Tell Me (The Rolling Stones song)

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"Tell Me"
Single by The Rolling Stones
from the album The Rolling Stones
B-side"I Just Want to Make Love to You"
Released13 June 1964 (U.S.)
RecordedFebruary 1964
  • 4:05 (album version)
    2:47 (single version)
LabelLondon 45-LON 9682
Producer(s)Andrew Loog Oldham
The Rolling Stones singles chronology
"Not Fade Away"
"Tell Me"
"It's All Over Now"

"Tell Me (You're Coming Back)" is a song by English rock band The Rolling Stones, featured on their 1964 self-titled album (later referred to as England's Newest Hit Makers in the US). It was later released as single A-side in the US & Canada only, becoming the first Jagger/Richards song that the band released as a single A-side, and their first record to enter the US Top 40. The single reached #24 in the US and #1 in Sweden. It was not released as a single in the UK.

The song[edit]

Written by singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards, "Tell Me" is a pop ballad. Richie Unterberger, on Allmusic, said in his review of the song, "It should be pointed out ... that the Rolling Stones, even in 1964, were more versatile and open toward non-blues-rooted music than is often acknowledged by critics."[1] The Rolling Stones' two previous singles bear out this observation: one had been the Lennon–McCartney-penned "I Wanna Be Your Man" (later recorded by The Beatles as well); another was Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away".

Jagger said in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone magazine: "['Tell Me'] is very different from doing those R&B covers or Marvin Gaye covers and all that. There's a definite feel about it. It's a very pop song, as opposed to all the blues songs and the Motown covers, which everyone did at the time."[2]

The song's lyrics are a glimpse of a failed relationship and the singer's attempt to win back the girl's love:

I want you back again
I want your love again
I know you find it hard to reason with me
But this time it's different, darling you'll see

Regarding the lyrics, Unterberger says, "When [Jagger and Richards] began to write songs, they were usually not derived from the blues, but were often surprisingly fey, slow, Mersey-type pop numbers... 'Tell Me' was quite acoustic-based, with a sad, almost dispirited air. After quiet lines about the end of the love affair, the tempo and melody both brighten…"[1]

Recording and release[edit]

"Tell Me" was recorded in London in February 1964; versions both with and without Ian Stewart's piano were cut.[3][4] Jagger said: "Keith was playing 12-string and singing harmonies into the same microphone as the 12-string. We recorded it in this tiny studio in the West End of London called Regent Sound, which was a demo studio. I think the whole of that album was recorded in there."[2]

Richards said in a 1971 interview with Rolling Stone, "'Tell Me'... was a dub. Half those records were dubs on that first album, that Mick and I and Charlie and I'd put a bass on or maybe Bill was there and he'd put a bass on. 'Let's put it down while we remember it,' and the next thing we know is, 'Oh look, track 8 is that dub we did a couple months ago.' That's how little control we had."[5]

Early pressings of the UK release of the debut album mistakenly included the piano-less version of "Tell Me" (the 2:52 version); all subsequent releases have featured the version with piano.[4] The full-length (4:05 or 4:06) recording of this piano version, which appeared on the standard UK LP after the mistake was corrected, has an abrupt ending before the performance of the song finishes. Most other LP and CD versions of the UK debut album — as well as the Stones' debut US album, originally subtitled but later officially called England's Newest Hit Makers — contain an edited version of this recording, which fades out at around 3:48.

In June 1964 "Tell Me" was released as a single in the USA only. The single edit is 2:47. It peaked at # 24 for two weeks, and lasting in the Billboard Hot 100 for a total of 10 weeks.[citation needed] The B-side was a cover of the Willie Dixon song "I Just Wanna Make Love to You".

The Rolling Stones performed the song in concert in 1964 and 1965.[3]

The Stones lip-synched to a performance of this song on The Mike Douglas Show in 1964.

The "Tell Me" single was re-released on various Rolling Stones compilation albums, including Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass), More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies), 30 Greatest Hits, and Singles Collection: The London Years. Over the years, the 3:48 edit has replaced the 2:47 single edit on such compilations; for example, the 1989 edition of Singles Collection: The London Years has the single edit, while the 2002 edition has the longer version.

The song was used in Martin Scorsese´s film Mean Streets (1973).

The "Rules for the Actors" section of Peter Handke's 1966 theater piece Offending the Audience contains the line "Listen to “Tell Me” by the Rolling Stones."


Additional musicians


Chart (1964–65) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[6] 7
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[7] 1
Germany (Official German Charts)[8] 22
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[9] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 24

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Unterberger, Richie. "Tell Me". song review. Allmusic. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b Wenner, Jann S. (14 December 1995). "Jagger Remembers". Archived from the original on 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2011-06-08.
  3. ^ a b Zentgraf, Nico. "The Complete Works of the Rolling Stones 1962-2008". Retrieved 2008-03-18.
  4. ^ a b Elliott, Martin (2002). The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002. Cherry Red Books. pp. 22–23. ISBN 1-901447-04-9.
  5. ^ McPherson, Ian. "Track Talk: Tell Me". Retrieved 2008-03-09.
  6. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4720." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  7. ^ " – The Rolling Stones – Tell Me" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  8. ^ " – The Rolling Stones – Tell Me". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  9. ^ " – The Rolling Stones – Tell Me" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  10. ^ "The Rolling Stones Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  11. ^ The Termites: Tell Me at AllMusic. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  12. ^ "Termites, The – Tell Me / I Found My Place" at Discogs
  13. ^ Unterberger, Richie. The Grass Roots: Where Were You When I Needed You at AllMusic. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  14. ^ Grass Roots, The – Where Were You When I Needed You at Discogs (list of releases)
  15. ^ Prato, Greg. Dead Boys: We Have Come for Your Children at AllMusic. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  16. ^ Dead Boys – We Have Come For Your Children at Discogs (list of releases)
  17. ^ Cassell Webb – Conversations At Dawn at Discogs (list of releases)
  18. ^ "Cassell Webb – Tell Me" at Discogs (list of releases)