Friday, December 4, 2015

december's children (and everybody's)

The Rolling Stones had their heads in the clouds and were ready to move on as they cobbled together this collection of outtakes and singles to capitalize on their new success.   In the months following their smash single "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and  the album  Out of our Heads, the band were in a position to change things up.  Keith Richards remembers:   "It's difficult to realise what pressure we were under to keep on turning out hits.  Each single you made in those days had to be better and do better.  If the next one didn't do as well as the last one, everyone told you you were sliding out.  After 'Satisfaction', we all thought, 'Wow, lucky us. Now for a good rest...'  And then in comes Andrew Oldham saying, 'Right, where's the next one?'  It got to be a state of mind.  Every eight weeks, you had to come up with a red-hot song that said it all in about two minutes, thirty seconds."

In July of 1965, the band replaced manager Eric Easton with Allen Klein who renegotiated their contract with Decca Records with advances for the rights in the UK, US, and foreign markets in excess of two million pounds.  Klein set up a whirlwind tour of the US and assembled an album of outtakes and new songs to be released concurrently.   The new sessions took place in September of 1965 over two days, while other tracks were recorded in 1963, 1964, and earlier in 1965.  

December's Children (And Everybody's) was produced by Andrew Loog Oldham  with  Mick Jagger on lead vocals, harmonica on "I'm Moving On", and percussion;    Keith Richards on guitars and backing vocals;   Brian Jones on guitars, backing vocals, harmonica on "Look What You've Done", piano, and organ;    Charlie Watts on drums and percussion;   and   Bill Wyman \on bass guitar and backing vocals;    with  string arrangement by Mike Leander;  Ian Stewart adding piano and organ;   and   Jack Nitzsche contributing organ and percussion.    

Jagger says:   "[December’s Children (and Everybody’s)] was our manager’s [Andrew Loog Oldham] idea of hip, Beat poetry ... I used to listen to Hank Snow.  They (country artists) made records that were very popular, you know? They were pop hits. We used to do covers of them when we used to rehearse, George Jones and these kinds of people. ... Everyone heard these records, including us, and they were songs that everyone knew. So it was very hard to avoid the influence of country music in the early days of rock."

Oldham opines:  “They were incredible musicians...All those other early British bands had a terrible time with radio play and commercial success.  Look at the Yardbirds. They practically broke up over ‘For Your Love’ because they felt it was too pop and commercial.  Bands like Manfred Mann always said they made two kinds of music — their ‘real’ music on their albums and then the singles for radio.  With the Stones, there was no difference. There was no dividing line. Their albums and singles were the same music.”

Three of the songs came from previously released EP's.   To add to the confusion, not only were four of the songs taken from the British version of   Out of our Heads;  December's Children (And Everybody's) also appropriated the photograph taken by Gered Mankowitz that was used for the British release.   December's Children (And Everybody's) went to number four on the US album chart. 


"Get Off of My Cloud" was the follow up single to "Satisfaction" and another chart topper in the UK and the US.
Jagger:  "That was Keith’s melody and my lyrics... It’s a stop-bugging-me, post-teenage-alienation song. The grown-up world was a very ordered society in the early ‘60s, and I was coming out of it. America was even more ordered than anywhere else. I found it was a very restrictive society in thought and behavior and dress... ‘64, ‘65, yeah. And touring outside of New York. New York was wonderful and so on, and L.A. was also kind of interesting. But outside of that we found it the most repressive society, very prejudiced in every way. There was still segregation. And the attitudes were fantastically old-fashioned. Americans shocked me by their behavior and their narrow-mindedness.
It’s changed fantastically over the last 30 years. But so has everything else [laughs]."

"As Tears Go By"

Jagger:    "I wrote the lyrics, and Keith wrote the melody. But in some rock, you know, there’s no melody until the singer starts to sing it. Sometimes there’s a definite melody, but quite often it’s your job as the singer to invent the melody. I start with one melody, and I make it another melody, over the same chord sequence..It’s a very melancholy song for a 21-year-old to write: “The evening of the day, watching children play....” It’s very dumb and naive, but it’s got a very sad sort of thing about it, almost like an older person might write. You know, it’s like a metaphor for being old: You’re watching children playing and realizing you’re not a child. It’s a relatively mature song considering the rest of the output at the time. And we didn’t think of doing it [initially], because the Rolling Stones were a butch blues group. But Marianne Faithfull’s version was already a big, proven hit song...Well, it was already a hit, so, you know [laughs], and Andrew was a very simple, commercial kind of guy. A lot of this stuff is done for commercial reasons... It was one of the first things I ever wrote. I see songwriting as having to do with experience, and the more you’ve experienced, the better it is. But it has to be tempered, and you just must let your imagination run.  You can’t just experience something and leave it at that. You’ve got to try and embroider, like, any land of writing. And that’s the fun part of it. You have this one experience looking out of a window, seeing children. Well, you might not have felt anything, but then you just let your mind drift and dream, and you imagine an older person doing that. You put yourself in their point of view, and you start to write other things, and all this is a very subconscious thing. Out of that comes a mature thought, out of a young person.
I was reading Pushkin, and his stories are autobiographical. But not totally, because he was never in Siberia – but his friends were, so he uses it. You use your own experience, and then you spice it up with your friends’ observations and your imagination."

Charlie Is My Darling

CBS interview, 1965

December's Children (And Everybody's)
full album:

All songs written and composed by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, unless otherwise noted. 

Side one
1. "She Said Yeah" (from UK version of "Out of Our Heads") Sonny Bono/Roddy Jackson 1:34
2. "Talkin' About You" (from UK version of "Out of Our Heads") Chuck Berry 2:32
3. "You Better Move On" (from UK release "The Rolling Stones EP") Arthur Alexander 2:41
4. "Look What You've Done"   McKinley Morganfield 2:16
5. "The Singer, Not the Song" (UK b-side of "Get Off of My Cloud")   2:22
6. "Route 66" (from UK release "Got Live If You Want It! EP" (Live)) Bobby Troup 2:39
Side two
7. "Get Off of My Cloud" (single)   2:54
8. "I'm Free" (from UK version of "Out of Our Heads")   2:23
9. "As Tears Go By" (single) Jagger/Richards/Andrew Loog Oldham 2:45
10. "Gotta Get Away" (from UK version of "Out of Our Heads")   2:06
11. "Blue Turns to Grey"     2:30
12. "I'm Moving On" (from UK release "Got Live If You Want It! EP") (Live) Hank Snow 2:13

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