Up and Down with The Rolling Stones … by Tony Sanchez

This was the first book I read on the Rolling Stones when I was around 13. It’s an easy but dark read. It’s written by Tony Sanchez, Keith’s drug dealer and sometimes partner in crime. Tony was also a photographer who took photos of the Stones and the Moody Blues. Spanish Tony, as he was called hung around with the Stones, Moody Blues and also knew the Beatles.

It’s full of wrecked cars, heroin, dead friends, sleazy characters, and some eventful journeys. At first, I would take some of the stories with a grain of salt but most of the events were verified by Keith’s book “Life.”

Spanish Tony and Keith Richards

Tony Sanchez and Keith Richards

Tony had some underworld connections like the famous Kray Twins of the 60s. He opened a club with some backing from the Stones and according to him saved Keith from some setups from time to time with his connections. The Nellcote in France period is covered well and the film of the 1972 tour that was never released except for a bootleg was explained.

Anita Pallenberg came off looking worse than anyone. Tony talks about Anita’s interest in black magic, Kenneth Anger, and how she would practice some of the rituals. He described her as a very nasty and petty woman, especially to Bianca. She was first with Brian…then with Keith and a brief spell with Mick. Marianne Faithfull was also a subject in the book and she came off really well.

Tony and Keith were pretty tight. On the original back cover of Beggars Banquet you can see “Spanish Tony Where Are You” written on the wall. He had been out of the country at that time.

Spanish Tony and Keith Richards2

Anita Pallenberg, Tony Sanchez, Keith Richards

The book concentrates on Keith and Mick…big surprise there…also on Brian Jones. He goes through the dynamics between the three.  He talks about the bust at Redlands and Tony trying to bribe some high-ranking police investigators to “lose” the evidence but it didn’t work.

He tells one story that happened at Mick Jagger’s 26th birthday party at the club that Tony partly owned (The Vesuvio Club) and the DJ was playing the Stones new song Sympathy for the Devil…In walks, Paul McCartney with the Hey Jude and Revolution demo single under his arm and it was played… people went nuts. Tony said that Mick felt upstaged…After that Tony had his cousin…a big Beatles fan…attempt to drive John Lennon home…but he could hardly drive the car because he was so nervous…John and Yoko were jerked all over the back seat so John ended up getting out and walking…

There are some funny stories in this about Keith and the world he created.

Tony was with the Stones until 1976 and he just walked away after some confusion backstage over a backstage pass…He was carrying dope to someone and so he says he checked himself in rehab.

If you are a Stones fan you should like it.


Rolling Stones – As Tears Go By

The Stones were covering old blues songs at the start of their career. They needed a hit and one day they ran into two songwriters in 1963. Right in front of the Stones…John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote a song that was in the Stone’s style. It was called “I Wanna Be Your Man” and became The Stones’ first UK top twenty record. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were amazed at this display of songwriting prowess, which stuck with them.

The two bands stayed friends after that often coordinating releases so as not to release in the same week. Mick and Keith realized that if they were going to have staying power…they must start writing. Their manager Andrew Oldham locked them in a kitchen and told them they were not getting out until they wrote a song…obviously, it worked.

This was one of the first songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The Stones manager gave it to a singer he also managed named Marianne Faithfull, who released it in 1964. It was going to be the B-side of her first single, but the record company decided to make it the A-side and it became her first hit. The Stones recorded it a year later. In 1966 Faithfull became Jagger’s girlfriend and that would last 3-4 years.

The original title was As Time Goes By but they changed it so it wouldn’t be confused with a song with the same title in Casablanca. The song peaked at #1 in Canada and  #6 on the Billboard 100 in 1966. Marianne’s version peaked at #22 in Canada and #9 on the Billboard 100, and #9 in the UK in 1964.

This was released as a single in the US and Canada because ballads were popular there at the time. The release in England was delayed 6 months because they did not want to compete with Yesterday by The Beatles. When they finally did release it there, it was as the B-side of 19th Nervous Breakdown.

Marianne would record this three times. The original version in 1964, for 1987’s Strange Weather, and again on 2018’s Negative Capability.

Keith Richards“suddenly, ‘Oh, we’re songwriters,’ with the most totally anti-Stones sort of song you could think of at the time, while we’re trying to make a good version of (Muddy Waters’) ‘Still A Fool.’ When you start writing, it doesn’t matter where the first one comes from. You’ve got to start somewhere, right? So Andrew locked Mick and myself into a kitchen in this horrible little apartment we had. He said, ‘You ain’t comin’ out,’ and there was no way out. We were in the kitchen with some food and a couple of guitars, but we couldn’t get to the john, so we had to come out with a song. In his own little way, that’s where Andrew made his great contribution to the Stones. That was such a flatulent idea, a fart of an idea, that suddenly you’re gonna lock two guys in a room, and they’re going to become songwriters. Forget about it. And it worked. In that little kitchen Mick and I got hung up about writing songs, and it still took us another six months before we had another hit with Gene Pitney, ‘That Girl Belongs To Yesterday.’ We were writing these terrible Pop songs that were becoming Top-10 hits. I thought, ‘What are we doing here playing the f–king blues, and writing these horrible Pop songs and getting very successful?’ They had nothing to do with us, except we wrote ’em. And it took us a while to come up with ‘The Last Time.’ That was the first one we came up with where Mick and I said, ‘This is one we can lay on the guys.’ At the time we were already borrowing songs from the Beatles – ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ – because we were really hard up for singles. So they gave us a hand. In retrospect, during the ’60s the Stones and the Beatles were almost the same band, because we were the only ones in that position.”

Mick Jagger: “I wrote the lyrics, and Keith wrote the melody. It’s a very melancholy song for a 21-year-old to write: The evening of the day, watching children play – it’s very dumb and naive, but it’s got a very sad sort of thing about it, almost like an older person might write. You know, it’s like a metaphor for being old: You’re watching children playing and realizing you’re not a child. It’s a relatively mature song considering the rest of the output at the time. And we didn’t think of doing it, because the Rolling Stones were a butch Blues group. But Marianne Faithfull’s version was already a big, proven hit song… It was one of the first things I ever wrote.” 

Marianne Faithfull: “a marketable portrait of me… a commercial fantasy that pushes the right buttons.”

As Tears Go By

It is the evening of the day
I sit and watch the children play
Smiling faces I can see
But not for me
I sit and watch
As tears go by

My riches can’t buy everything
I want to hear the children sing
All I hear is the sound
Of rain falling on the ground
I sit and watch
As tears go by

It is the evening of the day
I sit and watch the children play
Doing things I used to do
They think are new
I sit and watch
As tears go by

Rolling Stones – Sister Morphine

A dark country blues song by the Stones with help from Marianne Faithfull.

Mick Jagger wrote the music in Rome in 1968. Marianne Faithfull wrote the lyrics, but The Stones did not give her an official songwriting credit until they released it on their 1998 live album No Security. The Stones were very protective about songwriting credits to say the least…they made sure most of their songs were credited to Jagger/Richards.

The Stones recorded this in 1968. Ry Cooder played the bottleneck guitar on this track. He was filling in for the Brian Jones, who died before this song was released. This was the only song on Sticky Fingers that Mick Taylor, who replaced Jones, didn’t play on.

A little trivia on Sticky Fingers… The Sticky Fingers album had an actual zipper on the cover. On many copies, this track was damaged because the zipper pressed into it. To solve the problem, the zipper was opened before the album shipped, this way it just dented the label.

Marianne Faithfull: “I just liked the name, and loved Lou Reed’s work, ‘Sister Ray and ‘Heroin.’ I liked the idea poetically. I thought it was like Baudelaire, but the song doesn’t glamorise anything. It was a really interesting vision.”

From Songfacts

Marianne Faithfull recorded this during The Stones’ Let It Bleed sessions (she was Mick Jagger’s girlfriend at the time). Her version was released in 1969 and tanked. Decca Records pulled it after 2 weeks.

The song is about a man who gets in a car accident and dies in the hospital while asking for morphine.

Faithfull was not a heavy drug user when she wrote the lyrics, but became an addict in 1971, at the same time The Stones’ version was released. She called this her “Frankenstein,” consuming her and leading her into an abyss of drugs. In later years, she was able to break the habit resume a successful career as both a singer and an actress.

Some of the lyrics were inspired by the time Anita Pallenberg, Keith’s girlfriend, was hospitalized and given morphine.

The Stones recorded this in 1968, but their version was not released until 1971.

This was left off the Spanish release of Sticky Fingers because of the explicit content. It was replaced with “Let It Rock.”

This was influenced by the Velvet Underground, who were writing dark songs about drugs, especially heroin.

Not long after writing the song, the lyrics came painfully true to Marianne Faithfull. She recalled to The Guardian: “The story is about a man in a car accident in hospital, who’s very damaged and wants to die. It isn’t exactly what happened to me, but my feelings about it are probably the same. I was hospitalized in Sydney after an attempted suicide after Brian Jones died. It was a terrible time.”

Sister Morphine

Here I lie in my hospital bed
Tell me, sister Morphine, when are you coming round again?
Oh, I don’t think I can wait that long
Oh, you see that I’m not that strong

The scream of the ambulance is sounding in my ears
Tell me, sister Morphine, how long have I been lying here?
What am I doing in this place?
Why does the doctor have no face?

Oh, I can’t crawl across the floor
Ah, can’t you see, Sister Morphine, I’m trying to score

Well it just goes to show
Things are not what they seem
Please, sister Morphine, turn my nightmares into dreams
Oh, can’t you see I’m fading fast?
And that this shot will be my last

Sweet cousin Cocaine, lay your cool cool hand on my head
Ah, come on, sister Morphine, you better make up my bed
‘Cause you know and I know in the morning I’ll be dead
Yeah, and you can sit around, yeah and you can watch all
The clean white sheets stained red