Music: A Look Back at The Rolling Stones Debut Album Released UK 1964

If you wish to know what initially inspired the Jagger/Richards songwriting team, listen to The Rolling Stones. Their 1964 debut album consists primarily of covers of American R&B, rock & roll, and blues songs.

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In the opening track, the Stones convert “Route 66” into a beat music number. The next three tracks are their renditions of blues chestnuts: “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” “Honest I Do”, and “Mona (I Need You Baby).”  “Now I’ve Got a Witness (Like Uncle Phil and Uncle Gene)”. “Little by Little” is credited to Nanker Phelge. A moniker used at the time to credit the entire band for a composition. Phil Spector also had songwriting input on “Little by Little”. The song undoubtedly influenced fledgling garage rockers in the United States. The garage rock genre was an interpretation of early British rock and roll, which itself was an interpretation of American music.

Mick Jagger once said, “What’s the point in listening to us doing ‘I’m a King Bee’ when you can hear Slim Harpo do it?” However, many regard the song as a highlight of the album. Next, the band gives their take on the influential Chuck Berry song, “Carol.” “Tell Me (You’re Coming Back)” is the first song credited to the Glimmer Twins to appear on an album and was the first Jagger/Richards single released in the United States.  It has more of a pop feel than the rest of the bluesy album. “Can I Get a Witness” is a Marvin Gaye song that the legendary Motown Holland-Dozier-Holland team penned. Finally, the album rounds out with two R&B covers, “You Can Make It If You Try” and “Walking the Dog.”

Numerous British groups covered many of these songs in the 60s. Groups such as the Kinks, the Who, and even the very early Pink Floyd. Few of those bands displayed the passion and tenacity; if not technical mastery, as the Stones do on this album. In fact, The Rolling Stones was a United Kingdom release only. The group released a modified version, England’s Newest Hitmakers, in the United States.

What is your opinion on the debut album of The Rolling Stones? Leave a comment below.

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