We Love You....
It now seems extraordinary that people should have been so alarmed by the spectacle of The Rolling Stones in their heyday. The smart young men in their fashionable jackets peering out from their early photographs seem less outrageous today than The Osmonds. But the Stones were the pioneers, the first to champion long hair and break the rules. They would pay the price for daring to be different.
The in your face bravado of 'Satisfaction' signalled the outbreak of a cultural revolution. It demanded free love, the right to smoke dope and an end to war. With Vietnam hooting up, student protest escalating and the spectre of a mysterious underground culture weakening society, The Rolling Stones were perceived as leaders of a revolt. In fact they were just part of the fun machine, but there were many in the conservative elements of society who thought they should be watched 'Satisfaction' was the group's first American Number 1 bit and it was followed by their first U.S. Number I album, Out Of Our Heads, Despite the acclaim, the material was limp and uninspired. It was hard to reconcile a performance like 'Satisfaction', with covers of 'She Said Yeah', 'Mercy Mercy', and Marvin Gaye's 'Hitch Hike'. There were only four Jagger/Richard songs, 'Gotta Get Away', 'Heart Of Stone', and 'I'm Free', none of which were very exciting. 'The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man' (credited to Nanker & Phelge) was above average, but their- version of '.Sam Cooke's 'Good Times', made them sound like a dance hall band.
The clattering, out-of-time drums and weak guitar lick on “'That's How Strong My Love Is” compared unfavourably with slick, stomping Tampa Motown productions of the time. The saving; graces were Brian and Mick's harmonica solos, with the boogie beat on 'Oh Baby' the first real sign of life.
The album did boast excellent cover photography by Gerard Mankowit but recorded in a rush between tour dates, it demonstrated the Stones needed to think more carefully about creating their' own music. lt was hard to see the point of an album which came more out of other people's heads than the band's. The public was ready to buy anything by the Stones, however, and the album stayed at Number 1 in the U.S. charts for three weeks.
During August there were changes in the Stones' management, as Eric Easton was phased out and replaced by a new co manager, sharp New York accountant Allen Klein, who would later represent The Beatles. The Stones also signed a new five-year deal with Decca in England, while London continued to distribute their records in the States.
In September the band went to Ireland for dates in Dublin, where they were attacked onstage by a gang of youths, and Belfast, where fans smashed up the seats. No change there in Stones mania. They then flew directly to Los Angeles to record the powerful 'Get Off My Cloud', penned by Mick and Keith. Everywhere they went they were greeted with uproar. In Germany, thousands went berserk at Düsseldorf airport, and in West Berlin 400 police armed with rubber truncheons battled with fans.
Get off my back
They began their 5th British Tour in fate-September, supported by The Spencer Davis Group, playing two shows a night over 24 days. Keith Richard was knocked out cold by a flying missile at one gig and Jagger was cut on the face during a show in Manchester. But this was just a limbering-up exercise for their next North American tour.
The 37 dates were certainly action-packed, a gig at the Memorial Auditorium in Rochester, NY, was stopped by police after only seven minutes, when 3000 stormed the stage.
'Get Off My Cloud', bounced up to U.S. Number 64 in early October, and eventually got to Number 1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. The Stones also released their own version of 'As Tears Go By', the ballad that Marianne Faithfull had charted with a year earlier. The single was only released in the U.S. and reached Number 6 in January 1966.
The hits carne in an endless stream. 19th Nervous Breakdown', a chanting stomped with a touch of hysteria, hit Number 2 in the U.S. in February. Often, these American releases were different to the Stones' records at home, and another States-only album came in November 1965, clumsily titled December's Children (And Everybody's) (London), which peaked at Number 2. The band had planned another album,” Could You Walk On The Water?”, but Decca hated the title and it was dropped after a row, resulting in the title of the next album release, “Aftermath”.
Meanwhile, 19th Nervous Breakdown' went to Number 1 in the U.K. during a seven-week run in the charts.
All over the world
The whole world wanted to see the Stones and they found themselves circumnavigating the globe in a whirlwind of tours. During February 1966 they toured Australia and New Zealand and in March they fitted in a two-week European stint. In Paris, they were visited by Brigitte Bardot, who came to a party at the George V Hotel, while a Marseilles show got fans rioting yet again, and during which Mick was hit by a chair thrown at the stage.
Aftermath was eventually I released in April. It featured 14 original songs by Mick and Keith, a stand-out being 'Goin' Home', which ran for over 11 minutes, which along with The Animals' 'House Of The Rising Sun', was one of the first rock'n'roll tracks to last longer than the average traditional three-minute single.
Hippies from the burgeoning underground scene greeted the new album with expressions of awe. 'Goin' Home' was regarded as an early manifestation of a semi- psychedelic jam, the sort of thing Pink Floyd would soon make a career of producing. Today, it sounds rather lifeless, a blues extemporization with ponderous bass lines, although it does wake up when Mick yells 'Come On!' and urges his rather nervous fellow Stones to out loose. The improvisational area of rock was obviously not a strong point for the band.
'Sure we know our limitations. Most bands know their limitations but they try and exceed them, and pretend the limitations don't exist," defended Bill Wyman. ,I know I'm not the world's greatest bass player and I'm quite happy, knowing that. It's enough for me to know “I'm competent”.
Aftermath was still a vast improvement on the previous album and showed a rich variety of material, including the satirical 'Mother's little Helper', a reference to housewives who take as many pills as rock stars. The aggression of 'Stupid Girl', and the unexpectedly tasteful Old English ballad 'Lady Jane' showed Jagger's chameleon-like personality veering from street fighter to soul brother to would-be aristocrat. There was a bizarre collection of people who loved to be around the Rolling Stones, and it wasn't surprising that their personality traits bad rubbed off.
'Under My Thumb' was a nicely conceived piece, with a distinctive marimba intro, although it lacked energy whenever Mick wasn't singing. 'Doncha Bother Me', was a typical Stones blues and 'Flight 505' had a barnstorming boogie piano intro. It developed into the kind of raunchy, sloppy beat that became the basis of the Stones' sound for many years to come, the precursor of 'Brown Sugar', and 'Jumping Jack Flash'.
Just as the Stones made the switch from playing standards, Otis Redding- one of the giants of the soul they'd covered-announced that the Stones were his favourite group, and did a dynamic version of 'Satisfaction'. It was a welcome return compliment.
While Aftermath topped the U.K. charts for seven weeks, Stones released a highly collect anthology, Big Hits (High Tide, And Green Grass), complete with an elaborate inner sleeve and souvenir portraits. 'Mother's little Helper' was released as a single in the U.S. and peaked at Number 8.
In April came the U.S. release of yet another transatlantic Number 1, the startlingly powerful and original 'Paint It Black', hailed by many critics as one of the finest Jagger-Richard compositions. It had a charging, sonorous drum beat which took many fans by surprise, given the style adopted by Charlie Watts on many a routine album track. When Charlie was asked if it- was actually him on the record, he was understandably aggravated and snapped "No, It's Buddy Rich," a reference to the famous U.S. jazz and rock drummer. The song was a unique Stones performance, topped with Jagger's finest vocals.
In June 1966 the band began their fifth American tour, storming around the country playing to crowds of up to 12000 a night. When the tour reached San Francisco on July 26, Mick celebrated his 23rd birthday- a timely reminder of how young the band still were, considering how much they had achieved.
The Stones had all purchased country homes and luxury apartments. Charlie bad an 18th-century manor house, while Keith bought Redlands, in the remote Sussex countryside to the north- east of London, where he sought peace-vainly as it turned out.
During the summer the band took the first holidays they'd enjoyed in years, then flew to New York in September to appear on the Ed Sullivan show. This appearance was made without an unwell Brian Jones.
Ill or not, the schedule continued. With the fail of 1966 came a live album Got Live lf You Want It, released only in America. The band dressed in drag for a publicity shot, which showed Bill Wyman in female military uniform, wearing make up and sitting in a wheel chair. Got bad taste if you want it.
The rollercoaster ride had all been in the Stones’ favour so far, but 1967 was to be the year of nemesis for the group. It was the happy, hippie Summer Of Love for many, when Psychedelia was at its peak and The Beatles stunned the world with Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was also the year the Stones were busted, jailed and turned into scapegoats.
They began the year at the top of the charts with yet another irresistible smash hit, 'Let's Spend The Night Together', a U.S. Number 3 in January, that reached Number I in the U.K. They also released Between The Buttons, the last album produced by Andrew Oldham. All the tracks were by
Jagger and Richard and showed them veering toward more melodic pop songs like the rather coy and camp 'Yesterday's Papers', and 'She Smiled Sweetly'. 'Back Street Girl' showed the Stones making a determined effort to break free from their rock'n'roll roots, utilizing acoustic guitars, and a piano accordion over a waltz time rhythm. It was more effective than heavier items like 'My Obsession' that struggled hard to lift off the ground. For all its faults, Buttons reached U.S. Number 2 and U.K. Number 3.
Just when it seemed the Stones were reaching out with extra- friendly, milder material, they were hit by an article in Britain's News Of The World paper. It made the less than surprising allegation that Jagger, along with other pop stars, took drugs.
It was damaging to the band's reputation in an era when rock stars were treated like royalty. A few days tater, on February 12, a party at Keith Richard's home was raided by 15 policemen- Jagger, Richard and Mick's girlfriend Marianne Faithfull were searched and samples carried away for tests. It was tater claimed that Marianne had been found at the house naked but for a fur rug wrapped around her.
This became a great scandal that was to haunt Marianne for years to come, even though she denied reports of an orgy: she said she had been merely taking a bath. The Stones fled to Morocco for a holiday, waiting to hear if they would be charged. While they were abroad a deeper personal crisis developed. Brian Jones was taken ill with an asthma attack, hospitalized in France and during his absence Keith Richard and Brian's girlfriend, Anita Pallenberg, began an affair which just led to Brian feeling even more lost and isolated.
Drugs and riots
Jones flew to Morocco to rejoin Mick, Keith, Anita and Marianne Faithfull in Marrakech, to find them flying back to London with- out even saying good-bye. He got back to London in March, when it was revealed that Mick and Keith would be charged. They bad yet another European tour to get through, during which the Stones were repeatedly held up and searched for drugs by customs officials.
Heated arguments developed and during one altercation Mick was punched in the face by an airport official. The shows were hit by more riots, notably in Warsaw, Poland (April 13), when police fired tear gas and hit fans with batons.
Back in England on May 10, 1967, Jagger, Richard and a friend, Robert Fraser, appeared in court in Chichester, Sussex and were released on bail. The same day Brian Jones was arrested in his London apartment, and charged with possessing drugs. Perhaps as relief from the impending trials, Brian decided to fly to America to attend the Monterey Pop Festival in June, where be introduced the Jimi Hendrix Experience on stage.
The trials of Mick. Keith and Robert Fraser were held at Chichester Crown Court on June 27. Mick was accused of possessing amphetamines, which he claimed to have obtained legally in Italy. A jury found him guilty and he was held on remand in south London's Brixton prison. Keith was accused of allowing drugs- cannabis-to be used on his premises, while Fraser was charged with possessing heroin.
Both were found guilty and Keith was remanded in the north London jail, Wormwood Scrubs. He was tater sentenced to a year in jail, Mick was given three months and Fraser six months. The Stones emerged from court smiling. Jagger was even photographed boldly holding up his handcuffs on his way to prison, but Marianne Faithfull later told how Mick had privately sobbed at the thought of being imprisoned.
The cases drew protests from fans, and groups like The Who rallied around to support the Stones. A leading article in The Times newspaper criticizing the severity of the sentence eventually secured their release, and other newspapers noted that Jagger hadn't been convicted of using hard drugs, but merely had four Benzedrine tablets prescribed by his doctor. In the midst of the allegations and paranoia, Brian Jones was taken to hospital once again, suffering from nervous strain.
Jagger was given a conditional discharge at the Appeal Court in July, and Keith Richard's conviction was quashed.
"I had prepared myself mentally, physically and business-wise for the possibilities of going to jail,' recalled Jagger. "It felt lovely to be sure of freedom. "
In October, Brian was found guilty of drug possession and was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, but this sentence was also quashed and he was fined $2000 instead, and given three years probation. Three psychiatrists told the court that Jones bad suicidal tendencies. The next year he was back in court again, charged with possessing marihuana for which he was eventually found guilty but only fined $100.
Brian tater acquired a refuge from the madness, Cotchford Farm in Sussex, formerly the home of AA Milne, who wrote the children's classic Winnie The Pooh. Meanwhile, the Stones rush recorded and released the sardonic 'We love You' coupled with 'Dandelion'), which reached Number 14 in the U.S. and 8 in the U.K. It opened with the sound of heavy footsteps and a jail door being slammed shut, giving way to a sneering vocal chorus sung from bitter experience.
Keith Richard in particular didn't seem to learn anything from his brushes with the law, and continued his heavy drugs usage, damaging his health and energy. lt also established him as a classic rock'n'roll veteran and he became the role model for many a would-be rock idol. Ironically, his bluff, battered exterior concealed an essentially shy, kind and generous individual.
Let's sing together
Andrew Oldham was the next casualty, in September. It was announced he was no longer the band's manager. He'd bad enough and press agent les Perrin became the Stones' father figure, while Allen Klein took over their business affairs. The band went on to produce all their subsequent albums themselves, their first effort entitled Their Satanic Majesties Request.
Hailed as the Stones' attempt to compete with Sgt Pepper, it came complete with an elaborate, highly expensive 3-D picture on the cover that showed the band in suitably psychedelic outfits. Mick wore a black conical wizard's bat, and black and gold robes, while the band were surrounded by fruit and flowers concealing images of The Beatles.
The music was rambling but bad its exceptions, when the band freaked-out on riffs and effects, notably on '2000 light Years From Home' and 'Let's Sing This All Together'. There was also a hint of menace and mystery, appropriate during that time of mistrust and confusion, when society started usurping flower power culture with traditional policing methods. But the Stones sounded out of their depth for most of the set. The album became the kind of elaborate concept package everyone wanted to own, but few wanted to play.
Much more to the public's taste was a rousing new hit single. 'Jumping Jack Flash', a Jagger and Richard song armed with a bouncing hook line that went to U.S. Number 1 in July, 1968 and gave them their first British Number 1 bit in two years.
Feast of Stones
The band ended the year by finally releasing a much stronger album, Beggar's Banquet. Held up when Decca objected to the cover which depicted a toilet covered in graffiti, it was eventually released in a plain white cover, the inner sleeve depicting the Stones attending a drunken feast. Producer Jimmy Miller, an enthusiastic American who also worked with Traffic, helped bring more cohesion to proceedings. The album contained two particularly powerful numbers in 'Sympathy For The Devil', and 'Street Fighting Man', but when 'Street...' was released as a single in the U.S. earlier in the year, it only reached Number 48 in the charts. Many radio stations had banned it, fearing it might cause civil unrest!
With the Stones now the dark kings of Sixties' pop culture, it seemed a good idea, on paper at least, to bring them together with other contemporary heroes for a TV special. The guests assembled for filming in early December 1968 included John Lennon and Eric Clapton, but The Rock'n'roll Circus proved an artistic failure and was never shown.
It wasn't the best way to see out the year. And there was more disaster just around the corner. On June 8, 1969, Brian Jones announced that he was quitting the group. His health and nerves were shot, he didn't get on with the others anymore and felt left out.
"I no longer see eye to eye with the discs we are cutting, " he told the press.
Explained a diplomatic Jagger: "Brian wants to play music which is more to his taste rather than always playing ours. So we decided that it's best that he's free to follow his own inclinations.
We've parted on the best of terms. "
With almost indecent haste, the next day it was announced the Stones would replace Jones with another good-looking, blond lead guitarist. Mick Taylor (born January 17, 1948), had gained attention touring with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers the same band that first brought Eric Clapton to the fore. Taylor looked the part, bad a soft and pleasant personality, played excellent blues guitar and- as quite a young guitarist- was the first to admit he was amazed at being invited to join such a successful band.
The new mood of positivist was abruptly 'shattered just a couple of weeks tater, on July 3, 1969, when Brian Jones was found drowned in his own swimming pool. It was a great shock to the Stones and fans around the world, and the cause of his death would arouse controversy for years, culminating in two sensational books, in 1993, which claimed he had been murdered by shady members of the Stones' entourage. Most believed the explanation that he suffered an asthma attack while taking a midnight swim after a few drinks. The coroner gave a verdict of misadventure and stated Jones had "drowned while under the influence of alcohol and drugs."
Mick Taylor's inaugural gig with The Rolling Stones, a free concert in London's
Hyde Park on July 5, turned into a memorial for Brian Jones. Attended by 250000
people, it was a poignant occasion, during which Mick paid tribute to Brian by reading a poem by Shelley ('Adonais') as 3000 butterflies were released. Many of
the butterflies fell dead on the stage. Some people questioned the whole affair,
criticizing everything from Jagger's virginal white outfit, to the out-of-tune,
lacklustre performance by the band, filmed for posterity by TV for The Stones In
It was still rock's most moving requiem for wasted, gilded youth. But there was no time for mourning. There was another American tour to do.
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