Rolling Stones songs: Blue and Lonesome
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I don’t have no headaches over myself/ My love has gone away from me…
Written by: Memphis Slim
Recorded: British Grove Studios, London, England, Dec. 11, 14–15 2015
Guest musicians: Darryl Jones (bass), Chuck Leavell and Matt Clifford (keyboards)
In December 2015, The Rolling Stones gathered in Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios in West London to record the follow-up to their 2005 album A Bigger Bang. However, within a few days they’d hit a creative block. “We’d gone in the studio to start cutting some new songs,” recalled the band’s producer since 1994, Don Was, to the BBC. “Around day three we just hit a wall… and Keith suggested that, to cleanse the creative palette, we play ‘Blue and Lonesome,’ the Little Walter song. Fortunately we ran the tape and it was just awesome.”
“The whole mood of the room changed dramatically in those three-and-a-half minutes,” Was continued. “So we said, ‘let’s do another one’, and ‘let’s do another one.’ “They just called songs off that they knew and loved. It was very spontaneous. And by the end of the day we had six.”
By the end of three days they’d recorded enough songs for a covers album.
This mournful tune was originally and recorded by blues musician Memphis Slim in 1949. It was his second major R&B chart hit after “Messin’ Around”. Harmonica legend Little Walter recorded a version as the B side to his 1965 single “Mean Ole Frisco.”
Blue And Lonesome gave The Rolling Stones their 12th UK #1 album and first since Voodoo Lounge in 1994.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
Little Walter recorded “Blue and Lonesome” along with Arthur Crudup’s
“Mean Ol’ Frisco Blues” on August 12, 1959, at Chess Studios in Chicago
(for the subsidiary label Checker). The song’s story resembles the story of
the blues itself: the sorrow and loneliness of a man whose lover has left.
Since “Blue and Lonesome” was not one of Little Walter’s better known
numbers, the Stones were keen to record it.
This piece turned out to be the departure point for the whole album.
After recording it more or less for fun in the middle of recording sessions
for the new studio album the group was preparing, everyone was surprised
by the almost magical result.
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