December's Children (And Everybody's)

The Rolling Stones

London, 1965

http://www.rollingstones.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/05/2007

By the end of 1965, fans of the Rolling Stones had to have thought they were in heaven. With each successive album, there were less and less of the r&b covers the band heavily relied on at the start of their career, and the songwriting team of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards was quickly maturing into the superstars they would become. (They indeed tasted that success in 1965 with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”.)

 

So when December’s Children (And Everybody’s) became the third album from the Stones in 1965, it must have seemed like too much of a good thing. And, in a sense, it was – though this disc was more of a closet-cleaner than anything else. It also marked the final disc that would heavily rely on the r&b songs – like its predecessor Out Of Our Heads, this was a fairly even split between Jagger/Richards and the old standbys.

 

Perhaps this disc is best known for two hits, “Get Off Of My Cloud” and “As Tears Go By” – the former becoming the second number one hit in the States for the Stones. Quite possibly, though, it’s also as known for the first inclusion of “I’m Free” in the States – a track that has been an underground favorite for many years. (It first appeared on the my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 U.K. version of Out Of Our Heads.)

 

Taken as a whole, though, December’s Children (And Everybody’s) is a bit of a slipshod affair – while not bad in and of itself, it lacks the coherency of even the earlier Stones albums, resulting in a musical mishmash.

 

This isn’t to say that the disc is a waste; the musical sneer of Jagger finally starts to come through on tracks like “She Said Yeah” and “You Better Move On,” both of which fall under the covers category. There also is a bit of a musical maturity heard among the band, most notably on the one-two punch of “Look What You’ve Done” and the original track “The Singer Not The Song”. Admittedly, this was something I wasn’t expecting from the Stones – at least not this early into their career.

 

Then again, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by that level of maturity – after all, this is the album that gave us “As Tears Go By,” and the Stones were just months away from giving the world “Paint It, Black”. (But that’s getting a little ahead of ourselves.) And the level of frenzy that a live Stones concert could generate can easily be heard on the live tracks “Route 66” and “I’m Moving On”.

 

Despite the recent successes that the Jagger/Richards songwriting collaboration had experienced, there were still signs of growing pains in terms of songwriting. Tracks such as “Gotta Get Away” and “Blue Turns To Grey” aren’t bad by any stretch of the word, but they don’t live up to the expectations that had been set with the previous disc – and, for that matter, with the hits on this one. But when you compile a disc from earlier singles and British EP’s, I guess a little unevenness is to be expected.

 

It would be too easy to overlook December’s Children (And Everybody’s) and simply go to one of the numerous best-of collections for the two best-known tracks. But as uneven as this disc is, it still is worth checking out – namely, to experience the growing pains of what would become the rock and roll band of the 20th Century.

Rating: B-

User Rating: B-


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© 2007 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of London, and is used for informational purposes only.