Rolling Stones to Release 50-Year-Old BBC Radio Sessions

On Dec. 1, the Rolling Stones will fill a giant void in their official discography when they release “On Air,” a 32-track collection of live and studio recordings the band made for the BBC between 1963 and 1965. Available for decades on bootlegs in generally poor sound quality, the album combines studio sessions with raucous live material recorded before a studio audience, and features several songs that were not released on the band’s official 1960s discography.

Along with hits like “Satisfaction” and “The Last Time,” the inclusion of rock and roll staples that the band performed in its very earliest days, like Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee” and “Beautiful Delilah,” Buster Brown’s “Fannie Mae” and Tommy Tucker’s “Hi Heel Sneakers” makes the set the best representation of the Stones’ legendary nascent performances.

Of particular note is a fiery May 1964 performance that finds the band playing two songs from their then-new debut album along with the EP track “You Better Move On” and a version of Bo Diddley’s “Cops and Robbers.”

The set will be released via Polydor Records/UMe on CD, double CD deluxe edition, heavy-weight vinyl and special limited-edition coloured vinyl, and includes performances from such long-gone British radio shows as “Saturday Club,” “Top Gear,” “Rhythm and Blues” and “The Joe Loss Pop Show.”

According to a press release, the recordings have gone through a process called “audio source separation”, which involved de-mixing the transcripts and allowing engineers at Abbey Road access to the original instrumentation and voices within each track, so that they could be rebuilt, rebalanced and remixed.

Curiously, the Stones neglected their ample archives during the 1990s boom of the CD era — which saw most major artists releasing plush boxed sets of early material — and only began mining the vault in recent years. However, they have done so with a vengeance, recently releasing remastered and/or expanded editions of their entire 1963-69 Decca Records catalog in mono; a deluxe edition of their 1967 LP “Their Satanic Majesties Request,” and their 1971 classic “Sticky Fingers” along with multiple live releases from the vault.

  1. Come On Saturday Club, 1963
  2. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction Saturday Club, 1965
  3. Roll Over Beethoven Saturday Club, 1963
  4. The Spider And The Fly Yeah Yeah, 1965
  5. Cops And Robbers Blues in Rhythm, 1964
  6. It’s All Over Now The Joe Loss Pop Show, 1964
  7. Route 66 Blues in Rhythm, 1964
  8. Memphis, Tennessee Saturday Club, 1963
  9. Down The Road Apiece Top Gear, 1965
  10. The Last Time Top Gear, 1965
  11. Cry To Me Saturday Club, 1965
  12. Mercy, Mercy Yeah Yeah, 1965
  13. Oh! Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin’) Saturday Club, 1965
  14. Around And Around Top Gear, 1964
  15. Hi Heel Sneakers Saturday Club, 1964
  16. Fannie Mae Saturday Club, 1965
  17. You Better Move On Blues in Rhythm, 1964
  18. Mona Blues In Rhythm, 1964

Bonus Tracks (Deluxe)

  1. I Wanna Be Your Man Saturday Club, 1964
  2. Carol Saturday Club, 1964
  3. I’m Moving On The Joe Loss Pop Show, 1964
  4. If You Need Me The Joe Loss Pop Show, 1964
  5. Walking The Dog Saturday Club, 1964
  6. Confessin’ The Blues The Joe Loss Pop Show, 1964
  7. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love Top Gear, 1965
  8. Little By Little The Joe Loss Pop Show, 1964
  9. Ain’t That Loving You Baby Rhythm And Blues, 1964
  10. Beautiful Delilah Saturday Club, 1964
  11. Crackin’ Up Top Gear, 1964
  12. I Can’t Be Satisfied Top Gear, 1964
  13. I Just Want to Make Love To You Saturday Club, 1964
  14. 2120 South Michigan Avenue Rhythm and Blues, 1964