• The Music In Me: C*cksucker Blues (NSFW)



    WARNING: This essay contains prrofanity. Definitely NSFW! And then more NSFW at the end!

    In 1969, the Rolling Stones were once again behind the Beatles. The Stones’ manager made them write their own songs because the Beatles were writing their own songs, but the Beatles were always a few months ahead. The Beatles went out-there-psychedelic with Sgt. Pepper’s six months before the Stones went out-there-psychedelic with Their Satanic Majesty’s Request. Then the Beatles went acoustic and diverse with the White Album, and the Stones followed them with Beggar’s Banquet. In 1968, the Beatles left their onerous contract with Capitol Records and started their own label, calling it Apple Music, which was also planned to encompass clothing, inventions, and other bands and projects of an as-yet ill-defined nature. It was an exciting time in Beatleville, what with them driving cool cars and buying estates in the country to live in while the Stones were angry and tired of being perennially so broke that they had to ask for money to pay rent on the boring London flats they were still living in. The Beatles were rich and they weren’t. By now they knew that the only way to make any money was to do what the Beatles had done, so they decided to leave their label, London (Decca), and start their own label, which they’d call Rolling Stones Records.



    Of course, everyone signed to a label was contracted for a specified number of tracks, and when they had recorded all the required tracks, they notified Decca that they were leaving. The Stones said buh-bye, but Decca said nuh-uh. Decca said they weren’t done, that they still owed two more tracks. The Stones said no, they’d checked, and they owed no more tracks, and Decca said uhhh… look at your contract, or let our lawyers show you. As usual, the team with the most lawyers wins, and thus the Rolling Stones owed Decca two more tracks.

    It’s well known that when the Stones started out, they were exclusively a cover band, refurbishing American blues, rhythm ‘n’ blues and early rock ‘n’ roll, dining on it in England and feeding it back to hungry teens in the United States. But then, as today, having hits is cool, but the money is in the publishing. Back in the early days, their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, got a look at how the Beatles were doing it and locked Mick and Keith in an apartment and told them not to come out until they’d written some songs. They came up with two songs: “As Tears Go By,” which Oldham gave to his newly found singer, Marianne Faithfull, and “The Last Time,” which became the first self-penned single they released in the U.K. By isolating Jagger and Richards and making a song-writing team of them, Oldham began the alienation of group founder, Brian Jones, who never really got back in from the cold. And we know how that turned out, but back to my conjecture about those two remaining tracks.

    Remember, by 1968, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had become highly successful songwriters, so I’m imagining that they had little interest in giving the hated Decca any gems from their wildly successful and lucrative run of hits. They wanted those gems for themselves, and who could blame them, other than Decca? I’m also imagining that writing songs takes time and, y’know, inspiration, and you have to care about what you’re writing. So I imagine when you have a song you like and you’re in a successful band, you want to use it for yourself, not someone else. If you had the choice.

    And they did have a choice: they already had in cold storage a song called “Andrew’s Blues,” a track from way back in 1964 that, as a joke, they’d recorded drunk, and forgot about, and what the hell, they might just hand that one in, see what Decca would say about it. What else? Well, they could always write another song just to fulfill their obligation. Hell, they could just go into the studio, get fucked up and record some shit they’d make up on the spot. That’s how they’d come up with “Andrew’s Blues” back then, and they could do it again. And that’s pretty much what they did.

    Someone put in a post that the song they wanted to give Decca had already been written by Jagger about a gay London hooker, and I don’t know if that’s true or how much time was put into it, but there isn’t a lot of complexity to it, and I hear they were pretty drunk when they went in to record it. Maybe those two didn’t get just a bit tipsy for this session. I think maybe they got really drunk, because when it came to intoxicants, these guys didn’t dabble, if you know what I mean, and also because they were the goddam Rolling Stones, who once said, “We piss anywhere, man,” and they pretty much could. They could piss anywhere, man, but they still needed two more tracks to get out from under Decca. They must have thought, “Fuck Decca! We’ll give them their tracks!” and so they recorded “Cocksucker Blues,” and I’ll put all the lyrics below, but as a guideline, let me say that the lyrics are sung by a rent-boy in Leicester Square, asking “Where can I go to get my cock sucked? Where can I go to get my ass fucked?” So, no, you can’t play this song for your minister. Or your mom. And this is where the story divides.

    One account says it was Mick and Keith in the studio, another says Mick “and a piano player,” who might have been Keith and might have been Ian Stewart, who played keys in the original band until Andrew Oldham demoted him to roadie and session player because he didn’t look hip enough, and then stayed on as road manager and session keys player. In any event, this is a small issue, as we know who was really drunk and sang the song. It was Mick. And they recorded it and gave it to Decca and it was only ever put on a Rolling Stones album in West Germany in 1983, and then taken off the album four weeks later. So not everyone knows it, but you can hear it by clicking the link below.

    Oldham sold his share of the Rolling Stones' management to the notorious Allen Klein in 1966, but continued in his role as the band's de facto manager and producer. Relations with the group were strained by Oldham's drug use and the legal problems that the band was facing in 1967. After Oldham's departure, his relationship with the Rolling Stones was strained for several years, and now that they were kissing people off, they brought out that recording they’d made that night in 1964. And what a night! The band was joined in the studio by Graham Nash and Allen Clarke of the Hollies, singer Gene Pitney and producer/egotist/wacko extraordinaire Phil Spector. Pitney had come to the session straight from the airport with some duty-free cognac, and, it being his birthday, he wanted everyone there to celebrate. I’m guessing that there was a dearth of teetotalers in the studio that night, so they let the wild times begin: That night the band recorded two of my all-time favorite Stones tracks, “Can I Get A Witness?” and “Little By Little.” I love “Witness” so much that when I played in a band in the 80’s, I sang lead on this. I have a video of it, and no, you can’t see it. And I may be one of the only guys in America who knows the words to “Little By Little.” If you can’t understand the words yourself, it may be due to alcohol consumption. Theirs, not yours. But back to the session: Pitney played piano while Specter and the Hollies played tambourine and maracas and banged coins on empty bottles.

    After “Little By Little” and “Can I Get A Witness?” they made up and recorded the instrumental “Now I’ve Got A Witness” on the spot, but they were in a rare humor and wanted to keep going, so they made up and recorded a rude, crude series of insults to Andrew Oldham, who was not only there in 1964, but was producing the session. Oldham also sang on the track, as did Gene Pitney. Mick’s in there. Is Brian? This was fun! And as long as they were having fun, they put in some shots at Sir Edmund Lewis, the founder and CEO of Decca Records, so we know the band had issues with Decca as far back as February, 1964. But it was years later that they notified Decca of their departure, and that was when they needed those last two tracks, so they recorded “Cocksucker Blues” and dusted off “Andrew’s Blues” and handed them to Decca and wished them well. Or something.

    As an aside, back in the mid-Eighties I was given a red vinyl 45 rpm LP-sized record by my pal Eddy, who knew of my passion for the Rolling Stones. He told me its origin, but now I’m not so sure he was right. He told me that to celebrate the inception of Rolling Stones Records, the band threw a party, and at that party they distributed a thousand numbered red vinyl 45 RPM records with “Cocksucker Blues” on one side, and “Brown Sugar” with Eric Clapton playing lead guitar on the other side. I call the sides “one” and “the other” because with those two songs, who’s gonna call which one a B-side? Mine was lucky number 100. Lucky me. To continue:

    I treasured the disc and stored it properly, and before I wrote this I went to ol’ eBay to see what I had, and if there were any others like it out there. Oh, yeah, there were others like it out there, really like it. I saw three of them there that day. And they were all red vinyl and they were all number 100!

    Another aside: When Andrew Loog Oldham first took over management of the band, one of the smartest things he did for them was to bring them to Dick Rowe, the head A&R man at Decca. Why Dick Rowe? You’ll like this: I know you’ve heard that the Beatles had been turned down for recording contracts by every label until they met George Martin, and you know what happened after that. But before Martin saw them, one record executive passed on signing the Beatles by saying, “guitar bands are over.” And you know that shortly after enduring that stroke of disappointment, the boys met Mr. Martin and went on to some famously famous success. But who was that infamous, unfortunate executive who passed on them? That’s right, it was Dick Rowe, who, we may assume, was now eager to atone for that gaffe by signing any band with a hint of success about them. Hello, Dick, meet the Rolling Stones. Hello boys, sign here.

    Here I would like to add an important note and a bonus: If you research any of this, you might get directed to a film called “Cocksucker Blues,” which was made by Robert Frank about the band’s famously excessive 1972 tour. Mick hated it and refused to allow it to be distributed. Legally, as of late, the film is allowed to be shown publicly only infrequently and irregularly, but is probably available on the web. It has been called both “execrable” and “brilliant,” also “a total waste of time and opportunity” and “the best rock documentary ever made.” I’ve seen it. I didn’t like it. You’re on your own with this one.

    BONUS: Below the other links is a song you might like but are unlikely to encounter by chance. I’m including it because you’ve shown a tolerance for profanity, and this one is profane as hell heck, but pretty darn funny. It’s less than two minutes long, so listen to every word. Every word, dammit! And please do not play it in public where someone might be offended. Again, no ministers or do-gooders, and most moms.


    “Cocksucker Blues” is pretty raw, and “Andrew’s Blues” is more so. So I won’t put the lyrics here, but you can find them below:

    Cocksucker Blues: (Lyrics)





    Andrew’s Blues: (Lyrics) - With shots of Andrew Oldham, including at 1:00, a shot of what I think was this session:




    Bonus: John Butler Trio, the Hand of the Almighty:










    Gilbert Klein has enough degrees and not enough stories. He’s been a radio talk show host, a nightclub owner, event producer, and has written two books: FAT CHANCE about the legendary KFAT radio, and FOOTBALL 101. He threatens to write one more. He spent 25 years in New York, 25 years in San Francisco, and is now purportedly retired in Baja.
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. cbee's Avatar
      cbee -
      Really enjoy your posts Gilbert. Been a Stones fan from the time they first appeared on tv ( in suits ) singing Come On. Also a lover of San Francisco bands, late 60s, so any more tales from that era gratefully appreciated (no pun intended).
    1. Gilbert Klein's Avatar
      Gilbert Klein -
      Quote Originally Posted by cbee View Post
      Really enjoy your posts Gilbert. Been a Stones fan from the time they first appeared on tv ( in suits ) singing Come On. Also a lover of San Francisco bands, late 60s, so any more tales from that era gratefully appreciated (no pun intended).

      cbee: thanks for that. As you will have surmised, I had a pretty good time back then, too. Next up is one or the other…either will be in that era. Maybe Pink Floyd, maybe the Sons of Champlin I used to hang with them in '68. Maybe the Strangeloves. Great story, the Strangeloves, great story, and I know I’ll get to it eventually. But the Sons, man, what a band. Really, thanks for the note.
    1. PorkChop's Avatar
      PorkChop -
      Have to admit....I had no idea what to make of this article based on the title. But once it was carefully read....not only was the story very entertaining, the title did indeed fit the theme.