THE TOP 10 ROLLING STONES JAMS
(THAT AREN’T MISS YOU OR EMOTIONAL RESCUE) ALL DJ’S SHOULD OWN AND BE READY TO SPIN.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones……
That’s right. The Stones. The greatest rock and roll band of all time. I am here to make all statements that their incredible influence and reach extends beyond arenas, or bedrooms. I am here to tell you that Sir Mick, Keith and Co, whom I could write a doctorate thesis on with regard to their musical importance in ALL areas, is a CRUCIAL MUST HAVE if you consider yourself a DJ of any merit or aplomb. I’ll go one better. If you have no Rolling Stones at all in your repertoire or collection, you’re no DJ, let alone a human being capable of breathing air. You’re probably dead. Have someone check your pulse. If you’re playing nothing but tech house and wearing a black T shirt and seem happy? You’re only there to get some brains for the munching, you zombie.
Again, at the risk of writing volumes about just how important this band is to music in an overall sense, The Rolling Stones are the only band I can think of, who’ve done the deepest dive into every facet and style of music, most notably Afro influenced American music, and come away victorious, the result of devout behavior and attention paid where authenticity is concerned for years and years. These men didn’t just learn the content of the records they worshipped, they INHALED them down to details that are atomic in nature and trekked to the sources of inspiration to get everything that much more RIGHT, be it the old Chess Records building, or building a house in Jamaica (that eventually Peter Tosh would inhabit and um……kind of wreck too but that’s another Oprah). As such be it Chicago Blues, Motown covers, Memphis Soul, Bakersfield Country Music, Reggae, Jazz, and all things yes…DANCE, you can rest assured that they will never ever let you down. The Rolling Stones are bonafide across all realms, even if the world at large is mostly content to make fun of old men that won’t put their axes down and retire. A personal note? I say BOLLOCKS to that notion, and the world needs to stop hating and get over their jealousies and stop trying to encourage men who’ve done nothing but provide pleasure and amazing art to the world for over 50 years, no less whose lives have been devoted to doing so at the behest of “normal lives” for all of this time? What are they supposed to do? Sit home and learn to crochet? No one ever asked the great jazz or blues men when they’d be hanging it up, why is everyone so compelled to get the Stones to become “nice little old men?” I blow a giant raspberry of disapproval at that notion, and say let the Stones rock out til they themselves feel compelled to stop, which won’t ever happen.
But I digress. Back to the matter at hand. Why is this crazy lady who sings on disco records (who is admittedly a scrappy punky looking creature for her doing so), trying to convince us DJ’s that a night of success will be largely predicated on the Bad Boys of Rock and Roll, and what records does she think is going to inspire dance floors filled with sybarites looking to get off? Well, I’ll tell ya. In this day wherein the entire shooting match feels very locked in, stale, and not particularly diverse or interesting, it’s the brave men and women who step out and introduce material from all the areas of four on the floor that impress me personally the most. I was recently regaled over coffee with the amazing Justin Strauss (be sure to look out for his AMAZING remix of Never Saw It Coming on DFA this March and more to come from us) with stories of the great Larry Levan who would tell me that Larry was ONLY too happy to clear a floor in order to make a point, usually the point being that Larry believed first and foremost in his vision, and he had full punk rock emboldened confidence that he could make his public who came to see him as a barometer see his vision, come around to whatever he was into. Many times, that vision included rock music-one story Justin told me involved him playing pretty much all of Van Halen’s incomparable debut album to a crowd filled with disapproving and dismayed patrons. Further investigation shows that this same vision also included dropping The Rolling Stones next to The Peech Boys and Taana Gardner. So if my insistence that The Rolling Stones’s music and their inherent genius isn’t enough to go by, think of it this way- “if LARRY did it……..”
An aside before I return to “Mick and the boys” (as Patsy Stone slurred on Ab/FB), I know it’s likely downright strange, obnoxious even, for a person to be writing so much about opinions where this culture is concerned as someone who’s not really even an active participant in said culture! I love to sing on the records that I know make people boogie, and like Mr. Bolan once cooed “I Love To Boogie,” but I know where Dance Music Culture as it really exists, I’m a perennial Aardvark. I’ve been to exactly ONE rave in my life, and it was under a sneak attack premise. Save for my pre-teens and teens wherein the primary M.O. for “going out dancing with my friends” was more about moving suggestively to seduce boys, and furtively hyper smoke a rolled up bolus of cigarettes weed and cloves, I didn’t go out to support “the movement” or DJ’s of note, or “P.L.U.R.” Despite many inquiries from my peer group as to whether or not If I’d be interested in giving DJing a try, I have never once done so, the closest I ever came to doing so with any real intent was to supply the music in between musical numbers for a rock cabaret show I was putting on, and using two CD players gracelessly against each other to go song to song, the only thing that would peak anyone’s interest creatively was my curation. By the end of the night I think I figured how how to crossfade. So I know how strange this all may seem, but I’ll say this much. The nights when I WAS in the club, where I DID participate, where I had a great time, and where I feel I saw something that artistically moved me, where the moments when the DJ in question trusted the crowd to go on the journey with him, and tell the story he or she wanted to tell. This usually involved dropping songs in and out of long works that sustained a mood for a long tense period of time, that made the crowd react, be it laughing, applauding, screaming, best of all singing along. They did things that were improvisatory and/or chances taken. As I consider myself a jazz singer every bit as much as a rock singer, and value jazz music so much, most notably the art of improvisation, the truest music that can come from the creator itself, those are the musical moments I and we live for. They are the ones that happen organically in the moment, in the air, be them John Coltrane’s astonishing performance at the Cap D’antibes Jazz Festival in 1965 or Carlos Santana’s performance of Soul Sacrifice at Woodstock. So if I WERE a DJ, my goal, first and foremost would be to remain true to my sense of believing in only “ONE music” that being the music that talks to the soul of all humanity by route of the earholes. This would mean taking people on my journey. This would definitely include The Rolling Stones.
However, though there are two glaring choices that always work, those being Miss You on their sublime Some Girls album of 1978 or Emotional Rescue on their always improving to my ears album of the same title in 1980, there are songs I believe to be even BETTER. Heck Arthur Baker agreed with me on at least ONE of em
So put your trust me, the auslander ruffian dance singer and let’s take a look at the songs, that I think you REALLLLLY need to have in your grasps.
TOO MUCH BLOOD- ARTHUR BAKER VOCAL DUB AND THE LATIN RASCALS JUNGLE DUB
In the last 2 years, I have talked to more DJs about Too Much Blood the INCREDIBLE jam off of the REALLLLLLY incredible Undercover Album more than almost any other song! Undercover, for all intents and purposes is the ultimate Stones “sophisticated dance album” incorporating a lot of post punk ideas as well as post disco ideas, and this song is just way too much fun, it’s funky as hell. I encourage everyone to listen to the original version of course, heck if you don’t have this album your life is not as great as it could be, so GET a copy.
UNDERCOVER OF THE NIGHT
If only for the presence of Sly and Robbie, this is worth having. This is like The Rolling Stones….doing Gang of Four, and doing it WELL. Super funky, this is one of my all time favorite Stones’s tunes and while there is a dub and a 12’’, remixes of this…are sadly in drought mode. I say someone oughta get TO it!!!
Lest you all think Donna Summer was the only one for the dance floor! I was surprised to see a lack of mixes on this one, but it is the kickoff track to Black and Blue, and I’ll say this, the video is worth the price of admission. Now, admittedly this is going to only ever work at some points of the night…for all ye Brits who’ve made me aware of “sleaze” in the last year (and thank you by the way!!) I think this would make a really great contender for one, but I also think this is a diamond in the rough of a jam that with some tinkering and or good mashing ups or just….futzing about with, I think it’s un-mined territory!
DANCE (PART 1)
Honestly? I think the lead off track to the Emotional Rescue album is BETTER than Emotional Rescue when it comes to shaking it all out on the dance floor! If you’re wondering bout any subsequent “Parts” there is an extension Part 2 on Sucking In the Seventies.
From the Dirty Work album wherein the band pretty much broke up for a bit after it’s release, here is one that both the one and only Francois K and Steve Lillywhite both did mixes on. An N.Y. and London mix respectively, and while it’s almost a jump blues, it’s hard to stand still to this one, it’s one of the most accidental dance records.
From It’s Only Rock and Roll which is a very hit or miss album for me personally, this is one of the high moments for me. This is just funky, plain and simple much like Hot Stuff above but with even more grease. I’m amazed there are no remixes on this one as well!
BACK TO ZERO
You could sort of call this The Stones do Chic. Dirty Work is such a funny album, you know they’re coming apart at the seams, and lord knows Keith by now is TIRED of Mick and “chasing trend” (among other things) but it has a lot of great songs for the dance floor on it, including this one! I think this is a JAM!
ONE HIT TO THE BODY
Speaking of the Dirty Work album and great dancefloor hits, I’ve head MANY DJ’s over the years pull this one out for really cool mashups or just to put a little more four on the floor under it and let it sing on it’s own. The video is hysterical, it’s so meta! They made a video showing how much they hated each other at this point. THE ROMANCE!
PRETTY BEAT UP
Back to the Undercover album. The right DJ will know exactly what to do with this. Funky and minimal.
JUST ANOTHER NIGHT
Okay I’m cheating a touch with this one, but if you want to see the man to blame for all these dance floor moments that damn near drove The Stones apart and made their records hella inconsistent after a while, look no further than one of the biggest attendees of discos worldwide, Sir Mick. This is one of the big hits of his solo exile period from The Stones and I’ve ALWAYS loved it, and frankly ALL of the She’s The Boss album. The title track is worth a trip round the floor as well!
Amy Sings is written by the inimitable Amy B Douglas.
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Amy B DouglasTags: Amy B Douglas, Amy Sings, Rolling Stones