Rolling Stones songs: Try a Little Harder
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
Don’t you worry try a little harder/ Say goodnight and stay a little longer…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Regent, IBC and Decca Studios, London, England, July 1-10 1964
Guest musicians: Jimmy Page (guitar), John McLaughlin (guitar), Reg Guest, Joe Moretti, Andy White (drums)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
Unlike all of the other pre-1967 demo-type outtakes of Mick Jagger-Keith Richards songs on Metamorphosis, “Try a Little Harder” was never released in any version prior to the 1975 release of that album, by the Rolling Stones or any other artist. Like most of those Jagger-Richards songs, however, it was an inferior relic of their early stabs at mastering pop/rock songwriting.
It wasn’t strong enough to merit a release back in the mid-’60s and, apparently, it might not have been strong enough to be given away to another act to cover, though there were yet weaker early Jagger-Richards songs that did make it onto disc in that fashion. “Try a Little Harder” is actually in a more straightforward rocking mold than most of the other early songs on Metamorphosis, though that’s a relative distinction, considering how wimpy most of those other songs are. It’s built around a basic low twangy soul-rock guitar riff and backup harmony chant, showing a slight influence of the upbeat pop-soul of mid-’60s Motown, perhaps.
The production, like the rest of the mid-’60s material on Metamorphosis (except the cover of Chuck Berry’s “Don’t Lie to Me”), is very derivative of Phil Spector, with the sturdy clap-along beat, rattling high percussion, honking saxes, and substantial echo. The main problem, not a unique one among early Jagger-Richards numbers, is that the song doesn’t really go anywhere, with its repetitious verses urging us to try a little harder to get that girl. Maybe they tried to apply the same kind of lyrical idea to a far more Stonesy R&B-rock original in 1965, “One More Try,” which has more chin-up, assert-yourself advice, though in a style the group’s far more comfortable with (even if that song is kind of pedestrian).
“Try a Little Harder” was first released as the B-side of a single taken off Metamorphosis (“I Don’t Know Why”), which is why it makes an unlikely appearance on Singles Collection: The London Years.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
In helping a friend to seduce the girl who is the object of his desire, Mick
Jagger does not stint on his advice. Try a little harder; Don’t you see you
gotta give her all the lovin’ that she needs: the message is clear. “Try a
Little Harder” is the only song among the early compositions of Mick
Jagger and Keith Richards collected on Metamorphosis that gave rise to no
other version. However, it is far from being the weakest from this period,
above all thanks to Mick Jagger’s performance and Oldham’s production,
influenced as much by Phil Spector as by Motown. It is for this reason,
moreover, that it was chosen as the B-side of “I Don’t Know Why,” the
single taken from Metamorphosis.
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Categories: Can You Hear the Music?
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