Rolling Stones unreleased: Harlem Shuffle (alternate long version)
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Written by: Relf/Nelson
Recorded: RPM Studios, NYC, USA, July 16-Aug. 17 1985
Guest musicians: Chuck Leavell (keyboards), Bobby Womack and Tom Waits (backing vocals)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
“Harlem Shuffle” is an R&B song written and originally recorded by the duo Bob & Earl in 1963. In 1986 it was covered by The Rolling Stones on their album Dirty Work.
The Rolling Stones’ cover version, with Bobby Womack on backing vocals, appeared on their 1986 album Dirty Work. It went to number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, number 13 in the United Kingdom, and number 1 in New Zealand. Keith Richards had been looking for songs to possibly include on the album and had been working up songs with Ronnie Wood and Womack while waiting for Jagger to return to the studio in Paris after doing promo work on his solo album. To Richards’ surprise, Jagger liked the feel and cut the vocals quickly. It became the first cover song the Stones had released as an opening single off a new studio album since 1965. It opens with:
You move it to the left and you go for yourself
You move it to the right yeah if it takes all night
Now take it kinda slow with a whole lot of soul
In 1986, a 12″ extended single mix of the song was released. One side contained the “London Mix” and ran 6:19. The other side had a “New York Mix” and ran 6:35. Both mixes were variations of the 7″ mix. The “New York Mix” is available on the CD, Rarities 1971–2003, although it has been edited to 5:48. Both full-length 12″ versions can be found on Disc 25 of Singles 1971–2006.
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I recall an interview – Mick said that Keith kept putting Harlem Shuffle onto mixtapes for him, over a long period – hoping to get him to try covering the tune.