Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hot Stuff

After Mick Taylor's departure from the band in December, 1974, the Rolling Stones spent the next eight months jamming and recording with a long line of guitarists. The top candidates were British guitar hero Jeff Beck, Americans Harvey Mandel and Muscle Shoals session man Wayne Perkins, and finally, Ron Wood of Faces. Recording sessions for the new album took place at De Doelen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (January 22-February 9, 1975, with the Rolling Stones Mobile Unit) and, once again, at Musicland Studios, Munich (March 25-April 4, 1975).

With the absence of Nicky Hopkins, and Ian Stewart, as always, working in the background (there's a tour coming up....) the keyboard department showed plenty of space for Billy Preston. Keith Richards recalls:

"The problem with the Stones' mid-70s albums, which I was ignorant of for a long time, was studio musicians and sidemen taking over the band. The real problem with those albums was the band was led astray by brilliant players like Billy Preston. We'd start off a typical Stones track and Billy would start playing something so fuckin' good musically that we'd get sidetracked and end up with a compromised track. That made the difference".

As a consequence, Billy Preston appears on six album tracks, while Nicky Hopkins plays piano and organ on the two remaining tracks. Ian Stewart got a percussion (!!) credit on 'Hot Stuff', the album's hyperfunk opening track. The song, the Stones' twist to a classic funk groove in the spirit of James Brown or Sly Stone, was in fact a logical extension to the band's longtime commitment to the sounds of Black America. This was merely the Stones' mid-seventies take on what they had already witnessed during their first visits to the Harlem Apollo in the early sixties.

Adapted from the following sources:
Steve Appleford, The Rolling Stones - The Stories Behind The Biggest Songs, Carlton Books, 2010.


  1. January 22-February 9, 1975: Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (Could You Walk On The Water).
    The Rolling Stones: Slave Jam (Jagger-Richards) (7:12)
    The Rolling Stones: Let's Do It Right (Jagger-Richards) (6:13)
    The Rolling Stones: Worried About You (early version) (Jagger-Richards) (7:41)

    750122A 22nd January - 9th February: Rotterdam, Holland, De Doelen, Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Unit. Producer: The Glimmer Twins. Sound engineers: Keith Harwood, Glyn Johns. Rehearsals, recordings and playbacks of already recorded stuff. Incl.
    - Slave Jam (Jagger-Richards) - early version of ‘Slave’; Jeff Beck on guitar, Billy Preston on piano
    - Melody (Jagger-Richards) - early take; Billy Preston on vocals and piano
    - Freeway Jam (Middleton) - instrumental; Jeff Beck on guitar
    - Heatwave (Holland-Dozier-Holland) - instrumental; Jeff Beck on guitar
    - Men Eating Women (Jagger-Richards)
    - English Rose (Jagger-Richards)
    - Shame Shame Shame (Reed) - instrumental; Billy Preston on piano
    - Let's Do It Right (Jagger-Richards) - aka ‘Come On Sugar’; Jeff Beck on guitar
    - Worried About You (Jagger-Richards) - early take; Wayne Perkins on guitar, Billy Preston on organ.

    Line-up: Mick Jagger (voc, gtr, p)/Keith Richards (gtr, p, bvoc)/Bill Wyman (bass)/Charlie Watts (dr).

    Additional musicians: Billy Preston (p, org, synth, voc)/Wayne Perkins (gtr)/Robert A. Johnson (gtr)/Jeff Beck (gtr)/Rory Gallagher (gtr, unrecorded)/Ollie Brown (perc).

  2. March 25-April 4, 1975: Musicland Studios, Munich, West-Germany (Black And Blue Sessions).
    The Rolling Stones: Hand Of Fate (Jagger-Richards) (4:28)
    The Rolling Stones: Crazy Mama (Jagger-Richards) (4:34)
    The Rolling Stones: Cellophane Trousers (Jagger-Richards) (2:25)
    The Rolling Stones: I Love Ladies (Jagger-Richards) (4:35)
    The Rolling Stones: Start Me Up (early version) (Jagger-Richards) (4:23)
    The Rolling Stones: Hey Negrita (Jagger-Richards) (4:59)
    The Rolling Stones: Hot Stuff (Jagger-Richards) (5:21)
    The Rolling Stones: Memory Motel (Jagger-Richards) (7:08)

    750325A 25th March - 4th April: Munich, West-Germany, Musicland Studios. Producer: The Glimmer Twins. Sound engineer: Keith Harwood. Incl.
    - Hand Of Fate (Jagger-Richards) - Ron Wood on backing vocals, Wayne Perkins on guitar, Billy Preston on piano, Ollie Brown on percussion
    - Crazy Mama (Jagger-Richards) - Ron Wood on guitar and backing vocals, Billy Preston on piano and backing vocals, Ollie Brown on cowbell
    - Cellophane Trousers (Jagger-Richards) - instrumental (the riff returned on ‘Too Tough’)
    - I Love Ladies (Jagger-Richards) - Jeff Beck on guitar
    - Munich Reggae (Jagger-Richards)
    - Start Me Up (Jagger-Richards) - reggae-version, under title ‘Never Stop’
    - Hey Negrita (Jagger-Richards) - Ron Wood on guitar and backing vocals, Billy Preston on organ, piano and backing vocals
    - Hot Stuff (Jagger-Richards) - Ron Wood on backing vocals, Ian Stewart and Ollie Brown on percussion, Harvey Mandel on guitar, Billy Preston on piano
    - Memory Motel (Jagger-Richards) - Ron Wood on backing vocals, Wayne Perkins and Harvey Mandel on guitars, Billy Preston on synthesizer and backing vocals.

    Note: Some overdubs by Ron Wood were done in December, 1975, some overdubs by Billy Preston and Ollie E. Brown were done in October, 1975.

    Line-up: Mick Jagger (voc, gtr, p, perc)/Keith Richards (gtr, el p, bass, bvoc)/Bill Wyman (bass, perc)/Charlie Watts (dr, perc).

    Additional musicians: Billy Preston (p, org)/Ollie Brown (perc, cowbell)/Wayne Perkins (gtr)/Harvey Mandel (gtr)/Jeff Beck (gtr)/Ron Wood (gtr, bvoc).