19th Nervous Breakdown

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"19th Nervous Breakdown"
1966 German single picture sleeve
Single by the Rolling Stones
  • 4 February 1966 (1966-02-04) (UK)
  • 12 February 1966 (US)
Recorded3–8 December 1965
StudioRCA, Hollywood, California
Producer(s)Andrew Loog Oldham
Rolling Stones UK singles chronology
"Get Off of My Cloud"
"19th Nervous Breakdown"
"Paint It Black"
Rolling Stones US singles chronology
"As Tears Go By"
"19th Nervous Breakdown"
"Paint It Black"
Audio sample

"19th Nervous Breakdown" is a song recorded by the English rock band the Rolling Stones. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards,[1] it was recorded in late 1965 and released as a single in February 1966. It reached number 2 on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and Britain's Record Retailer chart (subsequently the UK Singles Chart), while topping the charts compiled by Cash Box and NME. In the UK, it broke the band's streak of consecutive number-one singles that had started with "It's All Over Now" (1964).

Composition and recording[edit]

The song was written during the group's October–December 1965 tour of the United States and recorded at the conclusion of their fourth North American tour during the Aftermath album sessions, between 3 and 8 December 1965 at RCA Recording Studios in Hollywood, California.

Jagger came up with the title first and then wrote the lyrics around it. The opening guitar figure is played by Keith Richards while in the verses Brian Jones plays a bass-note figure that derives from "Diddley Daddy" by Bo Diddley, a major influence on the Rolling Stones' style.[2][3] Here the riff is extended into a long blues chord progression behind verbose lyrics similar to those of their previous UK single, "Get Off of My Cloud", and the verse alternates with a bridge theme. The track is also known for Bill Wyman's so-called "dive-bombing" bass line at the end. At almost four minutes' duration, it is long by the standards of the time.

Cash Box described the single as a "pulsating, hard-driving fast-moving bluesy affair about a sensitive gal who lets her guy get him down."[4]


According to authors Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon,[5] except where noted:

The Rolling Stones

Additional musician


"19th Nervous Breakdown" was released as a single on 4 February 1966 in the UK and on 12 February 1966 in the US. Like many early Rolling Stones recordings, "19th Nervous Breakdown" has been officially released only in mono sound. A rather weak stereo mix (as well as being about 20 seconds shorter) of the song has turned up in private and bootleg collections.[7] 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. The Stones performed "19th Nervous Breakdown" live on The Ed Sullivan Show on 11 September.[8]

"19th Nervous Breakdown" has further appeared on numerous Stones compilations, including Hot Rocks 1964–1971 (1971),[9] Singles Collection: The London Years (1989),[10] Forty Licks (2002),[11] and GRRR! (2012).[12]

In 2016, a previously unreleased alternate mono mix of the track appeared on Stray Cats, a compilation of singles and non-album tracks, in the box set The Rolling Stones in Mono.[13][14]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the UK, "19th Nervous Breakdown" reached number 2 on the Record Retailer chart. The single topped the NME Top 30 chart for three weeks in addition to the BBC's Pick of the Pops charts. The single was the fifth best-selling single of 1966 in the UK, achieving greater full-year sales than both Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and the Stones' own "Paint It Black".[15]

In the US, "19th Nervous Breakdown" peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, behind "The Ballad of the Green Berets" by SSgt Barry Sadler and number 1 on the Cash Box Top 100.[16]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1966) Peak
Canada (RPM Mag.)[17] 9
Germany (Official German Charts)[18] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[19] 2
New Zealand (Listener)[20] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[21] 2
South Africa (Springbok)[22] 2
United Kingdom (Record Retailer)[23] 2
United Kingdom (NME)[24] 1
United States (Billboard Hot 100)[25] 2
United States (Billboard R&B Singles Chart)[25] 32


  1. ^ Mick Jagger interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  2. ^ "Bo Diddley – The Story Of Bo Diddley: album review". Musicomh.com. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  3. ^ 19th Nervous Breakdown at AllMusic
  4. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. 19 February 1966. p. 20. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  5. ^ Margotin & Guesdon 2016, p. 160.
  6. ^ a b Babiuk & Prevost 2013, p. 205.
  7. ^ "The Rolling Stones in Stereo". Archived from the original on 26 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
  8. ^ "Products Page". The Ed Sullivan Show. 4 March 2016. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  9. ^ Eder, Bruce, Hot Rocks: 1964-1971 - The Rolling Stones | Songs, Reviews, Credits, AllMusic, retrieved 17 January 2021
  10. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Complete Singles Collection: The London Years – The Rolling Stones". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 6 January 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  11. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. ""Forty Licks" – The Rolling Stones". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 6 January 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  12. ^ Egan, Sean. "BBC – Music – Review of The Rolling Stones – Grrr!" (in British English). BBC. Archived from the original on 6 January 2021. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  13. ^ Grow, Kory (10 August 2016). "Massive Rolling Stones Mono Box Set for Release" (in American English). Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  14. ^ Gallucci, Michael (27 September 2016). "Rolling Stones, 'The Rolling Stones in Mono': Album Review". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  15. ^ "The 100 Best-Selling Singles of 1966 [in the U.K.]". Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  16. ^ Bonanno, Massimo (1990). The Rolling Stones Chronicle: The First Thirty Years. London: Plexus. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-859651356.
  17. ^ "RPM 100" (PDF). RPM. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  18. ^ "The Rolling Stones – 19th Nervous Breakdown" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 19 June 2016. To see peak chart position, click "TITEL VON The Rolling Stones"
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  20. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Flavourofnz.co.nz. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  21. ^ "The Rolling Stones – 19th Nervous Breakdown". VG-lista. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  22. ^ "SA Charts 1965 – March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  23. ^ "Featured Artist: Rolling Stones". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
  24. ^ Rees, Dafydd; Lazell, Barry; Osborne, Roger (1995). Forty Years of "NME" Charts (2nd ed.). Pan Macmillan. p. 164. ISBN 0-7522-0829-2.
  25. ^ a b The Rolling Stones > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles at AllMusic. Retrieved 4 August 2010.