The debut album of The Rolling Stones dropped way back in 1964. And guess what, it marked a long journey of theirs. Produced by then-managers Andrew Loog Oldham and Eric Easton, the album has a reflection of every blues artist. The album was recorded in four days and made a mark in America as ‘England’s newest hitmakers.’
A little backstory to the studio…
The album was recorded in Regent Sounds all the way back in the early 60s. The studio is infamous for producing music for very significant artists from every genre. Located at No. 4 Denmark Street, Regent Sounds has had its own pivotal moments in its history,
It is believed that the studio first came into operation in 1948. By the 60s, the studio had been well-built into a recording facility. In the January of 1964, Rolling Stones was the collection of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts. The band was under the care of Andrew Loog Oldham and Eric Easton.
The 60s were full of uncertainties too. The Rolling Stones were at their peak, but still with no album. On January 1964 they recorded their hit ‘Not Fade Away’ which was released separately. Back then, Denmark Street was also home to London’s music publishing companies. They had hundreds of writers, musicians, and lyricists. With emerging rock bands every day, record companies were also evolving. That’s when James Baring took over Regent Sounds and encouraged emerging artists to use the studio to record and write their materials.
Under Baring’s ownership, the studio flourished and became known as its own entity.
Now, back to the Rolling Stones’ debut album.
The album consists of nine covers, one original song written by Jagger and Keith, and two group compositions. Without a doubt, the Stones have paid their homage to the Blues. The covers of the songs were mostly blues and R&B songs. Their then-manager Andrew had things to say. This is what he wrote in the album’s sleevenotes,
“The Rolling Stones are more than just a group – they are a way of life. A way of life that has captured the imagination of the nation’s teenagers, and made them one of the most sought after groups in Beatdom. For the Stones have their fingers on the pulse of the basic premise of ‘pop’ music success – that its public buys sound, and the sound is what they give you with this, their first album; a raw, exciting, basic approach to rhythm and blues.”
When compared to other albums which were released later on, the debut album is not great in itself. It is basically a Blues cover album. But during the release, the album was strong because they were successful in proving their love for Blues. The only original song on the album ‘Tell Me (You’re Coming Back)’ also had a big influence. It was one of the best songs in the album. The album was fresh, and the group had love of music with them. This pushed The Rolling Stones very far into the future.
Richards also had things to say about the condition of the studio from those days. He also talked about how broke they were to afford re-takes. Keith told, “Under those primitive conditions it was easy to make the kind of sound we got on our first album and the early singles, but hard to make a much better one.” But regardless of things, the results they had were very impressive.
The debut album was a big success. It reached number eleven on the Billboard charts. It was also gold-certified. In the UK they topped the charts for 12 weeks and remained on the charts for a whole year.
The album consists of
1 “Route 66” Bobby Troup
2 “I Just Want to Make Love to You” Willie Dixon
3 “Honest I Do” Jimmy Reed
4 “Mona (I Need You Baby)” Ellas McDaniel
5 “Now I’ve Got a Witness” Nanker Phelge
6 “Little by Little” Nanker Phelge, Phil Spector
7 “I’m a King Bee” James Moore
8 “Carol” Chuck Berry
9 “Tell Me” Mick Jagger, Keith Richards
10 “Can I Get a Witness” Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland
11 “You Can Make It If You Try” Ted Jarrett
12 “Walking the Dog” Rufus Thomas
Singles (U.S Only)
“Not Fade Away”/”I Wanna Be Your Man”
“Tell Me/”I Just Want to Make Love to You”