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Rolling Stones songs: Don’t Lie to Me
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Well, I will love you baby and it ain’t no lie/ For every winter till the well runs dry…
Written by: Chuck Berry
Recorded: Chess Studios, Chicago, USA, June 10-11 1964
Guest musicians: Ian Stewart (piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
The Rolling Stones covered a good deal of Chuck Berry songs, particularly in their early career. In fact, there were so many they did at one time or another that not all of them have come out. Some were covered live but never recorded, and some were recorded but remained unreleased outtakes. In the case of “Don’t Lie to Me,” The Rolling Stones recorded a version in 1964, but it didn’t come out until 1975, when it was rescued for the Metamorphosis collection of early Stones outtakes.
“Don’t Lie to Me” was first released by Berry on the 1961 album New Juke Box Hits, and while it’s OK, it’s really one of the more average Berry compositions, both musically and lyrically. It’s got the usually one-step-above-the-blues Berry chord progression, and the words aren’t as clever as they are in Berry’s most famous songs, these being a rather bad-natured complaint against a lying woman.
The Stones’ interpretation is decent, Ian Stewart laying down a solid boogie rock piano, Keith Richards getting off his customary no-better-disciple-of-Chuck solo, Jagger singing with a convincing mix of pleading and petulance, and the whole band moving the tune along at a pace just short of raucous. The thing is, it’s not nearly as good as some of the other Berry songs the Stones were doing at the time, like “Carol,” “Around and Around,” and “Bye Bye Johnny.” Given that there were a fair number of Berry covers already making their way onto Stones releases in the mid-’60s, the decision to keep this in the can seems reasonable, though the performance itself is decent enough that it seems like an equally reasonable decision to have finally issued it.
In the meantime, a couple of other R&B-based British Invasion bands did issue versions in the mid-’60s, those being the Pretty Things (who did a much slower arrangement) and the more obscure Four Plus One (with future Tomorrow lead singer Keith West). Also of interest to Stones fanatics will be a BBC version of “Don’t Lie to Me” they recorded in February 1964, which has shown up on bootlegs.
From the Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
“Don’t You Lie to Me” is a blues number recorded by Tampa Red (also known by the names Hudson Woodbridge and Hudson Whittaker) in 1940 for Lester Melrose’s famous Bluebird label. Lying women and cheating men are two types of people the bluesman just can’t stand. He sings vigorously between playing the odd phrase on the kazoo, and is supported on the piano by Blind John Davis, a boogie-woogie specialist who accompanied Bluebird’s leading artists at the end of the thirties and the beginning of the forties (from Tampa Red to Big Bill Broonzy)
A few years after Tampa Red recorded the song, “Don’t You Lie to Me” became a favorite with the pioneers of rock ’n’ roll, as attested by the versions of Fats Domino and Chuck Berry, which date from 1951 and 1961, respectively. Then came the Rolling Stones’ turn to add this classic twelvebar blues to their repertoire. They recorded an initial version of it at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios in London on February 3, 1964, followed by a second at Regent Sound Studios on May 12 of the same year. It is this second recording that has been pulled out of the drawer for Metamorphosis, this time under the title “Don’t Lie to Me.”
Categories: Can You Hear the Music?