Black Songs Covered By The Rolling Stones

Black Artists Covered by Rolling Stones

This Spotify playlist presents some of the essential songs performed or written by black artists that were covered by the Rolling Stones.

The original songs are presented back to back with the Stone’s covers.

Needless to say that the Stones learned a lot from these songs and built a 50 year career on them.

If you want to dig deeper into songs covered by the Stones, I recommend Gerard Slinkert’s project Undercover. He presents 83 original songs and compares them with the Stone’s version. You can listen to both the originals and the covers.

Bo Diddley und seine Frauen

Bo Diddley, Long Beach Blues Festival (1997). Foto: Masahiro Sumori.

Die Welt des Rock ‘n’ Roll war bevölkert von Little Sixteens, Suzi Qs, Pretty Things, Donnas, Bette Jeans, Little Queenies, Peggy Sues und Lucillas. Das Rock ‘n’ Roll-Geschäft war vor allem männlich und Frauen hatten nur in Song-Titeln oder  im Publikum Platz – aber nicht auf der Bühne. Gut, vielleicht als Begleitsängerinnen, aber sicher nicht an der Gitarre.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Innovator Bo Diddley (1928-2008) war die Ausnahme, die die Regel bestätigte. Während seiner langen Karriere arbeitete er immer wieder mit Musikerinnen zusammen. Schauen wir uns einige genauer an.

Guitarist and Singer Lady Bo (Peggy Jones)

Gitarristin und Sängerin Lady Bo (Peggy Jones).

1957 ersetzte Peggy Jones alias Lady Bo den Gitarristen von Bo Diddley, Jody Williams, weil dieser in die Armee eingezogen wurde. Jones spielte bis 1961 mit Bo Diddley, und zwar live und in den Tonstudios. Ihr Beitrag zu Bo Diddleys Musik war wesentlich.

Sie spielte elektrische Gitarre auf klassischen Songs wie «Hey, Bo Diddley», «Mona», «Say Man», «Crackin’ Up», «The Story of Bo Diddley», «Say Man, Back Again», «Road Runner» und «Bo Diddley’s A Gunslinger». Sie spielte nicht nur elektrische Gitarre, sondern sang auch und spielte Piano. Neben ihrer Tätigkeit für Bo Diddley arbeitete sie mit unzähligen weiteren Gruppen und Sängern auf der Bühne und im Studio zusammen. Von 1962 an konzentrierte sich Lady Bo auf ihre eigene Karriere, aber sie spielte bis 1993 immer wieder mal mit Bo Diddley zusammen.  (Quellen: Lady Bo… Rock & Roll’s First Lady of Guitar and Allexperts, beide von David Blakey).

The Duchess (Norma-Jean Wofford).

The Duchess (Norma-Jean Wofford).

Gitarristin Norma-Jean Wofford (1942? – 2005) übernahm Lady Bo’s Stelle. Bald wurde sie von Bo Diddley auf den Künstlernamen «The Duchess» (die Gräfin) getauft. Über Norma-Jean Wofford gibt es nicht viele Informationen. Laut Spectropop und Wikipedia begleitete sie 1962 Bo Diddley auf seiner ersten England-Tournee und spielte auf folgenden Alben mit: «Bo Diddley & Company», «Bo Diddley’s Beach Party», «Hey! Good Lookin’», «500% More Man»and «The Originator». Als sie 1966 heiratete, verliess «die Gräfin» Bo Diddleys Band. Siehe auch ihre Biografie auf  allmusic.

Andi Deily.

Bo Diddley und Debby Hastings, Central Park Summerstage (1990). Foto: Andi Deily.

Eine weitere wichtige Mitstreiterin von Bo Diddley war Debby Hastings. Sie blieb viel länger bei ihm als «The Duchess» und Lady Bo. Die elektrische Bassistin schloss sich ihm um 1984 herum an und arbeitete mit ihm zusammen bis zu seinem Tod 2008. Von 1994 an war sie auch seine musikalische Leiterin. Sie begleitete ihn live und im Studio. Zu hören ist sie unter anderem  auf dem für einen «Grammy» (ein Musikpreis in den USA) nominierten Album «A Man Amongst Men».

Debby Hastings Karriere begann in Wisconsin, sie setzte sie in Memphis (Tennessee) fort, wo sie im Vorprogramm von Muddy Waters spielte und unter der Leitung von Isaac Hayes für Stax Records aufnahm. Bevor sie sich Bo Diddley anschloss, liess sie sich in New York nieder. Neben Bo Diddley spielte Debby Hastings mit vielen weiteren Legenden aus Soul, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Blues und Rock zusammen, wie zum Beispiel Sam Moore (vom Soul-Duo Sam and Dave), Willie Dixon, Edgar Winter, Dr. John, Chuck Berry, Little Richard und Jerry Lee Lewis. Sie war mit Ron Wood von den Rolling Stones und Bo Diddley auf deren «Gunslinger Tour», die auf der CD «Live At The Ritz» und der gleichnamigen DVD dokumentiert ist. 2005 spielte sie mit Eric Clapton und Robbie Robertson in der «Rock & Roll Hall of Fame».

Debby Hastings war im Mai 2007 bei Bo Diddley, als er den Gehirnschlag erlitt, der seine Karriere beendete. Am Gedenkgottesdienst für Bo Diddley sagte sie: «He was the rock the roll was built on.» (ungefähr: Er war der Felsen, auf dem das Rollen aufgebaut wurde). (Quellen: Beat lives On at a Memorial for Bo Diddley, Debby Hastings – The lady still rocks with the blues and Bo Diddley, email von Debby Hastings).

Mehr über Bo Diddley:

Bo Diddley And His Women

Bo Diddley, Long Beach Blues Festival (1997). Photo: Masahiro Sumori.

The world of rock ‘n’ roll was full of Little Sixteens, Suzie Qs, Pretty Things, Donnas, Bette Jeans, Little Queenies, Peggy Sues or Lucillas. Rock ‘n’ Roll was mainly a male business and you could find women only in song titles and in the audience – but not on stage. Well, maybe as background singers, but certainly not on guitar.

Rock ‘n’ roll innovator Bo Diddley (1928-2008) was the exception to the rule. Throughout his long career he worked together with female instrumentalists. Let’s have a closer look at them.

Guitarist and Singer Lady Bo (Peggy Jones)

Guitarist and singer Lady Bo (Peggy Jones).

In 1957 Peggy Jones aka Lady Bo replaced Bo Diddley’s guitarist Jody Williams, who had been drafted for military service. Jones played with Diddley until 1961 in the recording studios and on stage. Her contribution to Bo Diddleys music was essential.

She played electric guitar on classic songs like “Hey, Bo Diddley”, “Mona”, “Say Man”, “Crackin’ Up”, “The Story of Bo Diddley”, “Say Man, Back Again”, “Road Runner” and “Bo Diddley’s A Gunslinger”. She not only played electric guitar, but sometimes she also sang or played piano. Besides working with Bo Diddley, she performed and recorded with many different groups and singers. From 1962 on Lady Bo concentrated on her own career, but she still played with Bo from time to time until 1993. (Sources: Lady Bo… Rock & Roll’s First Lady of Guitar and Allexperts, both by David Blakey).

The Duchess (Norma-Jean Wofford).

The Duchess (Norma-Jean Wofford).

Guitarist Norma-Jean Wofford (1942? – 2005) took  over  Lady Bo’s position. Soon she was named “The Duchess” by Bo Diddley.  There’s not much information available about Norma-Jean Wofford. According to Spectropop and Wikipedia she accompanied Bo Diddley on his first England tour in 1962 and played on following Bo Diddley albums: “Bo Diddley & Company”, “Bo Diddley’s Beach Party”, “Hey! Good Lookin’”, “500% More Man” and “The Originator”. Norma-Jean Wofford left the band in 1966 when she got married. See also her biography on allmusic.

Andi Deily.

Bo Diddley and Debby Hastings at Central Park Summerstage (1990). Photo: Andi Deily.

Another important collaborator of Bo Diddley was Debby Hastings. She stayed much longer with him than the Duchess and Lady Bo. The electric bass player joined him around 1984 and worked with him until his death in 2008. From 1994 on she was also his music director. She played with him live and in the studio. You can hear her on Bo Diddley’s Grammy nominated album “A Man Amongst Men”.

Debby Hastings started her career in Wisconsin and then moved to Memphis, TN where she opened for Muddy Waters and recorded at Stax Records under Isaac Hayes. She later settled in New York before joining Bo Diddley. Besides Bo Diddley, Debby Hastings played with many soul, rock ‘n’ roll, blues and rock legends like Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave), Willie Dixon, Edgar Winter,  Dr. John, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis. She toured with Ron Wood and Bo Diddley playing for both of them on the Gunslinger Tour and the subsequent DVD and live album called “Live At the Ritz”. In 2005 she played with Eric Clapton and  Robbie Robertson at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Debby Hastings was with Bo Diddley in May 2007 when he had the stroke that ended his performing career. At the memorial for Bo Diddley she said: “He was the rock that the roll is built on.” (Sources: Beat lives On at a Memorial for Bo Diddley, Debby Hastings – The lady still rocks with the blues and Bo Diddley, email from Debby Hastings).

More about Bo Diddley:

Sister Rosetta Tharpe: Biography About A Forgotten Gospel Star And Rock-And-Roll Forerunner

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

34 years after her death there’s finally a biography about Sister Rosetta Tharpe. It’s called Shout, Sister, Shout!: The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915 – 1973) was a great Gospel and Rhythm and Blues singer and an innovative guitarist. Her guitar style influenced Chuck Berry and her animated style of singing was picked up by Little Richard. She started her career in Pentecostal churches, performed with Lucky Millinder & His Orchestra, played the Cotton Club, the Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall, and the Grand Ole Opry. All the same, her name has been forgotten for many years.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was not only a Gospel star, a guitar virtuoso, and a forerunner of Rock and Roll. She also was a dazzling personality. As a successful black musician and business woman who loved men and women, she definitively was ahead of her time. And like so many Gospel singers she was caught between religious and worldly music. Singing worldly music meant making more money and more fame, but losing the church audiences and having a guilty conscience. In the first two decades of her career Sister Rosetta Tharpe oscillated between worldly and religious music. Then, in the late fifties and through the sixties, she concentrated on Gospel again.

Book Cover Sister Rosetta Tharpe BiographyGayle F. Wald wrote the biography. She’s an professor of English. Her academic background shines through, she relies on the facts and doesn’t get lost in speculations. She interviewed dozens of people who knew Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Wald doesn’t hide conflicting memories of the interviewees. She writes straight and unagitated. It’s a sober biography that gives plain information. Where the facts are concerned, the soberness is appropriate. Unfortunately the soberness also shows in the scarce number of pictures and the rudimentary discography.

CD Cover Sister Rosetta TharpeRecommended Sister Rosetta Tharpe CD: The Gospel of Blues gives a good overview of Rosetta Tharpe’s music from 1938 – 1948.

Interesting reading: Article about Sister Rosetta Tharpe on East Bay Express.