Tag Archives: Rolling Stones

The summer of the Stones

Heard the other day that it’s been 40 years this month since the Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls” LP charted in America. That record always takes me right back to that summer. I wanted to write about that, to try to re-create that summer of 1978, but it’s been a challenge.

That was the first summer I lived away from home. I worked at the newspaper in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the first of my 38 summers in the news business. Though a journalist, I never kept a journal. Nor can I find all of my old newspaper clips. Among what I can find, there are none from 40 years ago this week.

In the summer of 1978, when I was 21, I lived in a place called Beaver Lodge. One of my six roommates drove an old GTO. We had a spectacular accident with Johnny’s Goat one day. I didn’t have a girlfriend that summer, just as in all the summers that preceded it.

I started running that summer, wearing an old pair of adidas flats and pounding the streets near the base of the TV tower at the end of the block. I also often walked a couple of blocks to the park and shot baskets. I set my radio at the base of the pole. There, I heard “Miss You,” the first single from “Some Girls.”

The nice inner sleeve on my copy of “Some Girls” suggests I bought it at Inner Sleeve Records in my hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. Probably did so during a visit home, perhaps for my birthday in June, just after it came out. Mike gave you a nice sleeve when you bought a new LP at the Sleeve.

My LP has the original die-cut cover that featured several celebrities who hadn’t approved of the use of their image.

40 years ago tonight, on Wednesday, July 19, 1978, the Rolling Stones brought the Some Girls Tour to the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston. They played eight of the 10 cuts from “Some Girls” in the middle of the show. Nine days earlier, they’d played the St. Paul Civic Center, just 90 minutes from where I lived. But back then, going to shows was not something I did.

For as much as I’ve long loved this record, I’ve always been a Beatles man, and not a Stones man. I have only three Stones records. This one and the great live “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” plus the “Hot Rocks” comp. I’ve sold some others. I vividly recall the baffled and vaguely disgusted looks I got from co-workers when I passed on seeing the Stones at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison in 1994.

Yet what was the last song on the iPod as I finished working out yesterday?

Yep, the Stones. From that record. From that summer.

“Respectable,” the Rolling Stones, from “Some Girls,” 1978.


Leave a comment

Filed under July 2018, Sounds

Soundtrack to the ride of a lifetime

One of the girls was still in high school, the other not long out, listening to the radio as they cruised what they called “The Circuit” in the late 1960s.

They sat up front in that Mercury Cougar, vaguely a muscle car. With all the windows down on an early August night, the air rushed in and the sounds of the Top 40 blasted from the AM radio.

The kids sat in the back, savoring every moment of that late-summer adventure. It seemed oh, so sophisticated.

Those memories have come rushing back, for reasons all too bittersweet.


Seeing this 1970 Cougar at our local car show on Sunday reminded me of the Cougar those girls drove. One of those girls — my cousin — may not be with us for much longer. Cancer.

My cousin’s given name is Maureen, but we have called her “Pete” forever.

Pete 1966

She was 17 and her sister Debbie was 19 when we made the rounds of Janesville, Wisconsin, in the summer of 1969. I sat in the back along with my brother John. We were 12 and 10. (The photo above is me and Pete and John from 1966, three years before we cruised The Circuit.)

Janesville, then the home of a huge GM assembly plant, had a strong car culture. On weekends, the kids cruised The Circuit, a long, rectangular loop of one-way streets that went over the Rock River and back again.

WLS, the Big 89 out of Chicago, provided the soundtrack to those thrilling rides. We could have been riding The Circuit on the week of Aug. 4, 1969. The top five songs in the WLS chart that week have been seared into my head all these years.


1. “Honky Tonk Women,” the Rolling Stones. This is the live version from “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” from 1970.

2. “In The Year 2525,” Zager and Evans.

3. “Put A Little Love In Your Heart,” Jackie DeShannon.

4. “Birthday,” Underground Sunshine.

5. “Polk Salad Annie,” Tony Joe White.

Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Imagine hearing those every three hours.

Some of the other songs in the WLS Top 40 that memorable week, also long blown deep into my head by the wind off The Circuit:

8. “Sweet Caroline,” Neil Diamond.
9. “A Boy Named Sue,” Johnny Cash.
11. “Soul Deep,” the Box Tops.
14. “Laughing,” the Guess Who.
16. “Marrakesh Express,” Crosby, Stills and Nash.
17. “Give Peace A Chance,” Plastic Ono Band.
20. “Green River,” Creedence Clearwater Revival.
24. “Spinning Wheel,” Blood, Sweat and Tears.
25. “Good Morning Starshine,” Oliver.
30. “Get Together,” the Youngbloods.
31. “Nitty Gritty,” Gladys Knight and the Pips.
33. “I’d Wait A Million Years,” the Grass Roots.
36. “Pledge Of Love,” the Joe Jeffrey Group.
40. “Sugar,  Sugar,” the Archies.

What a ride that was, Pete.


Filed under June 2013, Sounds

Shadoobie, sizzling, sizzling

This was one of the stops on the Great Heat Wave Road Trip earlier this month.

That day, July 5, brought plenty of sun and temperatures in the 90s. It didn’t seem all that different from 34 summers before, when I’d walk to that park, set my AM/FM radio at the base of that pole, flip it on and start shooting baskets.

In the summer of 1978, I was 21 and lived a couple of blocks away at a place we called Beaver Lodge. It was a three-bedroom cement-block house in a gritty, seen-better-days business district just off Highway 53 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

All the fuss over the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary brings me back to this place. That summer, the “Some Girls” LP came out. Starting with “Miss You,” its songs lit up the radio that sat at the base of that basket.

I picked up “Some Girls” so quickly that my copy has this early version of the original — and quickly withdrawn — die-cut cover. It featured several celebrities who hadn’t approved of the use of their image.

That’s Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball in the top row, Jayne Mansfield and Brigitte Bardot in the second row, Farrah Fawcett in the third row and Raquel Welch in the fourth row.

The songs, of course, are what I remember most. Rocking out to “Respectable.” Digging the laid-back cover of the Temptations’ “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me).”

And on that basketball court at Highland Park, getting into a groove to the background vocals of “Shattered.” They got into my head and stayed there. They’re still there.

“Shadoobie, shattered … shadoobie, shattered, shattered.”

It is by far my favorite Stones record. Any one of its 10 cuts takes me right back to that hot summer of 1978, to that basketball court at that park. Yet as I listened to it again the other night, a most unexpected cut jumped out at me. Either I didn’t appreciate it much at the time or I’d forgotten how much fun it was.

“Far Away Eyes,” the Rolling Stones, from “Some Girls,” 1978. (The buy link is to a deluxe edition released in 2011.)

In which the boys go country, taking a road trip through Bakersfield and listening to the radio. Mick Jagger’s twang is not at all convincing but I dig it nonetheless. Ron Wood’s pedal steel guitar is much more authentic.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.


Filed under July 2012, Sounds

Sleepy Sunday, Vol. 44

Sleepy LaBeef, national treasure, is a man of the world, and a worldly man.

Tonight’s cut was recorded in England and released by a German label.

Of course, good music knows no boundaries.

Tonight, Sleepy covers a tune written and originally performed by Jimmy Reed, an electric bluesman from Mississippi. “Shame, Shame, Shame,” released in 1963, was Reed’s last single to hit the charts.

Sleepy recorded this cover at Regent Sound Studio in London on April 23, 1979, backed by a five-piece group.


“Shame, Shame, Shame,” Sleepy LaBeef, from “A Rockin” Decade,” a 1997 compilation issued by Germany’s Charly Records.

The Rolling Stones have performed this tune since they did it as a demo when they were just getting started in the early ’60s.

This video is of the Stones playing it live at the Double Door, a small club in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, on Sept. 18, 1997.

Leave a comment

Filed under December 2007, Sounds