December’s Children (And Everybody’s) is considered the last of the Rolling Stones' early albums and was their final hasty affair.
This was the Stones' third album of 1965 and combined with their constant touring left them little time for much else. The original songs were recorded in a frenetic two day period. These songs were then combined with some leftover tracks and some other songs that were originally released on their English EPs. It did not sell as well as their previous release, Out Of Our Heads, but did reach the top five on the American album charts and earn the group a gold record.
What December’s Children did have in its favor was two classic Rolling Stones singles. “Get Off Of My Cloud” was the follow up single to “Satisfaction” and also reached number one. Charlie Watts' short drum introduction to the song is instantly recognizable forty years later. Keith Richards and Brian Jones intertwine their guitars in a classic duet. Following this album, Brian Jones would begin his odyssey through various instruments and sounds and his guitar output would be less of a factor.
“As Tears Go By” was originally a hit for Mick Jagger’s girlfriend Marianne Faithful. Here Mick Jagger brings his raspy blues voice to this ballad of hurt and pain. It is interesting to compare the two interpretations of this song as they are so different.
In addition to “As Time Goes By” there were three more original ballads. “Blue Turns To Grey,” “I’m Free” and “The Singer Not The Song” are competent Stones creations but there is a sameness to them.
The Chuck Berry song “Talkin’ Bout You” is a good vehicle for the Stones to take in a blues direction. The Rolling Stones recorded a number of Chuck Berry songs and he continues to collect royalties to this day.
“You Better Move On,” originally recorded by Alex Alexander is given a soulful vocal by Mick Jagger.
The really interesting cover song is Hank Snow’s classic country song “I’m Moving On.” At face value this song would seem like a bad idea for a rock and roll group and especially one with blues leanings. However Bill Wyman’s thumping bass and Brian Jones slide guitar move this song over in a rock vein. It is the Rolling Stones at their innovative best.
December’s Children (And Everybody’s) may not be the best Rolling Stones album but it is still very good on its own merits. This album was released in December of 1965 and 1966 would find a mature Rolling Stones ready to assert themselves as a classic rock and roll band.