DECEMBER'S CHILDREN marked a crucial point in the Stones' development. The band was beginning to move away from its blues/R&B roots toward something more uniquely its own. Certainly those roots were far from absent in the songs composed for this album, and the Stones still cover their share of the masters here (Chuck Berry, Arthur Alexander, Hank Snow), but something new was afoot.
The aching ballad "As Tears Go By," complete with baroque orchestration, heralded a new direction in the Stones' songwriting. Similarly, the folk-rockish strains of "The Singer Not The Song" hint at previously uncharted directions. Perhaps the most crucial track here is "Get Off My Cloud, which, while it incorporates the band's rootsy influences, is possessed of a decidedly modern power that the Stones were only beginning to learn to harness. This was the beginning of a style more specific than pop, blues, or rock & roll. DECEMBER'S CHILDREN may be seen as the beginning of what can only be defined as Rolling Stones music.
Dig how even a tossed-together cash-in by the Stones' U.S. label--the group's third American album of 1965--ends up smoking like all but their very best. They invent thrash with the opener, "She Said Yeah" (a Specialty Records obscurity penned, under a pseudonym, by Sonny Bono!) before laying down a leering "Talkin' 'Bout You," a frenetic "I'm Movin' On" and their most consistent, varied list of originals yet. Dig, too, how even "As Tears Go By" sounds like a sneer in the midst of "Get Off of My Cloud," "Gotta Get Away," "I'm Free" and the dourly off-key "Blue Turns to Grey." --Rickey Wright