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Rolling Stones recorded covers album after suffering writers’ block

The Rolling Stones recorded their forthcoming album of blues covers after reportedly struggling to write new material.
Last year (16), the band joined longtime producer Don Was to record their first new studio album since 2005’s A Bigger Bang.
Bandmembers Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts’ original plan was to write new songs, however in the end creative difficulties led to the group recording a series of blues covers to make the album Blue & Lonesome.
“We’d gone in the studio to start cutting some new songs,” Don tells BBC 6 Music radio. “Around day three we just hit a wall… and Keith suggested that, to cleanse the creative palette, we played Blue and Lonesome, the (American bluesman) Little Walter song.”
Don recorded their efforts and says that they were so delighted with the results that the band, who started out in the early 1960s performing tracks by blues musicians, decided to record more covers.
“The whole mood of the room changed dramatically in those three-and-a-half minutes,” Don explains. “So we said, ‘let’s do another one’, and ‘let’s do another one’. They just called songs off that they knew and loved. It was very spontaneous. And by the end of the day we had six.”
The producer, who has also worked with the likes of Elton John, Iggy Pop and Bob Dylan, says the band were comfortable playing the tracks as they’d known them since their youth.
“They really know this music well,” Was explains. “Most of the songs that are on there are songs they played when they first started out, playing pubs in Richmond, so it’s kind of second nature to them.”
The group were joined on a number of tracks by another rocker with a love of the blues, Eric Clapton, who happened to be recording in the studio next door to the West London one the Stones were using.
“Eric Clapton was recording next door,” Don adds. “He just walked over and he had the same reaction as everyone else did. His jaw just dropped. Picture the Rolling Stones just set up in a circle in one room (and) the amplifiers are blaring.
“It reminded him of when he was a teenager, going to see the Stones playing in Richmond. He was just in awe, so he just grabbed one of Keith’s guitars and started playing. It was quite a thing.”
Blue & Lonesome is scheduled for release on 2 December (16). The group will return to performing live at the Desert Trip festival in California’s Coachella Valley on Friday (07Oct16).
They are joined on the Desert Trip bill by a number of rock’s biggest names, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters, The Who, and Neil Young. The festival runs from Friday to Sunday (09Oct16).

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