The band releases, Time Is On My Side, from the album, 12 x 5. Richards:
In America we were basically known for heavy, slowish kind of ballads. Time Is On My Side, Tell Me, Heart of Stone, that was what we were known for. Strangely enough that was our thing. Every single was a slow song. Who would believe it? You’d think they’d be clamoring for out-and-out rock and roll, but no, it was the Soul ballads that happened for us in America.
The band releases, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, from the album, Out Of Our Heads.
The band releases, Paint It Black, from, Aftermath. Richards:
We were in Fiji for about 3 days. They make sitars and all sorts of Indian stuff. Sitars are made out of watermelons or pumpkins or something smashed so they go hard. They’re very brittle and you have to be careful how you handle them. We had the sitars, we thought we’d try them out in the studio. To get the right sound on Paint It Black we found the sitar fitted perfectly. We tried a guitar but you can’t bend it enough.
The band performs their first concert behind the Iron Curtain at Stalin Palace in Warsaw, Poland. Among the songs performed during the set are Paint it Black, Lady Jane, and Satisfaction.
The band releases their song, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, from the album, Through The Past Darkly (Biggest Hits Volume I). Richards:
The lyrics came from a gray dawn at Redlands. Mick and I had been up all night, it was raining outside, and there was the sound of these boots near the window, belonging to my gardener, Jack Dyer. It woke Mick up. He said, ‘What’s that?’ I said, ‘Oh, that’s Jack. That’s jumping Jack.’ I started to work around the phrase on the guitar, which was in open tuning, singing the phrase ‘Jumping Jack.’ Mick said, ‘Flash,’ and suddenly we had this phrase with a great rhythm and ring to it.
The band releases their song, Street Fighting Man, from the album, Beggars Banquet. Jagger:
It was a very strange time in France. But not only in France but also in America, because of the Vietnam War and these endless disruptions…. I wrote a lot of the melody and all the words, and Keith and I sat around and made this wonderful track, with Dave Mason playing the shelani on it live. It’s a kind of Indian reed instrument a bit like a primitive clarinet. It comes in at the end of the tune. It has a very wailing, strange sound.
The band releases their song, No Expectations, from the album, Beggars Banquet.
The band releases, Stray Cat Blues, from the album, Beggars Banquet.
The band releases, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, from the album, Let It Bleed. Jagger:
It’s a good song, even if I say so myself. It’s got a very sing-along chorus, and people can identify with it: No one gets what they always want. It’s got a very good melody. It’s got very good orchestral touches that Jack Nitzsche helped with. So it’s got all the ingredients.
The band releases their song, Honky Tonk Women, from, Let It Bleed. Richards:
Honky Tonk Women started in Brazil. Mick and I, Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg who was pregnant with my son at the time. Which didn’t stop us going off to the Mato Grasso and living on this ranch. It’s all cowboys. It’s all horses and spurs. And Mick and I were sitting on the porch of this ranch house and I started to play, basically fooling around with an old Hank Williams idea. ‘Cause we really thought we were like real cowboys. Honky tonk women. And we were sitting in the middle of nowhere with all these horses, in a place where if you flush the john all these black frogs would fly out. It was great. The chicks loved it. Anyway, it started out a real country honk put on, a hokey thing. And then couple of months later we were writing songs and recording. And somehow by some metamorphosis it suddenly went into this little swampy, black thing, a Blues thing. Really, I can’t give you a credible reason of how it turned around from that to that. Except there’s not really a lot of difference between white Country music and black Country music. It’s just a matter of nuance and style. I think it has to do with the fact that we were playing a lot around with open tunings at the time. So we were trying songs out just to see if they could be played in open tuning. And that one just sunk in.
The band releases, Gimme Shelter, featuring Clayton, from, Let It Bleed. Jagger:
That song was written during the Vietnam War and so it’s very much about the awareness that war is always present; it was very present in life at that point. Mary Clayton who did the backing vocals, was a background singer who was known to one of the producers. Suddenly, we wanted someone to sing in the middle of the night. And she was around. She came with her curlers in, straight from bed, and had to sing this really odd lyric. For her it was a little odd – for anyone, in the middle of the night, to sing this one verse I would have been odd. She was great.
The band releases, Love In Vain, from the album, Let It Bleed. The song is a remake of Johnson’s blues classic. Richards:
For a time we thought the songs that were on that first album were the only recordings Robert Johnson had made, and then suddenly around ’67 or ’68 up comes this second bootleg collection that included Love in Vain. Love in Vain was such a beautiful song. Mick and I both loved it, and at the time I was working and playing around with Gram Parsons, and I started searching around for a different way to present it, because if we were going to record it there was no point in trying to copy the Robert Johnson style or ways and styles. We took it a little bit more country, a little bit more formalized, and Mick felt comfortable with that.
The band releases, Live With Me, from, Let It Bleed.
The band releases their song, Midnight Rambler, from the album, Let It Bleed. Jagger:
That’s a song Keith and I really wrote together. We were on a holiday in Italy. In this very beautiful hill town, Positano, for a few nights. Why we should write such a dark song in this beautiful, sunny place, I really don’t know. We wrote everything there – the tempo changes, everything. And I’m playing the harmonica in these little cafés, and there’s Keith with the guitar.
The band releases, Monkey Man, from the album, Let It Bleed.
The band releases, Dead Flowers, from, Sticky Fingers. Jagger:
I love Country music, but I find it very hard to take it seriously. I also think a lot of country music is sung with the tongue in cheek, so I do it tongue in cheek. The harmonic thing is very different from the blues. It doesn’t bend notes in the same way, so I suppose it’s very English, really. Even though it’s been very Americanized, it feels very close to me, to my roots, so to speak.
The band releases, Brown Sugar, from, Sticky Fingers.
The band releases, Wild Horses, from the album, Sticky Fingers. Richards:
Wild Horses almost wrote itself. It was really a lot to do with, once again, f-cking around with the tunings. I found these chords, especially doing it on a twelve-string to start with, which gave the song this character and sound. There’s a certain forlornness that can come out of a twelve-string. I started off, I think, on a regular six-string open E, and it sounded very nice, but sometimes you just get these ideas. What if I open tuned a twelve-string? All it meant was translate what Mississippi Fred McDowell was doing – twelve-string slide – into five-string mode, which meant a ten-string guitar.
The band releases, Tumbling Dice, from, Exile On Main St. Jagger:
This was originally titled Good Time Woman. It started out with a great riff from Keith and we had it down as a completed song called Good Time Women. That take is one of the bonus tracks on the new Exile package; it was quite fast and sounded great but I wasn’t happy with the lyrics.
Later, I got the title in my head, ‘call me the tumbling dice’ so I had the theme for it. I didn’t know anything about dice playing but I knew lots of jargon used by dice players. I’d heard gamblers in casinos shouting it out.
I asked my housekeeper if she played dice. She did and she told me these terms. That was the inspiration.
The band releases their song, Plundered My Soul, from the album, Exile On Main St. (2010 re-release).
The band releases, Rocks Off, from, Exile On Main St. Johns:
It went on for ages. When Mick came back from Paris for the first time he seemed happy with the sound. And Keith would sit down stairs and at one point he sat there for 12 hours without getting out of his chair just playing the riff over and over and over.
And then one night, it was very late, four or five in the morning, Keith says, ‘Let me listen to that take again.’ And he nods off while the tape is playing. I thought, ‘Great. That’s it. End of the night and I’m out of here.’ So I go back to my place where I was staying. (Horn player/arranger) Jim Price and I had this villa. It was pretty spanky. I’m tellin’ you. A half an hour drive. I walk in the front door and the phone is ringing. I pick it up and it’s Keith. ‘Where are you?’ ‘Well, I’m obviously here ’cause I answered the phone.’ ‘Well you better get back here, man, ’cause I have this guitar part. Come back!
The band releases their song, Rip This Joint, from the album, Exile On Main St.
The band releases their song, Sweet Virginia, from the album, Exile On Main St. Richards:
Some songs – Sweet Virginia – were held over from Sticky Fingers. It was the same line-up and I’ve always felt those two albums kind of fold into each other… there was not much time between them and I think it was all flying out of the same kind of energy.
The band releases, All Down The Line, from, Exile On Main St. Engineer, Johns:
It was the first one that was finished cause we’d be working for months and months. Mick got very enamored. ‘It’s finished! It’s going to be the single!’ I thought, ‘This isn’t really a single, you know.’ I remember going out and talking to him and he was playing the piano. ‘Mick, this isn’t a single. It doesn’t compare to Jumpin’ Jack Flash or Street Fighting Man. ‘Come on, man.’ He went, ‘Really? Do you think so?’ I thought, ‘My God. He’s actually listening to me.’ (laughs). And then, I was having a struggle with the mix I thought was gonna be it. Ahmet Ertegun then barged in with a bunch of hookers and ruined the one mix. He stood right in front of the left speaker with two birds on each arm (laughs).
I told Mick, ‘I can’t hear it here. If I could hear it on the radio that would be nice.’ It was just a fantasy. ‘Oh, we can do that.’ ‘Stew (piano player Ian Stewart), go to the nearest FM radio station with the tape and say we’d like to hear it over the radio. And we’ll get a limo and Andy can listen to it in the car.’ I went, ‘Bloody hell…Well, it’s the Stones. OK.’
So sure enough, we’re touring down Sunset Strip and Keith is in one seat, and I’m in the back where the speakers are with Mick, and Charlie is in there, too. Just because he was bored (laughs). And Mick’s got the radio on and the DJ comes on the air, ‘We’re so lucky tonight. We’re the first people to play the new Stones’ record.’ And it came on the radio and the speakers in this car were kind of shot. I still couldn’t tell. And it finishes. Then Mick turns around. ‘So?’ ‘I’m still not sure, man.’ I’m still not used to these speakers’. ‘Oh, we’ll have him play it again then.’
Poor Stew. ‘Have them play it again’ like they were some sort of radio service. It was surreal. Up and down Sunset Strip at 9:00 on a Saturday night. The Strip was jumpin’ and I’m in the car with those guys listening to my mixes. It sounded OK. ‘I think we’re down with that.’ So then we moved on.
The band releases, Happy, from the album, Exile On Main St. Richards:
That’s a strange song, because if you play it you actually become happy, even in the worst of circumstances. It has a little magical bounce about it. I wrote it one afternoon when we were cutting Exile on Main St. in France and the studio was in my basement. And Bobby Keys was with me and they got this lick going. So we went down and I recorded it with just guitar and Bobby Keys on baritone saxophone. While we were doing that, Jimmy Miller, who was our producer at the time, came in. And he was a very good drummer as well. So we said, well let’s put down a dub, we’ll just sort of sketch it out and play it later. But it’s another one of those things that ended up being on the record. It was just one of those moments that you get that are very happy. And I can play it now and it gives you a lift. I don’t know why except for maybe the word.
The band releases, Angie, from the album, Goat’s Head Soup. Jagger:
People began to say that song was written about David Bowie’s wife but the truth is that Keith wrote the title. He said, ‘Angie,’ and I think it was to do with his daughter. She’s called Angela. And then I just wrote the rest of it.
The band releases their song, Silver Train, from the album, Goats Head Soup. The song is a reference to singer, Winter, who is an albino.
The band releases, Dancing With Mr. D, from, Goat’s Head Soup.
The band releases, Sympathy for the Devil, from, Beggars Banquet. Jagger:
Songs can metamorphosize. And Sympathy for the Devil is one of those songs that started off like one thing, I wrote it one way and then we started the change the rhythm. And then it became completely different. And then it got very exciting. It started off as a folk song and then became a samba. A good song can become anything. It’s got lots of historical references and lots of poetry.
The band releases, Star Star, from, Goat’s Head Soup. Jagger:
People always give me this bit about us being a macho band, and I always ask them to give me examples. Under My Thumb… Yes, but they always say Starf--ker, and that just happened to be about someone I knew. There’s really no reason to have women on tour, unless they’ve got a job to do. The only other reason is to f--k. Otherwise they get bored, they just sit around and moan. It would be different if they did everything for you, like answer the phones, make the breakfast, look after your clothes and your packing, see if the car was ready, and f--k. Sort of a combination of what (road manager) Alan Dunn does and a beautiful chick.
The band releases, It’s Only Rock N Roll (But I Like It), from the album with the same name. Jagger:
The title has been used a lot by journalists, the phrase has become a big thing. That version that’s on there is the original version, which was recorded half in Ron Wood’s basement, if I remember rightly. It was a demo. It’s a very Chuck Berry song, but it’s got a different feeling to it than a Chuck Berry song. You can’t really do proper imitations of people. You always have to start out by imitating somebody. In painting, some famous artist always starts out by being an impressionist. And then they become the most famous abstract artist. Or an actor starts out by imitating someone else’s style. And then you develop your own. And I think that’s what happened with this band and all the musicians that have played in it. You start off with one thing, and then you mutate into another, but you still acknowledge the fact that these influences came from here and here and here. Because not everyone knows that. But you make this new amalgam. And out of all this different music, all out these Blues, out of all this Country music, out of all this Jazz and dance music and Reggae music, you know, you make something that’s your own.
The band releases their song, Fingerprint File, from the album, It’s Only Rock’n Roll. This song is one of few where Jagger plays guitar in it.
The band releases their song, Till The Next Goodbye, from the album, It’s Only Rock N Roll.
The band releases, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, from the album, It’s Only Rock N Roll. The song is a remake of the 1966 Temptations hit.
The band releases their song, Hey Negrita, from the album, Black And Blue. Wood:
I had this particular lick that I took into the studio and the others said, What are we going to start with? and I said, I’ve got this song. Charlie was sitting behind his kit, so he was already into it and then Keith and Mick both got into the motion of it. That was Hey Negrita, which came together very easily. The key to getting a song across in this band is never to try and write all the words. If you’ve got the rhythm, you’re lucky! Let Mick write the words and then you’re in with a chance.
The band releases their song, Fool To Cry, from the album, Black And Blue. Richards:
I was just glad somebody in the band could sing that falsetto. I got a pretty good falsetto myself. But when you got a singer and he can hit those notes, baby go for it. And Mick was always fascinated with the falsetto Soul singers like Aaron Neville. That’s crafty stuff, you know what I mean? But he’d been listening to so many people. It’s kinda like what goes in, will come out. You’ll just hear a phrase or a piece of music. And one way or another it’s part of your experience. And a lot of the time it comes out what you do without even realizing it. I don’t really like to think about these things too much. It’s more to do with feeling than intellectualizing about it.
The band releases, Hot Stuff, from, Black And Blue.
The band releases their song, Hand of Fate, from the album, Black and Blue.
The band releases, Miss You, from the album, Some Girls. Jagger:
Miss You is an emotion, it’s not really about a girl. To me, the feeling of longing is what the song is.
The band releases their song, Far Away Eyes, from the album, Some Girls. Jagger:
You know, when you drive through Bakersfield on a Sunday morning or Sunday evening, all the Country music radio stations start broadcasting black Gospel services live from L.A. And that’s what the song refers to. But the song’s really about driving alone, listening to the radio.
The band releases, Some Girls, from the album with the same name. Whiting plays harmonica on the original track.
The band releases their song, When The Whip Comes Down, from the album, Some Girls. Jagger:
I don’t know why I wrote it. Maybe I came out of the closet (laughs). It’s about an imaginary person who comes from L.A. to New York and becomes a garbage collector.
The band releases, Respectable, from the album, Some Girls. Jagger:
I was banging out three chords incredibly loud on the electric guitar, which isn’t always a wonderful idea but was great fun here. This is a Punk meets Chuck Berry number. The lyric carries no fantastically deep message, but I think it might have had something to do with Bianca.
The band releases, Shattered, from the album, Some Girls.
The band releases, Where The Boys Go, from the album, Emotional Rescue.
The band releases, Start Me Up, from, Tattoo You. Richards:
The story here is the miracle that we ever found that track. I was convinced – and I think Mick was – that it was definitely a Reggae song. And we did it in 38 takes – ‘Start me up. Yeah, man, cool. You know, you know, Jah Rastafari.’ And it didn’t make it. And somewhere in the middle of a break, just to break the tension, Charlie and I hit the rock and roll version. And right after that we went straight back to Reggae. And we forgot totally about this one little burst in the middle, until about five years later when somebody sifted all the way through these Reggae takes. After doing about 70 takes of Start Me Up he found that one in the middle. It was just buried in there. Suddenly I had it. Nobody remembered cutting it. But we leapt on it again. We did a few overdubs on it, and it was like a gift, you know? One of the great luxuries of The Stones is we have an enormous, great big can of stuff. I mean what anybody hears is just the tip of an iceberg, you know. And down there is vaults of stuff. But you have to have the patience and the time to actually sift through it
The band releases their song, Worried About You, from the album, Tattoo You.
The band releases, Black Limousine, from, Tattoo You. The song is about the group’s rock and roll lifestyle of women, alcohol, and limousines.
The band releases, Waiting On A Friend, from, Tattoo You.
The band releases their song, Hang Fire, from the album, Tattoo You.