Mick Jagger and Keith Richards tell different versions of the story of how they started writing songs. Richards claims that their manager, Andrew Oldham, locked them in a room and told them he wouldn’t let them out until they had written a song. Jagger says Oldham merely suggested he was going to lock them in, but that was inspiration enough. Regardless of how it started, Mick and Keith have written the bulk of the songs the Rolling Stones have recorded in fifty-plus years. Like John Lennon and Paul McCartney (who might have been Jagger’s and Richards’s inspiration to become songwriters), many of their songs were written by one or the other (for example, Mick wrote “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Brown Sugar” while Keith wrote “Happy” and “Ruby Tuesday”) but credited to both, but most of their songs were written together.
While the bulk of their compositions were written for the Rolling Stones, some of their songs were recorded only by other artists. An example is “That Girl Belongs To Yesterday,” recorded by Gene Pitney and released in January 1964. It rose to #7 in the UK and #9 in Australia, but failed to crack the top 40 in the US and Canada.
They’ve also written with other artists, such as Marianne Faithful, with whom they wrote “Sister Morphine,” the B side to “Something Better,” recorded in 1969. It was originally credited to just Jagger and Richards, but her name was added after a legal battle.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, your Two for Tuesday, December 8, 2015.