19th Nervous Breakdown

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"19th Nervous Breakdown"
Cover of the 1966 German single
Single by The Rolling Stones
Released 12 February 1966 (US)
5 February 1966 (UK)
Format 7"
Recorded 3-8 December 1965 at RCA Studios, Hollywood
Length 3:56
Songwriter(s) Jagger/Richards
Producer(s) Andrew Loog Oldham
The Rolling Stones UK singles chronology
"Get Off of My Cloud"
"19th Nervous Breakdown"
"Paint It Black"
"Get Off of My Cloud"
"19th Nervous Breakdown"
"Paint It Black"
The Rolling Stones US singles chronology
"As Tears Go By"
(1965) As Tears Go By1965
"19th Nervous Breakdown"
(1966) 19th Nervous Breakdown1966
"Paint It Black"
(1966) Paint It Black1966
Audio sample

"19th Nervous Breakdown" is a song by the English rock band The Rolling Stones. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards,[1] recorded in late 1965 and released as a single in early 1966, it reached number 2 on both the US and UK charts, while topping the NME charts.

Composition and recording[edit]

The song was written during the group's 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.

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.[4] 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.



"19th Nervous Breakdown" was released as a single on 4 February 1966 in the UK and reached No. 2 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 widely recognised in Britain at the time, and 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'", which had prevented "19th Nervous Breakdown" from reaching No.1 on the Record Retailer chart, and The Rolling Stones' next single release, "Paint It Black", which reached No.1 on the Record Retailer chart for a week at the end of May 1966).[6]

"19th Nervous Breakdown" was released on 12 February 1966 in the US and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It 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 the US in February 1966.

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 boxed set The Rolling Stones in Mono.

In popular culture[edit]

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

The song was used in a 2003 Adam Sandler movie Anger Management.

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.

It was used in the 2015 Universal Pictures animated film, Minions.

Neurasthenic Warhol superstar Edie Sedgwick maintained that this song was written about her. <Ronald Tavel, "Andy Warhol's Ridiculous Screenplays," Fast Books, 2015; Robert Heide, introduction to "Lupe," in "25 Plays," Fast Books, 2015>

The line "19th nervous breakdown" is included in the describing the subject of the Van Halen song "You and Your Blues" from their 2012 A Different Kind of Truth album.

"Here Comes Your 19th Nervous Breakdown/Stones: Last Words 1972" is the title of a text written by the Danish poet Dan Turèll in 1973.

Nashville-based alt-country band Jason & the Scorchers covered the song on their 1986 album Still Standing.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1966) Peak
Germany (Official German Charts)[7] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[8] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[9] 2
United Kingdom (Record Retailer)[10] 2
United Kingdom (NME)[11] 1
United States (Billboard Hot 100)[12] 2
United States (Billboard R&B Singles Chart)[12] 32


  1. ^ Mick Jagger interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  2. ^ Bo Diddley – The Story Of Bo Diddley: album review
  3. ^ 19th Nervous Breakdown at AllMusic
  4. ^ "The Rolling Stones In Stereo". Archived from the original on 26 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "19th Nervous Breakdown". rollingtimes.org. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  6. ^ "The 100 Best-Selling Singles of 1966 [in the U.K.]". Retrieved 2015-05-13. 
  7. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Rolling Stones – 19th Nervous Breakdown". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  8. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – The Rolling Stones – 19th Nervous Breakdown". VG-lista. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Featured Artist: Rolling Stones". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  11. ^ Rees, Dafydd; Lazell, Barry; Osborne, Roger (1995). Forty Years of "NME" Charts (2nd ed.). Pan Macmillan. p. 164. ISBN 0-7522-0829-2. 
  12. ^ a b The Rolling Stones > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles at AllMusic. Retrieved 4 August 2010.

External links[edit]