Dear reader. Surely you have at some point become frustrated when you realize that the records of your favourite artists could have been even better, after discovering that they recorded several worthy songs that for some unfortunate and unfathomable reason were discarded. Not to mention that some of their enjoyable compositions were officially only released by other artists. By chance, PopDiggers has a solution to your dilemma, so now you no longer have to imagine if …
The main purpose of the article series “Imagine If …” is to track all unreleased songs (and those given to other artists), and through that background research suggest alternative discographies with a better selection of songs. First up is an alternative discography on The Rolling Stones’ first years – so now you can get satisfaction!
If you haven’t read The Rolling Stones – The 1964 creativity peak, in which I made an inventory of their unreleased songs and songs recorded by other artists, I recommend that you start the journey by reading that article. Because it felt like a very good idea to dig further into all that, after having discovered that several pop gems were never released in the name of The Rolling Stones.
So let me present the alternative Rolling Stones discography, 1963–1967 – a time window coinciding with my fascination with The Rolling Stones, which started to wane after Between the Buttons. In addition, it seems like The Stones didn’t reveal their real pop talent until Aftermath (1966). Concerning 1967, there was only one UK single after January, We Love You (August), and the disappointing psychedelic album Their Satanic Majesties Request (December), which is another reason to end the discography after Between the Butttons.
Before we start I have a confession to make: I’m more of a pop fan than a rhythm ‘n’ blues or blues fan – which hasn’t stopped me from enjoying wild music like garage rock nonetheless. Yes, taste is different – and some may get upset by my alternative discographies – but that’s another aim here: to broaden perspectives and inspire interesting comparisons.
Another significant issue is my guilty pleasure for silly pop songs. The master of those pop ditties is probably Sir Paul McCartney. As much as he’s been praised for classics like Yesterday, Penny Lane and Hey Jude, he’s also been “less” praised for having the nerve to record Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. But if you imagine them as catchy efforts or sing-a-long tunes, they have the ability to linger.
I’ve started each year with the original UK discography, and below that discography you’ll find my alternative version.
I haven’t included EP’s in this discography. (Some acts in the sixties used songs that were already available, or put covers on their EP’s. The Rolling Stones followed this schedule to some extent, although we find a few original tunes on their EP’s)
Album titles are written with capital letters. I’ve listed the tracks on the albums in the same chronological order they were recorded. I’ve often chosen more commercial covers, since I first and foremost want to emphasize The Stones as an energetic pop group.
To make it more convenient, I’ve only put links to unreleased songs; songs that weren’t released until later and songs released by other artists.
* = Tracks that only exist as short excerpts are difficult to assess. Therefore, I’ve linked to covers when available.
Finally, do notice our super cool picture sleeves. Yes, even in this case we’ve allowed ourselves some artistic freedom! And dear reader: please don’t take this alternate discography too seriously!
Carol / Baby What’s Wrong [June]
Everyone seems to think that Chuck Berry’s Come On was a poor choice as a first single, not least considering the countless covers available from their repertoire. For example, Poison Ivy was meant as a follow up to Come On, but it could have been their debut single as well.
I’ve picked The Stones’ raunchy version of another Chuck Berry composition, Carol, as my first choice. There are also better choices than the original B-side, I Want to Be Loved, such as the unreleased Baby What’s Wrong (taped on March 11).
I Wanna Be Your Man / Stoned [November]
There was almost a five-month gap before the follow-up to Come On saw the light of day. I could have chosen Poison Ivy as a sequel around September, prior to I Wanna Be Your Man, but then many fans would have expected an album arriving in November or December (after The Stones had released three singles). The problem was, however, that the members hardly had any own songs at this stage. Okey, Stoned leaves a lot to be desired, but it is after all their first composition ever recorded (October 7).
Tell Me (You’re Coming Back) / You Must Be The One* [February]
Yes, I think it would have been a brave choice to release the magnificent pop song Tell Me (You’re Coming Back), despite being labelled as the guys you wouldn’t let your daughter marry. It was in fact a single in the US and became their first decent hit there (#24). You Must Be the One is rather bland, but still not inferior compared to any of their early B-sides, EP tracks and album tracks.
THE ROLLING STONES [March]
Road Runner / Will You Be My Lover Tonight?* / Shang A Doo Lang* / My Only Girl (That Girl Belongs To Yesterday) / Leave Me Alone / So Much In Love* / It Should Be You / When A Girl Loves A Boy* / Andrew’s Blues (a “novel version” of Now I’ve Got a Witness) / Route 66 / I Just Want To Make Love To You / Walking The Dog
New songs: Road Runner; Will You Be My Lover Tonight?*; Shang A Doo Lang*; My Only Girl (That Girl Belongs To Yesterday); Leave Me Alone; So Much In Love*; It Should Be You; When A Girl Loves A Boy*; Andrew’s Blues (a “novel version” of Now I’ve Got a Witness).
Omitted songs: Honest I Do; Mona (I Need You Baby); Now I’ve Got A Witness (replaced with the similar Andrew’s Blues); Little By Little; I’m A King Bee; Carol; Tell Me (You’re Coming Back); Can I Get A Witness; You Can Make It If You Try.
At this early stage, they hadn’t material good enough to fill a whole album, just like The Beatles (Please Please Me and With The Beatles). The alternative track list includes a few affable pop tunes: Will You Be My Lover Tonight?, Shang a Doo Lang, That Girl Belongs to Yesterday and So Much in Love. I didn’t include the terrible Give Me Your Hand, but it could have been an endurable effort with different lyrics and a raw production. I haven’t included the very rare Brian Jones compositions Sure I Do and I Want You to Know, which I haven’t heard but I want to mention them anyway, plus the unconfirmed With a Song in My Heart. I’m aware that Little By Little (the actual B-side to Not Fade Away) is included on the original version of the debut album, but I want to avoid single’s tracks on albums.
Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind / Little By Little [May]
Just like I wrote in The Rolling Stones – The 1964 creativity peak, Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind is the first really successful track with the typical Rolling Stones’ sound.
It’s All Over Now / Good Times, Bad Times [August]
This is of course one of The Stones’ best cover versions. Even though I’d have liked them to use their own material by now, It’s All Over Now can’t be ignored.
As Tears Go By / Off The Hook [November]
Yes, I’d have liked to see Tell Me, Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind and As Tears Go By (I’ve linked to the alluring demo version) released as singles in 1964, instead of Not Fade Away and Little Red Rooster, so I took the liberty to do just that.
NO. 2 [January]
Try A Little Harder / No One Loves You More Than Me* / Time Is On My Side / Congratulations / You’ve Just Made My Day* / We’re Wastin’ Time / Heart Of Stone / (Walkin’ Thru The) Sleepy City / Each And Every Day / Little Red Rooster / Suzie-Q / All I Want Is My Baby
New songs: Try A Little Harder; No One Loves You More Than Me*; Congratulations; You’ve Just Made My Day*; We’re Wastin’ Time; Heart Of Stone; (Walkin’ Thru The) Sleepy City; Each And Every Day; Little Red Rooster; All I Want Is My Baby.
Omitted songs: Everybody Needs Somebody To Love; Down Home Girl; You Can’t Catch Me; What A Shame; Grown Up Wrong; Down The Road Apiece; Under The Boardwalk; I Can’t Be Satisfied; Pain In My Heart; Off The Hook.
This would have been a great album! I could have picked the short commercial Rice Crispies (Wake Up in the Morning) (using a complete version, with different lyrics of course). There are also the very rare compositions No One Knows and Come and Dance with Me, which I haven’t heard but I want to mention them anyway. For some strange reason Congratulations was never available in the UK during this period. I’m aware that Off the Hook (the actual B-side to Little Red Rooster) is included on the original version of No. 2, but as I mentioned earlier, I avoid single’s tracks.
The Last Time / Play With Fire [February]
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / The Spider And The Fly [June]
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction was released in the US a couple of months before the British fans could get hold of a copy.
OUT OF OUR HEADS [August]
Blue Turns To Grey / I’m Relyin’ On You (a.k.a. Funny Guy)* / We Were Falling In Love (a.k.a. Waving Hair) / Grown Up Wrong / Surprise, Surprise / Goodbye Girl (a.k.a. Get Back To The One You Love) / What A Shame / I’d Much Rather Be With The Boys / One More Try / Gotta Get Away / I’m Free / Looking Tired
New songs: Blue Turns To Grey; I’m Relyin’ On You (a.k.a. Funny Guy)*; We Were Falling In Love (a.k.a. Waving Hair); Grown Up Wrong; Surprise, Surprise; Goodbye Girl (a.k.a. Get Back To The One You Love); What A Shame; I’d Much Rather Be With The Boys; One More Try; Looking Tired.
Omitted songs: She Said ‘Yeah’; Mercy, Mercy; Hitch Hike; That’s How Strong My Love Is; Good Times; Talkin’ ‘Bout You; Cry To Me; Oh, Baby (We Got A Good Thing Going); Heart Of Stone, The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man.
Admittedly, there are a few lesser good tracks, such as What a Shame and Looking Tired, but by now The Rolling Stones really had to rely on their own material if they had the ambition to compete with The Fab Four, who issued 30 own compositions during the same year (plus the unreleased songs and donations If You’ve Got Trouble, That Means a Lot and Woman). I’d say that at least 75 per cent of the material is good enough, but maybe I should have included a couple of covers. Of course I could have picked a few tracks from No. 2 and recycled them on this album, since all these songs, except I’d Much Rather Be with the Boys and Looking Tired, were recorded before that album reached the buyers. For some strange reason Surprise, Surprise and One More Time were never released in the UK during this period. Despite my attempts to promote The Stones more as an energetic pop group, this alternative Out of Our Heads emerges as a rhythm ‘n’ blues album nevertheless.
Get Off Of My Cloud / The Singer Not The Song [October]
19th Nervous Breakdown / Sad Day [February]
I’ve copied the American 45 version, since Sad Day (which wasn’t released in the UK as well) is a decent effort, and As Tears Go By has already been presented in PopDiggers’ alternative discography.
Mother’s Little Helper / Goin’ Home / Take It Or Leave It / Think / Ride On Baby / Sittin’ On A Fence / Out Of Time / Lady Jane / It’s Not Easy / Stupid Girl / Under My Thumb / Flight 505 / I Am Waiting / What To Do
Omitted songs: Doncha Bother Me; High and Dry.
Aftermath was a perfect album in its original form, but now the track list is even better!
Paint It, Black / Long Long While [May]
Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? / Hear It [September]
I’ve omitted the tedious Who’s Driving Your Plane and replaced it with Hear It, although it was recorded as an instrumental. Hear It would have been a decent B-side with added lyrics.
Let’s Spend The Night Together / Ruby Tuesday [January]
What can I say! The Stones released two great songs in different styles, while still having enough good material on the forthcoming album Between the Buttons.
BETWEEN THE BUTTONS [January]
Get Yourself Together (a.k.a. I Can See It / Can’t Believe) / My Obsession / She Smiled Sweetly / Yesterday’s Papers / Miss Amanda Jones / Back Street Girl / Something Happened To Me Yesterday / Who’s Been Sleeping Here / Complicated / Connection / Sometimes Happy, Sometime Blue (Dandelion) / If You Let Me
Omitted songs: Cool Calm And Collected; All Sold Out; Please Go Home.
A very good album has now become (almost) a masterpiece!
Thanks to Peter Jönsson (editing) and Bengt Persson (creating the cool picture sleeves)!