The Rolling Stones song Keith Richards thought “nobody else could sing”

Keith Richards

The Rolling Stones never declared to be among the world’s best bands. Even though they might be the longest-surviving rock icons still active today, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger are able to extract most of their songs from the conventional blues formula. They do so with a dark twist that only they can provide. Keith Richards used to occasionally take the lead vocal on a song. However, he was aware that Jagger’s performance on one of their deep cuts was superior by any other vocalist.

But as a frontman, Jagger was still finding his feet when the band first formed. Hired by founder Brian Jones, Jagger gradually adapted his performance style, initially maintaining a stoic demeanor. He mastered his dance moves and infamous rooster walk when strutting across the stage.

When discussing Jagger’s performance, people often overlook the range of his vocal register. Jagger’s unmatched presence at the mic in rock doesn’t rival Mariah Carey’s vocal prowess. He channels all of the hurt that he has felt in his life into songs like ‘Satisfaction’.

While Jagger flexed his muscles on albums like Between the Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request, the band returned to their bluesy roots at the end of the 1960s. From Beggars Banquet to Exile on Main Street, the band delivered memorable rock, spanning plaintive ballads like ‘Wild Horses’. They also delivered barnburners like ‘Bitch’ and ‘Brown Sugar.’

However, of all the songs that touched on the band’s bluesy foundation, ‘Midnight Rambler’ seemed to outperform their wealth of cover songs. Using a blues shuffle as a foundation, Jagger sounds like the hardened blues man he was destined to be. While Richards provides the perfect rhythm.

Despite Richards’ debt to blues players like Robert Johnson, this may have been one of the few times the band outperformed their influences. Praising Jagger’s vocals, Richards stated that no other rock singer, aside from the groove, could match them before or since.

When discussing the song’s composition, Richards recalled how well Jagger’s voice fit the melody, saying, “I mean, I write songs for Mick to be able to sing.” They are obviously not tailor-made because I am not a very good tailor. But nobody else could sing ‘Midnight Rambler,’ for instance, except Mick, and I wrote it for him.”

However, “Midnight Rambler” only represents a small portion of Jagger’s vocal range. Jagger continued experimenting with different vocal ranges as the band explored new musical horizons in the 1970s and beyond. He crafted exquisite moments, such as “Angie,” and conducted experiments, like “Harlem Shuffle,” that it was best not to repeat. For Keef, there’s no better feeling than when he’s got his roots in the blues, regardless of how many different things Jagger can do with his voice.

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