Rolling Stones "Come On" Recording Session - Andrew Oldham and Roger Savage discuss

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Aftermath, Jan 27, 2007.

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  1. Aftermath

    Aftermath Senior Member Thread Starter

    Came across some interesting info about this first single by the Stones, recorded May 10, 1963 with Roger Savage as the engineer and Andrew Oldham producing. Mick described it the session as “a bunch of bloody amateurs, ignorant as hell, making a hit single.” of the song itself “I don’t think ‘Come On’ was very good, in fact it was s___.” :) I’ve always liked the group’s BBC version of this better, but nonetheless…

    In a series of BBC Andrew Oldham interviews, he mentions the studio version of the track was recorded on four channels by Roger Savage at Olympic (at the old West End location). He discusses recording this track at the beginning of the second link on the following website:

    Roger Savage’s account of the session is a bit more telling. The following excerpts are from The Rolling Stones – A Rough Guide (by Sean Egan), which has a surprising number of first hand accounts by ‘Stones engineers from the 60s. Apparently Stu played piano when the song was recorded…

    “There was not a lot of input…except that Andrew wanted me to take the piano down or almost out actually…I felt a bit embarrassed taking the piano out and then the group coming up to the control room, which was on the second floor at Olympic, and then playing it back and nobody saying anything because there was no piano even though Ian Stewart was playing. It was just not even discussed.”

    Poor Stu. This all took place only 3 days after he was booted from performing with the group onstage at Andrew’s insistence. Fortunately, we'd hear from him in subsequent sessions.:)
  2. Fortune

    Fortune Forum Resident

    Poor Stu. :shake:

    I heard he refused to play minor chords. And when they got to one in a song he would lift his hands up in protest.

    Gotta love Stu. :)
  3. rhavers

    rhavers Active Member

    The quote is from Jim Dickinson

    “Years later I was in the bar of the Plaza Hotel in New York talking to Stu and I said "You know, I'm not complaining, but I always wondered why you didn't play on "Wild Horses." Stu laughed -- he said "minor chords." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "I don't play minor chords. When I'm playing on stage with the Stones and a minor chord comes along, I lift me hands in protest." He was a boogie-woogie piano player, and I guess to him there was something offensive about minor chords. Of course, "Wild Horses" begins with a minor chord, so he just didn't bother to play it. And by the grace of that accent gave me a career! 'I lift me hands in protest'
  4. rhavers

    rhavers Active Member

    On May 2nd 1963 Andrew booked a recording session for the following week at Olympic Sound Studios, located in Carton Street, near London’s Marble Arch. The band had a problem deciding which two songs to record for their first single. They went through their combined record collections and finally came up with Chuck Berry's Come On. It was taken from Berry’s album entitled ‘Chuck Berry’; his latest UK album released in May 1963. For the b-side the band decided to revisit Muddy Waters’ I Want To Be Loved, a song that they had already had a go at recording with Glyn Johns two months earlier at IBC Studios.

    According to Bill Wyman, "On Tuesday May 7th we had a rehearsal at The Wetherby Arms Pub to rework Come On to suit our style. On Friday 10 May we recorded Come On, which ran for only 1 minute 45 seconds, both sides sounded good and we were pleased with the results. At the end of the session, Roger Savage asked Andrew if he wanted to mix the tracks. Andrew didn't know what he was talking about and told him to do whatever he felt needed doing to finish off the single."

    According to ALO at the time. "I'm the producer, and this is the first session that I've ever handled. I don't know a damned thing about recording, or music for that matter"

    Three weeks after Come On had been released the band had decided that they didn't like it and would no longer play it live on shows. Oldham went to watch the band at the Scene Club in Soho “He went crazy when we didn't play Come On and we had a row about it. He insisted we play it at every show” Bill later recalled.

    The week that Come On went to number 20 on the NME charts each member of the band was paid £25 as their weekly wage!
  5. Joe Koz

    Joe Koz Prodigal Bone Brother™ In Memoriam

    What I find interesting, listening to part two of the Oldham interview. He states that he slowed down "Come On" for the CD release. Because (he claims) that it took the nervousness out of the stones performance. :shrug:
  6. Mike D'Aversa

    Mike D'Aversa Forum Resident

    I haven't gotten the chance to listen yet. Does he say what cd? He's always claiming ridiculous things. He claims to have done all kinds of stuff to the original '89 version of the 'Singles Collection: The London Years", and other than some stuff being in mono as opposed to stereo, there wasn't a bit of sonic difference compared to the US Decca crap from 3 years previous...
  7. Studio_Two

    Studio_Two Forum Resident

    I'm really pleased that this subject has been raised.

    If I now understand correctly, the producer (in those days) would not neccesarily be a "techincal" guy and it seems unlikely that he would be allowed anywhere near any of the studio equipment (never mind operating the desk).

    What puzzles me, is that I heard stories about TRS being recorded directly onto a single (mono) track despite multi-track being available in the studio. The reason I heard given was that AL-O did not understand how to operate the equipment properly.

    If some of those early tracks sound a bit ropey, that can't be the reason can it? How would AL-O be "at fault" for this (he certainly seems to take all the stick)?

  8. dgsinner

    dgsinner New Member

    Far East
    He's being too harsh on himself and the band. It's actually quite nice pop, even if it's nowhere near the coolness of Chuck Berry's original 1960 version (first released in the UK on the 1963 UK Lp cited). It was a good choice for a cover, and IIRC, no one else ever covered it. There may be a good reason for that though -- there are some slick leads and some facile bass going on in Berry's original that would have been a bit of challenge for the Stones in '63, let alone anyone else.


    PS: I should mention that Chuck Berry's "Come On" is my all time favorite tune of his, my desert island pick. If all you've heard is "Johnny B. Good" or "School Days", you owe yourself to check Berry's 1960-1966 output, which to these ears, is his best, far outpacing his better known 50s output by a long shot.
  9. Aftermath

    Aftermath Senior Member Thread Starter

    For Come On at least, it appears Savage (not Oldham) handled the recording and mixing. From what I've read about TRS (recorded at Regent sound) Bill Farley did the recording--not sure about the mixing though. I don't have Farley's quotes handy, but IIRC, he basically says he'd record all the backing onto one track and then add the vocal or solo overdubs later. I'll reread what I've got before posting Farley's quotes on what he handed off to Andrew.

    As for the speed issue of Come On, I'd never noticed a difference frankly. I don't have the old Abkco CD's he supposedly was involved with though.
  10. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    My understanding was the first album (and subsequent UK-recorded stuff) was done in mono only, bouncing to add overdubs, and that Regent was a mono-only studio at the time.
  11. Paul K

    Paul K Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    Andrew was going through something really personal at the time he remastered the "Singles Collection"....

    He really is a sweet guy and realizes that he was lost at that time....the real beginnings of a breakdown that would alter his life for the better...

    Where do I get my info? From Andrew himself...did a favourable article and he has been very communicative with me ever since....

    for those of you who want to read it...

    look it up at

    and just search by his name....It's in four parts and was the first real article I had ever done!
    (so be forgiving!)

  12. Aftermath

    Aftermath Senior Member Thread Starter

    As promised, heres some of what I have from Bill Farley:

    "It was mainly a demo studio..there was no two of you sitting there and doing it. I had to do it all. There was no three or four tracks...What you hear is a performance. You couldn't do anything with it afterwards. That was it. It was finished. So everything they did in the backing was it. So it had to be mixed while you were doing it. You could actually put the solos on afterwards and the vocals on."

    Here's another quote:
    "Once it left me I never saw it again. I just gave them all the mixed ones separately but they put them all together. They put the order in. I never set it out as an album. I gave the tape to andy but I might have given him two or three different takes of it. Everything I gave them was finished one way or another."
  13. Simon A

    Simon A Arrr!

    Cool thread Lads! I confess not being a big fan of the early stuff (I like their 1965-1972 output) but this is expremely interesting to read. Thanks all!
  14. Joe Koz

    Joe Koz Prodigal Bone Brother™ In Memoriam

    I can't hear any difference myself. Oldham did say that he slowed it down like 3%. I really can see how that, would make much of a difference.
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