The Rolling Stones

Long Long While

Composed by Mick Jagger / Keith Richards

Song Review by

Originally issued as the British B-side to "Paint It Black" in 1966, "Long Long While" didn't come out in the U.S. until it appeared on the More Hot Rocks compilation in 1972. Unlike some of the early Rolling Stones B-sides, it was a pretty good song -- better not just than the average Stones B-side, but also better than some of the early originals they used as album filler. Perhaps it didn't make it onto an album such as Aftermath (or even the patchwork U.S. comp Flowers) because its tone was considerably different than most of the songs Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were writing at the time, which tended toward the snide and rebellious side. "Long Long While," in contrast, was a slow romantic heartbreak ballad, showing a heavy influence from the kind of Otis Redding soul dramas the Stones admired (and sometimes covered, like "I've Been Loving You Too Long" and "That's How Strong My Love Is"). There's a gospel-blues feel as well, the gospel being in Ian Stewart's piano and organ, the blues in the interjection of Keith Richards guitar licks. Mick Jagger starts the verses in a lower, more benign voice than usual, the melody suddenly rising and stuttering as he affects actual contrition and admits the woman was right, something he wasn't often wont to do. The tempo increases slightly and the pleading becomes more dramatic in the brief bridge, when Jagger determines to apologize. Done with great dignity, restraint, and a consummate soul music lover's taste, "Long Long While" is a highlight for those discovering rarely discussed or aired tracks from the Rolling Stones' back catalog.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies) 1972 ABKCO Records 2:59
No Image 1973 Decca
The Complete Singles Collection: The London Years 1989 ABKCO Records 3:00
No Image 2001 Decca Bootleg
Singles 1965-1967 2004 ABKCO Records 3:01
Paint It Black 2007 UMVD 3:01
The Rolling Stones in Mono 2016 ABKCO Records 3:04