rolling stones something happened to me yesterdayCan You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Something Happened to Me Yesterday
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He don’t know if it’s right or wrong/ Maybe he should tell someone/ He’s not sure just what it was/ Or if it’s against the law…

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

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
This number probably refers to an experience with LSD or mescaline. The narrator is describing his feelings not during the trip, but afterward. He feels the need to confide in someone totally integrated into traditional society: Something happened to me yesterday, he tells him. Is it legal or illegal? He doesn’t know. What he does know is that it was so groovy, something very strange… that really threw him. A memory, nonetheless: Someone’s singing loud across the bay/Sittin’ on a mat about to pray. Had Mick Jagger and Keith Richards become Jesus freaks, by any chance?

“Something Happened to Me Yesterday” is one of the Stones’ contributions to the counterculture of the sixties—the equivalent, to some degree, of Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35.” The message is expressed through music that skillfully combines vaudeville and Dixieland. As with “Cool, Calm and Collected,” the atmosphere seems to be heavily inspired by the Kinks. The number opens with a New Orleans–style fanfare played by trumpet, trombone, and tuba. Mick Jagger, in his role of ringmaster, launches into this strange song with a serene, amused voice. He sings the verses and—for the first time ever—leaves the choruses to Keith. This alternation of the two singers is excellent and plays up the farcical side of the lyrics.

Keith is also on acoustic and rhythm electric guitars, and apparently plays bass too, doubling Bill on his. Charlie comes across as relaxed and completely in his element, while Jack Nitzsche, on piano, is also having a ball. But what is Brian doing? Various brass instruments can be heard throughout the track (trumpet, trombone, and tuba) as well as a saxophone, a clarinet, and a violin. It is customary to attribute them all to him, but he cannot possibly have played, or mastered, all of these instruments.

This would have required a lot of overdubs at a time when four-track recording was the norm, eight-track not having properly been introduced until a few months down the line. All the same, Brian definitely plays the saxophone, and possibly the tuba and the clarinet as well. The arrangements, however, are expertly done, no doubt by Jack Nitzsche. The closing track on the album is a triumph, and something of an unexpected digression for the Stones.

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