obvious the Stones hadnít established their full sound yet, much like the Beatles hadnít with Please Please Me the year before. Nevertheless a nice album for any collection.

    Route 66: The Bobby Troup classic that was going to reach fame in its own way and the Rolling Stones would have a big part in this. This was one of the most popular songs in the Stonesí early repertoire and it rolls along quite smoothly.

    I Just Want To Make Love To You: Another favorite of mine. This totally differs from the slow Muddy Waters version as this is more of a rave up. One thing for sure, Brian Jones is sure mastering the harmonica. Great song.

    Honest I Do: Another Jimmy Reed cover. This is a bit bluesy as it should be. Somehow I think Reedís version would be a little bit better though. Fits in well with the album.

    Mona: Another Bo Diddley classic. I think by now you may notice the Stones keep going back to their favorite artists (Muddy Waters , Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley). This shows how influential these artists were to them. A decent song, not their best, but, like Honest I Do, fits in with the album.

    Now I Got a Witness: An instrumental and obviously an answer song to Marvin Gayeís Can I Get a Witness, this Nanker Phelge composition, Iím thinking, is a filler track. Itís okay, but Green Onions it isnít.

    Little By Little: This song has a story. Phil Spector is listed as a co-writer with ďNanker PhelgeĒ. He happened to be in the studio when they recorded this. Gene Pitney is on piano on this track. Pitney would also record a version of the Jagger-Richards composition That Girl Belongs To Yesterday. Nice track.

    Iím a King Bee: The Slim Harpo classic and, yes, I love the original. The Stones do great justice with this one. Watts does a nice beat on this and the guitar work by Richards is rather inspired. Another favorite.

    Carol: A Chuck Berry cover and one of the better tracks. Iím amazed more bands didnít cover this as this one is pretty hard to screw up. The Stones certainly donít.

    Tell Me: Finally, an actual Jagger-Richards composition. Itís pretty simple in form. Itís a bit catchy with ďTell me youíre gonna get back to me.Ē Itís a decent start for the songwriting partnership. This would be the first top forty hit for the Stones in the US.

    Can I Get a Witness: Piano again is being used on this Motown cover. Jagger does a good job with the lyrics but somehow, I donít think this works that well as a Stonesí song.

    You Can Make It If You Try: The Gene Allison cover. I donít think this was originally that big a hit for Gene Alison but obviously the Stones liked it. In any event, itís not a bad version. Lots of organ on this one.

    Walking the Dog: The Stones finish with pizzazz with this Rufus Thomas cover with the whistles and all. This is a very good version with some good percussion and bass on this one.

    So the Rolling Stones had their first album in the books. London released it with a few variations as Englandís Newest Hitmakers in the US and the Stones would have their first footing in the American market. They only had upwards to go.

    Interlude: The Rice Krispies Jingle

    For whatever reason, Kelloggís commissioned the Rolling Stones to write a jingle for one of their commercials in Britain. This is the one and only composition by Brian Jones. It is done in the Stonesí style and it really isnít that bad. The commercial itself, wellÖ


    Itís All Over Now: Written by Bobby Womack, this would be the Rolling Stonesí first number one in England. It would peak at number twenty-six in the US. I really like the guitar work on this one and you can sense the Stones are beginning to grow a little professionally on this one.

    Good Times Bad Times: A Jagger-Richards composition and a bit better than Tell Me. Itís a slower bluesy tune. Kind of country based in some ways. Itís one of the few Stonesí songs you could mellow out to at this time period. I like this song.


    This second EP was the result of the first Chicago recordings and you can hear the energy on some of these tracks. Andrew Loog Oldham wrote the liner notes. Two Nanker Phelge tracks compliment three covers on this rather clever EP.

    If You Need Me: The Wilson Pickett cover. Do you notice the Stones tend to do covers that seem out of the norm compared to the other British Invasion groups? The Animals had that knack too to be fair. Itís nice, kind of soulful. This had been a number two hit for Solomon Burke a year before.

    Empty Heart: Nanker Phelge is at it again. This is definitely one of my favorite early Stonesí songs. Love the vibrating guitar. Richards is obviously already experimenting with guitar sounds. This song has a lot of energy and Watts really keeps the beat going. You can already hear what a great drummer he was/is.

    2120 South Michigan Avenue: Another Nanker Phelge instrumental. This sounds a little loungey in a good way. Probably the result of a jam session, 2120 Michigan Ave is where the Stones recorded in Chicago.

    Confessin the Blues: This is definitely a blues cover and from Jay McShann at that. They do this one justice to be sure and I can say this without actually having heard the original (not yet anyway).

    Around and Around: Another Chuck Berry cover, the Stones liked to play this in their live shows. I can see why, itís almost as good as their version of Carol. I think Berry may have been their biggest influence along with Muddy Waters. They are the two artists the Stones seem to mention the most.

    Late 1964 Single Tracks

    Congratulations: It is the flip side of Time Is On My Side which will be on Rolling Stones No.2. This is an original Jagger-Richards composition. Itís kind of a bitter song in some ways. Itís a slow paced song with some acoustic sounding guitars thrown it. A little countryish. Pretty cool song.

    Little Red Rooster: Off the Hook, off No.2, is the B-side of this single. This was the Sam Cooke cover and itís a nice blues standard in a sense. Itís poignant in a way as Cooke would be shot dead just a month after this release. Cooke had matured quite a bit to the point where the Stones could record one of his songs to begin with. Somehow I donít think Another Saturday Night would have worked for example. This one does, but I sense this should have been the B-side.

    There would be three songs recorded off the US 12x5 that hadnít been released in England yet, but since theyíre on No.2 next year, weíll hold off on them until then. But firstÖ

    Interlude: The TAMI Show

    Towards the end of the year and during the Stonesí second US trip, they made an appearance on what was known as the TAMI show in which a movie would be made from. The Stonesí happened to be the main attraction and I remember seeing the excitement they were creating (I saw the video). It was actually the first time I heard Off the Hook, one of my favorite Stonesí songs (weíll get to that next year). You can see how Jagger can bring the fans to their knees with his gyrations. It was also fun to see the contrast to see Jagger bouncing around while the other members, and Bill Wyman in particular, just seemingly standing in one place. It was a fun thing to see. Another interesting tidbit is that they finished the show with Bo Diddleyís Iím Alright as the dancers and other bands crowded the stage. Iím Alright was a song the Stones played at a lot of their concerts. It was a good way for the Rolling Stones to end the year and one could see how their star was on the rise.

    But the star was about to rise even higher. By summer they would emerge as the Beatlesí biggest rivals, both critically and commercially. And youíll see why when I review 1965 in the next installment. Stay tuned.
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  6. #6
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    The Rolling Stones were a great band and wrote some classic songs, but Mick Jagger can't carry a tune to save his life. For that reason, they suck live. And who the hell wants to see him prancing around the stage? Of course, that's just my opinion. Die hard fans don't seem to mind.

    That was one thing the Beatles had over the Stones: Paul and John were great singers--especially when they sang together. Hell, they could even sing on key when they couldn't even hear themselves over all the screaming.

  7. #7

    1965 (part one).

    1965 would be another growing year for the Stones as they, like many artists at the time, would be starting to expand their musical horizons. The year started with them still playing R&B tunes but Jagger-Richards compositions were becoming more common. When Satisfaction was released in June, it signaled the Rolling Stones as a major force in the rock n roll annals. Satisfaction would be the number one song of the year in the US and Get Off My Cloud would also be a number one smash. Songs that were in more of an experimental mode would include Play With Fire, Satisfaction, and As Tears Go By.

    The year started out with a tour of Australia. Meanwhile, the Stones would reinforce their bad boy image when Bill Wyman and Brian Jones were busted for peeing on a wall in North London. More concert tours and TV appearances were the norm this year and they would record more cuts in Los Angeles. During it all they would get to meet some of their blues idols like Howlin Wolf and Son House. Towards the end of the year, Brian Jones would meet Anita Pallenburg and a love triangle between them and Keith Richards would reach the gossip pages. At the same time, Mick Jagger was courting pop star Marianne Faithful, who had had a hit with the Jagger-Richards composition As Tears Go By. Andrew Loog Oldham had the Stones filmed in Ireland during a tour that he had hoped to show sometime in 1966, alas it has only recently been released. And by the end of the year, they would be introduced to acid and will be on the verge of expanding their musical horizons even more after the release of the Beatlesí Rubber Soul.

    So, indeed, 1965 would be prove to be quite interesting, and fruitful, for these unkempt lads. So letís get on with the music, shall we?


    January 1965 saw the release of the Rolling Stonesí second album in Britain, aptly named Rolling Stones No.2. Like the first album, the album consisted of mostly covers along with three Jagger-Richards originals. The Glimmer Twins were still trying to find their footing as songwriters and only Off The Hook would be especially memorable. Still, their covers, at least the best ones, hold up well to the debut album and is a good buy for a fan of early Rolling Stones (which I happen to be).

    Everybody Needs Somebody To Love: The Solomon Burke classic. It is a bit long. The Stones would later get into an occasional groove of long jam type sessions on their songs. This one isnít bad, but thereíll be better examples of the jam technique.

    Down Home Girl: I had to check who originally recorded this Leiber-Stoller composition. Apparently this was originally done by Alvin Robinson on the Red Bird label. More of a medium paced song. Jagger is trying to be sounding soulful like the original, but this may not have been the right song for this. Still a solid track though.

    You Canít Catch Me: A great Chuck Berry cover. I know this one for sure. Some great guitar work and, frankly, Jagger is a better vocalist than Berry, so this one compares quite favorably to the original. At least they didnít make the mistake of not crediting. ďHere Comes Old Flat Top, ď to Berry.

    Time is On My Side: There are actually two versions of this classic. The single version with the organ intro and the album version here with the guitar intro. I originally heard the guitar intro first on Hot Rocks but the radio always played the cruder, organ based version. Originally recorded by Irma Franklin early in 1964, I have to say I prefer the cruder Stones version. I think thereís more of an earthiness to it. I also really like Irma Franklinís version but thatís for another thread I think.

    What a Shame: A Jagger-Richards original. A great lead guitar guides this tune. This track, in some ways, shadows what Jagger in particular would sound like when they finally hit their standard sound in the late sixties. Iím really liking this album at this point.

    Grown Up Wrong: Another Jagger-Richards composition, this one borrows a bit from the blues with the slide guitar being the main attraction here. Probably the weakest of the originals and I donít think critics liked this one, but it sounds okay to me.

    Down the Road Apiece: This was a cover from 1940 of all things. Needless to say this is totally different. Itís also very good, kind of like a fifties rock standard. It rolls along nicely and a good way to start the second side.

    Under the Boardwalk: I never really liked this version that much. The Stones never should have tried to cover the Drifters in my opinion. To me, this song falls a bit flat for me and maybe this does need strings like the Drifters had and, letís face it, strings donít work well with the Stones. Probably my least favorite song on the album.

    I Canít Be Satisfied: Well you knew they were going to cover Muddy Waters sometime. Like the original, the slide guitar is prominent. I canít help but think that you canít top the great blues artist though. Itís certainly listenable but I canít say this is a favorite.

    Pain in My Heart: And here starts the love affair with Otis Redding. Heíll be a prominent figure again later- and soon. Unfortunately, Jagger is no Otis Redding. They do the best they can with this track, but it honestly doesnít wow me that much.

    Off the Hook: This is one of my favorite Rolling Stones songs and certainly my favorite on this album. Originally released as the B-side to Little Red Rooster, this song, perhaps more than any other Jagger-Richards composition to date, showed some confidence in what would be a very fruitful songwriting team. The song has a great beat as well as a cool bass line. It might be a little pop by Stones standards, but so what? Itís a great song, period.

    Suzie Q: The album finishes up with a raucous version of the Dale Hawkins original. This is a song that had a few notable covers, most notably from Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1968. Of course the original is the best, but I take the Stones version over CCR. For one think I like how the song seems to change beats and , well, it just rocks. One of my favorite songs on the album.

    From the Rolling Stones Now (US)

    Surprise Surprise: This was left off No.2 apparently. Jagger-Richards wrote this one and I can see why it didnít make the cut, instead it was placed on the American Rolling Stones Now LP. Not a very strong song to be honest. I think they were trying to do American soul here.


    The Last Time: I absolutely love this song. Easily among my top five Rolling Stones songs, I love the jangly guitar work on this track. As usual, Watts keeps a steady pace and that has a lot to do with the greatness of this song

    Play With Fire: This one is interesting. Phil Spector is again involved with this Nanker Phelge production, with echo and harpischrord by Jack Nitzschke complimenting the piece. Probably the most ambitious Rolling Stones song to date and one of their best. I also love the lyrics which are basically put downs of some little rich girl. Really cool song- should have been an A side in its own right (though not here).

    So this ends part one as 1965 was such a big year for these Stones. Stay tune for the next installment where we cover the biggest hit in Rolling Stones history- and then some.
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  8. #8
    I was originally a Beatles fan, but as I've gotten older I can appreciate the Stones. Of course, I think Jagger and I are the same age and he just had another kid a few years ago. And the fact that they just keep going. They must be drinking the same water as Tom Brady (Captain America).
    "Self-righteousness never straddles the political fence."


    "The bible says to love your neighbor. It's obvious that over the centuries it has been interpreted as the opposite."
    (sarcasm alert)


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  9. #9

    1965 (part two)

    I probably should have saved some of my intro to late 1965 to put here, but no matter. This is the part where the Stones solidify their standing as the biggest threat to the Beatles’ crown. Unfortunately, despite a couple real classics during this period, this half doesn’t seem to have the same energy the first half of 1965 did. Nevertheless, the Rolling Stones have their moments, so here we go

    (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction: A lot of history goes with this, the Rolling Stones’ most famous song. Keith Richards said he was dreaming of the famous riff and he recorded the riff on a cassette player. Soon the basic refrain of I Can’t Get No Satisfaction was written and a true classic was born. The song is led by a fuzz lead guitar throughout and the bass is also quite evident. Jagger’s vocals are never better as he sneers about commercialism. It’s actually some of the best lyrics ever written by Jagger and Richards. I like the song, but honestly, I don’t put it among my very favorites. As of 1965, my favorite song would still be The Last Time. But I can see why this would become the Rolling Stones’ signature song and would also be the number one song in America in 1965.

    Incidentally, this is where the rest of the Otis Redding story comes in. During this period, he would write perhaps his own greatest song, Respect, covered by Aretha Franklin of course. But he also would record a cover of Satisfaction in 1966. That version was so good, people thought the Rolling Stones were covering him (and they did cover Pain In My Heart and That’s How Strong My Love Is). It was a compliment to both Redding and the Rolling Stones.

    Live interlude- Got Live if You Want It EP (UK)

    This is the first of countless live collections from the Rolling Stones over the years. I have no doubt the Stones were trying to be at their best here perhaps knowing this would be released as some sort of live set. I think that’s the rub against live albums; you’re not going to hear just some ordinary show. I think that’s why I’m not into live albums in general (though I have a feeling I’ll be starting a live thread one of these days). I mean, if I want to hear a band live, wouldn’t it be better to actually see them? Otherwise, the studio version will just do fine.

    Having said that, I have to say there is a lot of energy in this EP and you can hear the obvious popularity from the screams in the audience. One nit; this is not a continuous recording as you can hear the three second gap between Route 66 and I’m Movin On, a nice rendition of the Hank Snow classic incidentally. I also have a feeling the Beatles fans were a bit more frantic circa 1965.

    Interlude- from US Out of Our Heads

    Quickie review

    You know, London tried by adding the big hits like The Last Time, Play With Fire, and the big smash, Satisfaction but it still falls flat. This was actually the first Rolling Stones album I bought and I have to say, I was disappointed. They threw in the live I’m Alright from the Got Live EP for good measure and it’s decent but the studio tracks outside of the singles, well, check out my review of the actual Out of Our Heads LP coming up.

    Spider and the Fly: This song honestly doesn’t impress me. They played up this song a lot on the various Stones docs I read over the years but to me there isn’t that much to recommend. It certainly isn’t all that melodic and the lyrics are pretty mediocre. Anyway, I’m not impressed.

    One More Try: Another one that I could have written when I was a kid. Actually, maybe I did. I used to takes poems and put them to music and, believe me, they were some of the worst melodies ever. This song kind of sounds like that. I do like the harmonica though.


    So here we are with the British version and probably the way it was intended- sort of. Well, first of all, it appeared that the Stones didn’t have the same control over how their albums in the UK were organized like the Beatles did. For one thing, the reason I didn’t review Heart of Stone after the late 1964 release of the single is because of my desire to cover UK albums as they were meant to be track wise. Thus, only now will I be getting to that review. Add to the fact that none of the stronger Stones’ singles (besides Heart Of Stone) are on here, and you have the Stones’ weakest effort to date. Jagger and Richards still don’t have enough confidence to carry an album by themselves and there is no George Harrison to help with the songwriting chores, thus, the album, like the previous two, are chock full of covers. This will be the last such album though so let’s see what we come up with, shall we?

    She Said Yeah: This song, also covered by the Animals, was a Larry Williams original. I wasn’t crazy about the Beatles’ Larry Williams covers so why should I be here? Admittedly, She Said Yeah is a better choice for both the Animals (the better version) and the Stones, but, yeah, maybe they should have stuck with Muddy Waters.

    Mercy, Mercy: A workmanlike Don Covay cover, it certainly isn’t a bad track, but it certainly isn’t a song I think of when I think of (still) early Rolling Stones.

    Hitch Hike: The same thought with this track, a cover of the Marvin Gaye hit. This is their second shot at Marvin and probably the weaker of the two. You really wonder if the Stones were going through their contractual obligations on the record.

    That’s How Strong My Love Is: The second Otis Redding cover overall is probably the strongest track on this album so far. It does lack the brass that accentuated Redding’s version, but you can still tell there may be a love affair going with their American contemporary here.

    Good Times: Now it’s Sam Cooke’s turn. By now, Cooke was no longer with us and it’s possible this was a tribute of sorts to him. Like the other covers, it’s not terrible but they don’t seem to be taking any chances either. Brian Jones plays the acoustic guitar on this one.

    Gotta Get Away: Not a terrible song. It doesn’t really sound much like the Stones style even though it’s a Jagger-Richards original. Having said that, I like the soulful beat. With another artist, this could have worked.

    Talkin About You: An obscure Chuck Berry cover, this too was covered by the Animals. I hate to say it but the Animals did this one better also. The Stones previously did justice with Berry covers but this one, I think they’re trying to sound a little too modern (1965) standards here.

    Cry To Me: Solomon Burke’s turn here. This one is slower and bluesier than the original but it still comes off as something they did to satisfy the record bosses, or at least Oldham.

    Oh Baby (We Got a Good Thing Going): Originally released on the Rolling Stones Now in the US, this isn’t a bad version of the Barbara Lynn song. Probably the strongest track since That’s How Strong My Love Is.

    Heart of Stone: It’s kind of a shame that the songs that save this album are tracks not even meant for it. Heart of Stone was a hit for the Rolling Stones in late 1964 and, if anything, should have been on No.2. But it’s on here, so here we go.

    And I do like this song. This is certainly one of the better original compositions at this stage of the Stones’ career. It features a great lead guitar and even a little bit of harmony at a certain point. In the right context you can see the progression between Time Is On My Side and The Last Time and you can sense, singles wise anyway, this was a fruitful time in the Stones’ repertoire.

    The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man: The last of the Nanker Phelge compositions, this, allegedly, was something of a swipe at Andrew Loog Oldham, or so I have read. There certainly is a certain nastiness to the lyrics whoever it may have been directed at (Allen Klein?). Musically, I don’t think the Stones are trying to re-create Satisfaction here, but lyrically, well it isn’t exactly Dylan, but wow!

    I’m Free: Technically my favorite song on this album is Heart of Stone but of the songs that are supposed to be here, I’ll go with this one. Hopefully this is the last time I have to say Jagger-Richards original as most of the songs from here on will be. But it is, and, while they could have used another take or two, this track flows quite nicely and I love the self-determination of the lyrics (I’m free to do what I want-any old time). Some nice tremolo on the guitar and a fantastic way to end what is overall a fairly mediocre album.

    But wait, there’s more…


    Get Off My Cloud: The follow up single to Satisfaction is something of a monster in its own right as it also went to number one. I might have mentioned that the Stones weren’t exactly Dylan, nor Lennon-McCartney, hard as they may have tried, but this is a set of damned good lyrics. Basically Jagger is saying to stop annoying him with the everyday aggravations so Get Off His Cloud. Surprisingly, Jagger and Richards weren’t so impressed as they felt like nothing could have topped Satisfaction.

    The Singer Not the Song: This is about as folk-rock as the Rolling Stones ever got. Some nice acoustic guitar work by Richards on this one. Not a great song by any length of the imagination, but certainly tuneful, if a bit crude.

    US Album- December’s Children

    Thanks to the wonderful packaging techniques of our wonderful American companies, in this case London Records, we have a few tracks that had yet to be released anywhere else to wrap of 1965.

    Look What You’ve Done: A Muddy Waters cover. Not one of the better ones and possibly not meant for release. I guess London was hard up to release another American album though.

    As Tears Go By: Originally written for Marianne Faithful, maybe this is the first song where John Lennon would start complaining the Stones were trying to copy the Beatles (see Aftermath and Their Satanic Majesties’ Request). In this case, perhaps they were trying to copy Yesterday as this track has its own string quartet. It charted well for the Stones, but honestly, this just isn’t their style.

    Blue Turns To Grey: This would be a hit for Cliff Richard in England. Needless to say, this is nothing like Devil Woman. I think because I did hear the Cliff Richard version first, I can’t get into this one. Kind of like I had to get used to the Beatles’ I Call Your Name after hearing the Mamas and Papas' version first. Not a bad track though.

    So that takes care of the biggest year I probably have to cover here. 1966 will certainly be chock full of music and it will be quite an interesting year as the Stones, like seemingly everyone else, will be trying to expand their musical horizons. Will they succeed? Stick around for the next installment and find out.
    Last edited by mrmustard615; October 23rd, 2019 at 03:22 PM. Reason: typo
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    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

  10. #10
    WF Veteran Bloggsworth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Leafy suburb of North London
    I remember one of our "Old Boys" came back to the school for a visit:

    "Hey Titch, we heard that you were playing guitar with the Rolling Stones."

    ""What! Them! I wouldn't play with them if they paid me..."

    This was just as Come On was hitting the airwaves.
    Last edited by Bloggsworth; October 25th, 2019 at 03:45 PM.
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

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