Fifty years rolling on, and there are still many mysteries to the Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger's fear of being seen as yesterday's papers, the death of Brian Jones, and top of the list, the resistance of releasing the tons of great stuff stashed in their archives! Over the years, the band have occasionally reached into their past to resurrect old songs. Much of 'Tattoo You,' in fact, dates back to the early-to-mid-'70s, and current Stones bassist Daryl Jones boasted about some good material from his 20-year tenure in the band that never made it to the public.
This list of the Top 10 Unreleased Rolling Stones Songs is an admittedly short gander into the world of unreleased Rolling Stones recordings that could easily fill a few 'Anthology'-type collections. So while Jagger and Keith Richards live out their caricature portraits, we tip our hats to the bootleggers of the world for letting some of these goodies make their way to the fans.
'Stewed And Keefed'(1964)
We kick off our list of the Top 10 Unreleased Rolling Stones Songs with an outtake from the legendary Chess Studios sessions of 1964. 'Stewed And Keefed' is a blues instrumental that shines a bright light on how pure the guys could be when it came to the blues. The stars of the song are Keith Richards and Ian Stewart, who deliver soulful guitar and piano respectively that do their blues fathers proud. The song has also been known as 'Brian's Blues,' a nod to the late great Brian Jones, because he was absent from the sessions.
'We Were Falling In Love'(1964)
'We Were Falling In Love' dates back to sessions in September 1964 at Regent Sound Studios in London, and sounds very much of the era. The song is in a more Merseybeat style, and most likely recorded as a demo for manager Andrew Loog Oldham to sell to another artist. While the song may seem too 'pop' for the guys, it would have been a perfect fit for any number of young upstarts diving into the pool at the time.
Perhaps the most infamous song in Rolling Stones history, 'Schoolboy Blues' (also known as 'C---sucker Blues') was recorded in 1970 to have been their final single to comply with their contract for Decca Records. Obviously, the song was rejected, and the band were free to leave the label to establish their own company, the ultimate goal at the time. The song would not go quietly however. When a documentary was filmed during their infamous 1972 tour, the movie was given the raunchier of the two titles, and though the film itself would also remain unreleased, the legend grew. The song was actually released legitimately by Decca in West Germany in 1983 as part of a collection called 'The Rest of the Best,' before quickly being withdrawn.
'Blood Red Wine' is an outtake from the 'Beggar's Banquet' sessions. While it has the mood and feel of that period soaked into it, the track is obviously unfinished. What is there, however, sounds like the makings of a Stones classic. That melancholy feels so prominent on songs like 'Sister Morphine,' Moonlight Mile' and others is all over this one. Another track ripe for nursing back to life for sure.
'Key To The Highway'(1964)
It was a dream come true for the Stones to record at the legendary Chess Studios in Chicago. The blues legacy was in the walls, and the guys soaked it all up. That is more than obvious on this killer lost track, a cover of a Big Bill Broonzy song. 'Key To The Highway' is one of the band's finest pure blues moments. Recorded on Nov. 8, 1964, it shows off the genuine feel they had for the blues, and is No. 6 on our list of the Top 10 Unreleased Rolling Stones Songs.
'Down In The Bottom'(1964)
One of many cover songs the Stones tore through in the early years, 'Down In The Bottom' was written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Howlin' Wolf. The Stones dish out a killer version here, recorded during their sessions at Chess Studios in 1964 that should have found its way on one of their early albums, but was somehow lost along the way.
This raw riff rocker has been sitting on a shelf since sometime in 1968. With those slashing guitars, 'Highway Child' had the potential to be a real powerhouse. The song has a somewhat manic urgency to it that would have been right at home as the '60s gave way to the '70s. Alas, this unfinished demo is all we have to go on.
A great Jagger/Richards blues number from December 1965, 'Looking Tired' shows the Stones at their early blues groovin' best. The song was recorded at the end of the sessions for 'Out of Our Heads' at RCA Studios in Hollywood. Prime Keith licks abound while Charlie and Bill lay down a solid, trad rhythm, as Ian Stewart adds a nice jazzy piano. While it may have been seen at the time as a paint-by-numbers blues romp, it holds up remarkably well nearly 50 years on.
Manager Andrew Loog Oldham saw the value of publishing, and encouraged Jagger and Richards to pursue songwriting, not only for the Stones, but for with other artists in mind as well. A batch of tracks were cut with that purpose, including this rocker that dates back to November 1963. Recorded at Regent Sound Studios in London, 'Leave Me Alone' would have worked in many a band's hands, but it sounds right at home with the Rolling Stones. Ian Stewart's piano drives it home, and even though merely a demo, it's all there.
'Get Yourself Together'(1966)
Recorded in November 1966 at Olympic Sound Studios in London, 'Get Yourself Together' would have been a highlight of 'Between The Buttons' had it made the final cut. It's a driving rocker written by Mick and Keith in classic Stones mode, with a soul riff at its core. The guitars blister as the band push it forward. Jagger is in fine form as well. It's still a mystery as to why this was abandoned, but it's No. 1 on our list of the Top 10 Unreleased Rolling Stones Songs