On the morning of October 17, 1961, Mick Jagger, then 18, arrived at platform two of Kent’s Dartford Station on his way to the London School of Economics where he was studying. A few minutes later, 17-year-old Keith Richards arrived on the same platform to catch the train to Sidcup Art College. Jagger was carrying several old blues records and Richards had with him his hollow-body Höfner cutaway electric guitar.
The two recognised each other from when they both attended Dartford’s Wentworth Primary School. That recognition and the presence of the records and guitar sparked a conversation that would lead to Jagger joining Richard’s band, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. By the following year the two moved to London where they would share a flat and join a band being put together by Brian Jones and Ian Stewart. The Rolling Stones were born in 1962, but not yet the songwriting team of Jagger/Richards.
It wouldn’t be until 1964 that the bandmates would begin their amazingly prolific and successful songwriting collaboration with the song, “As Tears Goes By”.
Jagger and Richards have different recollections about their first songwriting endeavours, but both credit manager Andrew Loog Oldham for suggesting a collaboration.
KEITH RICHARDS: “ So what Andrew Oldham did was lock us up in the kitchen for a night and say, ‘Don’t come out without a song.’ We sat around and came up with ‘As Tears Go By’. It was unlike most Rolling Stones material, but that’s what happens when you write songs, you immediately fly to some other realm. The weird thing is that Andrew found Marianne Faithful at the same time, bunged it to her and it was a fuckin’ hit for her – we were songwriters already! But it took the rest of that year to dare to write anything for the Stones.”
MICK JAGGER: “Keith likes to tell the story about the kitchen, God bless him. I think Andrew may have said something at some point along the lines of ‘I should lock you in a room until you’ve written a song’ and in that way he did mentally lock us in a room, but he didn’t literally lock us in. One of the first songs we came out with was that tune for George Bean, the very memorable ‘It Should Be You’.