Feb 05


Popular8 comments • 2,418 views

#190, 20th March 1965

I’ve been trying to figure out why this doesn’t quite work for me. There’s a stiffness to it – the band don’t seem comfortable with this jaunty a sound. The riff’s a good one, full of bounce, but maybe not good enough to carry a song virtually by itself, and certainly not without some more variety in the dynamics (sure enough the instrumental break brings the track to life). The monotony of the riff then ends up highlighting the problems with Jagger’s vocals – every line in every verse has its final words bluntly emphasised, which puts too much stress on the rhymes and not enough on their content. It’s rather like listening to a non-rapper try to rap, they usually make the same “wow I’m rhyming!” mistake.

The chorus is great, though, Jagger at his most viperish – so manipulative. “This could be the last time, maybe the last time, I don’t know”. The tease! There will be many, many more times to come – it’s just that they’ll happen when and if Mick wants. Maybe that’s my problem with the song – musically it’s a jangly crowd-pleaser, verbally it’s a cold power-play.



  1. 1
    rosie on 28 Jul 2008 #

    Amazingly, this is the first Jagger/Richards song that the Stones took to the top, and that really rather underlines the way the Beatles were exceptional in performing their own materialk at this level, at this time. All that would change, of course, but it surprises me now.

  2. 2
    DJ Punctum on 28 Jul 2008 #

    Regretfully (or not) we will not be encountering David Whittaker’s slowed-down orchestral arrangement of this tune on Popular in any shape or form…

  3. 3
    Mark G on 29 Jul 2008 #

    hmm, yeah that would have been some debate, “Bitter Sweet Symphony”

    (hah! Safe from teh bunnie)

  4. 4
    Billy Smart on 2 Jan 2011 #

    TOTPWatch: The Rolling Stones performed ‘The Last Time’ on Top Of The Pops on four occasions;

    4 March 1965. Also in the studio that week were; Hermans Hermits, Petula Clark, The Hollies, The Searchers and Twinkle. The Stones did a four-track set on that edition, also performing ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Love’, ‘Down The Road Apiece’, and ‘I Can’t Be Satisfied’. Jimmy Saville hosted, and also interviewed Jagger and Jones.

    11 March 1965. Also in the studio that week were; Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Marianne Faithful, The Searchers, The Who and Tom Jones. David Jacobs was the host.

    18 March 1965. Also in the studio that week were; Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Sandie Shaw, The Searchers, The Yardbirds and Unit 4 + 2. Pete Murray was the host.

    1 April 1965. Also in the studio that week were; Freddie & The Dreamers, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Animals, The Who, The Yardbirds, Them and Unit 4 + 2. Jimmy Saville was the host.

    None of these editions exist, but a clip of the ‘Last Time’ performance of 4 March 1965 does.

  5. 5
    crag on 14 Apr 2011 #


    Tim Rice- Lyricist(2004)

    Lynn Barber- Journalist(2010).

  6. 6
    hectorthebat on 9 Apr 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010)
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Dave Marsh (USA) – The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made (1989) 610
    Paul Williams (USA) – Rock and Roll: The 100 Best Singles of All Time (1993)
    Guinness Book of Hits of the ’60s (UK, 1984) – Jo Rice’s Top 10 Songs
    Guinness Book of Hits of the ’60s (UK, 1984) – Mike Read’s Top 10 Songs
    Guinness Book of Hits of the ’60s (UK, 1984) – Tim Rice’s Top 10 Songs
    New Musical Express (UK) – The Top 100 Singles of All Time (1976) 97
    New Musical Express (UK) – The Top 150 Singles of All Time (1987) 148
    Rolling Stone (Germany) – Top 100 Songs by The Rolling Stones (2005) 10
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)

  7. 7
    lonepilgrim on 23 Jul 2015 #

    Not their best, but still an impressive first effort from the Glimmer Twins. The rise of Jagger and Richards as the principle songwriters for the Stones would eventually prove to be a catalyst for Brian Jones’ departure form the band (although his own self-destructive behaviour was a major factor as well). The minimal riff and cruel lyrics suggest a precedent for the Velvet Underground although Lou Reed probably didn’t need much encouragement. There’s a youtube clip of the band performing the song on TOTP with Georgie Best frugging away in the audience here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27ouOE4RvUc

  8. 8
    Gareth Parker on 20 May 2021 #

    Still pretty good to my ears. I like the swing here, so a 7/10 from me.

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