Rock and Roll’s golden age was probably 1955. Buoyed by blues and country artists who paved the way in previous decades, a major turning point in popular music occurred. And when Bill Haley and the Comets' Rock Around the Clock was featured in the motion picture Blackboard Jungle, it caused a sensation in theaters throughout the United States, soon finding its way across the Atlantic with similar result.

By
1962, Rock music was losing it's hold on American youth. The genre had always been a revolving door for artists to come and go with little to show before the next hit followed. Yet even for those who had more than a single moment of glory, it was no different. Bill Haley failed to have an original hit after 1957, and soon headlined revival gigs. The music almost did die in February of 1959, as the brilliant Buddy Holly was lost, as were the Big Bopper and 17-year-old Richie Valens. Eddie Cochran, composer of Rock staples C'mon Everybody and Summertime Blues, died in April of 1960. Though Fats Domino entered the sixties unscathed, he failed to have an original hit after 1961. In November of that year, the American magazine Variety proclaimed "Rock and Roll was dying." Elvis Presley, who had long since shed his true rock and roll calling, was busy alienating his remaining rock fans. Chuck Berry was in jail and would only have a few scattered hits in the years following his release. Little Richard, who recorded dozens of rock classics between 1955-57, chose to become a full-time minister. Even the artists who entered the scene in later years (Chubby Checker in 1960), failed to sell many records by the end of 1962.

America was about to get what it needed from England, where dozens of rock bands influenced by American artists named above, whom in turn were influenced by great rhythm & blues artists before them, entered the U.S. music charts. The better of these bands expanded their range of instruments and vocal styling without straying too far from the formula which birthed them. Many of these bands made their own unique mark in the sixties, though a fraction of them survived into the seventies, and far fewer to the eighties. The nineties saw a series of reunions which were often brief, fleeting moments for fans to take advantage.
The
sole survivors of Rock and Roll's great renaissance is...


Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, & Charlie Watts (1964 from left)

This first section offers brief overviews of album releases by The Rolling Stones prior to 1966 by Decca (U.K.) and London (U.S.A.). It features the differences in tracks and arrangement between British and American versions of the same album title, as well as titles entirely unique to one nation. Albums are listed in chronological order of release date.

Which album may I show you?

1964 The Rolling Stones (EP)- An extended player with four (4) tracks which scored top-20 status as a British single and a solid #1 on the UK EP chart. At least two of the selections appear to have been transferred from different masters for later release on LP. This remains as the only Stones record to include only cover versions. The disc's strength came from You Better Move On, a popular hit which would later appear in the UK version of Through the Past, Darkly as a result.

RELEASE U.K. EP HCP LABEL CAT. NO. SALES select feature
1964, Jan. 10 #1 Decca DFE 8560 (mono only) unknown You Better Move On


1964 The Rolling Stones (LP)- This long player spent forty-two (42) weeks on the British top-10 albums chart, surpassing the BeatlesA Hard Days Night and Beatles for Sale as the most successful rock album of 1964. The hand-clapping heard throughout the album is a performance style from their early club days. Like it or not, it is easily overcome by the Stones impressive covers of some rather obscure blues songs. Though loaded with such covers, they gave early indication (ex. Tell Me (you're coming back)) there would soon be change. Their cover of Bo Diddley's Mona (I Need You Baby) did not appear in this LP's U.S. counterpart. A scarce 2:48 version of Tell Me, which appeared in only the initial pressing, was quickly replaced by the 4:06 version in all subsequent pressings of this LP.
note- As had the Stones in 1964, Boston-based rock group Aerosmith covered Rufus ThomasWalking the Dog and placed it at the end of their 1973 debut album.

RELEASE U.K. HCP LABEL CAT. NO. SALES select feature
1964, Apr. 17 #1 Decca LK 4605 (mono only) unknown Tell Me


Yes Mick, your future is bright ahead.

1964 England’s Newest Hit Makers - Mona (track 4 in the U.K. LP) was replaced by the chart-friendly cover of The Crickets' Not Fade Away for this U.S. version of their debut. Reaching #11 on the albums chart, it fared far better than the debuts of many of their Rock contemporaries. Unlike several albums which followed, this does not vary greatly in tracks and arrangement from its U.K. counterpart.
note-Early pressings of this album were accompanied by an 11-inch poster insert of the album cover photo.

RELEASE U.S. HCP LABEL CAT. NO. SALES select feature
1964, May 1 #11 London LL 3375 (mono) / PS 375 (re-processed stereo) 500,000+ Did not chart until July 26th

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1964 five by five (EP)- This 5-track set compares well to full-length LPs of the time. Why none of these great songs appeared on a UK LP until 1971, skipping both Big Hits titles, is somewhat of a mystery. It was decided that these selections, along with additional tracks, be released on a follow-up US LP. And thank goodness for that. This features strong covers of Chuck Berry's Around and Around and Wilson Pickett's debut single If You Need Me from 1962. Empty Heart and the instrumental 2120 South Michigan Avenue were original compositions by the group.

RELEASE U.K. EP HCP LABEL CAT. NO. SALES select feature
1964, Aug. 14 #1 Decca DFE 8590 (mono only) unknown 2120 South Michigan Avenue


1964 12x5 - London Records expanded the previous 5-track EP by including seven tracks from various other sources for this release. As the follow-up (in the U.S.) to their debut album, it was quite sufficient in strengthening interest in the band. Though edited significantly from its original length of 3:38, 2120 South Michigan Avenue impressively opens the second side with easily the Stones best instrumental recording. There are a number of other strong tracks and the fans agreed by making it the most successful of the first three US LPs in both sales and chart placement. Before making its debut on the 2002 Abkco remastered series, the full-length version of 2120 South Michigan Ave could only be found on the scarce Around And Around LP released only in Germany in 1964.

RELEASE U.S. HCP LABEL CAT. NO. SALES select feature
1964, Oct. 24 #3 London LL 3402 (mono) / PS 402 (stereo and re-processed stereo editions) 500,000+ Time Is On My Side

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(1965) innocent looking enough

1965 Rolling Stones No. 2 - While continuing a trend that began in 1963, the Stones may have realized the novelty of young British lads making good on covers of classic American blues and rock songs would soon wear thin, but it was yet to have an effect as this set soared to the top of the British charts. Their cover of Under The Boardwalk was almost offensively bad to American audiences yet found itself Australia's #1 single for the month of February, 1965. Dale Hawkins' Susie Q closed this set which bares most resemblance to 12x5.
note- I Can't be Satisfied (track #9) did not show up in the U.S. until 1972 (More Hot Rocks.)

RELEASE U.K. HCP LABEL CAT. NO. SALES select feature
1965, Jan. 15 #1 Decca LK 4661 (mono only) unknown Susie Q


1965 Rolling Stones NOW! - This is the lowest U.S. charter of any studio album released by The Rolling Stones. Though reaching #5 is commendable, the consumer was in want of something fresh in which to bite and this album did not offer enough at the time. However, this title has gained traction as a heavy rhythm and blues favorite for fans of the early Stones sound. As the first top-twenty single in the US written by Jagger/Richards, Heart of Stone made its album debut as track #4. Despite an appearance in the U.K. LP No. 2, the version of Everybody Needs Somebody to Love which opens this set is not only significantly shorter, but it's an entirely unique take.

RELEASE U.S. HCP LABEL CAT. NO. SALES select feature
1965, Feb. 13 #5 London LL 3420 (mono) / PS 420 (stereo and re-processed stereo editions) 500,000+ Heart Of Stone

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1965 Out of Our Heads - Pre-dating the British LP of the same name by two months, this edition differs in both cover design and content. It was their first U.S. chart-topper with much help from the massive hit singles The Last Time and (i can't get no) Satisfaction. The collection opens with a hard-driven cover of Don Covay's Mercy Mercy and the hits barely let up from there. The first side closes with a live recording of I'm Alright from the U.K. EP got LIVE if you want it!, which differs from the version found on the identically-titled U.S. LP. Play With Fire made its way from a flip-side track to a charter in its own right and would appear on several collections over the years. Overall, a very strong effort reasonably regarded as the album which set the stage for earning them the title of World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band.

RELEASE U.S. HCP LABEL CAT. NO. SALES select feature
1965, July 30 #1 London LL 3429 (mono) / PS 429 (stereo and re-processed stereo editions) 1,000,000+ First U.S. #1 LP

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Sep. 1965
Satisfaction
[Grammy� Hall-of-Fame]
is a world-wide #1.

1965 Out of Our Heads - Their first UK LP available in stereo failed to complete a hat-trick of #1 albums for the Stones perhaps due in part to the exclusion of their hit singles Satisfaction and The Last Time, as well as its running time of less than thirty (30) minutes. It was, with exception to 1986's Dirty Work, the last album to contain more than a single cover version. Culled from an earlier session, this set includes the 1964 U.S. hit single Heart of Stone. The cover photo later reappeared on the US LP December's Children.

RELEASE U.K. HCP LABEL CAT. NO. SALES select feature
1965, Sep. 24 #2 Decca LK 4733 (mono) / SKL 4733 (stereo) unknown I'm Free

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1965 December’s Children (and everybody’s) - A cult favorite among Stones 'butchered' albums culled songs from an incredible number of sources including the U.K. Out of Our Heads, both U.K. EPs Rolling Stones and got LIVE if you want it!, b-sides, and the #1 single Get Off of My Cloud. A Jagger/Richards composition first recorded by Marianne Faithfull in 1964, As Tears Go By made its way on to this album as well as the top-10 US singles chart soon after.
note- Look What You've Done (track #4) is exclusive to this set.

RELEASE U.S. HCP LABEL CAT. NO. SALES select feature
1965, Dec. 4 #4 London LL 3451 (mono) / PS 451 (re-processed stereo) 500,000+ Get Off Of My Cloud

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1966 Aftermath- The first album credited entirely to Jagger/Richards, and though admittedly graced with borrowed elements of Motown, Arthur Lee, and others, is a strong example of their maturing lyricism and the unique talent of Brian Jones. Paint It Black, released in the U.K. only as a single, opens the U.S. version of this album with easily the best rock song to feature a sitar -- and with its inclusion, came surprising omissions. Four tracks, including the hit single Mother's Little Helper, appear only on the U.K. version. Stupid Girl, Lady Jane, Doncha Bother Me, Under My Thumb, and Goin' Home are some of the many notable tunes available on both versions. Incidentally, Under My Thumb was targeted by the National Organization for Women (NOW) as a song both offensive and degrading to women.
note- This was the last album to feature alternate cover designs determined by U.K. and U.S. markets.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1966, Apr. 15 #1 Decca LK 4786 (mono) / SKL 4786 (stereo) unknown 14 tracks
U.S. 1966, July 2 #2 London LL 3476 (mono) / PS 476 (stereo) 1,000,000+ 11 tracks incl. Paint It Black

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... or ... the U.K. version HERE


1967 Between the Buttons- The last of the so-called 'butchered' Stones titles is an odd collection of tunes which Jagger once described as: "...a complete wash but for one or two tracks...". The U.S. version omitted Please Go Home & Back Street Girl from the earlier U.K. release, replacing them with the double-sided hit Let's Spend the Night Together/Ruby Tuesday. This title was not initially well received but since recognized as offering prime examples of Brian Jones' unique influence. Miss Amanda Jones provided a theme in the 1987 film Some Kind of Wonderful from writer John Hughes, and She Smiled Sweetly was featured in its entirety in The Royal Tenenbaums. Still not a popular listen from start to finish, it is nevertheless noted for including Keith's first shot at lead vocals, sharing the bill with Jagger on Something Happened To Me Yesterday.
note- Back cover art by Mr. Charlie Watts.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1967, Jan. 20 #3 Decca LK 4852 (mono) / SKL 4852 (stereo) unknown Back Street Girl
U.S. 1967, Feb. 11 #2 London LL 3499 (mono) / PS 499 (stereo) 500,000+ Miss Amanda Jones

BUY 'Between the Buttons [U.S. version]' on Super Audio CD ... HERE NOW!
... or ... the U.K. version HERE


She's a Rainbow was a US #25

1967 <(outer)<(inner)
Their Satanic Majesties Request- The end result of a very turbulent period for the Stones is not the Sgt. Pepper imitation that many protest, but its mimic. Not to be used as an excuse, they still created great music despite their apparent lack of enthusiasm. Former producer Andrew Loog Oldham stepped away earlier in the year, necessitating a change which many felt harmed the band. As their only self-produced release, Satanic is a psychedelic trip where hits and misses abound. 2000 Light Years from Home would likely be regarded as one of the greatest psychedelic songs both musically and lyrically if it had not been conceived by The Rolling Stones. The prophetic 2000 Man, with references to a man "having an affair with a random computer" and whose "name is a number", was memorable enough to several artists, including the American rock band KISS, who've recorded and performed it live. This album may have been too significant a change for many Stones fans, but since grown to be a highly influential work if not a curiosity with streams of odd sound effects scattered about. Two songs marking the only recorded collaboration between the Stones and The Beatles were realized during the sessions for this album, only to be slated for individual release. Michael Cooper would collaborate with both groups in 1967 as the photographer for Sgt. Pepper and the ground breaking lenticular (3-D) album cover for Satanic Majesties. Future Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones arranged the strings for the melodic She's A Rainbow. Bill Wyman became the first to have a hit single as a solo artist when In Another Land broke the U.S. Hot 100 chart in December.
note- She's A Rainbow supplied the theme for the 1998 iMac computer promotional campaign.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1967, Dec. 8 #3 Decca TXL 103 (mono and fold-down mono editions) / TXS 103 (stereo) unknown Stones Produced
U.S. 1967, Dec. 9 #2 London NP-2 (mono) / NPS-2 (stereo) 500,000+ Inner sleeve was red version of cloud cover

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Brian (far right) is fading away.

Jumpin' Jack Flash was a UK #1, but ...
Street Fighting Man is the undisputed King of Picture Sleeves.

1968 (inlay)
Beggars Banquet- A favorite of Keith Richards was the first in a series of magnificent albums released during the latter part, and closely following, the Brian Jones era. With concern over content and cover design, this album is likely also their most controversial. They relied heavily on acoustics for the feel of this set and the result was impressive. No Expectations and Factory Girl join the playful Dear Doctor in setting the general tone, but they hold up quite well beside the violent electric guitar, stamping drums, and sneering vocals of Street Fighting Man, the building, torturing brilliance of Sympathy for the Devil, and the libidinous Stray Cat Blues. The single from this period did not appear on the LP, yet even the absence of Jumpin' Jack Flash could not diminish the power of this album.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1968, Dec. 6 #3 Decca SKL 4955 (stereo) / LK 4955 (mostly fold-down mono) unknown Stones "white" album
U.S. 1968, Dec. 7 #5 London PS 539 (stereo) 1,000,000+ 1st stereo-only Stones U.S. LP

BUY 'Beggar's Banquet' on Super Audio CD ... HERE NOW!


Honky Tonk Women was #1
in more countries than any other Stones single.

1969 Let it Bleed- It's hard to dispute this as having earned title of the greatest Rolling Stones album. Anyone would find it difficult to detect even a single weak moment in the Jimmy Miller production. The band's finest moment of the 1960s begins with Gimme Shelter and never lets up. Though some may argue the live version of Midnight Rambler [from Ya-Ya's] outperforms the original found in this set, there is little doubt You Can't Always Get What You Want has never been improved. You'll hear Keith Richards command lead vocals for the first time on You Got the Silver and bring the chords of blues legend Robert Johnson to new audiences with a cover of Love in Vain. Despite Brian Jones having long since detached himself from the group, his contributions appear along side those of newly-acquired guitarist Mick Taylor. Honky Tonk Women, an homage to Hank Williams which appeared in alternate form on this album as Country Honk, would have suited Jones' penchant for early blues which Taylor expertly performs in his absence. Providing music for a great many number of motion pictures over the years, all selections found here are worthy of such attention. Time stamp 2:34-3:10 of Monkey Man and the closing notes of Layla by Derek and the Dominos may come to mind. During a turbulent period for the Stones and around the globe, this album provided the most appropriate soundtrack to the decade which was about to violently end.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1969, Dec. 5 #1 Decca SKL 5025 (stereo) / LK 5025 (fold-down mono) 300,000+ 1st U.K. #1 LP since 1966
U.S. 1969, Nov. 29 #3 London NPS-4 (stereo) 2,000,000+ 1st appearance of Mick Taylor

BUY 'Let It Bleed' on Super Audio CD ... HERE NOW!

See ...

Part I: Studio Albums 1964-69

Part II: Studio Albums 1971-2005

Part III: Compilations 1966-2005

Part IV: Live + Solo 1965-2004

Mick Jagger (b. July 26, 1943).
Brian Jones
(b. February 28, 1942 - d. July 3, 1969).
Keith Richards
(b. December 18, 1943).
Charlie Watts
(b. June 2, 1941).
Bill Wyman
(b. October 24, 1936).
Ian Stewart
(b. July 18, 1938 - d. December 12, 1985).
Mick Taylor
(b. January 17, 1948).
Ron Wood
(b. June 1, 1947).
Bobby Keys
(b. December 18, 1943).
Darryl Jones
(b. December 11, 1961).
Chuck Leavell (b. April 28, 1952).
Dick Taylor
(b. January 28, 1943).

 

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Credits

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