rolling stones empty heart 1964Can You Hear the Music?

ROLLING STONES SONGS: ‘EMPTY HEART’ (1964)

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Rolling Stones songs: Empty Heart
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MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT

Well you’ve been my lover for a long long time/ Well you left me all alone, and end my time…

Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Chess Studios, Chicago, USA, June 10-11 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:
Whereas “If You Need Me” is infused with the soul of the South, “Empty
Heart” has the unmistakable feel of modern blues, in particular the kind
created at Chess Studios. Mick Jagger plays the role of a tenderhearted
romantic for whom life without love is meaningless: Well you’ve been my
lover for a long long time/Well you left me all alone and end my time
, he
sings.

“Empty Heart” was recorded during the Rolling Stones’ second session at
Chess Studios, the day after “It’s All Over Now.” The song was created by
the six members of the group, which explains why it is credited to Nanker
Phelge. It is more of an improvisation than a number with well-defined
refrains and verses. But the results are explosive. The atmosphere of
“Empty Heart” derives first and foremost from Brian Jones’s (probably
overdubbed) harmonica with ample reverb. This too is reminiscent of the
great names who worked with Chess Records, in particular Sonny Boy
Williamson (Alex Miller), who was responsible for dozens of hits for the
Chicago label (including “Don’t Start Me Talkin’,” “Your Funeral & My
Trial,” and “Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide”) before going on to
record with the Yardbirds and the Animals. Brian is also responsible for the
superb introduction, in which he gives his Gretsch ample vibrato in true Bo
Diddley style. Keith plays lead on his Epiphone, delivering distinctly
blues-rock licks that literally electrify the number. Significant character is added
by an unusual drum part from Charlie in which the ride cymbal plays a very
prominent role and the snare drum marks the fourth beat of the bar.
Supported by Bill’s bass, the rhythm section is nothing other than a
metronomically precise locomotive. Ian has again been called upon to make
a discreet but indispensable contribution on the Hammond organ. And Mick
delivers an excellent vocal performance, seconded by the incredible Keith
(and probably Brian too), who launches into a distinctly gospel falsetto (at
0:41 and 1:42). All in all, “Empty Heart” is a very good, impressively
produced number that shows the Stones progressing in leaps and bounds
since their arrival in the United States. The song went on to be covered
many times, notably by MC5 in 1972 and by the Grateful Dead in 1966.

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