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Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: pgarof ()
Date: April 22, 2009 11:32

Story of the Song - Start Me Up, The Rolling Stones (1981)

Robert Webb, The Independant Music

Friday, 3 April 2009


It was The Rolling Stones' pianist, Ian Stewart, who proposed they recruit the engineer Chris Kimsey for their 1977 sessions.

Under Kimsey's guidance at the Pathé Marconi studio – Paris's Abbey Road – they produced the album Some Girls. Among the candidates for what many see as their last great hurrah was an idea they had sketched out in 1975. Then, it had got no further than a typical Keith Richards' ad-libbed riff on a reggae pulse. On the same December day in 1977 (one of the most profitable in their career) they laid the rhythm for "Miss You", the lead single from Some Girls, then returned to Richards' guitar slab, tentatively titled "Start It Up".

"It came together very quickly," recalled Mick Jagger. "Start It Up" was beginning to sound like a goer after all. But when Richards listened to the playback, it sounded like something he'd heard on the radio – possibly Jay Ferguson's "Thunder Island", whose same stop-start riff was on the Billboard charts. Kimsey was instructed to "bin that". Luckily, he didn't wipe the tape. The Stones took another stab at it during 1979 sessions for Emotional Rescue, but again it bit the dust. Two years on Kimsey suggested to Jagger and Richards there were enough decent but incomplete recordings for an album of "new" material. "I know of several songs you've forgotten about," he told them, dusting off the tape of "Start It Up".

"It was just buried in there," said Jagger. "Nobody remembered cutting it ... it was like a gift." In a Paris studio, Jagger added new lyrics, using as many car metaphors as he could get away with. It was mixed in New York by Bob Clearmountain, whose reverb was achieved in a cloakroom. Jagger howled his vocals and renamed it "Start Me Up". "I never realised how loud he could sing," said Clearmountain. It was the flagship for Tattoo You, the Stones' so-so album of outtakes, and their last Top 10 appearance. It has since become a traditional opener for the Stones' road show.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Zack ()
Date: April 22, 2009 14:09

Let me be the first to take issue with "so-so album of outtakes."

Certainly plays up Kinsey's influence, which is interesting. Could be accurate as SG and TY are so much more "together" than the groove-laden sprawl of their predecessor B&B, which they did more on their own (at least according to the credits, which don't name anyone).

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: kovach ()
Date: April 22, 2009 17:10

Wow, never put "Start Me Up" and "Thunder Island" together, but much like the discussion of The Cult's "Love Removal Machine", it certainly has the same rhythm.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Zack ()
Date: April 22, 2009 17:52

I had the Thunder Island 45 as a seventh grader. Jay Ferguson was a one-hit wonder, wasn't he?

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: kovach ()
Date: April 22, 2009 19:34

Well, sort of. I think he did some session work with Joe Walsh after the Eagles first split. I also think he was originally in the band Spirit who had a good following for quite a while and put out quite a few notable songs.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Fingers ()
Date: April 22, 2009 21:56

Early recording.......







Happy to be here....Happy to be anywhere.....

[www.myspace.com]

[www.facebook.com]

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Promoman ()
Date: April 22, 2009 23:54

I think I spotted George Thorogood in there. spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

Will see him in May in Amsterdam.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: skipstone ()
Date: April 23, 2009 06:31

Doing some show in Pennsylvania with Thorogood in August. August 8th, Bethlehem, PA.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: flight505rox ()
Date: April 23, 2009 21:54

The Stones took another stab at it during 1979 sessions for Emotional Rescue, but again it bit the dust.???

Really, had anyone ever heard of this before? I thought that the "final" takes were taken from the 'Some Girls' sessions, specifically, the same day that the final take of "Miss You" was recorded. I heard Mick put some finishing touches on the vocals for the 'Tattoo You' release but NEVER heard anything that they worked on this track during 'Emotional Rescue.'

Can someone clarify if this statement by the journalist is correct?


Thanks.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: BrianJones1969 ()
Date: August 16, 2015 11:18

According to Nico Zentgraf's Rolling Stones recording history. . .

October 10-November 29 and December 6-15, 1977, EMI Studios, Boulogne Billancourt, Paris, France (Some Girls sessions):
Take 1: reggae-ish version, under title "Never Stop"
Take 2: very early, less lyrics, no backing vocals
Take 3: early, with backing vocals but still no lead guitar

April-May 1981, EMI Studios, Paris; Rolling Stones Mobile (unconfirmed location); Atlantic Studios, New York City
Take 4: Tattoo You version
Take 5: longer version, possibly for 12" single release

What's more. . . Zentgraf also states that the closing track for Let It Bleed, "You Can't Always Get What You Want," was actually first attempted in February 1967 while Andrew Oldham was still their primary manager/producer, but it was only an instrumental. The second take recorded in November 1968 had Al Kooper on board for the first time, and takes 3-5 recorded February-March 1969 finally gives us the real version.

~Ben



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 2015-08-16 11:33 by BrianJones1969.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: gotdablouse ()
Date: August 16, 2015 13:03

Quote
kovach
Wow, never put "Start Me Up" and "Thunder Island" together, but much like the discussion of The Cult's "Love Removal Machine", it certainly has the same rhythm.

Had never heard of that song before but there's certainly something of SMU in there...but according to [en.wikipedia.org] "The song reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978" so I can't se how it could have inspired SMU in 1975 or 1977 ? Odd...As a side not I wonder if the 1975 version of SMU will ever leak, would be interesting to hear how "reggae" it really was, "Never Stop" is certainly not very "reggae" ;-)

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Turner68 ()
Date: August 16, 2015 19:17

Quote
gotdablouse
Quote
kovach
Wow, never put "Start Me Up" and "Thunder Island" together, but much like the discussion of The Cult's "Love Removal Machine", it certainly has the same rhythm.

Had never heard of that song before but there's certainly something of SMU in there...but according to [en.wikipedia.org] "The song reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978" so I can't se how it could have inspired SMU in 1975 or 1977 ? Odd...As a side not I wonder if the 1975 version of SMU will ever leak, would be interesting to hear how "reggae" it really was, "Never Stop" is certainly not very "reggae" ;-)

I don't think Keith's hesitation was because he felt that the song might have inspired him but rather that they were similar enough to not want to release them close together

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Naturalust ()
Date: August 16, 2015 19:27

Wish they had scrapped this one the first time and never resurrected it actually. eye popping smiley

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Rocky Dijon ()
Date: August 16, 2015 20:18

Kimsey engineered the Frampton session Jagger attended when he sang back-up on "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." Jagger remembered Kimsey from when he engineered an impromptu session at Stargroves that Andy Johns couldn't attend. This was likely the first run-through of "Sway" in 1970. I adored Stu's piano playing and give him all credit when due, but I'm fairly certain it was Jagger connecting with Kimsey at the Frampton session that led to his getting the gig to engineer SOME GIRLS.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: dmay ()
Date: August 16, 2015 21:30

From Naturalust: "Wish they had scrapped this one the first time and never resurrected it actually."

Couldn't agree more. There's not many Stones songs I don't like in some way, but this is one I don't like in any way. Can't tell you why. It's just one of those songs I'd turn the radio dial to escape.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: DaveG ()
Date: August 16, 2015 23:15

When Thunder Island was on the charts, I really liked it, and still do today. Jay was the vocalist for Spirit, so not really a one-hit owner. He also composed the music for the NCIS television franchise. He is a talented guy!

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: GasLightStreet ()
Date: August 17, 2015 06:06

Quote
flight505rox
The Stones took another stab at it during 1979 sessions for Emotional Rescue, but again it bit the dust.???

Really, had anyone ever heard of this before? I thought that the "final" takes were taken from the 'Some Girls' sessions, specifically, the same day that the final take of "Miss You" was recorded. I heard Mick put some finishing touches on the vocals for the 'Tattoo You' release but NEVER heard anything that they worked on this track during 'Emotional Rescue.'

Can someone clarify if this statement by the journalist is correct?


Thanks.

The journalist probably means, without understanding it, that they - if they did, and I've never seen anything that alludes to them working on it - overdubbed on it and the results were poor.

But maybe they did attempt new takes of it. From all that is known though the take is whatever one they were happy with from the same day they cut Miss You.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: carlorossi ()
Date: August 17, 2015 07:49

Quote
kovach
Well, sort of. I think he did some session work with Joe Walsh after the Eagles first split. I also think he was originally in the band Spirit who had a good following for quite a while and put out quite a few notable songs.

Yes! He does the piano workout on Walsh's "Life's Been Good", it almost dominates the song at the end.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Elmo Lewis ()
Date: August 17, 2015 19:57

I had never noticed the similarity between SMU and Thunder Island either.

More on Jay Ferguson:

He was in Jo Jo Gunne - named after a monkey in a Chuck Berry song - and they had a minor (although very good) hit in the early 70's with "Run Run RUn".

His follow-up to Thunder Island was the "Shakedown Cruise" album. The title song was much better than Thunder Isalnd, but didn't make as big a splash - he seemed to like ocean themed songs. The album also had Jay doing a medley of LSTNT with (of all things!) Have You Seen Your Mother ......

"No Anchovies, Please"

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: treaclefingers ()
Date: August 17, 2015 20:21

Quote
dmay
From Naturalust: "Wish they had scrapped this one the first time and never resurrected it actually."

Couldn't agree more. There's not many Stones songs I don't like in some way, but this is one I don't like in any way. Can't tell you why. It's just one of those songs I'd turn the radio dial to escape.

Well I'd suggest it was and is a fantastic song that's just suffered from overplay. It's completely ubiquitous. Any sporting event anywhere plays it. In 50 years it'll still rank as one of their signature tunes.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Turner68 ()
Date: August 17, 2015 20:29

Quote
treaclefingers
Quote
dmay
From Naturalust: "Wish they had scrapped this one the first time and never resurrected it actually."

Couldn't agree more. There's not many Stones songs I don't like in some way, but this is one I don't like in any way. Can't tell you why. It's just one of those songs I'd turn the radio dial to escape.

Well I'd suggest it was and is a fantastic song that's just suffered from overplay. It's completely ubiquitous. Any sporting event anywhere plays it. In 50 years it'll still rank as one of their signature tunes.

agreed. i also believe that it garnered millions of new stones fans who would have otherwise passed the band by. countless people heard start me up on the radio or at a ball game and then worked their way backward to Let It Bleed and Aftermath.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: treaclefingers ()
Date: August 18, 2015 03:09

Quote
Turner68
Quote
treaclefingers
Quote
dmay
From Naturalust: "Wish they had scrapped this one the first time and never resurrected it actually."

Couldn't agree more. There's not many Stones songs I don't like in some way, but this is one I don't like in any way. Can't tell you why. It's just one of those songs I'd turn the radio dial to escape.

Well I'd suggest it was and is a fantastic song that's just suffered from overplay. It's completely ubiquitous. Any sporting event anywhere plays it. In 50 years it'll still rank as one of their signature tunes.

agreed. i also believe that it garnered millions of new stones fans who would have otherwise passed the band by. countless people heard start me up on the radio or at a ball game and then worked their way backward to Let It Bleed and Aftermath.

I can barely stand to listen to Satisfaction again, particularly in concert. That doesn't mean it isn't a great song, just because I want to stab my ears. I'm wiser nowadays and so I don't play songs like that to death because once I've crossed the rubicon (sorry for the ABB cross promotion) I can't cross back.

Funny thing though, never had that issue with Exile...played to death and still love it.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Title5Take1 ()
Date: August 18, 2015 07:53

It's funny how iconic songs can get trashed more on fan forums than anywhere. I've never seen more venom against HELLO, GOODBYE than on Beatles-fan forums.

Personally, I love and worship both START ME UP and HELLO, GOODBYE.

Does that somehow mean I'm, uh, not a Stones or Beatles fan.......?

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: chatoyancy ()
Date: August 18, 2015 09:53

The opening to Thunder Island does sound a bit like Start Me Up. Joe Walsh plays guitar. Thunder Island was #9 on Billboard chart in 1978.

Last year Spirit sued Led Zep, claiming that the opening to Stairway to Heaven was taken from Spirit's 1968 song Taurus, which Spirit played every night when they opened for Led Zep. Spirit won the first round in court in October. The bassist and the kids of Randy California are suing for songwriting credit.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: GasLightStreet ()
Date: August 18, 2015 15:45

That Zep lifting is a bit more of a lift than if Start Me Up is a lift at all, because if it is, it's barely a lift.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: OldSoul ()
Date: August 19, 2015 03:27

This song is a BEAST. Just really hit me right now by listening to Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 6. Such a loud, arena rock sounding song, amongst all these punk and country numbers. Like, damn. Haha

The sunshine bores the daylights out of me.

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Naturalust ()
Date: August 19, 2015 03:35

Quote
Title5Take1
It's funny how iconic songs can get trashed more on fan forums than anywhere. I've never seen more venom against HELLO, GOODBYE than on Beatles-fan forums.

Personally, I love and worship both START ME UP and HELLO, GOODBYE.

Does that somehow mean I'm, uh, not a Stones or Beatles fan.......?

No, it just means you have questionable taste when it comes to individual songs.winking smiley

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Title5Take1 ()
Date: August 19, 2015 05:09

Quote
Naturalust
Quote
Title5Take1
It's funny how iconic songs can get trashed more on fan forums than anywhere. I've never seen more venom against HELLO, GOODBYE than on Beatles-fan forums.

Personally, I love and worship both START ME UP and HELLO, GOODBYE.

Does that somehow mean I'm, uh, not a Stones or Beatles fan.......?

No, it just means you have questionable taste when it comes to individual songs.winking smiley

The book GROWING UP WITH THE BEATLES by Ron Schaumberg is by this ostensible Beatles fanatic. And he does profess to worshipping HEY JUDE. But then he says STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER sucks, etc. etc., and he's not actually that big a Beatles fan if you add things up through the book...

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Turner68 ()
Date: August 19, 2015 05:21

Quote
Title5Take1
It's funny how iconic songs can get trashed more on fan forums than anywhere. I've never seen more venom against HELLO, GOODBYE than on Beatles-fan forums.

Personally, I love and worship both START ME UP and HELLO, GOODBYE.

Does that somehow mean I'm, uh, not a Stones or Beatles fan.......?

I'm going to take a wild guess that you don't listen to song lyrics that closely.... Am I right?

Re: Story of the Song - Start Me Up
Posted by: Naturalust ()
Date: August 19, 2015 06:10

Quote
Title5Take1
Quote
Naturalust
Quote
Title5Take1
It's funny how iconic songs can get trashed more on fan forums than anywhere. I've never seen more venom against HELLO, GOODBYE than on Beatles-fan forums.

Personally, I love and worship both START ME UP and HELLO, GOODBYE.

Does that somehow mean I'm, uh, not a Stones or Beatles fan.......?

No, it just means you have questionable taste when it comes to individual songs.winking smiley

The book GROWING UP WITH THE BEATLES by Ron Schaumberg is by this ostensible Beatles fanatic. And he does profess to worshipping HEY JUDE. But then he says STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER sucks, etc. etc., and he's not actually that big a Beatles fan if you add things up through the book...

All kinds of strange authors out there. Since you are on this board I'm just going to assume you are a certified Stones fan. thumbs up

I am too but I can articulate why I can't stand SMU. The music and the lyrics. For me they are both formulatic, cliche record company rock. It doesn't really matter that the they were following their own formula somewhat, it almost comes off as a parody of Stones music to me. All these elements put together to craft this shiny package without any emotion or soul, a mere shadow of the stuff they did when those 2 elements were present and their style was raw and natural. Basically it sounds like something a cruise ship cover band would do to try to imitate the Stones. Powdered coffee creamer to the 1/2 and 1/2 they once delivered, imitation rock, artificial in nature. I know it's only rock and roll but I don't have to like it all and this one is near the top of my bummer list, in no small part because I've had to listen to it far too many times. smoking smiley

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