The Last Time (Rolling Stones song)

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"The Last Time"
RollStones-Single1965 TheLastTime.jpg
1965 US single picture sleeve
Single by the Rolling Stones
B-side"Play with Fire" (Nanker Phelge)[1]
  • 26 February 1965 (1965-02-26) (UK)
  • 13 March 1965 (1965-03-13) (US)
Recorded11–12 January 1965
StudioRCA, Hollywood, California
GenreGarage rock, hard rock[2]
Producer(s)Andrew Loog Oldham[1]
The Rolling Stones UK singles chronology
"Little Red Rooster"
"The Last Time"
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
The Rolling Stones US singles chronology
"Heart of Stone"
"The Last Time"
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
Audio sample

"The Last Time" is a song by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, and the band's first original song released as an A-single in the UK.[1] Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and recorded at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California in January 1965, "The Last Time" was the band's third UK single to reach number one on the UK Singles Chart, spending three weeks at the top in March and early April 1965.[3] It reached number two in the Irish Singles Chart in March 1965, and was released on the US version of the album Out of Our Heads on 30 July 1965.

Although "The Last Time" is credited to Jagger/Richards, the song's refrain is similar to "This May Be the Last Time", a traditional gospel song recorded in 1954 by the Staple Singers. In 2003, Richards acknowledged this,[4] saying, "We came up with 'The Last Time', which was basically re-adapting a traditional gospel song that had been sung by the Staple Singers, but luckily the song itself goes back into the mists of time." The Rolling Stones' song has a main melody and a hook (a distinctive guitar riff) that were both absent in the Staple Singers' version. Phil Spector, whose "Wall of Sound" approach can be heard on the recording, assisted with the production.

Footage exists of a number of performances of this song by the Rolling Stones in 1965: from the popular BBC-TV music show Top of the Pops, the 1965 New Musical Express Poll Winners Concert and American TV shows including The Ed Sullivan Show and Shindig!. A full live performance is also prominently featured in the 2012 re-edit of the 1965 documentary Charlie Is My Darling. The footage confirms that the rhythm chords and guitar solo were played by Keith Richards, while the song's distinctive hook was played by Brian Jones. In the August 1965 issue of Beat Instrumental, in reply to the question of "who plays the prominent figure on The Stones releases?", Keith Richards said "I played it on 'Satisfaction', Brian played it on 'The Last Time'. It all depends who thinks it up."[5]

A popular song in the Stones' canon, it was regularly performed in concert during the band's 1965, 1966 and 1967 tours. It was left off their concert set lists until 1997–98, when it reappeared on the Bridges to Babylon Tour. It later appeared on some of the band's set lists in 2012–13 on the 50 & Counting tour.



Chart (1965) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[6] 2
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[7] 7
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[8] 4
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[9] 9
Germany (Official German Charts)[10] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[11] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[12] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[13] 1
South Africa (Springbok)[14] 7
UK Singles (OCC)[15] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[16] 9

The Andrew Oldham Orchestra version[edit]

In 1965, Andrew Oldham Orchestra recorded the song for the album The Rolling Stones Songbook. The recording and its distinctive passage for strings was written and arranged by David Whitaker.[17][18]

Copyright issue[edit]

In 1997, former Rolling Stones business manager Allen Klein, whose company ABKCO Records owns the rights to all Rolling Stones material from the 1960s, sued English rock band the Verve for using a sample of the Andrew Oldham Orchestra recording of "The Last Time" in their hit song "Bitter Sweet Symphony". The Verve had obtained a licence to use the sample, but Klein successfully argued that the band used more than the licence covered. The Verve were required to relinquish 100% of their royalties from their hit song to ABKCO and the songwriting credit was changed to Jagger/Richards/Ashcroft. This led to Andrew Loog Oldham, who owns the copyright on the orchestral rendition that was sampled, also suing the Verve.[19]

In May 2019, Richard Ashcroft announced that the Stones had handed over their copyrights on the song to him.[20]

The Who version[edit]

"The Last Time"
Single by The Who
B-side"Under My Thumb"
Released30 June 1967 (1967-06-30)
Recorded28 June 1967
StudioDe Lane Lea, London
Producer(s)Kit Lambert
The Who UK singles chronology
"Pictures of Lily"
"The Last Time"
"I Can See for Miles"

In 1967, after the imprisonment of Jagger and Richards on drugs charges, the Who recorded "The Last Time" and "Under My Thumb" as a single. The intention was to help Jagger and Richards make bail, but by the time the single was made available, they had been released. The songs were rush recorded and the record appeared in shops in only one week. As John Entwistle was away on his honeymoon he authorised the Who to do the record without him and bass parts were overdubbed by Pete Townshend. The UK-only release reached number 44 on the UK Singles Chart.

Other renditions[edit]

American country music singer Bobby Bare covered the song on his 1978 album, Sleeper Wherever I Fall.

In 1997, country music group the Tractors covered the song on the album Stone Country: Country Artists Perform the Songs of the Rolling Stones. Their version peaked at number 75 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.[21]

Australian singer John Farnham covered the song in 2002, as the lead single and title track of his 2002 album, The Last Time.[22]

The same hook was sampled in several subsequent recordings by other artists, most notably in "Number 1" by Tinchy Stryder featuring N-Dubz, which reached number one in the UK Singles Chart,[23] in the week of its official release on 20 April 2009.


  1. ^ a b c d e Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. pp. 89–90. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  2. ^ Dean, Maury (6 June 2003). "Rock N Roll Gold Rush: A Singles Un-Cyclopedia". Algora Publishing. p. 169 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 176. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ Jagger, Mick; Richards, Keith; Watts, Charlie; Wood, Ronnie (2003). According to the Rolling Stones. Chronicle Books. p. 92. ISBN 0811840603.
  5. ^ Beat Instrumental, No. 28, August 1965.
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1940-1969. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  7. ^ "The Rolling Stones – The Last Time" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  8. ^ "The Rolling Stones – The Last Time" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5624." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  10. ^ "The Rolling Stones – The Last Time" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  11. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The Last Time". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  12. ^ "The Rolling Stones – The Last Time" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  13. ^ "The Rolling Stones – The Last Time". VG-lista. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  14. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Rolling Stones: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  16. ^ "The Rolling Stones Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  17. ^ "DAVID SINCLAIR WHITAKER: Sweet Symphony". Archived from the original on 19 March 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  18. ^ Bob Stanley. "David Whitaker obituary | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  19. ^ "The Verve Sued Again over "Bitter Sweet Symphony" VH1, 11 January 1999
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research, Inc. p. 339. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8.
  22. ^ Holmgren, Magnus; Reboulet, Scott; Albury, Lyn; Birtles, Beeb; Warnqvist, Stefan; Medlin, Peter. "John Farnham". Australian Rock Database (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  23. ^ [2] Archived 14 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine