Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rolling Stones: Let's Spend the Night Together

It's the 1960s. London is swinging and lion cubs play in the King's Road.

Here are the Rolling Stones in 1967, with Brian Jones on piano. As one of the comments on Youtube says "Let's Spend the Night Together" makes "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" seem very tame. In fact, at least according to Wikipedia, the suggestive lyrics have on occasion got the Stones into trouble:
In one of the more famous examples of musical censorship, on The Ed Sullivan Show, the band was initially refused permission to perform the number. Sullivan himself told Jagger, "Either the song goes or you go". 
A compromise was reached to substitute the words "let's spend some time together" in place of "let's spend the night together"; Jagger agreed to change the lyrics but ostentatiously rolled his eyes at the TV camera whilst singing them. 
In April 2006, for their first-ever performance in China, authorities prohibited the group from performing the song due to its "suggestive lyrics".
Discussing the extraordinary flowering of British music in the 1960s once before, I mentioned that many prominent pop musicians of the decade had song in church choirs when they were young. Brian Jones is one of those I mentioned, but there is a better example in the Stones.

Unlike the Lib Dem peer Lord Wallace of Saltaire, Keith Richards did not, as is sometimes claimed, sing at the Queen's Coronation. But he remembered his boyhood like this in an Independent interview in 1995:
Did he remember being a choirboy? He bridles with pride. "Albert Hall, Festival Hall and once at Westminster Abbey singing in front of the Queen. Frankly, my career's gone downhill ever since."

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