rolling stones congratulations 1964Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Congratulations
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Well done, my friend/ You’ve done it again…

Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Regent IBC Studios, London, England, June 24-26 1964
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Congratulations” was one of the first ballads written by Mick Jagger and
Keith Richards, possibly during the session on May 12, 1964, at Regent
Sound Studios. Although it lacks the emotional power of the future “Play
with Fire” and “Lady Jane,” it gives a hint of the duo’s taste for mockery
and even cynicism. The congratulations in question are addressed by the
songwriters to a master in the art of breaking hearts who sows nothing but
sadness around him

“Congratulations” is thus a ballad whose tone is pretty bleak, and this is
possibly why Decca and Oldham did not feel it was appropriate to offer it to
the British public. With its somewhat muddled and untidy sound, the
production cannot be counted among Oldham’s finest. Charlie Watts
introduces the number with a tom break. Keith Richards immediately joins
him on his Harmony 1270 12-string that gives the number its color. He even
plays a solo, albeit not a particularly unforgettable one, on this instrument
(1:38). Brian Jones accompanies him with distinctly fifties-sounding licks
on his Gretsch (and a wrong note at 2:07!). Indeed the whole feel is
reminiscent of the fifties, with Bill Wyman using a plectrum on his bass (no
doubt his Framus), which is given plenty of reverb, as are Charlie’s drums.
Mick Jagger whispers the ballad with emotion but a certain lack of
conviction, while Keith (and possibly Brian?) provide vocal harmonies.
“Congratulations” gives the impression of being a demo rather than a final
version; the rhythmic ensemble is no more than average and the bridge is
too predictable. This song is another surprising demonstration of the
emphatically pop flavor and ballad style of the early Jagger-Richards
compositions. The blues comes to the fore in their writing no more than
Forming the B-side of the single “Time Is on My Side,” which was
released in the United States on September 26, 1964, “Congratulations” can
also be found between “Under the Boardwalk” and “Grown Up Wrong” on
the album 12×5, released in the United States on October 17, 1964. It was
another nine years before “Congratulations” appeared on an album in the
UK, and then only on the compilation No Stone Unturned, which was
released in the United Kingdom in October 1973.

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