The Rolling Stones: “Start Me Up”

ALBUM: Tattoo You

YEAR: 1981

WRITERS: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

Peaked at number-two on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Rolling Stones did multiple takes of “Start Me Up” during the sessions for Some Girls in 1977 and ’78. Keith Richards tells how a few years later the one take that stood out from the rest became the version we know and love. “I was convinced and I think Mick was, too, that it was definitely a reggae song and we did about 38 takes with ‘Start me up…’ [sings and speaks in Jamaican accent] And it didn’t make it. And somewhere in the middle of a break, just to break the tension, Charlie and I did the rock ‘n roll version. Five years later, when somebody sifted all the way through, after doing about 70 takes of ‘Star Me Up’, we found that one in the middle. It was just buried.”

35 years ago today, The Rolling Stones released their 16th album, Tattoo You. It went on to top the album charts for nine weeks and sell more than three-million copies.


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