Upon its release, this album stormed to number 1 in the charts and remained there for 12 weeks
Released April, 1964
Next month will bring us the golden anniversary of the eponymous first album of The Rolling Stones. The album essentially pays homage to their early musical passion of rhythm ‘n’ blues.
Consisting of twelve songs, the album is dependent on covering, as nine of the songs are reworks of blues and rock and roll classics from legendary performers such as Chuck Berry and Willie Dixon.
The opening number sets the tone for the album ahead with an upbeat cover of the R’n’B standard ‘Route 66’. The song has a raw and inexperienced sound that is expected from an up and coming band from the early 60s. With Jagger’s youthful voice and a blistering guitar solo from Richards, this really makes a perfect start to the album.
However the entire album does not rely on covers, with three original compositions featuring. One is credited to Jagger and Richards whilst the other two are credited to Nanker Phelge (a pseudonym for a collaborative effort by the whole band).
‘Now I’ve Got a Witness’ is the first original to appear on the album. Being an instrumental song, it really showcases the band’s musical ability to jam out with typical bluesy harmonica and guitar solos throughout. It truly is a song you can imagine any band practicing in their nan’s garage, shredding the guitar and leaving a lot of room for improv.
The song composed by the Jagger/Richards duo is entitled ‘Tell Me’. Amidst all the blues, this song is a textbook pop ballad number. It tells of heartache for a former lover and how he wants her back. Although the song isn’t a stand out hit for the album, it does show that The Rolling Stones at the time weren’t a one trick pony. It shows that they were versatile and could skew away from R’n’B, whilst boasting their talents as songwriters.
Upon its release, this album stormed to number 1 in the charts and remained there for 12 weeks and deservedly so. 50 years later they’ve had 29 studio albums, 8 number one hits, and enough drugs to make Charlie Sheen cower in shame, and it all began with this album: The Rolling Stones.