Saturday, April 29, 2006

early stones

working my way through the early rolling stones LPs (part of the motherload bill just laid on me, all the stones LPs from 1964-1982 including some bootlegs and whatnot) and it's surprising how much padding and filler there is on these. (the multiple appearances of "under the boardwalk" are pretty painful.) i'm talking about the rolling stones (known in the u.s. as england's newest hitmakers), 12 X 5, rolling stones no. 2, the rolling stones, now!, out of our heads, and december's children (and everybody's).

i'm tempted to say that the half dozen songs included from these LPs on hot rocks ("time is on my side," "heart of stone," "play with fire," "satisfaction," "as tears go by," "get off my cloud") are pretty much it, but of course that's not entirely true. there's some other good stuff that has, as is always the case, gets left off the greatest hits albums. also some fairly weird stuff too: the line "everytime i kiss you girl it tastes like pork and beans" from "down home girl," the utter insincerity of "congratulations."

big surprises also: hearing the lines from "you can't catch me" that iggy pop stole for use in the stooges' "1970" (in fact his phrasing in that whole song is essentially borrowed from jagger, a connection i never thought to make before), and the guitar riff from "hitch hike" that lou reed stole for the velvet underground's "there she goes again."

the LP immediately following these first five, aftermath, is usually taken to be the first really good stones album, and i agree but wonder too id december's children isn't at least the first consistantly decent stones album. it's the poppiest anyway, perhaps trying to compete somewhat with the beatles? cuz i hafta say, album for album i think the beatles at this point were far more consistant. i'd have to listen to those LPs too as i'm sure they have some padding and filler.

in any case, my (pretty generous) best of from the first 5 stones albums:

     "route 66"
     "i just want to make love to you"
     "i'm a king bee"
     "tell me"
     "you can make it if you try" ("mona")
     "walking the dog"
     "empty heart"
     "time is on my side"
     "good times, bad times"
     "it's all over now"
     "grown up wrong"
     "down home girl"
     "you can't catch me"
     "pain in my heart"
     "heart of stone"
     "(i can't get no) satisfaction"
     "that's how strong my love is"
     "play with fire"
     "the under assistant west coast promotion man"
     "the last time"
     "as tears go by"
     "blue turns to grey"
     "get off of my cloud"
     "gotta get away"

(ok so 26 tracks out of 70 i guess isn't all that much padding. or is it?)


Rod said...

yeah i've always thought the stones learned in public much more than the beatles. the beatles had that long time hard core every night playing together in liverpool and hamburg before they were 'discovered.' i'd be even more hard on'em and say the first REAL stones album is let it bleed tho they get better, with some detours, throughout the sixties. i think they really hit their stride when the beatles leave the stage.

K. Lorraine Graham said...

On the other hand, some of those early Stones singles are truly amazing pieces of music, although the band clearly wasn't as consistent as the Beatles at that stage. Still, "Empty Heart, "Get Off Of My Cloud," "Play With Fire" and the obviously magnificent "Satisfaction" are among the GREAT rock and roll songs.


Doug Lang said...

Brian Jones hated pop music. He wanted to resist the well-established tradition of British rockers doing covers of American pop songs. He was a blues purist. I remember the first time I heard Under the Boardwalk, thinking, what the fuck was that? There was no accounting for the way they looked when you first saw them on TV, they were so anti-show biz, and there was no accounting for the strangeness some of the recordings they issued, which were kind of anti-pop. Maybe that was because Brian undermined the process of doing covers, I don't know. One of my favorites of their covers was Not Fade Away, which caught the rocking side of Buddy Holly, as opposed to the master popster tributes by The Beatles. I was surprised that Little Red Rooster and The Last Time didn't make your list, Tom. I can't remember what's on what album anymore -- I haven't owned the early Stones albums since I unloaded my vinyl -- but there's also
Come On, I Wanna Be Your Man, Stoned,
Little by Little, and I'm sure other stuff I'm not recalling. I do't think anyone thought back in those days of padding, or filler. Frank Sinatra was
putting out fully conceived albums, and Dylan had started in, of course, but I think the Stones had a more typical scattershot approach to selling records, and that showed in the selections on their early.

And I'd have to disagree with Rod and say that Let It Bleed was the last great Stones album. With Brian gone they became Bad Boy Chic to warm the cockles of Armchair Bad Boys everywhere. Don't get me wrong. though. I love the Stones, all the way. What the fuck, Keith just fell out of a palm tree and got a concussion. How many Armchair Bad Boys are you gonna find up a palm tree?