Review Summary: Meet England's Newest Hit-Makers!
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were just a couple of ordinary kids in the beginning. They liked to play covers of American artists like Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Holly in their small scale garage band that would play at Mick Jagger's house. They never really expected to get big in the States, or even their homeland. However, that was about to change. In 1962, Brian Jones posted an ad in Jazz News
detailing his need for members for his new R&B band. Pianist Ian Stewart was the first to respond. Later on Jagger and Richards came across Jones and agreed to join his new band, later followed by Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts to complete the group's lineup.
At the start, the group did basically what Jagger and Richards were doing: covering well known American acts. Not unlike hundreds of other groups at the time. What separated them, however, was their attitude. They had a raw edge to them that immediately earned them a fan base and brought them the attention of record labels not long after. This album represents the band just a little bit after that record deal; they're still a bunch of young, inexperienced kids playing covers of their favorite R&B songs. Yet for an album that consisted of little more than R&B covers, The Rolling Stones
holds together surprisingly well due to the youthful charisma and joy these guys are having while recording this album. The vast majority of the bands which came out of this era had to readjust their image before they could even think of getting promoted on a record label. Even The Beatles, the undisputed kings of the British Invasion era, had to readjust their image and songwriting, going from a tough-as-nails bar group in leather jackets to a media-friendly bunch sporting fancy suits and identical haircuts. The Stones were not this kind of band, however.
By far the most notable track on this album is "Tell Me". At 4 minutes, "Tell Me" is not only the longest song on the record. It also happens to be the only original one as it was completely written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards themselves. Unlike the rest of this album, it's relatively slow paced and mellow. While the chorus is little more than the phrase "(You're gonna) tell me you're comin' back to me" repeated 4 times, Mick Jagger puts one hell of a performance to make up for it. Against Keith Richards' slow, melodic playing Jagger tries his damnedest to reach the high notes, and makes a quite convincing case for the heartbroken man who yearns for his to love back as depicted in the song.
What makes The Rolling Stones
most important and worthy of at least one listen is how it effectively encapsulated everything the band was up to that point. Almost all the artists that the members were fans of are paid homage to. And there was little to no intervention from the label themselves in terms of the recording process, allowing for the band to display itself in the most pure way it could’ve possibly been. Effectively, this album is a snapshot of the band as a whole onto this point. And for what it is, is a pretty solid start for the legends we know of today. While this album only contains one original song, it's a pretty good picture of what the band was like in the beginning, just a bunch of ordinary people paying tribute to their favorite artists. Everything that the band will be known for later on, from the "drugs, sex, and rock-n-roll" attitude that they would epitomize to the basic blues-rock sound for which they are hailed as pioneers, it's all here in its developing stages.
-Can I Get a Witness