It seems someone on the inside in The Rolling Stones organization has released to the internet a number of “vault” songs created by the group but to date not released.
Included among them is the original demo of It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It) which features David Bowie…!
Interested in hearing this demo? Click here:
I found out years ago that this song was originally something Mick Jagger and David Bowie worked on and that Jagger, and The Rolling Stones, wound up taking the song for themselves. I don’t believe it has a “co-written” by David Bowie credit nor, to be frank, do I know if indeed Bowie had that strong a hand on it.
However, the fact that a demo like this one exists where he’s doing some background singing does make the whole thing more intriguing.
Having said that…
David Bowie and Mick Jagger formally collaborated/co-sang on only one song, a remake of Dancing In The Street…
The song -and video- were created very quickly to be shown on Live Aid back in 1985 and the video, which at times has Bowie out of synch with the words, shows it. Plus there’s a sense of just filming them dancing around without seemingly giving much thought to what they were doing.
I point this out because though David Bowie in his career lent his voice to do some wonderful songs with other artists, including the excellent backgrounds to Lou Reed’s Satellite of Love…
…and Under Pressure, the beautiful duet he did with Queen…
…I felt like his sole (until that demo showed up) work with Mick Jagger showed that not all duets worked. The fact is that Mick Jagger’s voice is so in your face that Bowie’s singing/vocals seemed to be pushed far to the back and mostly obliterated. When the two sing together, all I seem to hear is Jagger!
So too it is with the demo of It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It). I don’t believe this version of the song was ever intended for release, at least not until now (I’m assuming this release wasn’t an illegal thing, but who knows), but I’m hard pressed to hear where exactly Bowie is in it.
Maybe I’m just getting deaf in my older age…!
Still, a fascinating relic of times past.