Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sweet Little Sixteen

The Rolling Stones finished recording and mixing the "Some Girls" album in March 1978 at Atlantic Studios, New York City. Rehearsals for the band's first US tour (June 10-July 26) in three years began close to two months later in the end of May. This time around the Stones gathered at Albert Grossman's Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, New York, along with Peter Tosh's band, who would be opening the set.

During the rehearsals the band, with Ian Stewart as a sixth member, were a tight and unison sixsome. They enjoyed playing numbers from the past such as Chuck Berry's 'Sweet Little Sixteen' and a whole lot of Eddie Cochran tunes. As it turned out, only 'Sweet Little Sixteen' would be played on the tour. Here's a version from the July 18 Fort Worth show, with Stu on piano, enjoying his 40th birthday.

But, as always, Stu only played on selected songs, so there was still a need for another keyboard player. Thoughts of sharing Peter Tosh's keyboard player, Bernard Harvey, were soon dropped. At the very last minute a call was made to England for Ian 'Mac' McLagan to join the band and after working with The Rich Kids he jumped at the chance to appear with his idols. Mac, who arrived 48 hours before the tour was due to commence, recalls:

"They'd wanted a flavour of reggae in the show, and as Stu wasn't into it, they got Bernard 'Touter' Harvey to sit in with them. He's a great player, especially for reggae, but when it came to rock 'n ' roll, he just didn't have the chops. Of course, I couldn't play reggae at all, but the guys had figured it would be easier to get me to learn how to skank if they needed it, than the other way round".

Adapted from the following sources:
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Books, 2002.
Ian McLagan, All The Rage, Pan Books, 2000.

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