Rolling Stones – 19th Nervous Breakdown

You better stop, look around
Here it comes
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown

I like this period in Rolling Stones history. Between 1964-67 they released some great music. Brian Jones added a lot of texture to this period.

The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards during their 1965 tour of the United States. The song was recorded during the Aftermath sessions. They got the title from Mick Jagger in the middle of the tour.

During the song Brian Jones is playing a lick that he got from Diddley Daddy…an old Bo Diddley song.

This song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #9 in Canada, and #2 in the UK in 1966.

Mick Jagger: “We had just done five weeks hectic work in the States and I said, ‘Dunno about you blokes, but I feel about ready for my nineteenth nervous breakdown.’ We seized on it at once as a likely song title. Then Keith and I worked on the number at intervals during the rest of the tour. Brian, Charlie and Bill egged us on – especially as they liked having the first two words starting with the same letter.”

Mick Jagger: “Things that are happening around me – everyday life as I see it. People say I’m always singing about pills and breakdowns, therefore I must be an addict – this is ridiculous. Some people are so narrow-minded they won’t admit to themselves that this really does happen to other people besides pop stars.”

From Songfacts

There are some drug references in this song:

On our first trip I tried so hard to rearrange your mind
But after awhile I realized you were disarranging mine

Many turned on listeners picked up on this, but most didn’t, especially since the lines are mixed low into the background. Over the next few years, the Stones drug use became more apparent, and it was reflected in their songs. British authorities took note, leading to a series of arrests and run-ins among band members and their associates.

Mick Jagger: “That’s a very Los Angeles period, I remember being in the West Coast a lot then. 19th Nervous Breakdown is a bit of a joke song, really. I mean, the idea that anyone could be offended by it really is funny. But I remember some people were. It’s very hard to put yourself back in that period now – popular songs didn’t really address anything very much. Bob Dylan was addressing it, but he wasn’t thought of as a mainstream Pop act. And anyway, no one knew what he was talking about. Basically his songs were too dense for most people. And so to write about anything other than the normal run-of-the-mill love clichés was considered very outre and it was never touched. Anything outside that would shock people. So songs like “19th Nervous Breakdown” were slightly jarring to people. But I guess they soon got used to it. A couple years after that, things took a sort of turn and then saw an even more dark direction. But those were very innocent days, I think.” 

This was one of three songs The Stones performed on their Ed Sullivan Show appearance on February 13, 1966, the first time they were broadcast in color on US television.

Mick Jagger had been dating an English model named Chrissie Shripton when he wrote this song. Theirs was a tumultuous relationship that began in 1963 and ended three years later amid allegation of Mick’s philandering (he began seeing Marianne Faithfull). According to Philip Norman’s biography of Mick Jagger, Shrimpton overdosed on sleeping pills in December 1966 after Jagger stood her up when they were supposed to go on vacation together. While Jagger didn’t write this song about Shrimpton, her overdose drew parallels to the pill-popping character in the song. It was rumored that the line “On our first trip” is a reference to the first time Jagger dropped acid with Shrimpton.

19th Nervous Breakdown

You’re the kind of person you meet at certain dismal, dull affairs
Center of a crowd, talking much too loud, running up and down the stairs
Well, it seems to me that you have seen too much in too few years
And though you’ve tried you just can’t hide your eyes are edged with tears

You better stop, look around
Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown

When you were a child you were treated kind
But you were never brought up right
You were always spoiled with a thousand toys but still you cried all night
Your mother who neglected you owes a million dollars tax
And your father’s still perfecting ways of making sealing wax

You better stop, look around
Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown

Oh, who’s to blame, that girl’s just insane
Well nothing I do don’t seem to work
It only seems to make matters worse, oh please

You were still in school when you had that fool who really messed your mind
And after that you turned your back on treating people kind
On our first trip I tried so hard to rearrange your mind
But after a while I realized you were disarranging mine

You better stop, look around
Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown

Oh, who’s to blame, that girl’s just insane
Well nothing I do don’t seem to work
It only seems to make matters worse, oh please

When you were a child you were treated kind
But you were never brought up right
You were always spoiled with a thousand toys but still you cried all night
Your mother who neglected you owes a million dollars tax
And your father’s still perfecting ways of making sealing wax

You better stop, look around
Here it comes
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

19 thoughts on “Rolling Stones – 19th Nervous Breakdown”

  1. Those were great-underrated years- seems that outside of Satisfaction- the Stones songs you hear on the radio are from their ‘classic period’ and even later- the early Stones were just as good- and I think those songs stand up better since they aren’t overplayed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The not over played is the key…with all of their songs I don’t why they feel they just have to play Brown Sugar or Start Me Up for that matter.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Lewis Carroll made a reference to sealing wax in his story “The Walrus and The Carpenter.”
    “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
    “To talk of many things:
    Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
    Of cabbages–and kings–
    And why the sea is boiling hot–
    And whether pigs have wings.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whenever I see you post these old Stones tunes Max I always have meant to ask u did u buy that box set in the late 80s that was just all the old Stones singles and such from the mid 60s to the very early 70s if that?
    Decca Years can’t remember what it was called.. maybe that dunno 🤷‍♂️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh we had…and still do a place in Nashville called The Great Escape…a second hand record shop that I usually bought LPs for the Who, Beatles, and Stones and Columbia house for some when I was a teen.

      I remember that set though you are talking about…I can actually see what the cover looked like…I never got that but I had most of the original albums.

      I would get the UK versions if available…because Beatle and Stones early albums were different in the UK and America…usually the UK was the better one…to me anyway…even different mixes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes because back then…the British artists would put out an album and America would change it all around…add and subtract songs…When the Beatles released Sgt Peppers…they pretty much said NO more….same album for everyone.
        But it continued until the 80s I believe for other artists.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. One of their best from that era. If we would have had 5 more albums to choose, Aftermath would have been one of them. I like how the cameras were giving Keith a fair amount of coverage. I remember in Keith’s book where he said Brian called himself the leader of the group. Cmon now, Mick has that covered totally. He is perfect for hamming it up for the audience and that is vitally important for the front man of a band.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. By that time yea Mick and Keith had control…at first Brian controlled it…From what I’ve read…when they came out…It was Brian and Mick who were the most popular because Brian did a lot of the early interviews…then Brian faded a bit…but yea I like this era of songs.

      In some ways I like era better because the songs are not wore out. I would rather hear this than Start Me Up but that is just me. Brian’s strength is that he added texture with exotic instruments…

      Liked by 1 person

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