Posts Tagged ‘Ronnie Wood’

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“Bridges To Buenos Aires” is the latest concert film release from The Rolling Stones’ archive. The full-length show from their five night sell-out residency at the River Plate Stadium in Argentina’s capital city has been restored in full, and features a very special guest appearance from Bob Dylan.

Filmed on April 5th 1998, by this point, the band had played to over two million people on the first two legs of the tour in North America and Japan. Amongst many highlights in this show, special guest Bob Dylan joins the band onstage at River Plate for a unique performance of his classic ‘Like A Rolling Stone’. The band only played a further two dates in South America on the triumphant, year long Bridges To Babylon tour, before they headed back to North America, and Europe.

Filmed on April 5th 1998, by this point, the band had played to over two million people on the first two legs of the tour in North America and Japan. Amongst many highlights in this show, special guest Bob Dylan joins the band onstage at River Plate for a unique performance of his classic ‘Like A Rolling Stone’. The band only played a further two dates in South America on the triumphant, year long Bridges To Babylon tour, before they headed back to North America, and Europe.

A new trailer for Bridges to Buenos Aires features a few snippets of Dylan’s appearance, while it also teases renditions of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Flip the Switch” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Bridges to Buenos Aires is to be released as a two CD set with either a DVD or Blu-ray. It will also be issued on digital video, digital audio and a limited edition translucent blue, 180 gram triple vinyl LP. The concert film was restored from the original master tapes, while the audio was remixed and remastered from the live multitrack recordings.

The band only played a further two dates in South America on the triumphant, year long Bridges To Babylon tour, before they headed back to North America, and Europe.

I already knew about Page and Keith and Clapton but…?! ,Those were the questions going through my head when I discovered this record. I was blown away. I picked this record up on recommendation in my local record shop because the guy who owned the shop—the older, wiser, connoisseur of rock ‘n’ roll vinyl—told me that I must have it.

Put on “Let Me Love You” at a loud volume, and you are instantly a cooler person. It’s just true. I don’t know the science, but it adds up, And Jeff Beck’s solo in that tune… still one of the very best.

Beck, fresh out of the Yardbirds, released his first solo album in 1968 with help from Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood. They weren’t yet christened the Jeff Beck Group, but they were clearly a band at this point. (Other luminaries like Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Keith Moon also help out.) But most of the flash is provided by Beck, who slings his guitar into some new territory on ‘Truth,’ firing up old traditional and blues numbers with instrumental tricks.

By 1968, Jeff Beck had become a major pioneering force on the electric guitar, following Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds, before clocking up two pop hits with Tallyman and Hi-Ho Silver Lining. By the time he was assembling the band for “Truth” he determined to make an album for himself.

With Beck having established himself as a guitar player of the first degree on a quartet of bold and wickedly wonderful Yardbirds albums in 1965 and 1966 (For Your Love, Having A Rave Up With The Yardbirds, The Yardbirds [Roger The Engineer] and Over Under Sideways Down), producer/manager Mickie Most, thinking to capitalise on the guitarist’s visibility, conceived the notion of turning Beck into a pop crooner. All but forgetting that Beck was first and foremost an instrumentalist, Most shackled him with a series of less-than-guitar-focused songs.

“I always kept my fingers on players,” Beck commented in the 70s. “Every musician around London always knew what the other one was doing. All groups used to come and see each other play, and it was really nice. There seemed to be a purpose. It was like a competition: ‘They’re doing that in their act, so we’ll have to cut that out’. It was great fun; nice, hot competition. I really liked the scene then.

“I had to round up a singer,” he continued. “I couldn’t think of who to get. I always liked Rod [Stewart], I dug him, with the teased hair and all the rest of it. “He was out of work at the time. He was hanging around a [London] club called The Cromwellian. I asked him if he wanted a job and [thinking Beck was drunk] he said: ‘Yeah, but I don’t believe you. Ring me tomorrow’. And I was more sober than I’ve ever been that night. And I couldn’t believe that he said yeah, because I thought he was a snob.”

With a singer in tow, Beck then set out to look for a bass player. Ronnie Wood continues the story: “I knew Jeff, but I’d never had a chance to go and sit through a whole show. I’d just heard little bits of him when he used to play with a band called The Tridents [Beck’s pre-Yardbirds band]. I suppose Jeff was one of my best friends, even though he was in another band.”

After the relative ease of getting the first two band members, finding a drummer was a nightmare. Beck went through Ray Cook, his former bandmate in The Tridents, the Pretty Things’ Viv Prince, ex-John Mayall drummer Mickey Waller (we’ll come back to him), Rod Coombes (later of The Strawbs), and another former Mayall graduate, Aynsley Dunbar. Although the last named held real promise, it resulted in yet another drum debacle. “I played with Jeff for four months,”.

“He was a bastard,” Dunbar complained of Beck. “He was so loud I couldn’t hear. I didn’t have any mics on my drums; the band had 100-watt Marshall amplifiers blaring; no monitors. With drummer Mickey Waller re-hired, and after several months of gigs, the quartet went into Abbey Road Studios on May 14, 1968, to begin recording an album. The material the group recorded was a combination of the live set, reworkings and some odds and ends. The album opens with a devastating slow version of the Yardbirds’ hit Shapes Of Things, with Beck turning in a virtuoso performance. Let Me Love You was part of the stage set and one of the few self-written pieces, setting up the call-and-response sequence between guitar and voice that Beck and Stewart had perfected live.

On July 29, 1968, Jeff Beck, along with a kick-around vocalist, a future Rolling Stone, and a drummer with a lot of bash released Truth. The album was a miracle of fury and berserk beauty, a testament to the jaw-dropping chops of a 24- year old guitarist who, over the course of 10 tracks and around 40 minutes, ran the gamut from electric blues and modified R&B to psychedelically influenced rock, classical, and even a little heavy-metal instrumentalism. With Truth, released just months before Led Zeppelin’s debut  album release – and with songs and personnel in common.  Jeff Beck, vocalist Rod Stewart, bassist Ronnie Wood, and drummer Mickey Waller (the core band) made an album that would become every guitar player’s bible and every hard rock band’s Holy Grail.

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With Ronnie Wood on bass, Rod Stewart on vocals and guests like Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Keith Moon Nicky Hopkins, Aynsley Dunbar and Madeline Bell.  popping up for guest spots on Beck’s Bolero, it was an album that not only helped establish the British blues rock sound, but featured many of its best exponents. Audacious and experimental, it smashes genre conventions at every turn.

Morning Dew, another song from the touring circuit, is a pulsating interpretation of Tim Rose’s classic, and it’s given a dirge-like solemnity from Beck’s breathtaking mastery of the wah-wah pedal. Here (and on closer I Ain’t Superstitious), Beck demonstrates amazing prowess with the then-new effects pedal.

Then there is the great catastrophe of You Shook Me, the old blues chestnut written by Willie Dixon and originally recorded by Muddy Waters. The song was on Truth, and was then re-fashioned by Led Zeppelin for their debut album some months later.

Ol’ Man River, the Oscar Hammerstein II/Jerome Kern standard is an odd little creature. With Beck on bass, John Paul Jones on Hammond organ, and tympani by ‘You Know Who’ – actually Keith Moon – it is one of the album’s lesser moments. But it did prompt Truth engineer Ken Scott to recall The Who’s drummer living up to his ‘Loon’ nickname. “One has to remember Mr Moon playing tymps.

On vinyl, side two of Truth opens with Beck having picked up an acoustic for a shaky but stirring version of the classical… er, classic Greensleeves. “It was just an idle mess around in the studio while I was waiting for Mickie,” he said. “Why not? It was the vital last track of the album, and nobody could think of what to play, so I just played it. That’s why there’s all the plinking and plonking and bad notes in it. I can’t play acoustic guitar very well.”

Rock My Plimsoul is a track Beck recorded back during his Mickie Most/solo career period. That staggered little drum lick from Aynsley Dunbar (who is uncredited) sets the song in motion, and provides a rhythmic trampoline on which Beck’s guitar jumps and twirls.

Willie Dixon’s You Shook Me and I Ain’t Superstitious are masterfully reinvented, even Broadway hit Ol’ Man River and the Henry VIII-authored Greensleeves are dragged into Beck’s musical vision.

And then there is the timeless and epic instrumental Beck’s Bolero. Recorded in May 1966, this rendition of Ravel’s famous Bolero was the B-side of Hi Ho Silver Lining and was meant to serve as the launching pad for Beck’s idealised supergroup. Players include Jimmy Page on electric 12-string, Keith Moon on drums, John Paul Jones on bass, and Nicky Hopkins on piano.

‘Truth’ is surely one album to consider as a forward thinking, Blues Rock to Rock Metal template for the future of guitar music. Some of the tracks were written as early as 1966, which just makes you realise how cutting this album is for something released in 1968.

Truth is the debut album by Jeff Beck, released in 1968 released on Columbia Records and in the United States on Epic Records. It introduced the talents of his backing band the Jeff Beck Group, who were specifically Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, to a larger audience.

After leaving the Yardbirds in late 1966, Jeff Beck had released three commercial singles, two in 1967 featuring Beck on lead vocals, and one without vocals in 1968. All had been hits on the British singles chart, and all were characterized by songs aimed at the pop chart on the A-side at the request of producer Mickie Most. Harder rock and blues-based numbers were featured on the B-sides, and for music on the album, Beck opted to pursue the latter course.

Recording sessions for the album took place over four days, 14th–15th May and 25th–26th May 1968. Nine eclectic tracks were taken from these sessions, including covers of “Ol’ Man River” by Jerome Kern, the Tudor period melody “Greensleeves”, and Bonnie Dobson’s “Morning Dew”, which had been a 1966 hit single for Tim Rose. Beck acknowledged two giants of Chicago blues in songs by Willie Dixon – Muddy Waters’ “You Shook Me” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Ain’t Superstitious”.

The album started with a song from Beck’s old band: “Shapes of Things”. Three originals were credited to “Jeffrey Rod”, a pseudonym for Beck and Stewart, all reworkings of previous blues songs: “Let Me Love You” the song of the same title by Buddy Guy; “Rock My Plimsoul” from “Rock Me Baby” by B.B. King; and “Blues Deluxe” similar to another song by B.B. King, “Gambler’s Blues”.”Plimsoul” had already been recorded for the B-side to the 1967 single “Tallyman”, and the tenth track, an instrumental featuring Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Keith Moon, and future Beck group pianist Nicky Hopkins, “Beck’s Bolero”, had been edited and remixed for stereo from the earlier B-side to “Hi Ho Silver Lining”. Due to contractual conflicts, Moon had been credited on the original album as “You Know Who”. This album was Rod Stewart’s first-ever album-length lead vocal showcase as an artist, and is regarded, along with ‘Beck-Ola’ as a musical touchstone for hard rockers in the years that followed.

Truth is regarded as a seminal work of heavy metal because of its use of blues toward a hard rock approach.

On 10th October 2006, Legacy Recordings remastered and reissued the album for compact disc with eight bonus tracks. Included were two earlier takes of “You Shook Me” and “Blues Deluxe”, the latter without the overdubbed applause, and the six tracks making up the three singles by Beck. The B-side to the 1968 single “Love Is Blue”, “I’ve Been Drinking”, was another “Jeffrey Rod” special, this time reconfiguring the Johnny Mercer song “Drinking Again”

  • Jeff Beck – electric guitars, acoustic guitar on “Greensleeves”; pedal steel guitar on “Shapes of Things”; bass guitar on “Ol’ Man River”; lead vocals on “Tallyman” and “Hi Ho Silver Lining”,backing vocals on “Let Me Love You”
  • Rod Stewart – lead vocals,
  • Ronnie Wood – bass guitar
  • Micky Waller – drums
  • John Paul Jones – bass guitar on “Hi Ho Silver Lining” and “Beck’s Bolero”; Hammond organ on “Ol’ Man River” and “You Shook Me”; arrangements on “Hi Ho Silver Lining”
  • Nicky Hopkins – piano on “Morning Dew”, “You Shook Me”, “Beck’s Bolero” and “Blues Deluxe”

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During rehearsals, I draw up set lists on big canvases, putting down the songs and the keys they’re in. We hang these set lists on the rehearsal room walls so we know where we’ve been and where we’re going.’ – Ronnie Wood

Over the last two decades, each song the Rolling Stones have played in rehearsals has been recorded by Ronnie Wood in a series of hand-painted set lists. The result is a unique collection of canvases that document sell-out tours across the globe, such as the band’s landmark 50 & Counting tour, historic concerts such as 2016’s performance in Havana, as well as closed-door sessions for their latest album, Blue & Lonesome.
Now for Genesis subscribers and for all fans of the Rolling Stones, we are delighted to present Ronnie Wood’s painted set lists for the first time. Choose from three new limited editions, each signed by Ronnie Wood.
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I illustrate the band’s set lists, sometimes Keith and Mick add little doodles, and they become works of art in their own right.’ – Ronnie Wood

Ronnie Wood has chosen nearly 100 painted set lists to be published for the first time. Presented in chronological order, the collection follows the group’s travels to foreign rehearsal locations that were kept secret at the time. They reveal the songs rehearsed for historic performances, such as the Rolling Stones‘ 2014 inaugural concert in Israel, as well as documenting the shows as eventually played. The colourful hand-lettering recalls Wood’s early art school days when he worked as a sign writer. The set lists are visually eye catching and filled with fascinating details. Wood’s calligraphy is interspersed with his own illustrations, doodles by fellow band members, and jotted notes that all add up to paint a picture of life on the road with the Rolling Stones.

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‘It could be somebody coming in at the wrong moment, or forgetting the arrangement and suddenly going to the middle eight, when you can see Keith mouthing, “What the hell is he doing?” It’s all part of what keeps the band vibrant.’ – Ronnie Wood

In a new manuscript spanning 212 pages, Wood offers a glimpse behind the scenes of one of the most famous rock bands in the world. Through Wood’s artwork and his personal reflections, the reader is given an insight into the band’s touring over the years.

Throughout the book, Ronnie Wood brings the story of the set lists to life, as he discusses the band’s creative process, learning up to 80 songs per tour; personal highlights, such as Valentine’s Day 2014, when a small group of fans were invited into rehearsals; collaborations with fellow musicians such as The Black Keys, Eric Clapton, Florence Welch and Jeff Beck; and the band’s various reunions with former Rolling Stones Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor.

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The Set Pieces book is limited to only 1,000 numbered copies, each signed by Ronnie Wood.

Presented in a cloth-bound slipcase, the 212-page volume is quarter bound in burgundy leather with purple and gold screen-printed covers – emblazoned with the lizards that feature on one of Ronnie’s custom-made guitar straps. Ronnie Wood’s large format Set Piecesbook (page size: 297mm x 420mm / 11 ¾” x 16 ½”) is hand-finished with gilt page edging and tooling.

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First Step

When vocalist Steve Marriott left to form Humble Pie, his three Small Faces bandmates regrouped with Jeff Beck Group axeman Ron Wood and singer Rod Stewart. With the name shortened to Faces, the U.K. quintet made an auspicious debut in 1970 with the album release “FIRST STEP”, a title that made sly reference to the beginner’s guide to guitar that Wood holds in the cover photo.

First Step was the first album by the then British group re named Faces, released in early 1970. The album was released only a few months after the Faces had formed from the ashes of the Small Faces (from which Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan hailed) and The Jeff Beck Group (from which Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood hailed.) The album is credited to the Small Faces on the cover , The album cover shows Ronnie Wood holding a copy of Geoffrey Sisley’s seminal guitar tutorial First Step: How to Play the Guitar Plectrum Style.

But there was nothing inexperienced about any of these musicians, and their chemistry and superb performances are evident on each of the 10 tracks. After an ace cover of Dylan’s “Wicked Messenger” the material is all original, with songwriting duties spread fairly evenly among the members; with a pair of instrumentals and such fine tracks as “Around the Plynth” Other highlights include Ronnie Lane’s folksy “Stone”, the hard-rocking “Shake, Shudder, Shiver”, “Three Button Hand Me Down” (on which both Lane and Wood play the bassline, affording the track a unique sonic quality in the Faces catalogue), and the soulful “Flying”.

it’s a consistently enjoyable collection. Faces were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, and the journey that brought them there begins with FIRST STEP.

In August 2015, the album was reissued in a remastered and expanded form, including two previously-unreleased bonus tracks recorded shortly after the album’s release, “Behind the Sun” and “Mona the Blues” (although the latter was remade by Lane and Wood in 1972 for their Mahoney’s Last Stand film soundtrack).

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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.

There are very few albums which are indispensable. The Beatles Revolver, Stones Exile on Maine Street and the like. For me, truly great records capture a moment.

The Faces‘ third album from 1971, came in the middle of a whirlwind year for singer Rod Stewart.  In the mere months that separated the album “Long Player” and “A Nod Is As Good As A Wink” Stewart had a huge hit with “Maggie May” and his first No. 1 solo album (‘Every Picture Tells a Story’) his third solo album was something that would soon irreparably damage the band, but at the time it was mere good fortune, helping bring them some collateral success that they deserved. Certainly, it didn’t change the character of the album itself, which is the tightest record the band ever made. Granted that may be a relative term, since sloppiness is at the heart of this band, but this doesn’t feel cobbled together, (which the otherwise excellent Long Player did).

‘A Nod Is as Good as a Wink .finally gave the group their long-awaited hit single in “Stay with Me,” . Loose, bluesy and boozy, rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t get more natural than this. The Faces and solo Rod Stewart were never as good as this before or since. From the opening ‘Miss Judy’s Farm’ which is awesome, the songs just get better and better. Their interpretation of Chuck Berry’s Memphis Tenessee followed by ‘Too Bad’ will make you feel grateful that you’re alive. Ending with the rampaging good times of “That’s All You Need.” In between, Ronnie Lane serves up dirty jokes the exquisitely funny “You’re So Rude”  and heartbreaking ballads (the absolutely beautiful “Debris” , and generally serves up a nonstop party. There are few records that feel like a never-ending party like this seventies album , the slow moments are for slow dancing, and as soon as it’s over, it’s hard not to want to do it all over again. It’s another classic –

They were helped in that respect by new co-producer Glyn Johns, who came in as an impartial outside set of ears while helping to wrangle the unruly band members into recording shape. It couldn’t have been the easiest gig, but it’s easy to understand why Johns was attracted to it — aside from Stewart’s formidable vocals, the group boasted the prodigious talents of keyboardist Ian McLagan , drummer Kenney Jones and perpetually underrated bassist and great songwriter Ronnie Lane .

With Johns helping the Faces were brought more attentively to bear on some of their finest material. While public perception was increasingly focused on Stewart, the new album titled A Nod Is As Good As a Wink … to a Blind Horse — presented the band at their creatively democratic best. Of the eight originals they lined up for the LP, the majority were co-written, with Lane, McLagan, Stewart and Wood all having a hand in the record’s compositional makeup. As Lane recalled in the years after its release, Nod captured a group firing on all cylinders.

Side One
1. “Miss Judy’s Farm” (Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood) – 3:42
2. “You’re So Rude” (Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan) – 3:46
3. “Love Lives Here” (Lane, Stewart, Wood) – 3:09
4. “Last Orders Please” (Lane) – 2:38
5. “Stay with Me” (Stewart, Wood) – 4:42

Side Two

1. “Debris” (Lane) 4:39
2. “Memphis, Tennessee” Incorrectly titled on original US pressings of the album as simply “Memphis” (Chuck Berry) – 5:31
3. “Too Bad” (Stewart, Wood) – 3:16
4. “That’s All You Need” (Stewart, Wood) – 5:05

PERSONNEL
ROD STEWART – vocals
RONNIE LANE – bass, acoustic guitar, percussion, vocals
RONNIE WOOD – lead, slide, acoustic and pedal steel guitars, backing vocals on “Too Bad”, harmonica
IAN McLAGAN – piano, organ, backing vocals “Too Bad”
KENNEY JONES – drums, percussion
HARRY FOWLER – steel drums on “That’s All You Need”
GLYN JOHNS – co-producer, engineer
PRODUCED BY FACES AND GLYN JOHNS

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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.

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The Rolling Stones are working on a blues-themed studio album, and we know for sure that Eric Clapton will be making a guest appearance on the disc.

Clapton “dropped by for a couple of numbers,” Richards told BBC 6 Music, adding that the recording sessions were lke “like old times down in Richmond.”No, he’s not talking about Richmond, Virginia; he means the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, Surrey, England, where the Stones and Clapton’s old band, the Yardbirds, used to perform in the early to mid-Sixties.

The Rolling Stones confirmed that they were working on a new album at the launch of Exhibitionism, a career retrospective at London’s Saatchi Gallery, earlier this year. The sessions have included new material and several blues covers, including tunes by Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter. Richards said the album would include “lots of Chicago blues” and would be released sometime “in the autumn.”

The Stones have circled back to the blues, with “Blue & Lonesome”, a (mostly) live-in-the-studio collection of 12 songs originally performed by the likes of Little Walter, Jimmy Reed and, again, Howlin’ Wolf. It’s the first Rolling Stones album to have zero Jagger-Richards originals; even their debut had a couple of attempts at songwriting. Recording Blue & Lonesome was easy – it took all of three days. “It made itself,” says Richards. As Ronnie Wood points out, however, it’s also the product of “a lifetime’s research, really.”

The freakiest thing about “Blue & Lonesome” is the extent to which Jagger and Richards agree on it. both are genuinely excited about the roots revival. The project might, from the outside, seem more like a Richards thing, the kind of retro move he’d favor, while Jagger The frontman says the stereotype isn’t all wrong, but that in this case, “we were all equally into it. I was as into it as anyone.”

“This is the best record Mick Jagger has ever made,” says Richards, always a fan of Jagger’s emotive harmonica playing, which flourishes on the new LP. “It was just watching the guy enjoying doing what he really can do better than anybody else.” He pauses. “And also, the band ain’t too shabby.”

Even after their early flurry of covers subsided, the Stones have never stopped playing old blues tunes, both onstage and, especially, in rehearsals. The 200 hours of Exile on Main Street sessions, for instance, were punctuated by repeated attempts at covers, meant to clear the air between the midwifing of new songs. Two of them  Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips” and Robert Johnson’s “Stop Breakin’ Down Blues” – made the 1972 album.

Jagger is finally ready to concede that the Rolling Stones have something to add to this music. “The thing about the blues,” he says, “is it changes in very small increments. People reinterpret what they know – Elmore James reinterpreted Robert Johnson licks, as did Muddy Waters. So I’m not saying we’re making the jumps that they made, but we can’t help but reinterpret these songs.

This past December, the Rolling Stones gathered in Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios in West London to begin work on a batch of original songs. Jagger is deliberately vague on the nature of those tunes. “I hope it’s gonna be a very eclectic album,” he says. “I hope some of it’s gonna be recognizable Stones and some of it’s gonna be some Stones you never heard before, maybe.”

Knopfler’s studio is gorgeous, equipped with an ideal mix of vintage and modern equipment, with high ceilings and gleaming blond-wood floors. It was also a totally alien environment for the Stones. says Richards. “I know that recording new music in a room they’re not familiar with, there’s sometimes going to be weeks before the room breaks in.” So Richards told fellow Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood to learn Little Walter’s apocalyptically mournful 1965 B side “Blue and Lonesome” as a potential icebreaker (Wood remembers this suggestion coming in by fax, well before the sessions).

By the second day at British Grove, Richards felt his prediction coming true. “The room is fighting me,” he recalls thinking. “It’s fighting the band. The sound is not coming.” He suggested “Blue and Lonesome,” Jagger dug up a harmonica in the right key, and the band barreled through two quick takes. “Suddenly,” says Richards, “the room is obeying and there’s something happening – a sound is happening and it was so good.”

One of those two takes ended up on the album, and it’s extraordinary, with Wood playing frantic lead; Richards hitting huge, doom-y chords; Watts nailing the original track’s regally restrained drum part; and Jagger digging deep on his harp when he’s not delivering one of the least-mannered vocals of his career. “Baby, please, come back to me,” he pleads. Afterwards, Jagger – who says he had already been pondering a Stones blues album – surprised everyone by calling for more covers. That night, he went to his MP3 collection, returning the next day with more song ideas.

And in keeping with the serendipity of the endeavor, a special guest showed up. On the first day, Eric Clapton happened to be mixing an album of his own at British Grove when he poked his head into the Stones‘ live room. The guitarist, who had seen the Rolling Stones playing blues gigs when he was still in his teens, was taken aback. “Eric walked in, and he had the same reaction that any fan would have,” says Was. “He was just gobsmacked at being that close to something that iconic and powerful. There was this great look on his face.” They asked Clapton to jam on two songs, and he ended up picking up one of Richards‘ guitars, a semihollow Gibson, instead of the Strats he’s mostly played post-1970 – which helped him reclaim the fat tone of his Bluesbreakers days: You can hear the band applauding him at the end of “I Can’t Quit You Baby.”

It all happened so quickly and naturally that the band never really discussed what it was doing, or even acknowledged it was making an album. “I didn’t even have time to change my guitar,” says Wood. “They were coming so thick and fast. It was like, ‘OK, let’s do it – this one, that one.’ Some of the harder riffs were making my fingers bleed, and Mick was going, ‘Come, let’s do it again, then!’ And we’ll go, ‘Hang on! My fingers!’ It was real hard work, but I love it.”

For Jagger, it was a chance to indulge his blues-harp habit, a subject that arouses an incongruously geeky enthusiasm in him. “If I had known I was gonna have to do this,” he says, “I would have spent a few days practicing, because sometimes I do that, sit at home and play. It’s quite easy, really; I mean, you just put on whatever, a whole bunch of Muddy Waters records.” (Muddy “Mississippi” Waters – Live, a 1979 LP featuring Johnny Winter, is one of Jagger’s favorites for this purpose.)

Jagger’s vocals are also striking in their authority. The camp he once brought to the genre is gone, replaced by something darker and deeper, perhaps reflecting the weight of real-life losses. “You can put yourselves inside the songs as a 70-year-old,” says Was, “in a way that you couldn’t when you were 21, because you hadn’t experienced the stuff.”

“On some of these, I sound quite old,” Jagger counters, “and on some of them, I don’t. Some of it sounds like when I was in my twenties doing this stuff. I didn’t really mean it to sound like that. I was supposed to be more mature!”

In October, as the Stones stepped onto the Desert Trip stage in Indio, California, some thoughts crossed Mick Jagger’s mind. “It was 30 meters wider than our normal stage,” says Jagger, “which is quite wide, by the way, which I usually run. And I heard that nobody else went out there, apart from me.

Though Jagger blames the dusty field for a recent bout of laryngitis – and he originally questioned the idea of a festival of “old, over-70 white English people playing all the same music” – the band had a good time at Desert Trip, treating it as a sort of boomer-rock class reunion.

The Stones are discussing more shows next year, and they really do intend to work on that album of originals. “There’s about 10 or 12 new songs that Mick actually has been cooking up,” says Wood, “and Keith’s got the odd one, too.” Richards suggests that at least some of the songs might be unfinished compositions that date back 15 years or more. Keith Richards is trying to persuade them to do some recording, which may be a stretch. Jagger is positive they’ll finish that album, “but I don’t know when, because you want it to be really good and everything.”

At 75, Watts is the oldest band member, and also happens to have the most physically demanding job. Understandably, he struggles with back pain, according to Wood. It’s unclear what the Rolling Stones would do without him, and that’s a prospect Richards refuses to contemplate. “Charlie Watts will never die or retire,” Richards says. “I forbid him to.” Richards knows exactly how he’d like to go, and he’s sure that doctors will want to have “a good look at the liver” when he does. “I’d like to croak magnificently,” he says, savoring the prospect. “Onstage.”

Blue & Lonesome sees the Rolling Stones tipping their hats to their early days as a blues band when they played the music of Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon, Eddie Taylor, Little Walter and Howlin’ Wolf – artists whose songs are featured on this album.

The tracks are – ‘Just Your Fool’, ‘Commit A Crime’, ‘Blue And Lonesome’, ‘All Of Your Love’, ‘I Gotta Go’, ‘Everybody Knows About My Good Thing’, ‘Ride ‘Em On Down’, ‘Hate To See You Go’, ‘Hoo Doo Blues’, ‘Little Rain’, ‘Just Like I Treat You’, ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’.

thanks to Rolling Stone magazine.

What a great track Ooh La La is a song from The Faces. The song was written by Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood and sung by Wood. That is strange because The Faces had one of the best lead singers around at the time…Rod Stewart. Stewart by this time was soaring as a solo artist and his interest in the Faces was waning. He claimed the song was not in his key to sing. He did do vocals for it then and Lane but Wood ended up singing the released version.

The Faces had one big hit…Stay With Me but this song is their greatest song to me. Rod Stewart finally covered the song in 1998 for a tribute to Ronnie Lane. Ronnie Lane did his own version with his band Slim Chance. Ronnie Wood also does it live in solo shows. A song between Granddad and Son about the ways of love. The song never ages because the subject matter never changes and it is continually passed along. The song creates an atmosphere and Wood not known for his singing ability did a great job on this one.

This week in 1973: The Faces scored their first UK #1 album with their final studio release, ‘Ooh La La’, on Warner Bros. Records; with his career in the stratosphere due to the success of his solo albums, Rod Stewart had became increasingly distanced from his bandmates by the time of this recording; produced by Glyn Johns, highlights included “Silicone Grown”, “Cindy Incidentally” & the raucous yet bittersweet album closer “Ooh La La”, featuring the only-ever Faces lead vocal from guitarist Ronnie Wood; the album cover is a photo of Gastone’, a stage character of 1920s Italian comedian Ettore Petrolini, originally designed in such a way that when the top edge was pressed down Gastone’s eyes would discolour & move to the side, while his jaw dropped into a leering smile…

1. Silicone Grown 0:00
2. Cindy Incidentally 3:06
3. Flags And Banners 5:43
4. My Fault 7:45
5. Borstal Boys 10:54
6. Fly In The Onitment 13:48
7. If I’m On The Late Side 17:39
8. Glad And Sorry 20:19
9. Just Another Honky 23:23
10. Ooh La La 27:00

The complete Faces album released in 1973 including many of their best songs. I would say it’s their best studio album.