Originally released in 1964, The Rolling Stones is the debut EP that further introduced The Rolling Stones to audiences following their successful Lennon-McCartney/Beatles cover, I Wanna Be Your Man. The Stone’s version is arguably more rock and roll, a little rawer, and subsequently, I think, as much as it will disturb Beatles’ fans, the Stones version is superior. Nevertheless, The Rolling Stones EP would follow and see the band cover a selection of well-known tunes. While the recordings may not be of the highest quality, this EP is more than enjoyable when played.
I’ve listened to the Apple Music edition countless times, I am also fortunate enough to own the 2014 Record Store Day Re-Issue. While the core mastering is identical, the distortion is much more reserved on the 7” 45RPM EP as compared to the Apple Music stream. Digital, with its clean sound, tends to amplify distortion whereas vinyl is arguably distorted to a certain extent already, hence that warm analogue sound, and therefore it doesn’t stand out as much unless listening via headphones. Overall, the 45 is about as good as you’re ever going to hear this early EP.
The artwork is beautifully restored, albeit slightly different to the original pressings. Similarly, the UK pressing that I have doesn’t require the 45rpm adapter as it has the standard spindle hole. It isn’t a major deal, but it is a nice touch to have to get the adapter out to use with my turntable as it harks back to the era of the original release. Nevertheless, the EP is a solid pressing, with a thoroughly enjoyable sound, thereby making it essential to my Rolling Stones collection.
Bye Bye Johnny is a great rock and roll tune and the original Chuck Berry recording is incredible, but The Rolling Stones not only covered this song masterfully, shame about the distortion in the chorus though, but they made it their own. The performance from Ladies & Gentlemen isn’t bad either and would have been better without Jagger’s introduction, but it’s a fun little tune nonetheless.
Money is a great Motown original and incidentally was the first hit to come out of Hitsville U.S.A. The original Barrett Strong recording is incredible, as is the Beatles’ rendition. I don’t think it would be offending anyone to say the Beatle’s recording is likely the best. Plus, let’s not even discuss the atrocious Flying Lizards’ recording. Thankfully, The Rolling Stones didn’t stray too far from the original, thereby recording a fantastic rendition. If again, it didn’t suffer from distortion, I’d argue that it would have given the Beatles’ version a run for its money (pun unintended).
You Better Move On is a lovely rhythm and blues song, originally written and recorded by the incredible Arthur Alexander. The original is a masterpiece and The Rolling Stones didn’t disappoint when they recorded this rendition for it pays homage to the original and is perfectly suited to the band’s style. However, if you want to hear The Rolling Stones really perform this song well, check out the Blues In Rhythm / 1964 recording from On Air; sensational!
Poison Ivy is a great cover and the only one that I’ve heard which is on-par, if not surpassing The Rolling Stones edition, is the Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs recording from 1964. Nevertheless, Poison Ivy is the perfect closer for this EP and encourages me to play the entire EP again as it is simply that good!
Overall, if you’re a Rolling Stones fan and you’re interested in collecting their entire catalogue, then The Rolling Stones EP is an absolute must for your collection. For the casual listener, streaming the EP may be enough. Regardless, you simply must listen to The Rolling Stones EP at least once. Who knows, if you’re like me, you may enjoy it so much that you’ll play it over and over again.
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