Monday, October 22, 2012

It's Only Rock and Roll But I Like It

Driving up the 5 freeway the other day, tapping out the drum part on the steering wheel on "It's only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)," I noticed the most remarkable thing about the song:  The Ben Hur drum track!  Watch this clip again:

Now check out this brief clip of the Stones' song I made;  I counted out the syncopated snare beats to draw attention to them: Link

I had always assumed that Charlie Watts played drums on that track--wrong!  It was Kenny Jones of The Faces, along with ex-bandmates Ronnie Wood and David Bowie!  The incredible story is here. Here's what Charlie Watts says:
I didn't play drums on that, Kenny Jones did. I was in bed, sleeping at the time. They called Kenny Jones because he lived nearer to Richmond, it was done in a very beautiful house there that Ronnie used to own. Pete Townshend owns it now:

Keith Richards wrote about the making of the song in his autobiography, Life.
That's where I first heard "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll," in Ronnie's studio. It's Mick's song and he'd cut it with Bowie as a dub. Mick had gotten this idea and they started to rock on it. It was damn good. Shit, Mick, what are you doing it with Bowie for?  Come on, we've got to steal that motherfucker back. And we did, without too much difficulty.  Just the title by itself was so beautifully simple, even if it hadn't been a great song in its own right.  I mean, come on. "It's only rock and roll but I like it."
You can hear traces of the original track embedded in the song. Listen here to the "quiet" part near the end--all the original players emerge: link

What about the Rolling Stones' big 50th anniversary tour? There are rumors that Keith Richards is fighting an unnamed illness.  Here's what the man says:
'Basically, we’re just not ready,' says Richards. 'The Stones always really considered ’63 to be 50 years, because Charlie [Watts] didn’t actually join until January. We look upon 2012 as sort of the year of conception, but the birth is next year.' link


  1. It would seem that one of the differences was that the Rolling Stones didn't require a man wearing lorica segmentada to whip the drummer in order to maintain the beat. However we have computerized music machines (modern day metronome) that can keep that snare beat up for -- centuries if need be, now. But I don't think that was the case when the Stones first recorded the song.

  2. Someone malicious destroyed or scrambled the videos I made to support this blog post in the form of links. The videos used snippets of songs which I paid for in CD format and simply transformed into a different format. I used the snippets to support analysis and commentary. In the patent world my contribution was arguably new and novel.

    The Rolling Stones will be coming out with a "new" 50th Anniversary collection of music.

    I will not buy their "new" material. Why pay for something twice?