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Saturday, 12 October, 2002, 06:00 GMT 07:00 UK
Stones dismiss 'crap' early songs
The Rolling Stones on stage in the US
The Stones are currently on an anniversary tour
The Rolling Stones, whose rock songs have kept them at the pinnacle of the music industry for 40 years, have admitted that they thought the first tunes they wrote were "crap".

Mick Jagger has described the group as the original manufactured pop band in an exclusive interview with BBC Radio Five Live.

The Rolling Stones on Top of the Pops
The group had their first hit in 1963
Their first five UK hits were cover versions, and Jagger only struck up his hit songwriting partnership with guitarist Keith Richards after their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, locked them in a room.

"We couldn't write rock songs, we just wrote these crap ballads," Jagger told Five Live.

The Stones found fame with songs written by Lennon and McCartney, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly, among others.

But Oldham was afraid they would lose their appeal if they relied on covers, so locked them in a small room and told them not to come out until they had written a song.

The first tune they wrote was "a horrible song", Jagger said.


Eventually we got to grips with writing rock tunes, but it took a little time

Mick Jagger
If that happened now, it would be dismissed as manufactured, Jagger told Five Live.

"It was pop, and we didn't record it, because it was crap.

"We had a successful crap ballad, As Tears Go By, which I can say now, it's a wonderful tune, but we didn't think it was that great at the time."

They gave the song to Marianne Faithfull, who had a top 10 hit with it in 1964. "And we said, well, maybe it wasn't that bad," Jagger said.

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones on stage in the US
Keith Richards says they will keep on rocking
"[We] were these two rebellious band members and we would write nice little tunes, but sentimental stuff.

"Eventually we got to grips with writing rock tunes, but it took a little time," he said.

The first single they wrote and released, The Last Time, went to number one in the UK in March 1965.

After that, the Jagger and Richards partnership flourished with classics like Satisfaction, Get Off My Cloud and Paint It Black.


Nobody has been scumbag rockers like us and lived to tell the tale

Keith Richards
The group have just released their greatest hits to mark 40 years at the top of the business.

And they have finally shaken off the "wrinkly rocker" tag, according to guitarist Ron Wood.

"Now instead of wrinkly rocker it's the "ageless Stones" and all that kind of thing," he said.

"Which is good, because we have gone through a lot in our time and survived it, and the music lives to tell the tale, and so do we.

Richards added: "Nobody has been scumbag rockers like us and lived to tell the tale. I wouldn't put it past us to keep on rockin."

  • The Rolling Stones... Growing Old Disgracefully will be broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live on Sunday at 1230 BST.
  • See also:

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    14 Jun 02 | Entertainment
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