THE ROLLING STONES – IN FOCUS

some of their releases reviewed


Here are some of my random thoughts and words about The Rolling Stones over the years. All of the original Rolling Stones blog posts on my old website have since been deleted so no label scans or picture sleeves are available. Instead, I’ve used images scanned from ’60s music magazine ‘Rave’.

THE ROLLING STONES – ”Their Satanic Majesties Request” (Decca TXS 103) December 1967

The material The Rolling Stones recorded for their psychedelic album ”Their Satanic Majesties Request” was cut between February to October 1967 and was the first to be produced by the Stones themselves after Andrew Loog-Oldham quit.

I bought my copy of the album in the late eighties and I must admit that I wasn’t that impressed by the package as a whole, probably because at the time I was mostly listening to mid sixties teen groups from America via the usual compilations. Over time, and with my tastes in music slightly changing, I’ve grown to really enjoy this long player from start to finish.

I’ve heard from fellow record collectors and read in various magazines that the album got panned by the critics at the time, even Jagger and Richards weren’t that keen on it. Recently though. ”Their Satanic Majesties Request” has seen something of a resurgence and reviews are more favourable.

Since I started buying vintage 1960s magazines and music weeklies seriously a few years ago I tend to focus on album and single reviews and all of the latter that I’ve read in Disc & Music Weekly, NME and Record Mirror have been very favourable so I’m a bit puzzled about who in fact these so called ’critics’ were?  

UK Chart Position: 2

(06/09/17)

THE ROLLING STONES – ”2000 Light Years From Home” / ”She’s A Rainbow” (Decca 79.016) 1967

Today’s happenin’ blast of 1967 British psychedelia is this mellotron infused acid creation ”2,000 Light Years From Home” by the Stones. The lyrics were supposedly written by Mick while he was eating bowls of porridge inside Brixton Prison following his conviction for drug charges in June ’67.

The equally brilliant psych ballad ”She’s A Rainbow” on the other side, making this 45 a vinyl slab of nirvana.

”Have you seen her all in gold,
Like a queen in days of old?
She shoots colours all around
like a sunset going down.
Have you seen a lady fairer?” 

This is my French copy. It was never released in Britain!

(10/05/16)

THE ROLLING STONES – ’Not Fade Away’/’Little By Little’ (Decca F11845) Feb 1964

Such was the fast moving and ever changing music industry in the 60s, the third Rolling Stones UK 45 was recorded and released in the very same month. An amazingly quick turnaround.

’Not Fade Away’ was another cover version. This time the band raided the Buddy Holly vaults for this rather pulsating Bo Diddley style harmonica and maraca shakin’ beat mover. According to the liners of ’The Rolling Stones – Singles Collection’ wig totin’ convicted murderer Phil Spector played maracas on both songs on this single. Gene Pitney played piano on the flip ’Little By Little’.

The single hit the Number 3 spot and a month later the debut LP was released but the Stones first tour of the States was months away and I hadn’t even been born yet!

(28/03/10)

THE ROLLING STONES – ’I Wanna Be Your Man’/’Stoned’ (Decca F.11764) Nov 1963

The follow up Rolling Stones single was a cover of ’I Wanna Be Your Man’ by The Beatles. Legend has it that Andrew Loog Oldham bumped into John Lennon and Paul McCartney in London who were rehearsing in the next street to where the Stones were busy in Kingsway Studios. Thirty minutes later John and Paul were singing ’I Wanna Be Your Man’ to The Stones, a song Paul McCartney had recently written for Ringo to sing.. The rest is history as they say.

The Stones recorded it for their next 45 and it did better than ’Come On’, reaching Number 12.

The flip is a moody R&B quasi-instrumental where Jagger talks over the music. A very unusual recording for ’63. The songwriting credit is ’Nanker, Phelge’ – the nom de plume for Rolling Stones songs when all band members shared equal input.

(27/03/10)

THE ROLLING STONES – ’Come On’/’I Want To Be Loved’ (Decca F.11675) June 1963

The very first Rolling Stones 45 coupled together a Chuck Berry song (’Come On’) and a Willie Dixon effort (’I Want To Be Loved’) – both sides were recorded in May ’63 at Olympic Studios, London and produced by Impact Sound. The latter was Andrew Loog Oldham and Eric Easton’s production Company.

The Stones had been together for about year before this studio date although Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts hadn’t been part of the original line-up since the formation. At this stage I’m not sure if Jagger and Richards had any of their own songs, ’Tell Me’ was their first and that had to wait until January 1964 to be recorded.

’Come On’ was the A-Side and is standard R&B fair with some neat harmonica by Jagger or Jones? The harp playing on both songs on this 45 is great..

I dig the flip ’I Want To Be Loved’ more than the top side.

From some sources I’ve read the single didn’t get that big a push but sales were brisk and the record eventually reached number 21.

(26/03/10)

THE ROLLING STONES – ’Money’ (Decca DFE 8560) Jan 1964

It’s been a while since I posted anything about The Rolling Stones on my blog and seeing as though I’ve got some spare time on my hands while ’Er Indoors’ makes my tea, I’m gonna write about Brian’s band.

This was The Rolling Stones first ever EP, and was released in January 1964, although the music on offer was recorded in June and November 1963. At this point in their career the band were very much an unknown quantity outside England and Brian Jones still called the shots on the choice of material to record.

Every song on this disc is a cover version and the sounds are rough around the edges. The English beat kids lapped up the release of course sending it to the Number 1 spot, prompting Decca to unleash The Stones debut LP that followed in April 1964.

The back of the cover sleeve has some uncredited liners giving a brief description of the band, when they formed, influences etc.

”Their approach to their music is far closer to the brash, hard-driving Chicago style rhythm and blues than the majority of the groups currently riding the beat wagon, and it is probably this refusal to compromise their music to match the ’current sound’ that has gained them their legions of fans”

(25/03/10)

THE ROLLING STONES – ’Get Off Of My Cloud’ / ’The Singer Not The Song’ (Decca F.12263) Oct 1965

Great 45 to follow up the massive world wide hit ’Satisfaction’ – It was recorded on the 6th and 7th of September 1965 and released as a single in the UK on the 22nd October. How’s that for a quick turnaround? I’m assuming The Rolling Stones were touring the USA at the time of recording because they used RCA Studios in Hollywood.

According to Mick Jagger he wrote the lyrics for ’Get Off Of My Cloud’ and Keith Richard came up with the melody. Jagger’s vocals are particularly impressive on the song and pretty much every US garage front man was influenced by either his singing style or to a lesser extent (thankfully) his daft dancing in the glory years that followed.

(08/07/08)

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