The Rolling Stones

Good Times, Bad Times

Composed by Mick Jagger / Keith Richards

Song Review by

On their second through their fifth British singles in 1963 and 1964, the Rolling Stones used the B-sides to try out some of their early songwriting efforts, tentatively moving toward a blues-rock fusion that really wouldn't coalesce until 1965. "Good Times, Bad Times" was the B-side of their fourth U.K. single, "It's All Over Now" (it would also be the B-side of "It's All Over Now" in the States). While it's nothing special, it's a clear improvement over their two previous self-penned B-sides, "Stoned" and "Little By Little." More importantly, perhaps, it's really the first original song by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to draw on acoustic American rural blues traditions, rather than the more electrified, R&B-influenced urban variety. Simply arranged with 12-string acoustic guitar, harmonica, and bass drum, it's very much a pastiche of Delta country blues, competently done though without much of an identity of its own. Perhaps the most striking part of the number is the opening guitar figure, which runs through a rapid series of chords that don't stick to the usual 12-bar blues progression, though this promising avenue isn't pursued over the rest of the song. In truth, the track is a little meandering, though the sincere love the Stones felt for this roots music certainly comes through. It was valued highly enough to be included on the group's first American greatest-hits collection, Big Hits: High Tide and Green Grass, though perhaps that was just a way of fattening their royalty coffers. The Rolling Stones' "Good Times, Bad Times," incidentally, is completely unrelated to the song of the same name that appears on Led Zeppelin's first album.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
12 X 5 1964 ABKCO Records 2:31
No Image 1964 Decca
Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) 1966 ABKCO Records 2:32
More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies) 1972 ABKCO Records 2:29
The Complete Singles Collection: The London Years 1989 ABKCO Records 2:30
25 X 5 1990 Sony Music Distribution
12 X 5/Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! 1999 CD Maximum
Remastered Series 2004 ABKCO Records 2:32
Singles 1963-1965 2004 ABKCO Records 2:30
The Rolling Stones in Mono 2016 ABKCO Records 2:32