19th Nervous Breakdown

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"19th Nervous Breakdown"
German picture sleeve
Single by The Rolling Stones
B-side "As Tears Go By" (UK)
"Sad Day" (US and Canada)
Released 4 February 1966 (UK)
12 February 1966 (US)
Format 7"
Recorded 3–8 December 1965, RCA Studios, Hollywood
Genre Rock and roll, psychedelic rock[1]
Length 3:56
Label Decca F.12331(UK)
London 45-LON.9823 (US and Canada)
Writer(s) Jagger/Richards
Producer(s) Andrew Loog Oldham (engineer: David Hassinger)
The Rolling Stones singles chronology
"As Tears Go By"
"19th Nervous Breakdown"
"Paint It Black"
Music sample

"19th Nervous Breakdown" is a song by the English rock band The Rolling Stones.

The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards[2] during their 1965 tour of the United States. The song was recorded during the Aftermath sessions between 3 and 8 December 1965 at RCA Recording Studios in Hollywood, California, at the conclusion of their fourth North American tour. The song talks of a difficult, spoiled girl who cannot appreciate life. Mick Jagger says he came up with the title first, and then wrote the lyrics around the title. It was released as a single on 4 February 1966 and reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and in the United Kingdom Record Retailer chart. However, it hit No. 1 in the NME chart and the BBC's Pick of the Pops chart, both of which were more widely recognised in Britain at the time.

The opening riff and lead guitar are played by Keith Richards. The hypnotic riff Brian Jones is playing during the verses pays tribute to Bo Diddley's song "Diddley Daddy", Diddley being a major influence on the Rolling Stones' style.[3][4] The song is also well known for Bill Wyman's so-called "dive-bombing" bass line at the end of the song.

Like many early Rolling Stones recordings, "19th Nervous Breakdown" has been officially released only in mono sound. A stereo mix of the song has turned up in private and bootleg collections.[5] One version of the stereo mix features a radically different vocal from Jagger, who alternates between mellow on the verses and rawer on the chorus.

This was one of three songs ("(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "As Tears Go By" being the other two) the Rolling Stones performed on their Ed Sullivan Show appearance in February 1966.

Covers and cultural references[edit]

Joe Pass covered the song in his 1966 release The Stones Jazz. The Standells also covered the song in 1966, on their album Dirty Water.

On a season 10 episode of the sketch comedy Saturday Night Live, Martin Short (then a cast member on the show) portrayed Jagger in a skit, singing "19th Nervous Breakdown" with Gary Kroeger (who was portraying Julio Iglesias).

The song was used as the opening theme for the short-lived TV drama Miami Medical.

In the 2000 Warner Bros film Red Planet, directed by Antony Hoffman, Gallacher (Val Kilmer) is heard singing the refrain to himself on two separate occasions.

The song "19th Nervous Breakdown" was used in a 2003 Adam Sandler movie Anger Management.

British indie rock group The Wedding Present performed a version of the song in June of 2010 for The A.V. Club '​s A.V. Undercover series.[6]

The song is referenced in Van Halen's 2012 album "A Different Kind of Truth" during the song "You and Your Blues"

As the number 19 is a thematic concern in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, this song is referred to several times within it.

On a 2012 episode of Saturday Night Live, Mick Jagger was joined by the Foo Fighters and played the song along with "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)".

The Vampire Weekend track "Ya Hey" mentions this song in a poetic interlude.



Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1966) Peak
United Kingdom (Record Retailer) 2[8]
United Kingdom (NME) 1[9]
United States (Billboard Hot 100) 2[10]
United States (Billboard R&B Singles Chart) 32[10]


  1. ^ J. DeRogatis, Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock (Milwaukie, Michigan: Hal Leonard, 2003), ISBN 0-634-05548-8.p.53
  2. ^ Mick Jagger interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  3. ^ Bo Diddley – The Story Of Bo Diddley: album review
  4. ^ 19th Nervous Breakdown at AllMusic
  5. ^ "The Rolling Stones In Stereo". Archived from the original on 26 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  6. ^ "The Wedding Present covers The Rolling Stones". Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  7. ^ "19th Nervous Breakdown". rollingtimes.org. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Featured Artist: Rolling Stones". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  9. ^ Rees, Dafydd; Lazell, Barry; Osborne, Roger (1995). Forty Years of "NME" Charts (2nd ed.). Pan Macmillan. p. 164. ISBN 0-7522-0829-2. 
  10. ^ a b The Rolling Stones > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles at AllMusic. Retrieved 4 August 2010.

External links[edit]