Saturday, June 1, 2013

It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)

Overdubbing and mixing sessions for the Rolling Stones' new studio album, "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll", took place at Mick Jagger's Stargroves home (April 10-15, 1974, with the Rolling Stones Mobile) and Island Recording Studios, London (May 20-25). During these sessions the band worked on eight basic tracks they recorded earlier at Musicland Studios, Munich, along with 'Short And Curlies' (first taped during the 1972 "Goat's Head Soup" sessions) and a new song, the album's title track.

Although Jagger-Richards were the song's credited composers, 'It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)' was first sketched out by Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood, the ever-playful guitarist with Faces. The Stones had known Wood since he was a young guitarist hanging around the Crawdaddy and Marquee clubs in the early Sixties. Early December 1973, engineer George Chkiantz was quickly summoned to Wood's home studio at The Wick, Richmond, where he found Jagger and Wood both strumming acoustic guitars.

Despite its title, 'It's Only Rock 'n' Roll' isn't a fast rocker. The song is played mid-tempo with some acoustic parts. The basic track was recorded with Willie Weeks, one of the most in-demand session musicians, on bass, Ian McLagan on keyboards and a brutal crash of drums and cymbals by Kenney Jones, while David Bowie took some backing vocals.

Mick Jagger then took the track with him to Munich, where the Stones worked on it for the first time. The final recording was finished at Island Recording Studios, where the vocals were re-done, and Keith Richards added a sharp burst of Chuck Berry-style riffing, while at the same time erasing Wood's original electric parts, but keeping the acoustic ones. Ian Stewart supplied a piano melody replacing McLagan's part. Kenney Jones' drum parts made it to the final record, since Charlie Watts felt he could do no better.

Adapted from the following sources:
Steve Appleford, The Rolling Stones - The Stories Behind The Biggest Songs, Carlton Books, 2010.
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Books, 2002.

1 comment:

  1. April 10-May 25, 1974: Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, Newbury and Island Recording Studios, London, England.
    The Rolling Stones: If You Really Want To Be My Friend (Jagger-Richards) (6:16)
    The Rolling Stones: Fingerprint File (Jagger-Richards) (6:34)
    The Rolling Stones: Luxury (Jagger-Richards) (4:30)
    The Rolling Stones: Till The Next Goodbye (Jagger-Richards) (4:37)

    740410A 10th - 15th April: Newbury, England, Stargroves (Mick Jagger’s house), Rolling Stones Mobile Studio and 20th - 25th May: London, Island Recording Studios. Producers: The Glimmer Twins. Sound engineers: Keith Harwood (with Tapani Tapanainen) in April; Keith Harwood and Glyn Johns (with Howard Kilgour) in May; George Chkiantz (on It’s Only Rock’n Roll and overdubs). Overdubbing and mixing of the album ‘It’s Only Rock’n Roll’. Incl.
    - If You Really Want To Be My Friend (Jagger-Richards) - Blue Magic on backing vocals, Nicky Hopkins on piano
    - It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (Jagger-Richards) - reworking of the December, 1973 basic track; Keith Richards on electric guitar, Ian Stewart on piano, Willie Weeks on bass
    - Fingerprint File (Jagger-Richards) - Billy Preston on clavinet, Nicky Hopkins on piano, Jolly Kunjappu on tabla
    - Luxury (Jagger-Richards) - Nicky Hopkins on piano
    - Short And Curlies (Jagger-Richards) - reworking of the December, 1972 basic track; Ian Stewart on piano
    - Till The Next Goodbye (Jagger-Richards) -Nicky Hopkins on piano.

    Line-up: Mick Jagger (voc, gtr)/Keith Richards (gtr, bvoc)/Mick Taylor (gtr, synth, bass)/Bill Wyman (bass, synth)/Charlie Watts (dr). Additional musicians: Ray Cooper (perc)/Ed Leach (perc).