Music from a locked room: how I was first for 30 years to hear lost Stones tapes

David Lister yesterday sat in a locked room at the BBC and became the first person outside the corporation in 30 years to hear some of the earliest music by The Rolling Stones, including four tracks that have never been released.

In the gloriously dated tones of early Sixties BBC radio, the announcer declares: "Now we have a completely different sound, that of the five young gentlemen who are making such an impact on the hit parade at the moment."

The five young gents are The Rolling Stones and these 1960s BBC sessions are the most eagerly awaited rock music archives, certain to sell in huge quantities when they are eventually released.

Even Jagger, Richards and the rest of the band, currently on a world tour, have not heard them since they played the sessions on the Light Programme and World Service between 1963 and 1965.

With BBC sessions by The Beatles and Led Zeppelin already released by BBC Worldwide to huge acclaim, it is now hoped that The Stones material will be released later this year.

Having listened to 20 tracks and assorted interviews, I can reveal that the results are fascinating, raw, earthy blues and rock'n'roll, with moments of surprising tenderness.

There is also one memorable interview with Keith Richards, his voice slurred, talking about "my quest for the holy grail, that cup of blood". Then, asked about parental fears about daughters going out with members of the group, he replies, again slurring: "I've `ad a lot of trouble with mothers." It wouldn't get on the air now, muttered the stunned BBC executive next to me.

And so to the music, introduced in many cases by the late blues musician Alexis Korner on his radio show. He pays tribute to "Mick Jagger vocalising there with the skillful guitar work of Brian Jones and Keith Richards".

From Saturday Club in 1965 they sing "Satisfaction". "It only took us two hours to actually record it," Mick reveals. "That included arranging it `cos not everybody knew the song." He begins singing almost in a falsetto, with Charlie Watts giving a constant rhythm with a repeated three strikes of the cymbals, quite different from the released version.

Most interest will focus on the unreleased tracks. The best of these is "Cops and Robbers", formerly performed by Bo Diddley. It is virtually a talking blues. Jagger, with a thick American accent duels with Jones' harmonica snarling: "We're going to put him so far back in gaol, they're going to have to pump air into him."

Then there are two Chuck Berry standards: "Roll Over Beethoven", a much rawer version than The Beatles' cover of the song, with Jagger making a rare ad-lib and perhaps anticipating his androgynous phase. Instead of "Don't you step on my blue suede shoes" he sings "Won't you step on my high heel boots?".

In Berry's "Memphis Tennessee" there is a surprisingly tender Jagger vocal in front of Richards' finger picking guitar. Oddly though Jagger sounds very English here. "Just a half a mile from the Mississippi bridge" is enunciated as plummily as if he is reminiscing about childhood in Dartford.

The fourth unreleased track, "Fanny Mae", again has the late Brian Jones' swooping harmonica at its core.

Snatches of this music were heard in the Eighties on a Radio One programme on the Stones. But much has never been heard for over 30 years. "It is astonishing," said John Willan, head of music at BBC Worldwide, "that no one has thought to release this before. It is outstanding - raw, unsophisticated and compelling."

News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
news

As anti-Semitic attacks rise, Grant Feller re-evaluates his identity

News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
people
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Life and Style
fashionThe Secret Angels all take home huge sums - but who earns the most?
Sport
football

Striker ignored Brendan Rodger's request to applaud audience

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Secondary teachers required in King's Lynn

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary teachers re...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Room Leader PositionI am currently ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery NurseI am currently...

Nursery Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Breakfast and after school club wor...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?