The Rolling Stones

You Can Make It If You Try

Composed by Ted Jarrett

Song Review by

Though the Rolling Stones' first album was largely devoted to uptempo blues-rock numbers, they did vary the pace to include a little bit of soul, and a little bit of balladry. "You Can Make It If You Try" has some of both, being a cover of a 1957 Gene Allison hit that, in hindsight, was one of the '50s songs that helped point the way from R&B to soul. In its original form, "You Can Make It If You Try" is a slow ballad with elements of doo wop and gospel, urging chin-up forbearance in the face of obstacles, the gospel factor amplified by the churchy organ, the rock'n'roll one by the saxophone. It was also a pretty big hit, making the pop Top Forty, though it never seems to have made it into oldies radio rotation. It seems possible the Stones might have learned it not from Allison but from one of their favorite soul singers, Solomon Burke, who covered it on a 1963 album. At any rate, their version is notably different and arguably superior to Allison's, as the group really emphasizes the anguished, exhortatory feel of the song, dragging out the tempo a little more dramatically, putting prominent tambourine and more guitar pluck into the arrangement, and deftly incorporating Ian Stewart's organ. Especially good is the way the group drops out to let Jagger sing the first lines of verses unaccompanied, and how the rest of the band adds roughshod but appealing backup harmonies, particularly in the stuttering-tempoed bridge. Though one of the more obscure early Rolling Stones tracks, "You Can Make It If You Try" was a strong addition to their first full-length release, and one which indicated there was some versatility to the group beyond the electric blues-heavy repertoire with which they first burst to prominence.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Rolling Stones (England's Newest Hit Makers) 1964 Polydor 2:02
The Rolling Stones/Undercover 1999 Rolling Stones Records
Remastered Series 2004 ABKCO Records 2:02
The Rolling Stones 1964-1969 [Vinyl Box Set] 2010 ABKCO Records / Universal Distribution 2:02
The Rolling Stones in Mono 2016 ABKCO Records 2:02
No Image Trademark Of Official Quality
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