May 24 – The Stones’ Return to the Nitty Gritty


The Rolling Stones – Single:  Jumpin’ Jack Flash

With most of the 1960’s and 70’s bands whose hits are played on classic rock and oldies radio stations ad nauseam, I’ve grown to take much of it for granted.  But there are always exceptions to the rule, and Jumpin’ Jack Flash, released as a single in the UK on this day 50 years ago (!), is one of them.  Despite the song’s ubiquitous airplay and its status as the song played live the most number of times by the Stones, it is probably my favorite Rolling Stones song if I were forced to pick one.  Keith Richards’ famous guitar riff is one of my favorites by any guitarist, ever.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash was the first song the band recorded at the outset of the Beggars Banquet sessions in the spring of ’68, and is another example of a powerful single released as an appetizer to the main course (though it subsequently appeared on numerous compilations).  It also marked a return to their blues roots after dabbling in Baroque pop and kitschy (for them) psychedelia the previous couple of years.  Regarding the aforementioned guitar riff, Bill Wyman claims to have come up with it on piano but was not given credit.  The song reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart, as well as the US Cashbox Top Singles Chart.  It made it to #3 on the Billboard Chart.

And the only possible way to equal the original studio recording?  Add Mick Taylor on lead guitar in a live performance…

Side A:  Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Side B:  Child of the Moon