After relatively short tours of West Germany and Austria (September 11-18, 1965) and the UK (September 24 - October 17), the Rolling Stones set off for their fourth and so-far most extensive North American tour (October 29 - December 5). Near tour ending the band once again returned to RCA Studios, Hollywood, to record tracks for a new studio album.
In his book Rolling With The Stones Bill Wyman recalls the sessions: Early December we were back in RCA's Hollywood Studio for another three days with engineer Dave Hassinger. Stu was kept very busy throughout the sessions, as he always was. He not only played piano and organ, but was also nipping out for food and drink and laying on a constant stream of instruments. He got me a six-string bass that I played on one number, as well as a sitar for Brian Jones. 'Gibson let us have quite a few Fuzz Tones', said Stu. 'We only used fuzz on a couple of tracks, buth Keith Richards gets carried away and tramples them underfoot when he's raving about on stage. We've gone through quite a few like that'.
In a 1966 issue of the Beat Instrumental magazine, author Kevin Swift states that 'Keith Richards and Mick Jagger acted as musical directors until the others got the gist of the numbers and then it was a free-for-all with everyone chipping in with their own particular ideas. Charlie Watts was in great form and played the bongos and conga drums like a native. He also tried his hand on a set of gigantic timpani which an orchestra had left behind. Brian Jones, Stu and American session player Jack Nitzsche took it in turns to play the harpsichord, piano or organ. Brian told me that there is a keyboard instrument on every track recorded. He and Stu handled the groovy numbers while Jack Nitzsche played on the slower tracks'.
On "Sad Day" and "Ride On Baby", two rather obscure tracks dating from these December 1965 sessions, Ian Stewart and Jack Nitzsche even handle the keys together. Nitzsche plays some piano on both tracks, while Stu plays piano on "Ride On Baby" and organ on "Sad Day", some kind of a rocked-up ballad, which ended up as the US flip-side for the band's next single release, "19th Nervous Breakdown".
Adapted from the following sources:
Bill Wyman, Rolling With The Stones, Dorling Kindersley, 2002.
Kevin Swift, Beat International, February 1966.