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.
Bonus Tracks (Deluxe)
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