I’m one of those people who get angry when the newspapers print a rumor masquerading as as a fact on page one and a few days later print a retraction on page 45. In my last blog I mentioned that Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones created the famous guitar riff from “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”. Musician, Artist, producer, and musicologist Al Kooper, who I’ve known since the sixties contacted me about my claim. He said that,”The guitar riff is famously associiated with Keith Richards, who has told the story in many interviews” Al also said that he e-mailed Andrew Loog Oldham, the Stones former producer/ manager, who confirmed that it was, “A Richards Riff not a Jones Jangle!”

This set me to thinking where did I get my information? We all know that, “It must be true if you saw it on the internet’…but this was long before Al Gore invented it! After a little meditation and some memory retreival I narrowed it down to two possible sources. The first, was a serialized version of a former Rolling Stone, disgruntled drug dealer’s “tell all book”, that ran in the National Enquirer (that I read at the checkout counter.) The second was the confession of one of Brian Jones’ ex-girlfriends, revealed during an intimate moment ( I won’t even try to go there)

Anyway, I try not to let the facts get in the way, so I e-mailed Al back that I was standing by my claim that Brian created that famous riff. Al e-mailed back, ” I just like to see the truth printed in the day of so much untruth.”, which really hit me hard, Al continued,”The guy who produced the record and was in the studio, who was in the store when Keith bought the fuzz-tone at the suggestion of Jack Nitzsche, says it was totally Keith, and he’s a huge Brian fan !!!! He discovered the band, produced them and managed them. Is there a better authority?”
How can I argue with that…Another Urban Myth Bytes The Dust!
Thanks Al…Andrew.

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Brian Jones
In 1969, Horizon was a group that was signed to Schwaid/Merenstein productions. My pal, Lou Merenstein asked me if I like to produce the group, which I thought was as good as the Association. I didn’t like any of the songs they had. I told him that I’d keep the group in mind, if I had any ideas. A few weeks later, after hearing that Brian Jones, who I had hung out with on my first trip to the U.K. had drowned in his swimming pool, I put together a medley of Rolling Stone songs and told Lou that I had an idea for a concept record called “Tribute” that started with a chorus of monks slowly singing “Paint it Black” in Latin…while a Cello was playing the guitar riff from “Satisfaction” (which Brian Jones created)…which evolved into an uptempo “Ruby Tuesday”…with a mixed chorale and most of the N.Y. Philharmonic Orchestra!!

He loved the idea and gave me carte blanche in the studio, if I could finish it up fast and get it on the market!!!. I taught Horizon the parts that afternoon, that night I dictated the parts for the orchestra to an arranger and we were in the studio the next day…doing final mixes that night.

The next morning I took the master to Lou Merenstein’s office and played it for him. He started screaming, “I don’t believe it…I don’t believe it!!! It’s a masterpiece!!” With tears in his eyes he handed me the award he received from Rolling Stone for having produced the album of the year, Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” and said, “You deserve this !!!” (this was the exact moment I became a legend in my own mind.)

Lou called Neil Bogart, head of Buddah records , who was rushing off to the airport. Lou played Neil the record over the phone, and when it was over Lou kept saying, “Hello….Hello…..”, to no one at the end of the line. We just shrugged our shoulders and kept playing “Tribute” over and over. 10 minutes later Buddah’s lawyer was in Lou’s office with a contract and a $10,000 check for the master!!! Neil couldn’t finish the conversation without missing his plane, but he had to have the record !!!

When they rush released it the following week, we were all positive that the record would go to number one! I was even bold enough to echo a statement of my hero, Phil Spector, “If this record isn’t a hit..I’ll NEVER produce again!!!” OK, it wasn’t a hit..it didn’t even make the charts…but I did have the decency to wait a few months before I produced again.