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The Rolling Stones, Phil Spector and Gene Pitney get drunk and record the X-rated ‘Andrew’s Blues’

Boozing it up
Boozing it up (L-R): Phil Spector, Gene Pitney, Brian Jones, Andrew Loog Oldham, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, and Mick Jagger

On February 4th, 1964, the Rolling Stones entered Regent Sound Studios in London for a session. The group had released a couple of singles at this point, and the studio was quickly becoming their go-to spot. For this recording, the band was joined by some special guests: singer/songwriter Gene Pitney, Graham Nash and Allan Clarke from the Hollies, as well as genius record producer Phil Spector. By night’s end their combined efforts resulted in a few completed tracks, including one called “Andrew’s Blues,” which is quite possibly the raunchiest song the Stones have ever committed to tape—yes, rivaling even this infamous number.

In his autobiography, Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Band, bassist Bill Wyman wrote about the wild session, which was produced by their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, the subject of “Andrew’s Blues”:

We’d become friendly with Phil Spector and attended a star-studded party in his honour thrown by Decca a week earlier; so he continued the friendship by dropping in our recording. Graham Nash and Allan Clarke of the Hollies also came and later Gene Pitney arrived direct from the airport, with duty-free cognac. It was his birthday, and his family custom was that everyone had to drink a whole glass. Pitney played piano while Spector and the Hollies played tambourine and maracas and banged coins on empty bottles. We recorded three songs, ‘Little by Little,’ ‘Can I Get a Witness’ and ‘Now I’ve Got a Witness,’ which we invented on the spot. The session then degenerated into silliness, but everybody had a great time cutting ‘Andrew’s Blues’ and ‘Spector and Pitney Came Too’-—both of which were very rude.

Though officially unreleased, “Andrew’s Blues” changed hands for years before the Internet and is now readily available via YouTube. The tune is a twelve-bar blues and very much resembles another number with the same structure, Tommy Tucker’s “Hi-Heel Sneakers,” which had been released just weeks earlier (the song was part of the Stones’ live sets for a time, and a studio take has been leaked).

The main vocalist on the track is Gene Pitney, who became the first artist to cover a Jagger/Richards composition when his version of “That Girl Belongs to Yesterday” was released as a 45 in January of ‘64. Pitney was introduced to the Stones by Oldham the previous November and promptly demoed the song with the band. Oldham, in addition to his duties managing the Stones, would soon become Pitney’s publicist.

The boys lovingly take the piss out of Oldham in “Andrew’s Blues,” but they also mock the hell out of Sir Edward Lewis, the founder and chairman of Decca Records—the Stones’ label—and the track as a whole can be seen as a commentary on the music business. Or just a drunken lark.

Here’s a lyrical sample:

Yes now Andrew Oldham sittin’ on a hill with Jack and Jill (Jack and Jill)
Fucked all night and sucked all night and taste that pussy till it taste just right
Oh Andrew (yes Andrew), oh Andrew (yes Andrew)
Oh suck it Andrew (go on Andrew), fuck it Andrew (go on Andrew)
Oh Andrew Oldham (yeah), a guy who really know his way around (down down down down)

In his book Phil Spector: Out Of His Head, author Richard Williams called the track “startlingly obscene,” and fifty years on it still manages to shock. This is partly to due the fact that the lead vocals are largely handled by Pitney, who had a very straight-laced public image.

As for “Spector and Pitney Came Too,” a song with that title has been bootlegged, but is essentially an instrumental version of “Andrew’s Blues” with some hot lead guitar added.

Okay, escort your mom out of the room, ‘cause here comes “Andrew’s Blues”:

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
There comes a time in every spaceboy’s life: Whatever happened to Brett Smiley?
04:59 pm


Russell Harty
Andrew Loog Oldham
Brett Smiley

File this under “If You Like Jobriath”:

One day I found myself looking for obscure glam rock compilations on Amazon and the “customers who bought this” recommendation led me to an album called Breathlessly Brett an LP originally recorded in the mid-1970s—but not released until 2003—by a then-teenaged performer named Brett Smiley. It seldom left my CD player for the next month.

I’d never heard of Brett Smiley before that, but when I did a search on him, an interesting story emerged. A child star who once played the title role in the musical Oliver!, Brett Smiley was just sixteen years old when he was discovered by Rolling Stones manager Andew Loog Oldham, then keen to take his career down a Phil Spector-type producer/Svengali path.

At 18, Smiley was given a $200,000 recording deal and recorded an album, produced by Oldham and with Steve Marriott from the Small Faces on guitar. An amazingly raucous single “Va Va Va Voom” was released and heavily hyped with Smiley’s blonde pretty-boy face appearing in ads all over London, and in an extremely over the top performance and interview on the popular Russell Harty Plus TV program. Disc magazine proclaimed Brett to be ‘The Most Beautiful Boy In The World.’


Hard to see how a tune that catchy failed to storm the charts, but the single bombed, the album was shelved and other than a few brief film roles and cameos (like the erotic 3-D musical version of Cinderella and American Gigolo), Smiley wasn’t heard from again until 2003 when RPM Records acquired the master tapes. The sad truth was that Brett Smiley wallowed in serious, skid-row drug addiction for years. His legend proved strongly intriguing for glam rock fans and Johnny Thunders’ biographer, Nina Antonina, wrote a book, The Prettiest Star: Whatever Happened to Brett Smiley about how Smiley’s super brief pop supernova moment strongly influenced her teenage years.

Now recovered from the drug excesses of his past, Smiley continues to record and perform, mostly around New York City.

This Russell Harty clip features a young Brett Smiley performing his Ziggy-influenced “Space Ace” (the “Va Va Va Voom” B-side) and it’s pretty incredible if you like this sort of thing (Turn the sound up really loud as the audio here sounds far weaker than the punchier CD version of “Space Ace”).

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment