The ROLLING STONES – ” ‘Got Live If You Want It!’ (1966)

Posted: December 12, 2021 in MUSIC

The Rolling Stones Got Live If You Want It

The tale behind the first Rolling Stones’ live album, “Got Live If You Want It!”, released by London Records in the US on December 10th, 1966, is neither simple nor straightforward. It’s a story that has its origins in an EP of the same name released in the UK nearly 18 months earlier.

You can barely hear the band over the audience’s screams, and the sound is the lowest of fidelity. But if there was ever any doubt that the Rolling Stones rivalled the Beatles in popularity in the ’60s, this early live album, the group’s first, proves it. ‘Got Live’ includes a frenzied mix of originals (“Under My Thumb”) and covers (“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”). A perfect concert document, .

The band sounds hurried, even a bit terrified (there’s a film clip from around then of the band bolting offstage after frenzied fans rushed them), but it leads to frantic tempos that go to the edge of control, and sometimes beyond. Mick Jagger sounds alternately charged and bemused, even as in such more subdued moments as the largely acoustic “Lady Jane”, the screams overwhelm the music entirely. Yeah, Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! is the standard favourite Stones live album, but they were already transitioning into a too-controlled arena act by then. This is the one, even if the Stones themselves largely disowned it.

The band was inspired to name this somewhat strange-titled release after a song from one of their favourite bluesmen, Slim Harpo, who recorded “I’ve Got Love If You Want It” back in 1957. The release was recorded in London, Liverpool, and Manchester over three nights in March 1965 by engineer Glyn Johns.

According to the press release that accompanied the record, “The EP, captures on wax the unadulterated in-person excitement of a Stones stage show.” And no better than on “Route 66” which rocks and rolls as it’s driven along by Bill & Charlie. By the time it was released in the US as an LP, rather than an EP, “Route 66” had been dropped and other tracks had been substituted making “Got Live If You Want It!” a 12-track album in total.

On the original Got Live If You Want It! album liner notes it said that it was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall on the Stones’ Autumn tour of England with Ike and Tina Turner and the Yardbirds. In truth, the recording was mainly done in Newcastle and Bristol, not the Royal Albert Hall in London, with a couple of tracks either having been recorded in Liverpool and Manchester. Just to add to the confusion, some tracks were not even live at all. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” was recorded in Los Angeles in 1965 and then overdubbed at IBC Studios in London, which was also where “Fortune Teller” was also cut.

Before the first number, “Under My Thumb,” the voice of singer Long John Baldry can be heard introducing the band. On the CD version, it is a different intro and recording of “Under My Thumb” that appears on the original vinyl pressing.

As Keith said at the time, “We all knew that the sound that we were getting live and in the studio was not what we were getting on record – the difference was light years apart.” There is some indication of the difference on this record, but the limitations of the recording techniques are also there to be heard. Nevertheless, “Got Live If You Want It!” is a fascinating glimpse of mid 60s Stones playing live – even so, the band remained unhappy that it was released as an album and always referred to 1969’s “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out” as their first live album.

Must-hear: “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby ,Standing In The Shadows” races along in a mad dash, with Bill Wyman’s elastic bass lines sounding like they’re being stretched to the breaking point. And the tease of the “Satisfaction” riff before “The Last Time” is devilish.

The cheat: Yeah, well…. see… the versions of Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and Allen Toussaint’s “Fortune Teller” aren’t live at all, but studio recordings with crowd screams layered on. Oh, and though the cover claims it was recorded at Royal Albert Hall, it was in fact from two concerts at other England locales.

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