Song Musings

What you always wanted to know about that tune

Happy Wednesday and welcome to another installment of Song Musings. This recently introduced recurring feature looks at tunes I haven’t covered yet or only mentioned in passing. It pretty much could be any song regardless of whether the band or artist is famous or more obscure.

Well, my pick for this week definitely falls into the former category. How about “the world’s greatest rock & roll band?” And how about a tune that isn’t exactly what you typically associate with them?

Of course, I’m talking about The Rolling Stones, who I trust need no further introduction. But unless you’re a Stones fan you may be less familiar with a song titled Hot Stuff. At least I can say it hadn’t been on my radar screen until I stumbled across it on Twitter this past Sunday.

Hot Stuff, credited to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, is the opener of Black and Blue, the 13th British and 15th American studio album the Stones released in April 1976, and the first they recorded after Mick Taylor’s departure in December 1974. While it may not be the best they’ve ever done, it’s a cool funky tune that makes you want to move!

The song starts off with a nice funky guitar played by Richards. Drummer Charlie Watts and bassist Bill Wyman add an infectious groove. The Stones also got a little help from some friends: Harvey Mandel, formerly of Canned Heat, provides some neat wah-wah guitar action. The great Billy Preston is on piano and also contributes backing vocals, together with Richards and guitarist Ronnie Wood. There’s also prolific session musician Ollie E. Brown on percussion.

Hot Stuff also appeared separately as a promo single in the U.S. where it reached no. 49 on the Billboard Hot 100 – decidedly less hot than Fool to Cry, the album’s lead single that became an internal hit, peaking at no. 2, no. 6, no. 8 and no. 10 in France, the UK, The Netherlands and the U.S., respectively.

Here’s another cool clip, which according to the description captures a rehearsal of Hot Stuff on August 16, 2002 in Toronto. This jives with a record on, according to which the Stones played Palais Royale Ballroom there that day as part of their Licks World Tour.

Following are a few additional tidbits from Songfacts:

With Mick Taylor gone, The Stones were auditioning lead guitarists while recording Black And Blue. Harvey Mandel from Canned Heat played on this, but Ron Wood got the job.

This was dangerously close to disco – Donna Summer had a disco hit three years later with a the same title. [Let’s not forget about Miss You, which Richards, who at the time the Stones recorded the tune was absent, facing serious legal problems over a previous arrest for drug possession in Toronto, dismissively called Mick’s disco song – CMM]

“Hot Stuff” was the working title for the album until they decided on Black And Blue.

Sources: Wikipedia;; Songfacts, YouTube

16 thoughts on “Song Musings”

  1. Black and Blue was a different kind of album….with them auditioning guitar players. My favorite Rolling Stone song is on that album…Memory Motel…. this is part reggae and part disco. That old clip is pretty cool.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I had that album….I liked a lot of it. You have inspired me to finish my top 10 Stone albums list…I had it in drafts and after I read this post today…I’m going to have it Sunday if possible

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You know…every list I do I always get a great response…people love lists! I think this album is in the lower half of my top ten I think. Hot Stuff…is not your typical Stones song!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Agree. It was a fairly spontaneous decision to feature “Hot Stuff,” even though it’s certainly not their best. What in part intrigued me is that it is a bit of an unusal tune for the Stones. I also like the groove, even though there’s not a lot of variation in the song!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know why, when I have so many Stones albums, but I always think of this track as coming way later than ’76. Cool as, though. They couldn’t / can’t do wrong by me. 😉 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I replied to some other comments, until recently, I hadn’t known “Hot Stuff”. It’s kind of a cool funky tune. That said, my favorite Stones album is “Sticky Fingers.” I also dig their ’60s output. I prefer both over “Hot Stuff”.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If I’d ever heard this, I’d forgotten it. Always nice to see Billy having fun on the keyboards! The song’s a bit boring to me, but it does have a good groove to it… I was thinking, listening to it, pull the bass up some more in it and you’d have what the Red Hot Chili Peppers are trying to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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