He song began as Never Stop, was recorded for Black and Blue and was discarded with The Rolling Stone Santa Christmas Tree Shirt. The group rejected it again in successive sessions, to the point that they almost forgot about it. Finally, their rock version appeared in Tattoo you (1981) and is considered the last great song of the Rolling Stones. “She was just buried there. No one remembered it, it was like a gift,” recalls Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones were old acquaintances at the top of LOS40 since 1966, when Paint it black reached #1. Then came Brown Sugar and Emotional Rescue. Start me up thus became the fourth song of the band that reached the maximum position, on October 31, 1981. In total, The Rolling Stones add 10 songs in the number 1 of LOS40, some of them for two consecutive weeks.
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The material of the album where it is included, Tattoo you, comes mainly from discards of recording sessions of the 70’s, only two songs were new. The band put together this collection of 11 songs because they needed a new album to promote it on their ‘American Tour 1981/ European Tour 1982’ world tour that began in September. As Keith Richards said: “What happened with ‘Tattoo you’ was not that we stopped writing new things. It was a matter of time. We had agreed that we would go on tour and we wanted to do it by presenting a new album. There was no time to make a complete album…” It is remembered as the last great album of the Rolling Stones, a division of rock songs on the one hand and ballads on the other that capture “the world of the best rock and roll band”. However, despite the apparent consistency of the material, the album is really a compilation of tracks that had been discarded in previous works. Chris Kimsey was associate producer for the album. The Glimmer Twins, i.e. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, produced the album. Both had adopted this pseudonym after a vacation in Brazil between December 1968 and January 1969 (with their then girlfriends Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg).
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According to Chris Kimsey, Tattoo you “really came about because Mick and Keith weren’t going through the best of their moments. While the guitarist wanted the band to remain attached to its rock and R&B roots, the leader was more interested in following contemporary trends. “There was a need to release an album, and I told all of them that I could do it with material I knew was still there. So he began to select: “I spent three months reviewing the tapes recorded during the sessions of the last four or five albums, and discovered things that had been forgotten or rejected. And then I introduced them to the band and said ‘Hey guys, you’ve got all this great stuff canned and it’s great stuff, let’s do something with it.
Start me up was Tattoo you’s first single (1981). To know its origin, we have to go back to the recording sessions of the album Black and blue, which took place at Musicland Studios, in Munich (Germany) in March 1975. At that time, it was called Never Stop and it was a song with reggae influences. It had nothing more than a typical improvised Keith Richards riff to reggae rhythm. It ended up being discarded.
During the recording sessions of Some girls (1978) they took Never Stop again and changed their title to Start it up. It was at the Pathé Marconi studio (the Abbey Road in Paris). After a dozen takes in which they re-recorded with totally different arrangements (between January and March 1978), they still didn’t like the result and abandoned it again. “There was Keith’s magnificent riff, and I wrote the rest. The funny thing is that it was a reggae song and that take we used in ‘Tatoo you’ was the only one completely rock. And that’s why everyone said ‘Oh, that’s bullshit. We don’t want to use it. And nobody went back to the shot that we used in the end, the rock version,” he said about the song Mick Jagger.
From Start me up, Keith Richards remembers: “It was one of those things that we recorded a lot of times; one of those things that you can play over and over in the studio. Twenty minutes go by and you’re still stuck in those two chords… Sometimes you become aware of the fact that you’re making another Brown sugar, so you start exploring other possibilities. It’s basically trial and error.
On another occasion, Richards said, “The story here is the miracle that we found the subject. I was convinced – and I think Mick was too – that it was definitely a reggae song. And we did it in 38 takes… and it didn’t work. And somewhere in the middle of a break, just to break the tension, Charlie and I did a rock & roll version. And right after that, we went straight back to reggae. And we totally forgot about that little blast in the middle, until about five years later, when someone supervised all those reggae shots. After doing about 70 shots of ‘Start me up’ he found that rock version. It was buried there. Suddenly, I had it. No one remembered that shot. But we heard it again. We made some recordings about it, and it was like a gift, you know. One of the extraordinary luxuries of the Stones is that we have a huge, colossal amount of stuff in storage. I mean, what anyone hears is just the tip of the iceberg… but you have to have the patience and the time to sift.
Legendary British formation, one of the essential ensembles in the history of modern music. In its extensive artistic development has offered sounds rock, R & B, pop, psychedelia, country rock, hard rock, blues rock, flirting also with funk, reggae, folk, soul or disco music in heterogeneous lyrical expressions with tones and approaches claim, sardonic, contemplative, cynical, His commercial and artistic incidence expands in his immense influence within the rock universe, with notorious ancestry in the American bands garage-rock 60’s, proto-punk, hard-rock 70’s or the classic forms of rock’n’roll, fundamental base of his compositions.
The vocal and scenic capacity of his frontman, Mick Jagger (born July 26, 1943 in Dartford, Kent), his compositional work alongside the guitarist, the man-riff Keith Richards (born December 18, 1943 in Dartford, Kent), the multi-instrumental talent of the band’s first leader, Brian Jones (born 28 February 1943 in Cheltenham, Gloucesterhire), the excellent rhythmic functionality of bassist Bill Wyman (born 24 October 1936 in Lewisham, London) and drummer Charlie Watts (born 2 June 1941 in Kingsbury, London), together with Mick Taylor (born January 17, 1949 in Welwyn Garden City) and Ron Wood (born June 1, 1947 in Hillingdon, Middlesex), great professionals of the six strings that came, respectively, to the formation after Jones’ death and Taylor’s departure, turn the Rolling Stones into more than a simple musical grouping, a long-lasting institution that has given the history of rock moments of glory both in its vinyl and on stage with sweaty and indelible live performances.
When two young childhood friends met again after three years of hiatus in a train carriage between London and Dartford, they could not suspect that they were going to establish one of the great associations within popular music. Those young people were Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who at the time called himself Richard because, angry with his father, had suppressed in a sign of rebellion the “s” of his real surname. The couple began to exchange musical tastes, coinciding in their passion for black American music, with a main predilection for blues and rock’n’roll, idolizing myths such as Chuck Berry (the greatest influence for Richards), Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed or Muddy Waters.
Jagger, son of Eva and Joe, gym teacher, and Richards, only son of Doris and Bert, electrical engineer, regained their school friendship at the time when Mick was studying Economics and Accounting and Richards was attending Art School and spending his free time playing his guitar, sharing hobby with a schoolmate named Dick Taylor. The three, who lived together in Jagger’s London home, formed the Little Boy Blue & The Blue Boys blues combo in 1960. In one of their joint outings they went to the Ealing Blues Club to enjoy with the Alexis Korner Blues Incorporated, a group in which were integrated two instrumentalists called Ian Stewart and Brian Jones, an excellent musician who played the guitar as much as the sax or the piano. Jones came from a well-to-do family, The Rolling Stone Santa Christmas Tree Shirt, his father being Lewis an aeronautical engineer and his mother Louisa a piano teacher, both jazz music lovers. A few years earlier, Brian traveled through Europe in a bohemian way, before returning to England and joining The Ramrods, where he played the sax influenced by Charlie Parker.