The Last Time (The First Time Mick Jagger & Keith Richards Write a Song Together)

“Well this could be the first time, this could be the first time we write our own tune, maybe the first time, I don’t know… Oh no, Oh no…”

The Rolling Stones’ song “The Last Time” marked the beginning of the famed songwriting collaborations between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The single was released early in the Rolling Stones’ expansive discography, but the melody and undulating guitar riff continues to lilt its way throughout history.

On February 26, 1965, the Rolling Stones released the single “The Last Time” with the song “Play With Fire” on its B-side. The song was credited to Jagger and Richards, however, the wings of the duo that would also become known as the “Glimmer Twins” had not yet fully developed.

Inspired By Gospel

The song’s refrain is transparently similar to a 1958 song by The Staple Singers titled “This May Be the Last Time.” (The Staple Singers’ version can be heard by following this link.) Richards conceded to this in the 2009 book According to the Rolling Stones. He said, “We came up with ‘The Last Time’, which was basically re-adapting a traditional gospel song that had been sung by the Staple Singers, but luckily the song itself goes back into the mists of time.”

Keith Richards, Brian Jones, and Ian Stewart during a recording session at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California, September 1965.

Keith Richards, Brian Jones, and Ian Stewart during a recording session at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California, September 1965.

An article by independent news source The Conversation notes that “the story of [The Last Time] is one of admiration and imitation. It possessed stylistic flairs and influences that would ultimately foretell the band’s future stardom.” It wouldn’t be the last time gospel music would influence the Jagger-Richards songwriting duo, though, as it would become a recurring theme in their writing, as evident in the 1972 track “Shine a Light.”

It was recorded at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California in January 1965 when the British Invasion was in full swing. On their home turf in the United Kingdom, “The Last Time” was the third Rolling Stones single to reach No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart. It spent three weeks in this top spot in March and early April of 1965, according to the reference book British Hit Singles & Albums.

The tune has remained a popular staple in the Rolling Stones’ musical canon and was performed routinely during the band’s 1965, 1966, and 1967 concert tours. The song was put into storage, though, until years later when it made a comeback during the Bridges to Babylon Tour in 1997 and 1998. It also appeared in some of the band’s performances during the 50 & Counting Tour in 2012 and 2013.

Not The Last Time You’ll Say “Cheese”

Bob Bonis didn’t keep track of how many times he heard the Rolling Stones play “The Last Time,” but it’s likely he had the ditty looping through his head while he served as their U.S. Tour manager for the Stones’ first five trips stateside (as well as for all three The Beatles’ American tours).

Bonis’ version of the tune, however, may have sounded something more like… “Well I told you once and I told you twice, that someone will have to pay the price… if you don’t sit still and smile for the Leica.”

Using his trusty Leica M3 camera, Bonis practiced his passion for photography while the Stones played their passion on the stage. These sincere and historic photographs captured at the height of the British Invasion are available for the first time as strictly limited edition fine art prints from the Bob Bonis Archive. Each photograph is hand numbered, estate embossed, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE!

The Beatles In Film – Behind the Scenes of Help!

As if the British Invasion wasn’t adventure enough, The Beatles would soon find themselves fighting an evil cult and saving Ringo Starr from ritual sacrifice with little more than their cheeky British humor.

Help! was the band’s second feature film with the soundtrack released as an album, also called Help! Production of the film began with a flight to the Bahamas on February 23, 1965, and its Royal World Premiere occurred at the London Pavilion Theater on July 29, 1965.

In the 2005 book Shout! The Beatles in Their Generation, author Philip Norman writes that The Beatles said the film was inspired by the Marx Brothers’ anarchic comedy film Duck Soup. The film also heavily satirized the James Bond 007 films, writes Kenneth Womack in Reading the Beatles. Coincidentally, the film’s distributor United Artists also held the rights to the Bond series.

Beatles Humor

The humor of the film was also often said to be influenced by the abstract humor of The Goon Show, a British radio comedy program. According to Janne Mäkeläm, author the book John Lennon Imagined, the radio program “contributed to a pool of shared experience and a form of identity” shared by its listeners. John Lennon was an ardent fan who often “bewildered his aunt with nonstop imitation and mimicry of various Goon accents.”

paul mccartney en route to st louis missouri august 21 1966

Paul McCartney intently listens to a friend during a flight en route to St. Louis, Missouri, August 21, 1966.

Although critical opinion of the film was generally positive, the humor was not always appreciated. Mäkelä cites a 1966 review of the film titled “Beatles Goon It Up Again,” in which the critic wrote, “It is all rather obscure humor and if there are any funny lines then they are obliterated by some of the noises which make up the background.”

Regardless, the Fab Four were united in their humors and welcomed the presence of wild animals, music, and unusual conventions such as the film’s closing statement, a dedication to “Elias Howe, who, in 1846, invented the sewing machine.”

Other critics argued that it tried and failed to exceed the expectations set with their 1964 comedy film A Hard Day’s Night. The boys from Liverpool, on the other hand, would later admit they were a bit bored with their lack of involvement in the production.

Help! I’ve Got the Giggles

To compensate, The Beatles shot the film in a “haze of marijuana.” In the television documentary series The Beatles Anthology, Ringo Starr said, “A hell of a lot of pot was being smoked while we were making the film … We had such hysterics that no one could do anything … It was just that we had a lot of fun in those days.”

In the Beatles Anthology Director’s Cut, Paul McCartney recalled shooting a scene where they group had to quickly turn to the camera and look surprised. He said, “We giggled a lot … It’s OK to get the giggles anywhere else but in films, because the technicians get pissed off with you. They think ‘They’re not very professional.’ Then you start thinking, ‘This isn’t very professional – but we’re having a great laugh.”

Although the film might not be everyone’s cup of tea, its score released as an album of the same name has proven its staying power. In 2012, Rolling Stone Magazine released its definitive list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. After compiling data from two extensive polls, Help! was voted into spot #331. A year later in 2013, the BBC reported that the album finally went platinum after the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the UK’s recorded music industry’s trade association, changed its sales award rules.

Bob Bonis Lens a Hand (Pun Intended)

Although Bob Bonis wasn’t around to help The Beatles fend off an evil cult, he did help them navigate foreign territory as their U.S. Tour Manager for all three U.S. tours between 1964 and 1966 (he also managed the Rolling Stones’ first five U.S. tours). While looking through the viewfinder of his Leica M3 camera, he was likely more tolerant of the giggles than the film crew was.

As he toured with the Fab Four at the height of Beatlemania, he also worked to capture their rise to fame on film, but one exposure at a time. These rare and previously unreleased photographs are now available for the first time through the Bob Bonis Archive. Each strictly limited edition, fine art photograph is hand numbered, estate embossed, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE!

Would You Let Your Daughter Marry a Rolling Stone?

While teenage girls across the world were being sent into frenzies as The British Invasion reached American soil, parents everywhere were biting their nails, pondering the question – “Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?”

It was the height of the ‘Invasion’ and the bad boys from England were preparing their first performance in Toronto, Canada, on April 25, 1965. Before the show, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) news anchor Larry Zolf interviewed Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Charlie Watts for the program titled “This Hour Has Seven Days.”

According to the CBC, he asked the group about “screamies” (in reference to their fanatically vocal fans), and also accused the group members of being “vulgar, obstinate and hostile.” Most notably, though, he asked them about the already famous question, “How do you feel about being asked ‘Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?’” At the time, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman, both married at the time, provided the living proof that someone’s daughters already had (Video footage of Zolf interviewing the Rolling Stones can be viewed here).

The Rolling Stones, Good Guys or Bad Boys?

Despite embracing their sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll reputation, the Stones’ careers didn’t begin with their signature bad boy image. Andrew Loog Oldham, manager and producer for the Rolling Stones from 1963 to 1967, was instrumental in setting the Stones apart from their mod-suit “nice-guys” counterparts The Beatles.

In an Ad-Week article featuring Oldham, he said, “The Beatles looked like they were in show business, and that was the important thing. And the important thing for the Rolling Stones was to look as if they were not.” Although the band initially dressed in uniform suits, the members drifted back to wearing casual clothes for public appearances.

After a recording session at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California, May 12-13, 1965, Bob Bonis captures this striking portrait of the Rolling Stones and their producer, Andrew Loog Oldham.

After a recording session at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California, May 12-13, 1965, Bob Bonis captured this striking portrait of the Rolling Stones and their producer, Andrew Loog Oldham.

Oldham had performed public relations work for folk-legend Bob Dylan, and even for The Beatles in the early 1960s. The Rolling Stones, however, were his blank canvas. With a history working in the fashion industry, Oldham “used that experience relentlessly as he crafted the band’s image – moving them first from the kind of matching outfits that The Beatles favored to their own, less uniform way of dressing,” reported Ad-Week.

Rock-n-Roll Reputation

In his 1990 book Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Band, Wyman reflected, “Our reputation and image as the Bad Boys came later, completely there, accidentally. Andrew [Loog Oldham] never did engineer it. He simply exploited it exhaustively.”

According to Ad-Week, Oldham played the role of art director as much as he did manager and producer. He had the band add “(I Can’t Get No)” to the song originally titled “Satisfaction” to elicit darker, perhaps naughtier connotations. Another subtle, yet effective, marketing move was the addition of the comma in the title of the song “Paint It, Black.” He said, “I just put a comma in there because I knew I would get calls from the record company saying, ‘Are you sure about this?’ And that would make them notice us.”

Oldham also directed the band’s album art, and advised that the band’s name not appear on their first self-titled album. He said, “That really was quite a feat. I told the record company, ‘You’re not getting the record until you agree.’” It was all part of his plan and creating an atmosphere of mysticism surrounding the members.

In the Limelight With Bob Bonis

While Oldham was choreographing how the boys appeared in public, Bob Bonis was also at work behind the scenes as U.S. Tour Manager for the Stones’ first five trips stateside between 1964 and 1966 (he also managed each of The Beatles’ American tours). Bonis didn’t dictate their image, rather he captured it on film.

With his Leica M3 camera ready-to-shoot, he documented the band at the height of the British Invasion, capturing candid and historic moments in their meteoric rise to fame. These never-before-released photographs are now available from the Bob Bonis Archive as strictly limited edition fine art prints. Each photograph is hand numbered, estate embossed, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE!

Nobody (but the Rolling Stones) Follows James Brown!

Mick Jagger and James Brown meet for the first time back stage at the T.A.M.I. show on october 28, 1964

Less than two years after becoming a band and only two days into their second U.S. Tour, the boys from the Rolling Stones performed following soul legend James Brown, and the “Godfather of Soul” was not happy about it.

The Stones were scheduled to perform after James Brown at The T.A.M.I. Show (or Teenage Awards Music International), one of, if not the first concert film featuring multiple acts from popular rock’n’roll and rhythm and blues artists from the United States and England.

The concert was held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on October 28 and 29, 1964. Local high school students were given free tickets to the two shows and the best footage was edited into the film that was released on December 29, 1964.

The concerts showcased performances from classic artists such as The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, and of course James Brown and the Rolling Stones. In 2006 the U.S. Library of Congress deemed the recording “culturally, historically, [and] aesthetically significant” enough to be preserved in the National Film Registry.

Tough Act to Follow

The Stones, however, were apprehensive about their place in the concert line up and came to regret performing after James Brown. In the 2003 book According to the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger explained, “We weren’t actually following James Brown because there was considerable time between the filming of each section. Nevertheless, he was still very annoyed about it…”

Two dates into the second-ever U.S. Tour, the Rolling Stones performed in Santa Monica, California for The T.A.M.I. Show movie. october 28, 1964 photo bob bonis

Two dates into the second-ever U.S. Tour, the Rolling Stones performed in Santa Monica, California for The T.A.M.I. Show movie.

Before his performance, Brown was backstage and in a rage, shouting something along the lines of: “Nobody follows James Brown!” at the show’s director, Steve Binder.

As reported by The New Yorker, the Rolling Stones were painfully aware of how Brown mastered the stage, and during his performance “they watched him from the wings, just twenty feet away, and, as they did, they grew sick with anxiety.”

Remember, the Stones were new on the scene and James Brown was already a mega-star.

In the DVD notes of The T.A.M.I. Show Collector’s Edition, Keith Richards said that choosing to perform after James Brown & The Furious Flames was the biggest mistake of their careers. No matter how well they could perform, there was no possible way they could outshine the “Godfather.” In his memoir Brown recalls the T.A.M.I. performance: “We did a bunch of songs, nonstop, like always … I don’t think I ever danced so hard in my life, and I don’t think they’d ever seen a man move that fast.”

Getting’ On Up

But the boys from London with a keen interest in rhythm and blues set their apprehensions aside and followed Marvin Gaye’s instructions: “Just go out there and do your best.” Welcomed by screaming fans, they rocked out to a set list including covers of “Around and Around” by Chuck Berry and “It’s All Over Now” by Bobby Womack.

Brown eventually warmed up to Jagger, though, and they got to talking to each other backstage. In an interview with Variety, Jagger said, “[James] was very generous and kind with me and he wasn’t kind with everybody. I really appreciated that. I always studied him and the way he moved, the way he always gave his best and always changed up his style.”

The iconic meeting of the two musical legends was captured by Bob Bonis and his faithful Leica M3 camera while serving as U.S. Tour Manager for the Stones, a role he assumed for their first five trips to the States between 1964 and 1966 (and for all three of The Beatles’ U.S. Tours as well).

This moment and other previously unreleased photographs are now available for the first time through the Bob Bonis Archive as strictly limited edition, custom-printed fine art prints. Each photograph is hand numbered, estate embossed, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE!

The British Invasion – Beatlemania Lands on U.S. Soil

With The Beatles’ popularity rapidly expanding throughout Europe, the Beatlemania phenomenon and its hop across the Atlantic became a matter of when, not if.

Music from the Fab Four had been introduced to the states before with the singles “Please Please Me” and “From Me to You,” but they were not well received. Also, U.S. media coverage of the band’s rise to fame in the UK was often approached with undertones of jest.

The Beatles had already been wildly popular in the UK since early 1963, but for Americans, it took some time to warm up to the eccentric group of shaggy-haired boys from Britain. In the 2008 book Can’t Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America, author Jonathan Gould notes how the band was often likened to an insect infestation with headlines such as “Beatle Bug Bites Britain.”

Beatlemania Invades U.S. Radio

george harrison john lennon olympia stadium detroit august 13 1966

John Lennon and George Harrison harmonize on stage at the Olympia Stadium in Detroit, Michigan on August 13, 1966.

U.S. newscasters also reported that Brits were late to discover this wonderful thing called “rock-n-roll,” because after all, Americans had already produced the likes of Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. But between the critical and confounded news commentaries, The Beatles and their love for the blues took its place in the forefront of America’s consciousness.

After the single “I Want to Hold Your Hand” hit U.S. radio waves and skyrocketed to No. 1, the masses rose up and unanimously demanded more. Citing the previous failures of their two singles, The Beatles’ record label was reluctant to fund promoting the band in the States. But now with their appetites whet, Americans swarmed to their local record shops and the Beatles’ record label scrambled to keep up. Sales of the 7-inch single eclipsed the 1-million-mark in a matter of weeks.

The success of the single and a scheduled appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show convinced the record label to promote the band in the states. In the weeks leading up to The Beatles’ boots hitting U.S. soil, the label launched an aggressive advertising campaign. Their arrival was brought to the attention of the American public via 5 million promotional posters, writes Gareth L. Pawlowski in the 1989 book How They Became the Beatles.

A Nation United By Grief

In the months preceding their arrival, though, Americans were in the throes of a tumultuous emotional state. Just eleven weeks before The Beatles landed on U.S. soil, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. The nation was in mourning, in fear, and in disbelief, writes Jonathan Gould in Can’t Buy Me Love.

He notes that teenagers, in particular, were having difficulty coping. Gould illustrated that teens began to shift from a state of disbelief into one of despair. This was evident from high school essays in which students shared sentiments like, “I never felt so empty in all my life,” and, “I was feeling the whole world is going to collapse on me.”

paul mccartney and ringo starr en rout to san fancisco august 30 1965

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr read a magazine on a plane en route to San Francisco, California on August 30, 1965.

But as popularity of the new single spread like wildfire, and as fans became aware of the Beatles’ trip across the pond, excitement and eager anticipation began to swell into the fevered pitch created by screaming fans awaiting the arrival of Pan Am Yankee Clipper flight 101 from London.

The Beatle Has Landed

Dressed in their trademark mod suits, The Beatles touched down at John F. Kennedy airport in New York on February 7, 1964. According to History.com, the Fab Four were greeted by over 4,000 ecstatic fans (who nearly started a riot) and roughly 200 journalists.

It was official — Beatlemania had arrived on American soil and the British Invasion was moving ahead with full force.

Ringo Starr recalls the flight in the television documentary series The Beatles Anthology. He said, “It was so exciting. On the plane, flying in to the airport, I felt as though there was a big octopus with tentacles that were grabbing the plane and dragging us down into New York. America was the best. It was a dream, coming from Liverpool.”

Paul McCartney reminisced by saying, “There were millions of kids at the airport, which nobody had expected. We heard about it in mid-air. There were journalists on the plane, and the pilot had rang ahead and said, ‘Tell the boys there’s a big crowd waiting for them.’ We thought, ‘Wow! God, we have really made it.’”

The Beatles on Ed Sullivan

In only two days, on February 9, The Beatles would serenade and win the hearts of Americans nationwide with their first televised performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

That night, approximately 74 million Americans tuned in to watch the Beatles, or almost half the country, according to a 2004 New York Times article titled They Came, They Sang, They Conquered. The show had the largest number of viewers that had ever been recorded in U.S. television history.

Two days after their performance on the Ed Sullivan show, February 11, The Beatles played their first-ever live U.S. concert at The Washington Coliseum in Washington D.C. The next day they played their second U.S. concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Then, on February 16, they made their second appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, which attracted some 70 million viewers. Finally, on February 22, The Beatles flew home to rest, and to process their new place in world history.

Catching Up With Bob Bonis

It wouldn’t be until August of that same year that they would meet up with Bob Bonis for their first official American concert tour. Bonis served as the band’s U.S. Tour Manager on all three American tours between 1964 and 1966 (and also for the Rolling Stones on their first five trips stateside).

While The Beatles displayed their passion for music on stage, Bonis practiced his own artistic passion for photography. Using his always-ready Leica M3 camera, he captured both intimate and chaotic moments during the peak of Beatlemania.

These iconic moments are now available for the first time from the Bob Bonis Archive as strictly limited edition fine art prints. Each photograph is hand numbered, estate embossed, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE!

Beatlemania Phenomenon Becomes Pandemic

Beat-le-ma-ni-a

(bēdlˈmānēə)

Noun

Definition — Extreme enthusiasm for The Beatles, as manifested in the frenzied behavior of their fans in the 1960s.

“The band took to spending weeks on end in the studio as a way of escaping from the mayhem of Beatlemania.”

When Scottish concert promoter Andi Lothian first booked The Beatles in January of 1963, fifteen people showed up. When he booked them again that October, local police were pleading with him to let them onstage early to appease the fans growing increasingly agitated.

He told The Guardian, “The girls were beginning to overwhelm us … It was absolute pandemonium. Girls fainting, screaming, wet seats. The whole hall went into some kind of state, almost like collective hypnotism. I’d never seen anything like it.”

The Beatles had since released their chart topping album and single, both titled Please Please Me. While the phenomenon had already sparked to life in the United Kingdom, it took a few well placed breaths to send Beatlemania across the pond.

Roots in History

The word mania was first used to describe fandom in 1844. As reported by The Guardian, German poet and essayist Heinrich Heine coined the term Lisztomania to describe the pandemonium that erupted from fans during performances by the piano virtuoso Franz Liszt.

Paul McCartney singing on stage at the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Texas, August 19, 1965.

Paul McCartney singing on stage at the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Texas, August 19, 1965.

Back then, the phrase also carried implications of mental illness. The word Beatlemania, though, carried no such connotations (despite its close association with overactive pituitary glands). Parents of Beatlemania-afflicted teens, however, definitely thought their children were hypnotized by a spell of strange music that caused transistor radios to become permanent fixtures to their ears.

The Beatles had already been introduced to the States with the songs “Please Please Me” and “From Me to You,” and the singles were both flops initially. This made the American branch of The Beatles’ record label apprehensive about promoting them domestically. Fate was on their side, however, and the Fab Four were about to catch a break.

According to History.com, American television host Ed Sullivan was walking through London’s Heathrow airport when he encountered hordes of ecstatic teens, eager to see The Beatles’ return from tour. Shortly after, Sullivan booked them on the Ed Sullivan Show. Prior to seeing the commotion in the airport, Sullivan had never heard of them. He suspected, though, that they could be “as big as Elvis.”

The Beatles in Technicolor

With a performance on the Ed Sullivan added to their agenda, the Beatles’ American record label agreed to back their upcoming album. The band had also gained exposure in the States after CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite reported on the Beatlemania phenomenon raging across the UK and parts of Europe.

After seeing one such newscast, 15-year-old Marsha Albert from Maryland wrote to her local radio station asking, “Why can’t we have music like that here in America?” After some digging, a radio DJ unearthed the unreleased single “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” reports History.com. The song was wildly popular and sent The Beatles’ record label into a frenzy as they worked to meet customer demand. The single sold 1 million copies in the span of a few days. The British Invasion had begun.

While there are varying accounts of who coined the term Beatlemania first, the word mania and its historical roots ensured it was only a matter of time before it would be used to describe the band whose popularity spread like wildfire. The phenomenon only needed to wait until the conditions were right to make that leap across the Atlantic successful.

Order Amidst the Craziness

Along with the Beatles, Bob Bonis also confronted the raging crowds of teenage girls while serving as their U.S. Tour Manager from 1964 to 1966 (as well as for the Rolling Stones’ first five stateside tours). Armed with his Leica M3 camera, he was able to capture The Beatles in moments of order, amidst the chaos and flurry of screaming fans.

These never before available photographs of The Beatles at the height of Beatlemania are now available from the Bob Bonis Archive as strictly limited edition fine art prints. Each photograph is hand numbered, estate embossed, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE!

Paul McCartney and George Harrison perform at the Metropolitan Stadium in Blooming, Minnesota, August 21, 1965.

Paul McCartney and George Harrison perform at the Metropolitan Stadium in Blooming, Minnesota, August 21, 1965.

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