There were (again) different versions of this Stones album in the US and the UK with the same title, though different covers. This one is the American and — this time — the international version, being released in most if not all European countries too. It was released in the spring of 1965.
This version of Out Of Our Heads includes the massive hits “The Last Time” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, and among the other tracks are some fantastic versions of some great soul classics. No wonder the album went to number one in the US and sold well all over the world. The band was on its way to super stardom.
The Rolling Stones — Out Of Our Heads: Track-by-track review
1. “Mercy Mercy”
Recorded at Chess Studios, Chicago. Engineer Ron Malo makes the sound really full; the guitars are on top and carry on the whole song. Brian Jones plays the lead.
This song was written by soul singer Don Covay who later played on the Stones’ album Dirty Work. Mick sings some falsetto parts and the whole song seems to have a relaxed and good feeling — despite the lyrics… have mercy baby…
But if you leave me baby
Girl if you put me down
I’m gonna make it to the nearest river child
And jump overboard and drown
But, obviously there is a solution:
But if you stay baby
I tell you what I’m gonna do
I’m gonna work two jobs, seven days a week
And bring my money home to you.
Great opening track. The production on “Mercy, Mercy” especially is excellent.
2. “Hitch Hike”
Back to soul music, which seemed to be becoming more and more a part of the band’s music. This time it’s a Marvin Gaye number: a light, happy song. A minor hit earlier (the first one for Gaye), it’s not anything spectacular but the band plays it well.
Mick sings about hitch-hiking to Chicago, then to St. Louis, then maybe L.A. The lyrics do not reveal if he finally finds her…
Basic guitars, bass, drums stuff. Interesting guitar solo!
3. “The Last Time”
The first real monster hit for the Stones, reaching number one in the UK and the top 10 in the US.
“The Last Time” is based on the catchy guitar riff played by Brian Jones with two pick-ups. This riff-based stuff was not exactly new at the time, but “The Last Time” is probably the best example of that kind of new way of building songs back then.
The track’s guitar solo is played by Keith. If Phil Spector, the famous record producer who was present during recording, created the Wall of Sound, might this be called the Wall of Noise?
Finally the band was on their way to creating their own individual style of music.
4. “That’s How Strong My Love Is”
Back to soul music. Otis Redding always was one of the Stones’ heroes.
Mick sings well on “That’s How Strong My Love Is”, like he always does. This ballad eventually became a classic, and it has stayed in the band’s concert repertoire ever since.
The Stones make the song slowly grow and grow. Great version.
5. “Good Times”
More soul music, but with an almost complete change of mood. Sam Cooke, one of the most famous and best soul singers, wrote this song which was released after his tragic death.
Cooke wrote and sang all kinds of music, from gospel to soul, from happy songs like this one and “Wonderful World” to tragic, touching songs like “Time’s A Gonna Come”. Whatever he did, he made it worth listening to.
So, the Stones perform this catchy soul song and their version is another show of respect for a great talent. Come on, let the good times roll!
6. “I’m All Right” [live]
A live recording taken from the EP Got Live If You Want It. This vinyl EP, which (as was typical) had about twice as much music (and cost) as a single, reached high on the UK singles charts.
I’m not sure if “I’m All Right” is the best representative of that EP. Maybe it was only included on Out Of Our Heads to show the wild, almost orgasmic feeling of concurrent Stones concerts held in the UK.
7. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
The B-side of the vinyl album starts with the classic Stones track.
The story goes that Keith Richards woke up in some hotel in Florida one morning in 1965 to find that his small cassette recorder had reached the end of the tape — listening to it revealed that in the previous hours he’d recorded a piece of a guitar riff and then about 40 minutes of heavy snoring.
Obviously, it needed quite a lot of work — for example, lyrics. For Keith it was never a “big thing”, he wanted to make it a soft ballad rather than a rock song. The lyrics that Mick wrote for it would hardly fit with that however, so they developed the song further.
The story also says that the band voted on whether “Satisfaction” should ever released as a single, and surprisingly both Mick and Keith said no. Eventually, it was released, and “Satisfaction” became one of the biggest rock hits of all time.
I don’t think there is much really I have to say about the song as it is known now. Is there really somebody who doesn’t know it yet?
The lyrics (by the day’s standards) were a bit controversial. The storming riff kicked you off your feet (if not out of your head). ‘The times they are a-changin”, sang Bob Dylan back then. Yes they were, indeed!
8. “Cry To Me”
The Stones had already recorded another Solomon Burke classic, “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” on their Now!. “Cry To Me” is another strong song, making Mick sing his heart out. While Mick sings “cry cry cry cry cry cry cry cry…” the guitar plays painful riffs until the song reaches its climax. The Stones kept this excellent song in their concert repertoire and also performed it with the Master himself. Excellent!
C’mon baby, that’s right cry to me
Yes, I want you to come on baby
C’mon c’mon cry to me
I want you to c’mon baby
C’mon c’mon and cry to me
Yeah c’mon baby c’mon I want you to cry cry cry to me
Yeah I want you to cry cry cry cry cry cry cry
I want you to cry cry cry cry cry cry cry cry…
9. “The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man”
This a bit oddly named song is a tongue-in-cheek story about an under assistant… etc., and it’s based on a real living person, though not the only one of his kind.
Over the years, this song has become a bit more than just a joke on the flip-side of a single. If the person himself found it funny (or found out about it at all) is another thing.
Well I’m sitting here thinking just how sharp I am…
I’m a necessary talent behind every rock and roll band
Yeah, I’m sharp
I’m really, really sharp
I sure do earn my pay
Sitting on the beach every day, yeah
I’m real real sharp, yes I am
I got a Corvette and a seersucker suit
Yes I have
10. “Play With Fire”
“Play With Fire” is probably the closest the band ever got to folk (rock), along with Lady Jane and Angie.
It’s a mostly acoustic ballad, Mick playing acoustic guitar, Keith electric, Jack Nietsche bass and Phil Spector drums. “Play With Fire” is a nice, beautiful song; some people say it’s based on an English folk song and maybe that’s why songwriting credits are given to “Nanker and Phelge”, which meant the whole band.
11. “The Spider And The Fly”
Another “Nanker/Phelge” song, a slow laid-back blues. After this album, that pseudonym was never used again.
Sit up, fed up, low down go round
Down to the bar at the place I’m at
Sitting drinking, superficially thinking
About the rinsed-out blonde on my left
Then I said, “hi” like a spider to a fly
Remebering what my little girl said
Well well well… touring life sure is full of temptations.
Keith and Brian play nice guitars, Mick blows his harp and Jack Nitzshe plays keyboards (and percussion) while Bill and Charlie are the always reliable rhythm section.
12. “One More Try”
Last (and probably least) on Out Of Our Heads is the up-tempo song “One More Try”, closing out this US version of the album. The harmonica is played by Brian Jones.
In the UK this track was not even released until the quasi-official collection Stone Age was released after the band left their record company to start their own Rolling Stones Records label.
Out Of Our Heads by The Rolling Stones
“The Last Time”
“That’s How Strong My Love Is”
“I’m All Right” [live]
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
“Cry To Me”
“The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man”
“Play With Fire”
“The Spider And The Fly”
“One More Try”