rolling stones now what a shameCan You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: What a Shame
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What a shame/ You all heard what I said…

Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Chess Studios, Chicago, USA, Nov. 8 1964
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From the Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
“What a Shame” testifies to the Rolling Stones’ visceral attachment to modern blues of the Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf kind, and it is tempting to wonder whether the London group was still under the thumb of Brian Jones. Although a Jagger-Richards composition— admittedly one of their first—the lyrics have something of that darkness or
sadness that is characteristic of the blues: What a shame/Nothing seems to be going right… You might wake up in the morning/And find your poor self dead. The fact that this number was recorded in the temple of Chicago blues also explains a thing or two.

Mick Jagger had begun to see himself as Sonny Boy Williamson II—and by this stage he was not far from wrong.
Neither had the other members of the group much more to learn from their mentors, least of all Ian Stewart, whose playing sounds as if he might have spent his childhood in a juke joint somewhere between Memphis and New Orleans. However, Jagger would explain in the Melody Maker of November 28, 1964, that the lugubrious aspect of the lyrics reflected the atmosphere at Chess: “Sunday in Chicago is like Sunday in Scotland—dead.” “What a Shame” was released as the B-side of “Heart of Stone,” which climbed to a perfectly respectable number 19 in the United States on February 20, 1965. This is the first time both sides of a 45 were credited to Jagger-Richards.

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