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Rolling Stones songs: Heart of Stone
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‘Cause she’ll never break, never break, never break, never break…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: RCA Studios, Hollywood, USA, Nov. 2-3 1964
Guest musicians: Jack Nitzsche (tambourine, piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
In this song, Mick Jagger plays a heartbreaker who has met his match. He insists she’ll never break his heart of stone, but we’re not sure he believes it.
Released as a single in the US, “Heart Of Stone” was the fourth Top 40 hit for The Rolling Stones in that country, where they were making their ascent. In the UK, “Little Red Rooster,” cover of a blues song first recorded by Howlin’ Wolf, was released instead and went to #1.
The original version is in mono. A stereo version was released in 1966 on their Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) compilation.
The Stones recorded this at RCA studios in Los Angeles. It became just the second American hit (after “Tell Me (You’re Coming Back)”) for the group that was written by their band members. Per their custom the song is credited to Mick Jagger/Keith Richards.
Jack Nitzsche played piano and tambourine on this track. Nitzsche was an important behind-the-scenes player, producer and arranger for The Rolling Stones and many other rock artists. He worked with Phil Spector as an arranger, helping create the famous Wall of Sound on ’60s recordings by The Ronettes, The Crystals and The Righteous Brothers.
From the Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
Can “Heart of Stone” be regarded as the true birth of the Jagger-Richards songwriting partnership? Yes or no, this song is indicative of the maturity acquired by the group during the period between the first and second singles composed by the duo from Dartford. Whereas “Tell Me” can be classed as a pleasant enough little pop song in which a lover pines for his girlfriend, the first person in “Heart of Stone” is someone who takes a sadistic pleasure in making girls cry, someone who prides himself on having a heart of stone that none of them will ever be able to break. To put it bluntly, this person ain’t the kind to meet.
After a number of carefully orchestrated media coups by Andrew Oldham—starting with the well-known headline “Would you let your sister go with a Rolling Stone?” in Melody Maker, the London quintet were now propagating a dark, misogynistic image of themselves in their own songs. I ain’t got no love: clearly, this phrase from “Heart of Stone,” should not be taken literally, but it nevertheless has a slogan-like quality and confirms the Stones’ desire to be somewhat different.
Categories: Can You Hear the Music?