It’s been more than 50 years since the Rolling Stones walked into Chess Records’ headquarters in Chicago, interrupting a Buddy Guy recording session along the way.
“Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon walked straight in my studio while I was singing with a bunch of white guys, who lined up against the wall,” remembers Guy, who was in the middle of tracking his 1964 b-side “My Time After Awhile.” “I got pissed off: ‘Who in the hell are these guys?’ I had never seen a white man with hair that long and high-heeled boots before.”
Guy didn’t remain angry for long. One of the reigning godfathers of Chicago blues, he found kindred spirits in the young Stones, who’d later use their own fame to refocus public attention upon the genre’s iconic (and often overlooked) founders. When the Stones toured Europe in 1970, they brought Guy along as the opening act, cementing a longstanding tradition of shared stages and mutual admiration.
That half-century-long relationship reaches a new milestone with Guy’s “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker),” a reimagined recording of the Stones’ 1973 hit. Released this month on the tribute album Chicago Plays the Stones, the track includes contributions from Mick Jagger, whose honking harmonica and call-and-response vocals share the spotlight with Guy’s super-sized wail. There’s clear chemistry between the two frontmen, whose past duets include a slinky, swaggering version of “Champagne & Reefer” from the Rolling Stones’ Martin Scorsese-direct concert film, Shine a Light. Even so, “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” marks their first non-live recording together.
Released on September 14th, Chicago Plays the Stones celebrates the Stones’ connection to Chicago’s blues community. Nearly a dozen torchbearers of the Chicago sound, from harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold to guitar hero Ronnie Baker Brooks, all tackle songs from the band’s catalog, stripping the tracks free of their familiar arrangements and, instead, highlighting their bluesy foundations. Keith Richards makes an appearance, too, sharing guitar duties with Jimmy Burns on Beast of Burden.