The Rolling Stones, Now!

The Rolling Stones

London, 1965

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


1965 marked some major milestones for The Rolling Stones. The songwriting team of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards scored their first hit (albeit not a blockbuster) with “Heart Of Stone,” and their third release in the United States, The Rolling Stones, Now!, featured the most Jagger/Richards compositions, totaling four of the twelve tracks.


Overall, this third effort – another patch job given to the U.S., something very common with British Invasion groups at the time – still turns out to be the strongest effort from the Stones to this point, though one would still have been hard-pressed to have said that the lads would become one of the most popular bands in rock and roll history.


Listening to this disc 41 years after it was released opened my eyes to two things. First, it sure seems to me that John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd modeled the Blues Brothers’ version of “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” after the version that opens up this album. While I still would have liked to have heard some of the vocal sneer that Jagger would become notorious for, I’ll concede that maybe this track wasn’t the ideal place for it, so things indeed work well.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250


Second, when “Mona (I Need You Baby)” first came on, I had to do a double-take – ‘cause I honestly thought I had accidentally put on “How Soon Is Now?” by The Smiths. The jangly guitar work on this one is absolutely stellar; in fact, if any one song from the early days of the Stones stands out in my mind as being a harbinger of things to come, it is this one. I’ve listened to this disc incessantly for several days now, and I keep finding myself drawn to this one song.


This isn’t to say that every cover version on The Rolling Stones, Now! is as exciting. “Down Home Girl” almost becomes trapped in its own lackadaisical meanderings, and is too laid back. Still, the selections for the most part are well-chosen and executed. Check out the guitar work on “Little Red Rooster,” for example, and see what helped draw people’s interest back to the work of the old Chess recording artists.


This brings us to the four Jagger/Richards compilations. “Heart Of Stone” is deceptively addictive; while not on the level of the latter Sixties hits from the Stones, it’s hardly an also-ran, and deserves much more attention than it presently gets. This, regrettably, is the best of the four; “Off The Hook” is far too cutesy for the boys whom you would fear your daughter would bring home, while both “What A Shame” and “Surprise, Surprise” fail to really impress the listener in the same manner as “Heart Of Stone”. (Looking back, though, one could argue that “Surprise, Surprise” did suggest the pattern of future hits to come.)


Of the three early Stones efforts that focused more on the blues than rock music, The Rolling Stones, Now! is the most effective and most exciting release to this point in the Stones’ career. It also marked the end of the innocence (if indeed there ever was any in the Stones camp), as their next release would blow the doors completely off of their world and launch them into the stratosphere… but that’s another story for another review.

Rating: B-

User Rating: B+


Uneven, but "Mona" makes this album. This is the Stones' deepest venture into R&B.

© 2007 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of London, and is used for informational purposes only.