My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: The debut Rolling Stones album was recorded and released in early 1964. The album consists mostly of R&B covers. It was produced by their management with some assistance from Phil Spector. The US version of the album is essentially the same, except that “Not Fade Away” was added in place of “Mona”.
What I liked: I love that The Rolling Stones fell in love with a version of America that wasn’t a reality for most Americans. The Rock and Roll (was really on the wane before the British Invasion revived it), Blues and R&B were certainly less than mainstream. Their version of America is easy to hear on this album with the songs they chose. Bo Diddley’s “Mona (I Need You Baby)” really stands out for its grit, gravel and distortion. They might not have been the first band with this sound, but they are definitely the first that I’ve heard in this project. The instrumental original “Now I’ve Got a Witness” is a great number. I really like the energy on their cover of Chuck Berry’s “Carol”. “Tell Me” is a great original song that has a great chunky ’60s sound that would become standard for a while in their songs. Finally, their playful cover of “Walking the Dog” is really fun.
What I didn’t Like: They don’t seem to own some of these songs as much as they should. This is especially true in the few originals. I think that is a huge difference between the Beatles and the other British Invasion bands. The Beatles had the confidence to think they were the best and it came through in their records.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I think it fits in the book. It’s a snapshot of what some young idealists thought they would find when they came to America. It wasn’t the truth, but it’s a good story.
Rating (Out of 5): 3.5
Amazon Review (Out of 5):4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (39/49)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 80%