Posts Tagged ‘Bill Wyman’

Originally released in 1975, Metamorphosis was first official rarities compilation under The Rolling Stones’ name. You’ll hear outtakes, demos, and other rarities from The Stones’ early days, featuring session legends like Big Jim Sullivan, Clem Cattini, and one Jimmy Page.

Side two, meanwhile, includes session material from Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed. Though the result may have been a bit piecemeal, Metamorphosis presets a compelling collection of intriguing rarities and critical session material. Now, the compilation arrives on hunter green vinyl with a special iron-on of the album artwork. After the release of Hot Rocks 1964–1971 in 1971, an album titled “Necrophilia” was compiled for release as the follow-up, with the aid of Andrew Loog Oldham, featuring many previously unreleased (or, more accurately, discarded) outtakes from the Rolling Stones’ Decca/London period. While that project failed to materialise—with More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) being released in its place—most of the unreleased songs were held over for a future project. In 1974, to give it an air of authority, Bill Wyman involved himself in compiling an album he entitled Black Box. However, Allen Klein wanted more Mick Jagger/Keith Richards songs in the project for monetary reasons, and Wyman’s version remained unreleased.

Metamorphosis was issued in its place. Most tracks that appear on side one of the vinyl album are outtakes, written by Jagger and Richards for other artists to perform. They were mostly recorded with session musicians like Big Jim Sullivan on guitar, Clem Cattini on drums, and Jimmy Page on guitar, and were not intended for release by the Rolling Stones. Indeed, on most of these tracks the only Rolling Stones member who appears is Jagger. While “Out of Time” and “Heart of Stone” were already well known, they appear here in drastically different renditions, with session players providing the backing.

Side two includes unreleased band recordings created up until the Sticky Fingers sessions of 1970. Some people found that the song “I’d Much Rather Be With the Boys” had a homosexual subtext, so The Toggery Five version changed the lyric to “I’d rather be out with the boys.” Released in June 1975, Metamorphosis came out the same day as the band’s authorised hits collection Made in the Shade and was also seen to be cashing in on The Rolling Stones’ summer Tour of the Americas. While the critical reception was lukewarm—many felt some of the songs were best left unreleased— Metamorphosis still managed to reach No. 8 in the US, though it only made No. 45 in the UK. Two singles, “Out of Time” (featuring Jagger singing over the same backing track used for Chris Farlowe’s 1966 version) and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “I Don’t Know Why” briefly made the singles charts.

Upon its initial release, Metamorphosis was released with 16 songs in the UK, while the American edition had only 14—omitting tracks “Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind” and “We’re Wastin’ Time”. The album’s cover art alludes to Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.

Buy Online The Rolling Stones - NME Poll Winners 1965 EP

In 1965 The Rolling Stones picked up NME awards for Best New Group, Best British R’n’B Group and Best New Disc Or TV Singer. They celebrated with a gig at the Wembley Empire Pool where their live prowess could clearly be heard, despite the screams of 10,000 highly-energized fans. “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” was performed at a slower pace than usual and formed a medley with “Pain In My Heart. Around and Around” featured a pair of densely interwoven guitars whilst “The Last Time” benefited from distinctive Keith Richards  on backing vocals.

Tracklisting:
SIDE ONE
1 Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
2 Pain In My Heart
SIDE TWO
1 Around And Around
2 The Last Time

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Last week, the Rolling Stones announced plans for a super-deluxe edition of their 1973 LP Goats Head Soup. It features a remastered version of the original album along with alternate mixes, rarities, instrumental tracks, a complete 1973 show taped in Brussels, and three previously unreleased songs from the era.

The original Goats Head Soup tour was confined entirely to Europe and lasted just seven weeks. Four songs from the album (“Coming Down Again,” “Hide Your Love,” ‘Winter,” and “Can You Hear the Music”) were never played at any point, while “100 Years Ago” and “Silver Train” were dropped after just one week into the run. By the time the tour wrapped, the only Goats Head Soup songs still in rotation were “Angie,” “Star Star,” ‘Dancing With Mr. D,” and “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker).”

As the years went on, only “Angie,” “Star Star,” and “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo” stayed in their live repertoire. It wasn’t until 2014 that they decided to resurrect some of the lesser-known tunes. Here’s video of “Silver Train” from a November 18th, 2014, show at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia. They’re joined by Mick Taylor, who plays on the original. As you can hear, the song is about a man’s encounter with a prostitute. “And I did not know her name,” Jagger sings. “But I sure love the way/That she laughed and took my money.” They haven’t done the song since that night, but in 2017 they brought back “Dancing With Mr. D” and played it at five shows. We’re still waiting to hear “Coming Down Again,” “Hide Your Love,” ‘Winter,” and “Can You Hear the Music.

Another prized jewel gets a special release in the Rolling Stones‘ unmatched catalogue, restored to its full glory and more, multi-format release of their 1973 classic Goats Head Soup”. The album will be available in multiple configurations, including four-disc cd and vinyl box set editions, with a treasure trove of unreleased studio and live material. The reissue follows the huge success and acclaim for the Stones latest track “Living In a Ghost Town” single and their universally-admired recent lockdown performance of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” in a global citizen’s april special One World: Together at Home.

The box set and deluxe cd and vinyl editions of “Goats Head Soup” will all feature ten bonus tracks, which include alternate versions, outtakes and no fewer than three previously unheard tracks. the first of these to be unveiled, “Criss Cross”, Stones devotees worldwide will be thrilled by the inclusion, on the box set and deluxe editions, of the previously unheard “Scarlet”, featuring guitar by Jimmy Page, and a third newly unveiled song, “All The Rage”. The layered guitar textures of “scarlet” make for a track that’s as infectious and raunchy as anything the band cut in this hallowed era. as well as jimmy Page guesting alongside Mick & Keith on the track it also features on bass Rick Grech of Blind Faith fame.

“all the rage” has a wild, post – “brown sugar” strut and the percussive “criss cross” rocks and swaggers as only the stones can. the bonus disc of unreleased material also sheds new light on tracks such as “100 years ago” and “hide your love”, with further unissued mixes by stones insider and acclaimed producer glyn johns.

Box set editions of Goats Head Soup will also include the infamous Brussels Affair, the 15-track live album recorded in a memorable show in Belgium, on the autumn 1973 tour that followed the album’s late august release. this much-sought-after disc, mixed by Bob Clearmountain, was previously available only in the Rolling Stones’ “Official Bootleg” series of live recordings in 2012.

The Brussels show features the already-classic “Tumbling Dice”, “Midnight Rambler”, “Jumping Jack Flash” and many others, and includes a sequence of tracks from the then-new album. “Star Star” is followed by “Dancing With Mr. D”, “Doo doo doo doo doo (Heartbreaker)” and “Angie”. Additionally, the cd and vinyl box sets offer the original ten-track album in 5.1 surround sound, dolby atmos and hi-res mixes, along with the videos for “Dancing with Mr. D”, “Silver Train” and “Angie”. an exclusive 100-page book will feature a remarkable array of photographs, essays by writers Ian Mccann, Nick Kent and Daryl Easlea and faithful reproductions of three tour posters from 1973.

As Mccann writes: “Goats Head Soup” was released with plenty of fanfare. despite what you may read today, the kids weren’t entirely absorbed by glam rock, metal, prog and philly soul back in 1973, and they bought the album in their thousands, sending it to no. 1 in the USA and in the Uk, their fifth consecutive british chart-topper.”

It was The Rolling Stones 11th studio album, recorded in Jamaica, Los Angeles and London as their last collaboration with producer Jimmy Miller, Goats Head Soup came in the wake of the Stones’ landmark 1972 double album Exile On Main St. the new set was introduced by the single that became one of their most exalted ballads, the endlessly elegant single “Angie”, completed by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards during a song-writing sojourn in Switzerland. The timeless love song, showcasing Jagger’s yearning lead vocal and Nicky Hopkins‘ beautiful piano motif, topped the charts in the us, where it was certified platinum, and went to no. 1 across europe, australia and beyond. “we decided to do something different, and it worked,” said Richards of “Angie”. “maybe a lot of people bought it that would never buy a Stones album.” interestingly in a recent interview with the New York Times, Bob Dylan chose “Angie” as one of three Rolling Stones songs he wished he had written.

Goats Head Soup, with its famous photographer David Bailey shot sleeve, featured the Rolling Stones’ vintage 1969-1974 line-up of Jagger, Richards, Mick Taylor, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts, with the addition of some essential collaborators. on an album on which their trademark rocking sound was often augmented by more low-key, reflective material, there were no fewer than four featured keyboard players: Hopkins, Billy Preston, Ian ‘Stu’ Stewart and Jagger himself.

“Angie” was the only single to be released from the lp in the uk, where it spent two weeks at no. 5 in September. in the us, the exhilaratingly funky, horn-filled “Doo doo doo doo doo (Heartbreaker)”, featuring Mick Taylor’s wah-wah lead guitar, followed it into the top 20 in february 1974.

Many other highlights of the album included the majestically brooding opener “Dancing with Mr. D”, the lithely strutting “100 Years Ago” and “Star Star” and the graceful “Winter”. Richards’ rueful lead vocal on “Coming Down Again” featured another Stones stalwart, saxophonist Bobby Keys. “Silver Train”, the b-side of “Angie”, would be revived after a gap of some 40 years, during the Rolling Stones’ 14 On Fire tour of 2014, when Mick Taylor reprised his original guitar part in shows in Tokyo and Brisbane.

When the album was first released, reviewers lined up to sing its praises. “this is music which could only come from good musicians who know each other really well,” ruled the late and esteemed writer-broadcaster Charlie Gillett in let it rock. “the Stones succeed because they rarely forget their purpose — the creation of rock & roll drama,” said Bud Scoppa in Rolling Stone magazine. “it’s deepening and unfolding over the coming months will no doubt rate as one of the year’s richest musical experiences.”

The 4 Lp Set Deluxe clothbound expected release: 4th September 2020

Live At The Oakland Coliseum 1969 (2020 reissue)

This LP contains soundboard recordings of the Rolling Stones’ live performance at the Oakland Colisuem in Oakland, California at the start of their ground breaking November 1969 trek across North America.

Subsequently broadcast on Radio KSAN at the behest of Bill Graham, these nine tracks demonstrate why on this tour the Stones were introduced as “the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world.” Four of these songs – Prodigal Son, You Gotta Move, Gimme Shelter and Satisfaction – were not included on the Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! LP, recorded later on the tour in New York and Baltimore.

These LP is made by the person who operated the label which later calls the TMOQ. Ken and Dub are two people who have felt quite recognized among maniacs in the 2010s. It was that they released Bob Dylan’s “GREAT WHITE WONDER” famous for their first bootleg in the history of rock. This sound source boasts a different quality as the audience of 1969. Dub succeeded in capturing the performance on by using the shotgun microphone instead of the surrounding sound.

It is well known that it became the opportunity to release anecdotes about the album and official release ‘Get Yer Ya – Ya’s Out’. What is surprising than anything is that the value of the item and the sound source did not fade at all even after the appearance of the official. On the contrary, the sound source that Dub recorded, even in recent years, has been released in various forms. It is a testimony of how excellent it was that recording. This recording is referred to as Dub recording below.

What makes these parts mix SBD and succeeded in raising the balance of Mick’s vocal which was a distant subject in various audience recordings because of quiet performance. That surprisingly natural finish is another masterpiece. He showed outstanding sense, such as diverting SBD even in “Live With Me”. A masterpiece of audience recording comes out this week from the 1969 American tour, which pairs well with the soundboard masterpiece “GET YER YA – YA’S OUT! COMPLETE EDITION”!

Buy Online Mick Fleetwood & Friends Celebrate The Music Of Peter Green And The Early Years Of Fleetwood Mac - Super Deluxe Edition Box Set

Legendary drummer, Mick Fleetwood enlisted an all-star cast for a one-of-a-kind concert honouring the early years of Fleetwood Mac and its founder, Peter Green which was held on 25th February 2020 at the London, Palladium.

The bill included Billy Gibbons, David Gilmour, Jonny Lang, Andy Fairweather Low, John Mayall, Christine McVie, Zak Starkey, Steven Tyler, Bill Wyman, Noel Gallagher, Pete Townshend, Neil Finn, Kirk Hammett and many more. Legendary producer Glyn Johns joined as the executive sound producer and the house band featured Fleetwood himself along with Andy Fairweather Low, Dave Bronze and Ricky Peterson.

Fleetwood, who curated the list of artists performing, said: “The concert is a celebration of those early blues days where we all began, and it’s important to recognize the profound impact Peter and the early Fleetwood Mac had on the world of music.

Peter was my greatest mentor and it gives me such joy to pay tribute to his incredible talent. I am honoured to be sharing the stage with some of the many artists Peter has inspired over the years and who share my great respect for this remarkable musician. ‘Then Play On’…”

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This earliest known footage of The Rolling Stones as they perform their landmark hit, ‘(I Can’t Get no) Satisfaction’ for a riotous crowd back in 1965. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman give an electric performance of their iconic song. What’s more, unlike other footage from this time, you can actually hear them too.

Far too often on the vintage video of our favourite acts from the sixties scene, it can be awfully hard to actually hear the band, such is the ferocity of screams emanating from the girls in the audience. The high-pitched wail of teenage fandom is a permanent fixture on much of The Rolling Stones’ early footage.

In the clip below, provided by Reelin’ In The Years, we are treated to a real vintage performance. In ’65, audiences were expected to sit quietly when artists performed on stage and in the clip you can see a few people bouncing up and down in excitement. Somehow though, unlike most of their audiences at this time, the crowd stick to the rules. Only a few years later and all gigs were encouraged to have standing tickets when presenting rock and roll acts. While it may make for odd viewing in 2020, it does allow us a more accurate feeling of the Stones’ performing power. Lest we forget, unlike The Beatles who largely gave up touring because of fears for their safety, the Stones have always taken a fiery live set on the road. In 1965, they were honing their talent.

Yet they still possess all the power and commanding energy that would see them sit at the top of the pile of live acts for decades. Jagger is a potent force on stage, with a gigantic retro mic, the singer prowls the stage connecting with his audience and garnering screams and faux-fainting whichever corner he visited.

This clip is from one of the earliest known filmed live concert performances of the Stones. This is unique from the standpoint that there aren’t the typical throngs of screaming girls in the audience and so you can actually hear what they’re playing. The best bit about the video is the clear image of the future that lay before them. On reflection, the song is so far ahead of its time. It may hark back to the Delta blues that permeated all the Stones’ record collections, but the track is pure seventies glamour, wrapped up in a revolutionary guise. It’s bolshy and unabashed. It’s everything the Stones were about to become.

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On September. 30th, 2016, ABKCO Records released a massive box set including all of the studio albums released in mono by The Rolling Stones in the 1960s. The Rolling Stones in Mono, available in both 15-CD and 16-LP vinyl configurations, as well as Standard Digital, Mastered for iTunes and True HD (96k/24 bit, 192k/24 bit and DSD), contains a total of 186 tracks, 56 of which had never before been heard in mono since the advent of the digital age, according to the original announcement from ABKCO, which retains the rights to the Stones’ early recordings.

The Rolling Stones in Mono covers the formative years of 1963-69 featuring hits like “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Get Off Of My Cloud,” “19th Nervous Breakdown” and “Paint it Black,” to name a few. The idea behind releasing the collection, the 2016 press release explained, is that, “Most rock and pop recordings were originally recorded in mono, with stereo often an afterthought, dealt with only following the completion of the original (mono) version of a given track.”

Recording engineer Dave Hassinger, who worked with the Stones from 1964-66, explained how he mixed the Stones in mono: “They always played together at the same time,” he is quoted as saying. “They would run the parts down, work out the changes here and there, nail it down, then start recording.”

Fast forward to May 22nd, 2018, and ABKCO has released an official lyric video for the group’s 1967 smash hit, “Ruby Tuesday,” to coincide with The Rolling Stones’ 2018 #NoFilter tour of the U.K. and Europe.

From the announcement: “For this hauntingly beautiful ballad the goal was to create a romantic and evocative visual inspired by 60s design and an independent, free-spirited woman. To enhance the wistful, baroque feel of the verses, densely decorative floral and paisley patterns which form throughout each scene create a rich tapestry of detail. The choruses cut to kaleidoscopic patterns set against a bright ruby red backdrop, ensuring a big hit of colour in contrast to the verses.”

More on “Ruby Tuesday” from the announcement: “The song was written, for the most part, by Stones guitarist Keith Richards in 1966, inspired by Linda Keith, his girlfriend at the time, who had recently left him for a poet named Bill Chenail; soon thereafter she began dating rising star Jimi Hendrix.” “That’s the first time I felt the deep cut,” Richards recollected in his 2010 autobiography Life. “The thing about being a songwriter is, even if you’ve been fucked over, you can find consolation in writing about it, and pour it out . . . It becomes an experience, a feeling, or a conglomeration of experiences. Basically Linda is ‘Ruby Tuesday.’”

The recording features Brian Jones on recorder, Bill Wyman fretting a double bass (with Keith Richards bowing it) and outside help from arranger/composer Jack Nitzsche who played piano on the track. Initially released in January 1967 as a B-side to “Let’s Spend the Night Together,”

“Ruby Tuesday” was featured on the American release of the 1967 album, Between The Buttons. This version features Mick Jagger on vocals, Keith Richards on guitar, Charlie Watts on drums, Ronnie Wood on guitar, Bill Wyman on bass, Matt Clifford on keyboards and French horn, Bobby Keys on saxophone, Chuck Leavell on keyboards, Bernard Fowler on backing vocals, Lisa Fischer on backing vocals, Cindy Mizelle on backing vocals, and the Uptown Horns.

The official promo video for ‘Ain’t Too Proud To Beg’, the 1974 single by the Rolling Stones. ‘Aint’ Too Proud To Beg’ was originally performed by the Temptations in 1966 and was composed by Norman Whitfield and Edward Holland Jr. The Rolling Stones recorded the song at Musicland, Munich in November 1973 and it was released in October 1974 and peaked at number 17 on the billboard charts. It features on the album It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll. The track features Mick Jagger on lead vocals, Keith Richards on rhythm guitar, Charlie Watts on drums, Mick Taylor on lead guitar and Bill Wyman on bass, along with Billy Preston on keys and clavinet, and Ed Leach on cowbell. The video was directed Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who directed many promos for the Rolling Stones including ‘Child Of The Moon’, ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll’ and ‘Start Me Up’. Ain’t To Proud To Beg (single version)

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This week in 1974: The Rolling Stones scored their 5th US chart topping album with their 12th British & 14th American studio release, ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll’, released on Rolling Stones Records (it peaked at #2 in the UK); the LP’s success was fueled largely by its two main singles the title track & a cover of the 1966 Motown hit for The Temptations, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”  it was the first album that Keith Richards & Mick Jagger produced together for the band, under their adopted moniker of ‘The Glimmer Twins’

Recorded in the 1970s, ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)’ is as iconic a Rolling Stones song as any that the band cut in the 1960s. It is a song with a tangled web of a history having first been recorded on 24th July 1973, not in a traditional studio but at The Wick, Ronnie Wood’s home in Richmond. According to Bill Wyman, who admittedly wasn’t there, “On Tuesday 24th July, Mick and Keith went to Ronnie Wood’s house, the Wick in Richmond, and recorded a version of ‘It’s Only Rock and Roll’, with Ronnie, Kenney Jones, and Ian McLagan.” Ronnie, Jones and McLagan were all in The Faces along with Ronnie Lane and Rod Stewart. Other reports have David Bowie at Ronnie’s house, but that Keith was not there.
Whatever the truth that has been long forgotten, as to who was there and who wasn’t, this was the genesis of the song. Sometime later in the year Willie Weeks, an American session musician who worked with both George Harrison and David Bowie around this time, added bass to the song. In April 1974 the basic track that was recorded at Ronnie’s house was used to finish the song, at this time Ian Stewart added his distinctive piano to the track.

According to Mick, “The idea of the song has to do with our public persona at the time. I was getting a bit tired of people having a go, all that, ‘oh, it’s not as good as their last one’ business. The single sleeve had a picture of me with a pen digging into me as if it were a sword. It was a light hearted, anti-journalistic sort of thing.”

The song became the title track for their 1974 album and was released as a single on 26th July 1974, three months before the LP came out. But the record company at the time were not sure it was a single, According to Keith there was opposition to it, but as he said at the time, “That song is a classic. The title alone is a classic and that’s the whole thing about it.”

The Rolling Stones‘ official promo video for ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)’. The track is the title single from the album It’s Only Rock and Roll (1974). Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and produced by the Glimmer Twins, the song went straight to number one in the US charts when it was released.

The video features Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor dressed in sailor suits performing in a circus tent that fills with bubbles  that features the band in sailor suits, playing in a tent which gradually filled with bubbles. The froth was detergent and the reason they wore the sailor suits was because none of them wanted to ruin their own clothes. According to Keith, “Poor old Charlie nearly drowned… because we forgot he was sitting down.”

The video was directed by filmmaker Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who also directed the promo videos “Neighbours”, “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Child Of The Moon”. Lindsay-Hogg also directed promos for the Beatles and the Who.

It went top 20 in both America and the UK and has been played at just about every live show ever since.

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How to stay relevant. It’s a question we all face at some point in life. Mick Jagger was thinking about staying relevant. It was 1983. Punk had come and gone. New Wave was still a thing. Electronica and the New Romantics were still fashionable. Where did a rock ‘n’ roll band like the Stones fit into the mix? Jagger was going through what Keith Richards called “Lead Vocalist Syndrome.” The point where a band’s singer thinks he/she is bigger, better, and more important than the rest of the group.

Richards had quit heroin. He was clean. After years of fucking around, Richards was back and wanted to take up his fair share of the burden  After being busted in Toronto for heroin possession, the Stones guitarist luckily avoided jail time and cleaned himself up (for the most part). With his cookies relatively un-fazed, Richards soon realized the amount of control that Mick Jagger now had over the band. But Jagger had control of the Rolling Stones and wasn’t going to give Keith an inch. A great deal of the tension during the recording of the album stemmed from the fact that Richards had emerged (to an extent) from his destructive lifestyle of the previous decade, and thus sought a more active role in the creative direction of the band.

To keep relevant, Jagger was checking out the competition. He wanted to know what Bowie was doing, what Rod Stewart was doing, what was the latest tune played on the dancefloor at Studio 54, and which bands were snapping at their heels.  Jagger and Richards had written their first song on a kitchen table. They didn’t care what other people thought or who they sounded like, it was their song—that was all that mattered. Now, the relationship between Jagger and Richards was fractious. It was falling apart. Jagger had control and he was taking the Stones where he wanted.

Yet, checking out the opposition, chasing the trends meant sometimes Jagger got it right. He was and still is a shrewd businessman—let’s not forget, he had been a student at the London School of Economics. He had also been very successful in taking the Stones in unlikely directions, like that time he pulled them into disco music with “Miss You.” But sometimes his ideas were not as popular, Jagger was always open to suggestions, always looking for something new, always wanting to be at the front of the crowd.

Undercover is the 17th British and 19th American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released in 1983. After their preceding studio album, Tattoo You (1981), which was mostly patched together from a selection of outtakes, Undercover was their first release of all new recordings in the 1980s. The making of Undercover was an arduous process, largely because Jagger and Richards’ famous mid-1980s row began during these sessions.

The lyrics on Undercover are among Jagger’s with much grisly imagery to be found in the lead single and top 10 hit “Undercover of the Night”, a rare political track about Central America, as well as “Tie You Up (The Pain of Love)” Though it’s meant as a critique of ‘80s culture, “Too Much Blood” contains the most convulsive imagery on the entire record; it’s also its highlight. Featuring another mutant disco beat from Watts and Dunbar, alongside a bed of rhythm guitars, Mick delivers a half-rap that references The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and details the horrifying true story of Issei Sagawa, a Japanese man who murdered his date, then devoured her body piece by piece. Over the oddly alluring horns and slick, reverb-ed overproduction, he yelps, “I can feel it in the air, feel it up above/Feel the tension everywhere, there’s too much blood!” (The single also featured a disturbing video, as Richards and Wood chase after Jagger with chainsaws.) It’s undoubtedly one of the strangest songs in the Stones’ catalouge, a warped look at a pop-culture landscape that’s only gotten more perverse as time drags on.

With Jagger’s attempt to incorporate contemporary trends in dance music. Musically, Undercover appears to duel between hard rock, reggae and new wave, reflecting the leadership tug of war between Jagger and Richards at the time. “Pretty Beat Up” is largely a Ronnie Wood composition, and Jagger and Richards were both reportedly reluctant to include it on the album.

Undercover continues to divide . Although it was largely praised on release, many fans came to regard it as among the Rolling Stones‘ weaker releases, a view echoed by Jagger himself in later interviews. While some critics tend to blame the then-contemporary production and eclecticism, a large part of the album was done in a hard-rock style (“She Was Hot”, “Too Tough”, “All The Way Down”, and “It Must Be Hell”), leading many to fault the generally inconsistent material.

Written and sung by Keith, “Wanna Hold You” the song takes the standard pop conceit of a poor man who can only promise his woman love, and creates a dazzling positivity, It’s a simple pop song, but it inverts the dour, blood-and-guts feeling that pervades the record, giving it a much-needed break.

Jagger had read William Burroughs’ book Cities of the Red Night. It was the book everyone was supposed to be reading. It had received, at that point, the best reviews of Burroughs’ career. Which shows weird only lasts as long as it’s something new.

Burroughs was the starting point for Jagger writing the song “Undercover of the Night” in Paris around late 1982. As he later explained in the liner notes for The Stones’ compilation Jump Back, “Undercover of the Night” was “heavily influenced by William Burroughs’ Cities Of The Red Night, a free-wheeling novel about political and sexual repression. It combines a number of different references to what was going down in Argentina and Chile.”

“Undercover of the Night” is a classic Stones’ track. A brilliant vocal, a great guitar riff, and a memorable hook. It was Jagger’s song, as Richards later recalled: “Mick had this one all mapped out, I just played on it. There were a lot more overlays on the track because there was a lot more separation in the way we were recording at the time.”

“Undercover Of The Night” was the album’s opener and first single. Listening to the fiery funk beat, it’s clear that this is mostly Jagger’s composition. Though the lyrics deal with the political corruption of South America, an important element from Jamaica drives the song: the rhythm section of Sly Dunbar and Robbie ShakespeareShakespeare replaces Bill Wyman here on bass, but his sporadic playing suits the paranoid feel. Among other percussionists, Watts’ driving backbeat is mixed with the dub-echo of Dunbar’s electronic drums, giving the track an interesting, though very period, soundscape.
When it came to making the promo for the song, the Stones approached Julien Temple who was the hip, young director with a fine resume of work with the Sex Pistols, the UK Subs (Punk Can Take It) and the promo for “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners. He had also famously directed the Pistols big screen adventure The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle. Temple soon discovered how difficult the relationship between Jagger and Richards had become:
“I wrote an extreme treatment about being in the middle of an urban revolution and dramatized the notion of Keith and Mick really not liking each other by having Keith kill Mick in the video. I never thought they would do it. Of course, they loved it. I went to Paris to meet with the band. Keith was looking particularly unhappy. He was glowering with menace and eventually said, ‘Come downstairs with me.’ My producer and I went down to the men’s room. Keith had a walking stick and suddenly he pulled it apart. The next thing I know he’s holding a swordstick to my throat. He said, ‘I want to be in the video more than I am.’ So we wrote up his part a bit more. That was Keith’s idea of collaboration!”

The promo opens on a hotel complex. American tourists are having a good time grooving to the Stones’ music while militiamen patrol the rooftops and streets. Jagger as the journalist (white knight in a Panama hat and very bad stick-on mustache) watches as Keith and his gang of masked vigilantes or maybe revolutionaries or maybe death squad or maybe just a rock ‘n’ roll group on the spur of some internal wranglings (take your pick) sneak into the hotel and kidnap one of the hotel guests or rather kidnap Mick Jagger watching Mick Jagger on TV. Journo Mick watches kidnapped Mick being spirited away by Keith and co. who all drive off in what looks like a military vehicle straight past a bunch of soldiers kicking the shit out of people down on their luck.

Journo Mick makes his way to kidnapped Mick’s hotel room where he finds a woman hiding under the bed covers (ya see what they did there?). Anyway, one thing leads to another, and journo Mick and his girl under the covers watch an execution and then go off (via the police department) to rescue kidnapped Mick. A shoot-out ensues in a candle-lit church—nothing worse than what any five-year-old could see on The A-Team—and kidnapped Mick is saved. Poor old journo Mick dies from a bullet wound.

What it’s saying, what it’s actually about, is none too clear. It’s a dilettante’s take on Burroughs and the criminal activities of government’s and hoodlums in South America. At worst, it might make a viewer go, “Wow, South America looks a fun place to have a party.” At best, it would get the kids talking about politics and shit.

Jagger has sometimes been accused of being a dilettante. Maybe. To be fair, he’s more, as Richards said in his autobiography, “a sponge” who soaks up whatever’s going on and filters it through his music. Just what every good artist does.

The subject matter of the song and its accompanying promo was a rare outing into politics for the Stones. It was over fifteen years since “Street Fighting Man” but “Undercover of the Night” chimed neatly with the edgy political songs released by bands like The Jam or specifically the Clash and their album Sandinista! from 1980, which similarly dealt with the political turmoil in Chile and Nicaragua. The promo was banned by the BBC or rather the Corporation said they weren’t going to screen it, while the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) were nervous over its perceived violence. MTV was also angsty. It’s difficult to see why the sequences of so-called “violence” caused such concern, as both the BBC and the Independent Television Channels in the UK screened far worse with war films and westerns and TV detective series at peak times. It was more likely the political content—the suggestion that America was in some way sponsoring murderous dictatorships in South America—rather than any bang-bang, shoot-shoot, made “Undercover of the Night” unpalatable. But getting “banned” kept the Stones relevant in a wholly different way.

In 1983 Mick Jagger and director Julien Temple appeared via TV link-up on The Tube to promote the single and defend the video’s politics and violence. They were interviewed by a young presenter called Muriel Gray.