rolling stones cool calm and collected 1967Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Cool, Calm and Collected
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In public the strain’s heard to bear/ She exudes such a confident air…

Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: RCA Studios, Hollywood, USA, Aug. 3-7 1966; Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, Nov. 9-Dec. 6 1966
Guest musicians: Nicky Hopkins (piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From the Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
Cool, calm, and collected. The girl described by Mick Jagger possesses many assets. And on top of everything else, she is wealthy, knows who to smile to, and knows all the right games to play. Can we detect some heavy irony here? A line such as And her teeth ready, sharpened to bite hints at, if not contempt, at least a certain ridiculing of this powerful woman who uses and abuses people in order to get what she wants.

In “Cool, Calm and Collected,” the Rolling Stones conspicuously embrace a music-hall or vaudeville style. This song is reminiscent of the Kinks, in particular the tracks “Party Line” and “Little Miss Queen of Darkness” on the album Face to Face, released in October 1966. Once again, Brian Jones seems to take great pleasure in bestowing a unique character on the number. Having abandoned his guitars, he now returns to the dulcimer (see “Lady Jane”), this time his Vox Bijou electric model. His playing is not exactly faultless, but even with the mediocre timing and tuning, he makes an essential contribution to the track.

He would also seem to be responsible for the kazoo solo (1:13) a first on any Stones record, and the harmonica solo in the coda. Keith is on rhythm guitar, no doubt his Guild M-65 Freshman, and also uses his Fender Precision to shadow Bill in some of the refrains. Wyman delivers an excellent picked bass line, providing Charlie with support in setting an impeccable groove. Mick, not always at ease on the high notes, compensates with a performance that is halfway between rock and Broadway musical. Above all, “Cool, Calm and Collected” gives the listener an opportunity to discover Nicky Hopkins, whose excellent ragtime-style piano contributes a quirky, vaudeville character to the number.

The piano also plays the intro, which bears a certain resemblance to Billy Preston’s “Nothing from Nothing” (1974). Another unusual aspect of “Cool, Calm and Collected” is the tempo, which suddenly begins to speed up from 3:08. The sound is drowned in reverb from around 3:45, with a panoramic left/right stereo effect that grows frantic at 4:07. Laughter can be heard at the end (4:12), no doubt as a result of the hellish tempo arrived at by the group.