For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Rolling Stones performed their famed 1986 cover of Bob & Earl's “Harlem Shuffle.” The band, who sprung it on fans on Monday night (August 5th) at East Rutherford's MetLife Stadium, last performed the Top Five hit on August 25th, 1990 at London's Wembley Stadium during the tour finale of their massive “Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle” tour.
Before announcing the tune, Mick Jagger teased the Tri-State area crowd asking, “Has anyone crossed two rivers to get here tonight? Is anybody here from Brooklyn, anybody here from Queens? Anybody from Manhattan? Westchester? Staten Island? The Bronx? Hartford? Anybody here from New Jersey? Okay, we’re going to do a song that's sort of locally, vaguely, based, so be forgiving if you can. It’s called 'Harlem Shuffle.'”
The Stones' current No Filter trek has seen them pull several tunes out of mothballs — including the Steel Wheels opener “Sad Sad Sad” returning to the setlist for the first time since 2002 and to the delight of hardcores — the band's classic rendition of Don Covay's “Mercy Mercy” being dug up after a five decade hiatus.
Although the Stones' current shows never seem to go too deep into the band's catalogue, there have still been a string of fan favorites that have made it into the recent setlists, including, “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker),” “Monkey Man,” “Under My Thumb,” “She's So Cold,” “Play With Fire,” and “Rocks Off.”
1986's Dirty Work was recorded during the lowest point of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' partnership. Noted Stones historian Bill German recalled that it stemmed from Jagger blatantly putting his solo career before the Stones: “He didn't really wanna be there. He didn't really wanna be in the Stones at that point. Y'know, he was like the reluctant lead singer who had to contractually come in and sing the songs on Dirty Work. He really didn't wanna be there. Y'know, while they were recording Dirty Work, he was busy at the same time promoting his first solo album, She's The Boss.”
Keith Richards told us that he's always had a soft spot for Dirty Work, which was overlooked in the wake of his and Jagger's late-'80s feud following Jagger's disinterest in recording and touring behind the album. Over 30 years on, it's clear to nearly everyone involved that Dirty Work planted the seeds for Richards' solo career: “Dirty Work for me was. . . I, I love the record and everything, but it was probably the most difficult one to make, because there was — the tensions were all rising to the surface of whatever was going on. And I think it was probably Mick's and my frustration, really, just being in the Stones. But I wasn't, there was no way I was going to make the first move (laughs).”