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The Rolling Stones, 'On Air'
15
8/15

8. The Rolling Stones, 'On Air'

Until someone turns up with long-hidden soundboard reels from those mad nights at the Crawdaddy Club, this may be as close as we ever get to the Stones' gigging infancy in London as they took their covers, attitude and tightening attack to BBC Radio, often with live audiences, between 1963 and '65. The writing emerges too at the tail end of this spell ("The Last Time," "Satisfaction"). The bigger fun, though, is in hearing the Stones fire up original inspirations and set-list nuggets they set aside on the way to the Decca singles and LPs: Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven," Bo Diddley's "Cops and Robbers," Buster Brown's "Fannie Mae." Some tracks betray age and origin issues; a February '64 zoom through the Beatles' "I Wanna Be Your Man" sounds like an off-air recording (the BBC famously wiped master tapes for reuse). But there is no mistaking the sting and shiver of Brian Jones' slide guitar – white-blues Britain in motion and determined revolt.

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