Keith Richards Opens Up About Writing Songs For Other Artists
via The Howard Stern Show / Youtube
In a recent podcast, Keith Richards shared a cool story about how he and Mick Jagger used to write songs for the Rolling Stones and other singers. Back in the early days, when they were known for playing blues music from the U.S., they decided to give songwriting a shot.
Their first original song, “As Tears Go By,” wasn’t meant for the Stones; it was intended for Marianne Faithfull. Andrew Oldham, their smart producer, pushed them to create their stuff instead of just doing cover songs. So, in a kitchen somewhere, Jagger and Richards came up with their first song – a big step into the world of songwriting.
Stones’ Songs That Almost Went to Someone Else
What’s surprising is that the Stones have a bunch of songs that were originally meant for others. “That Girl Belongs To Yesterday” was written for Gene Pitney, showing that the duo could write in different styles. Richards admitted that they would give their songs to anyone willing to take them – a real learning process.
The podcast talks about specific songs like “All I Want is My Baby” for Bobby Jameson and “Surprise, Surprise” for Lulu. Richards casually mentions forgetting some of these songs, emphasizing that this was a time of experimentation. They were trying out different things, wondering what would stick.
Richards also talks about the financial side, admitting that getting paid for their songs was a big deal. The podcast features snippets of songs like “Blue Turns to Gray” by Cliff Richard, and Richards is genuinely surprised and amused at his creations. He explains that they wrote so many songs during that period that it’s hard to remember them all.
The turning point in their songwriting journey was “The Last Time,” their first big hit in England. It made them realize they could write songs specifically for the Rolling Stones. It marked the end of their experimental phase and the beginning of a new chapter where they could confidently present songs to their bandmates.