Saturday 1 October 2016

New Rolling Stones song unearthed after spending half a century in a man's attic

Patrick Sawer

Published 18/03/2016 | 14:05

The original Rolling Stones, including Brian Jones.
The original Rolling Stones, including Brian Jones.
The Rolling Stones exhibition will be held at the Saatchi Gallery in west London

A previously unknown song by the Rolling Stones has been discovered after languishing in an attic for nearly half a century

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With legions of fans around the world and hundreds of books devoted to the band it is hard to imagine there would be anything left undiscovered about the Rolling Stones’ back catalogue.

But, incredibly, a previously unknown song by the band has been discovered after languishing in a retired business man’s loft for nearly half a century.

The track, 'No One Loves You More Than Me’, was recorded by the fledgling group in 1964, during one of their first sessions at IBC Studios, in London’s Portland Place.

The 17-minute tape, which also includes three unreleased versions of the group’s more famous songs, is now being put up for sale.

It could have easily been lost forever.

The Rolling Stones exhibition will be held at the Saatchi Gallery in west London
The Rolling Stones exhibition will be held at the Saatchi Gallery in west London

The unmarked tape was apparently thrown away Mick Jagger and his bandmates after the recording sessions – only to be saved from destruction four years later by Jeremy Nielsen, a friend of a sound engineer who worked the studio.

Mr Nielsen, then aged 19, found the tape when he visited the studio, near BBC Broadcasting House, in 1967 and was allowed to take unwanted demos and tapes that were due to be burnt.

He never listened to his haul and simply threw them in a box, forgetting about them for the next five decades.

It wasn't until he read Keith Richards' autobiography, two years ago, that he realised the world-famous band had recorded at the studio in their early days.

It prompted the 67-year-old to root around the attic for the tapes he’d found years earlier, at which point he took it to a recording studio and discovered he had been sitting on a potential treasure trove.

The Rolling Stones themselves are understood to be excited at the prospect of hearing the song for the first time in more than 50 years.

A source close to the band told The Telegraph: “They would love the fact a previously unknown track has been found like this. I’m sure they’ll remember recording it. They remember that era very well, when they were first starting out and before they started having hits."

he unique recording includes nine tracks from the band's first studio sessions in March 1963 and then in 1964, which came before they released their debut album The Rolling Stones.

On it are two previously unheard versions of the ballad 'As Tears Go By', which was released as a single by Marianne Faithful, Jagger’s then girlfriend, in June 1964, and the Stones themselves the following year.

The fourth unreleased track is the lesser known 'Congratulations' which went on to feature on the 1973 compilation album 'No Stone Unturned'.

Mr Nielsen, who lives with his wife Val in Torquay, Devon, said: "It amazes me that I didn't know what it was at the time. It was only when I read a chapter in Keith Richards' book that I became curious and decided to play it. After I heard it I looked up the track No One Loves You More Than Me and found it doesn't appear anywhere, it's like that song doesn't exist.

"On one visit to the studio I noticed a small stack, about 10, master discs and three quarter-inch reel to reel tapes that were being disposed of. After looking through the discs I saw they were Otis Redding, The Equals, Alvin Cash, Cher and others and so I asked my friend if I could have them and he said yes and I was given the discs and the tapes.

"Of the three tapes, two were recordings of some BBC programmes and one was a recording of the Rolling Stones. The discs and tapes ended up in a cardboard box in the attic and have been in subsequent attics since then."

"The Stones weren't popular or big at the time and I have no idea why it was still at the studio three years after it was recorded. I don't even think the band even know it existed.”

Mr Nielsen added: “The most amazing thing about this tape is that the quality is so clear, maybe it was a master tape. I'm not a big fan of the Stones but Mick Jagger's voice does sound very good on it.

"I just want to find a good home for it, hopefully with someone who has a lot of money. The last thing I want is the bootleggers to get hold of it."

The nine-tracks were recorded on German-made Magnetophon tape and will be eagerly sought after by fans and collectors.

Those who have heard the songs say that 'No One Loves You More Than Me' is clearly influenced by the then Mersey-beat sound of the Beatles and is in stark contrast to the band's more characteristic bluesy style.

“Its jangly pop could easily be confused for an early Beatles song if it was not for Jagger's distinctive vocals,” said a source.

The quarter-inch tape also captures two early versions of As Tears Go By, recorded without the strings that were used in the versions later released as singles. They are thought to be the first and second ever takes of the song.

The raw versions have not been heard and are the only ones to feature the band’s early line-up of Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts.

Other songs on the recording include covers of the blues classics Diddley Daddy, Roadrunner, Bright Lights, Big City, I Want To Be Loved and Baby's What's Wrong.

While these appeared on later bootleg releases and then on the 2012 greatest hits compilation ‘GRRR!’, 'No One Loves You More Than Me’ and the versions of ‘As Tears Go By’ and ‘Congratulations’ have never appeared on the black market.

The tape is being sold by Lancashire-based auction house Tracks on April 3, with a pre-sale estimate of £6,000.

Paul Ward, the owner of the auction house, said: "I couldn't believe it when I heard the tape. I thought there was no way that there could be four unreleased Stones' tracks sitting there.

"The Rolling Stones are one of the biggest bands in the world and no-one has ever heard of 'No One Loves You More Than Me', no-one knows who wrote it or what it was about.”

Mr Ward added: "It's like the Stones just forgot about the blues and wanted to make a Mersey beat song and imitate a pop band from the north of England.

“In an ideal world Jeremy would like The Stones to buy them and release them. If the band are not interested this is a genuine opportunity for fans to acquire a one-of-a-kind tape that shows the early days of the Stones."

An exhibition about the Rolling Stones containing more than 500 artefacts, including rare instruments, original stage designs, costumes, rare audio tracks, personal diaries and poster and album cover artwork, opens at the Saatchi Gallery on April 9.

Telegraph.co.uk

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