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Rolling Stones songs: Cry to Me
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Nothing could be sadder than a glass of wine alone/ Loneliness loneliness, is just a waste of your time…
Written by: Bert Russell
Recorded: RCA Studios, Hollywood, USA, May 12-13 1965
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
This was originally recorded by Solomon Burke in 1962. Betty Harris had an #23 American hit with her version while the Pretty Things peaked with this at #28 in the UK in 1965.
Bert Russell, the credited song writer, is really Bert Berns, the prolific writer of hit records in the 1960s who tragically died of a heart attack aged 38 in 1967. Among his songwriting credits are “Twist And Shout” by The Isley Brothers, “Tell Him” by The Exciters, “Here Comes The Night” by Them and “Hang On Sloopy” by The McCoys.
In 1968 South African group The Staccatos recorded their version for the film Katrinka. The following year it was released as a single and it became one of South Africa’s most successful recordings ever, remaining 38 weeks on their charts.
Bert Berns was Solomon Burke’s designated producer/writer, but he was getting very frustrated with the young soul singer as he kept turning down all his offerings. Burke recalled in an interview with Mojo magazine August 2008 that finally Berns told him that he had one more song. The writer/producer proceeded to sing to him very slowly, “When your baby, leaves you alone.” Burke continued: “I said ‘That’s terrible. It’s just too slow for me, I don’t like slow songs.’
And (record label executive) Mr Wexler says, ‘Listen this guy writes for you, you’re pissing him off. You’re pissing me off, too.’ (Laughs) I tried to sing it a couple of times that way, couldn’t even feel it. Then I asked the young man in the studio, the engineer Tommy Dowd, ‘Could we have them speed this up?'” This went on to become Burke’s second chart entry in the US after “Just Out Of Reach,” peaking at #44.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
After coming to attention with “Twist and Shout,” Bert Russell, better
known by the name Bert Berns, immediately became one of the pillars of
Atlantic. A few months earlier, he had written “Cry to Me” for Solomon
Burke. The recording place took place on December 6, 1961, with Berns as
producer and Claus Ogerman as arranger and conductor. The song was
released as a single (with “I Almost Lost My Mind”) at the beginning of
1962 and climbed to numbers 5 and 44, respectively, on the Billboard R&B
and pop charts.
A song about solitude, located musically at the point where rhythm ’n’
blues meets gospel, “Cry to Me” can almost be said to sum up Southern
soul, which would be highly successful during the sixties. After Solomon
Burke, and then Betty Harris in 1963, the Rolling Stones were the next to
be seduced by this superb song. This was the second Bert Berns number
they had covered, the first being “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,”
which opened their second LP.
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Categories: Can You Hear the Music?