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Rock - Released November 24, 2017 | Polydor Records


Rock - Released October 27, 2017 | Polydor Records

The Rolling Stones' debut single marked a promising beginning, for style as well as content. The record, which peaked at number 21 on the U.K. charts and never even got released in the United States, embodied precisely what the early Stones were about, one side an otherwise obscure song by Chuck Berry (which made it ideal for a Stones cover) and the other their version of a Willie Dixon song associated with Muddy Waters. The Stones pump up the tempo on "Come On," making it one of the most frantic car-song releases of its era on either side of the Atlantic, and Keith Richard's guitar and Brian Jones' harmonica are the two lead instruments, sharing the spotlight with Mick Jagger's voice (backed by Jones and Bill Wyman -- Richard wasn't singing at this point). The frantic tempo and vocals make this a great showcase for the band's way with a rock & roll number, while the B-side, "I Want to Be Loved," has them applying the same approach to the blues with even better results. The song is pulled back in tempo, but Jones' blues harp is pushed out in front along with Charlie Watts' drumming. But the number really takes off on the break, where the beat gets turned around and pushed harder (along with the pulse rate of anyone listening), and the band goes nearly full-out (or as close as they would get at this phase of their careers at this studio). They'd do much better work with material coming out of the Chess Records library in short order, and even greater work still at Chess Records, but this is still an amazing record. Placed in the context of 1963 -- when most British rock & roll bands were still finding their way in the studio -- and the fact that the Stones hardly found the recording studio or the recording process at that early date to be friendly environments, the sense of sheer power and energy coming off of this song is astonishing; they're doing nowhere near their best work, but the muscular, straight-ahead sound they do get is several steps beyond most of the competition of the period. And given that the Beatles were working on their third single and their first album during this same period, the record showed how much ahead of the game the Stones started -- compared with the debut single of "Love Me Do" b/w "P.S., I Love You" by the Liverpool band from the previous year, especially the pounding break on "I Want to Be Loved," and you can see how farther along the Stones were. (And naturally -- and typically of early British Invasion milestones -- few listeners in America even got to hear either side of this single until 1972, with the release of More Hot Rocks). © Bruce Eder /TiVo


The Rolling Stones in the magazine