Rolling Stones unreleased: Andrew’s Blues
*Click for MORE STONES UNRELEASED TRACKS
Also known as: ‘And the Rolling Stones Met Phil and Gene’, ‘Fuckin’ Andrew’, ‘Song for Andrew’
Written by: Phelge/Spector
Recorded: Regent Sounds Studios, London, England, Feb. 4 1964
Guest musicians: Phil Spector, Gene Pitney, Allan Clarke and Graham Nash
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
This Rolling Stones bootleg album has four sources. The title song, an obscenity-laden tribute to Stones manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham sung by Phil Spector (!), was recorded at a February 1964 session for the single “Not Fade Away.” “Cocksucker Blues,” another X-rated selection (in case that wasn’t obvious), was cut at the Sticky Fingers sessions in 1970 as a contractual fulfillment on the Stones’ commitment to Decca/London Records; of course, it was not deemed suitable for legitimate commercial release. Tracks three through 14, the bulk of the album, are drawn from an appearance at the Olympia in Paris on April 17, 1965. The last three tracks come from the Stones’ performance in their Rock and Roll Circus film in December 1968. (This final section has been added for the CD reissue of Andrew’s Blues; it was not included on the original LP version.)
The first two tracks are, of course, notorious items in the Stones’ discography. On “Andrew’s Blues,” Spector sings gleefully over a chugging rhythm track reminiscent of “Can I Get a Witness,” with Mick Jagger and Graham Nash, of all people, joining in. “Cocksucker Blues,” actually a Jagger solo performance on vocals and acoustic guitar, tells the woeful tale of a male prostitute going down to London. The Olympia show, which has only adequate sound quality, nevertheless gives a sense of what a Stones concert was like in the mid-’60s. (The seven-track British EP Got Live If You Want It!, not to be confused with the later U.S. LP of the same name, was recorded only a month before and covers much of the same material, but it is hard to find.) Since the 1996 release of Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, that material is no longer obscure, but there is still enough here to interest hardcore Stones fans.
From Dangerous Minds:
On February 4th, 1964, the Rolling Stones entered Regent Sound Studios in London for a session. The group had released a couple of singles at this point, and the studio was quickly becoming their go-to spot. For this recording, the band was joined by some special guests: singer/songwriter Gene Pitney, Graham Nash and Allan Clarke from the Hollies, as well as genius record producer Phil Spector. By night’s end their combined efforts resulted in a few completed tracks, including one called “Andrew’s Blues,” which is quite possibly the raunchiest song the Stones have ever committed to tape—yes, rivaling even this infamous number.
In his autobiography, Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Band, bassist Bill Wyman wrote about the wild session, which was produced by their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, the subject of “Andrew’s Blues”:
We’d become friendly with Phil Spector and attended a star-studded party in his honour thrown by Decca a week earlier; so he continued the friendship by dropping in our recording. Graham Nash and Allan Clarke of the Hollies also came and later Gene Pitney arrived direct from the airport, with duty-free cognac. It was his birthday, and his family custom was that everyone had to drink a whole glass. Pitney played piano while Spector and the Hollies played tambourine and maracas and banged coins on empty bottles. We recorded three songs, ‘Little by Little,’ ‘Can I Get a Witness’ and ‘Now I’ve Got a Witness,’ which we invented on the spot. The session then degenerated into silliness, but everybody had a great time cutting ‘Andrew’s Blues’ and ‘Spector and Pitney Came Too’-—both of which were very rude.
Though officially unreleased, “Andrew’s Blues” changed hands for years before the Internet and is now readily available via YouTube. The tune is a twelve-bar blues and very much resembles another number with the same structure, Tommy Tucker’s “Hi-Heel Sneakers,” which had been released just weeks earlier (the song was part of the Stones’ live sets for a time, and a studio take has been leaked).
The main vocalist on the track is Gene Pitney, who became the first artist to cover a Jagger/Richards composition when his version of “That Girl Belongs to Yesterday” was released as a 45 in January of ‘64. Pitney was introduced to the Stones by Oldham the previous November and promptly demoed the song with the band. Oldham, in addition to his duties managing the Stones, would soon become Pitney’s publicist.
The boys lovingly take the piss out of Oldham in “Andrew’s Blues,” but they also mock the hell out of Sir Edward Lewis, the founder and chairman of Decca Records—the Stones’ label—and the track as a whole can be seen as a commentary on the music business. Or just a drunken lark.Here’s a lyrical sample:
Yes now Andrew Oldham sittin’ on a hill with Jack and Jill (Jack and Jill)
Fucked all night and sucked all night and taste that pussy till it taste just right
Oh Andrew (yes Andrew), oh Andrew (yes Andrew)
Oh suck it Andrew (go on Andrew), fuck it Andrew (go on Andrew)
Oh Andrew Oldham (yeah), a guy who really know his way around (down down down down)
In his book Phil Spector: Out Of His Head, author Richard Williams called the track “startlingly obscene,” and fifty years on it still manages to shock. This is partly to due the fact that the lead vocals are largely handled by Pitney, who had a very straight-laced public image.
As for “Spector and Pitney Came Too,” a song with that title has been bootlegged, but is essentially an instrumental version of “Andrew’s Blues” with some hot lead guitar added.
Okay, escort your mom out of the room, ‘cause here comes “Andrew’s Blues”:
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