The Last Time: Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Jagger. Released in February 1965. The first Rolling Stones composition to top the UK pop charts.
In early 1965, the Rolling Stones were in an exquisite quandary. They were the second biggest group in Britain by that point and rising fast in the US. But their popularity was based on covers of contemporary R&B records and, in the case of their most recent UK No 1, Little Red Rooster, pure blues. Manager Andrew Oldham hustled Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to write their own songs and, after several false starts, The Last Time was the first one to be chosen for an A-side. It was a knock-off, of course, from This May Be the Last Time by the Staples Singers, but the Rolling Stones made the material their own. The meshing, droning guitars recede into ambient depth, while Mick Jagger’s performance ranges from sadness and loss to – and this would become a trope – sheer vituperation.
Released in February 1965, The Last Time quickly went to No 1 in the UK, promoted by Mick Jagger doing the James Brown slide on Top of the Pops. Attitudinal, preoccupied with sound, groove and tone, it was one of the cornerstones – along with the Beatles’ Ticket To Ride – of the emergent rock aesthetic.