25 Lost Rolling Stones Classics

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25 ‘Gimme Shelter’ (Isolated Version)

Five separate tracks that – when put together – make up the official ‘Gimme Shelter’ recording. Collectively it makes for shit-hot listening. But taken apart? It’s like being drip-fed audio gold. The split tracks take in percussion, bass, rhythm and lead vocals isolated. Backing singer Marry Clayton comes in singing the “rape murder, it’s just a shot away” line with so much venom that her voice begins to crack. Legend has it that Clayton miscarried that same night as a result of the strain of singing those words.

24 ‘All I Want Is My Baby’ (Bobby Jameson)

‘All I Want Is My Baby’ (Bobby Jameson)“A forgotten gem,” is how Keith Richards describes “All I Want Is My Baby”, which he wrote and gave to Decca label mate Bobby Jameson. Jagger and the Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham provide backing vocals, Keef produces and one Jimmy Page plays a fucking mean guitar solo. Obviously he didn’t go on to do much after this…

23 ‘Hillside Blues (I Don’t Know The Reason Why)’

This was recorded at the Elektra Studios in Los Angeles and ushered in the Mick Taylor era. Bobby Keys’ sax plays back-up to Jagger’s sleazefest drawl, while Richards, Watts and Wyman turn in one of the sturdiest backline performances of their careers.

22 ‘Wild Horses’ (acoustic version)

Stripped of its backing vocals, overdubs and drums, this acoustic run-through of ‘Wild Horses’ was recorded during the same session at Muscle Shoals that spawned the version of ‘Brown Sugar’ mentioned above – but it’s the antithesis to it. The Stones have rarely sounded as downright beautiful as they do here. The finished version wasn’t released until it appeared on ‘Sticky Fingers’ in 1971. Gram Parsons’ cover version was the first to appear in 1970.

21 ‘Criss Cross Man’

Demoed in Jamaica during sessions for ‘Goat’s Head Soup’, ‘Criss Cross Man’ (also sometimes referred to as ‘Save Me’) was referenced in press reports around that album’s release, despite not making the cut. Randomly, it later turned up – without permission – on Japanese animation film Metamorphosis (no relation to the Stones rarities album of the same name).

20 ‘Highway Child’

Written and recorded at Redlands, Keith Richards’ Sussex estate, around the time the band were making ‘Beggars Banquet’, this bears no resemblance to the similarly titled Hendrix tune (released a few weeks before). Instead, it’s built around a frantic Richards’ honky tonk guitar line, with some S&M-influence Jagger lyrics thrown in for good measure.

19 ‘Empty Heart’

This track was originally included on the band’s ‘Five By Five’ EP and was recorded at Chicago’s Chess Studios. According to rock’n’roll legend the band arrived there to find their hero Muddy Waters painting the ceiling. ‘Empty Hear’ showcases one of the Stones’ earliest Nanker Phelge compositions (aka the son-crediting name suggested by Brian Jones for tunes that were pennded by all five members of the band). It was later covered by MC5 and can found on the ‘Thunder Express’ compilation.

18 ‘Drift Away’

Just to clear up a myth about this hands-in-the-air, singalong Doby Gray cover: it doesn’t feature The Beatles. They split three years before it was recorded in Munich. The reason it was never released properly? Rod Stewart beat the Stones to it- he covered it for his ‘Atlantic Crossing’ album.

17 ‘Sister Morphine (Marianne Faithfull version)’

Coming out a full two years before the Stones’ version, Marianne Faithfull’s shiveringly morbid take on ‘Sister Morphine’ (co-written with Jagger and Richards) flopped, with Decca allegedly cancelling it after issuing only 500 copies. As on the Stones’ version, Ry Cooder provides bottleneck guitar here.

16 ‘Cocksucker Blues’

By 1970, the Stones’ contract with Decca was up. They owed the label one more single, and this Jagger/Richards pisstake was it. “Where can I get my cock sucked/Where can I get my ass fucked?” goes the chorus. For some reason Decca never released it. Robert Frank’s film of the same name, chronicling the band’s 1972 US tour, suffered a similar fate.

15 ‘Claudine’

The tale of Claudine Longet, a ‘60s singer/actress who married Andy Williams in 1961 and subsequently hooked up with skier Vladimir Sabich. In March 1976 Longet shot and killed him. She claimed Sabich was showing her how to use his pistol when the gun went off accidentally, and was handed a 30-day sentence before starting a relationship with her attorney weeks later. The Stones’ take on things was left off their album ‘Emotional Rescue’. A longer version of the track features the immortal line: “Keith, will you put the weapon down?”

14 ‘Sympathy For The Devil’

There are loads of different ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ outtakes, but this bootleg offers them at the best quality. This version shows a classic in progress and even features Jagger berating Charlie for fucking up his part. It’s slow-paced and psychedelic, rather than fiery and fast. “[The finished version] has a very hypnotic groove,” recalled Jagger in 1995. “It has a very sinister thing about it. If it has been done as a ballad, it wouldn’t have been as good.”

13 ‘Travellin’ Man’

Driving rocker, recorded in the Stones’ legendary ‘Mighty Mobile’ studio at Mick Jagger’s country pile – Stargroves near Newbury, Berkshire. Judging by his howling vocals it was still lyrically unfinished at the time. Musically however, it’s owned by the bar brawl interplay between Mick Taylor and pianist Nicky Hopkins.

12 ‘Diddley Daddy’

Ever wondered where the wonky, out of time guitar refrain from ‘19th Nervous Breakdown’ came from? Look no further. Led by Brian Jones, the Stones set about fucking with Bo Diddley’s 12-bar standard on their first proper demo. In doing so they inadvertently discovered the key to one of their future classics.

11 ‘Blood Red Wine’

One of the great lost tracks, this could have slotted into any of the band’s classic ballads or ‘Sympathy For The Devil’-style rockers. This demo, recorded at Olympic Studios in London, sees Keef and Brian strum twin acoustics, Charlie comes in with ‘A Day In The Life’-like drum fills and Jagger puts in one of his most delicate vocal performances ever. Nobody knows why it never saw the light of day. They nicked the best bits of it for other songs (the “wrap my coat around” line turned up on ‘Winter’, whilst the melody resembles ‘Sister Morphine’).

10 ‘Get A Line On You’ (Leon Russell)

Simplistic, pretty demo of ‘Shine A Light’, recorded by the Stones with American songwriter and session musician Leon Russell while Brian Jones was still alive (although he didn’t play on it). After the guitarist’s death, Jagger remoulded the song into an out-and-out tribute to his friend. Here, it’s merely a heartfelt plea for Jones to stick around.

9 ‘Gimme Shelter’

This is the Mick Taylor live highpoint, recorded at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. His 80-second solo burst at 2.06 leaves the rest of the Stones scrambling to catch up. Best of all? He goes and betters it with a second solo at 4.18.

8 ‘Too Many Cooks’

A product of John Lennon’s lost weekend (he produced it), ‘Too Many Cooks’ was initially credited to the Stones – despite only actually featuring Jagger. The funk-infused Willie Dixon cover uncannily recalls Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’, which came out a few weeks earlier. It’s pretty much drenched in cocaine too.

7 ‘Exile On Main St Blues’

In 1964 the Stones were soundtracking cheesy ads for Rice Krispies. By 1972 they’d gravitated to selling their own products on TV- hence this 90-second 12-bar piano cut promoting the ‘Exile…’ album. Jagger is the only Stone on it, with this lyrics referencing individual ‘Exile…’ tracks (“Come on Virginia, let’s shoot some dice/My sweet black angel/Shine a little light/Feel so happy/Where’s your ventilator, baby,” etc.).

6 ‘Brown Sugar’

The earliest recording of ‘Brown Sugar’ was laid down at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama 18 months before the more familiar version hit the charts. This one sounds like it’s been captured in a garage and features Jagger purring into the mic as an intro. Tight as hell and oozing in primeval, gritting confidence.

5 ‘I Don’t Know Why’

While the Stones’ were recording this Stevie Wonder cover, they received a 2am call telling them Brian Jones had died. The band – a new boy guitarist and Jones’ replacement Mick Taylor in tow – were stunned to silence, which perhaps explains the tracks somewhat forced-sounding fade out.

4 ‘Con Le Mia Lacrime’

It’s something of a forgotten tradition now, but in the 60s practically everyone was reeling off European-friendly renditions of their biggest hit singles. What more to say about this Stones take on ‘Con Le Mia Lacrime’, then, than it features Mick Jagger singing a choirboy version of ‘As Tears Go By’ in Italian?

3 ‘Rip This Joint’

A prime cut from the greatest Stones live bootleg of them all, recorded on the soundboard at a show in Brussels. It’s cocky, speedy-as-fuck, and bulldozed into the next millennium by some sublime playing from Charlie and Mick (Taylor). The whole show is a masterful execution in live R&B, and makes for essential listening.

2 ‘Cocaine Blues’

This run-through of the fingerpicked blues standard doubles as a history lesson courtesy of Keith Richards. “Too long since I played that,” he quips after fucking up the melody. He goes on to state that “Adam and Eve” probably wrote the track, before conceding that he’s gone back and done his research. “I traced it back. There’s great [Ramblin’] Jack Elliott version, you can get versions from the ‘20s… It’s been there probably [since] about 1890.” Turns out ‘Cocaine Blues’ was the first song Richards ever learned on guitar. “I didn’t know what cocaine was…”

1 ‘Andrew’s Blues’

Having finished recording single ‘Not Fade Away’, Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham invited Gene Pitney and members of The Hollies into the studio to celebrate. Before too long, the ensemble – “quasi-drunk” – decided to pay tribute to Oldham. “Well now Andrew Oldham’s sitting on a hall with Jack and Jill”, goes the first line. “He fucked all night/And he sucked all night/And he taste that pussy/Till it taste just right”. It goes onto rip the piss out of Decca’s owner Sir Edward Lewis, the Fab Four and the band themselves (“they’re full of shit”).