Picture sleeve for "Seven Days" b/w "Lost and Lonely" 45 RPM single
I usually think of Ron Wood as a member of either The Rolling Stones or The Faces (or, back in the day, the Jeff Beck Group and The Birds), so at first it didn’t occur to me that he might have released a single worthy of being the featured single of the day. But yesterday, “Sure The One You Need” off of Ron Wood’s first solo album came up on my iPod in shuffle mode, and it got me thinking about Ron Wood’s oeuvre as a solo artist. He probably had the most productive solo careers of all the Stones, and arguably had the most consistently good solo career of all the ex-Faces. So I started to look around to see if he released any great singles. Mission accomplished: today’s featured single is “Seven Days” b/w “Lost and Lonely”.
This single was taken from Wood’s fourth solo album, “Gimme Some Neck”. After the departure of Ronnie Lane from The Faces in 1973, the band began recording tracks for a new studio album, but they soon lost enthusiasm; their last release was the U.K. Top 20 hit “You Can Make Me Dance, Sing, Or Anything”. In the meantime, Ron Wood released “Got My Own Album To Do” in 1974; both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards contributed to the album. When Mick Taylor left the Stones in 1974, Wood essentially became an unofficial fifth member of the band, even touring with the Stones in 1975, but his commitment to The Faces precluded him from becoming a full-fledged band member. Wood then released another solo album in 1975, “Now Look”. When The Faces officially broke up in late 1975, there was nothing standing in the way of his joining the Rolling Stones, and he was announced as the new rhythm guitarist for the band in February 1976. For a few years, his solo career was put on hiatus (the movie soundtrack to “Mahoney’s Last Stand”, which he recorded with Ronnie Lane, was released in 1976, but it had been recorded in 1972). Finally, in 1979, Wood resumed his solo career with the released of “Gimme Some Neck”. The album was not really a major hit – it peaked at #45 on the Billboard album charts – but it represents a solid slab of guitar-driven rock and roll. Wood can’t sing that well, yet his rough voice is well-suited for the material on this LP. All of the songs on the album except for “Seven Days” are written by Ron Wood, and in spite of the fact that all of the songs on this album are quite good, “Seven Days” was a good choice for the first (and as far as I know, only) single from this album.
What makes “Seven Days” unique, amongst other things, is that it is a Bob Dylan song which at the time had not been recorded by Bob Dylan. The author of this blog first heard the song as part of a Dylan A through Z broadcast on a local radio station over twenty years ago. The idea was to present the complete Dylan, including songs recorded by Dylan (whether or not he wrote the song), and songs written by Dylan (but not necessarily recorded by him). “Seven Days” came up, and since Dylan didn’t record it (it would appear in 1993 on a Dylan live album), they played the Ron Wood version. I thought it was a good song, but didn’t bother to buy the album then. Many years later, I finally bought “Gimme Some Neck”, and discovered that “Seven Days” was just one of the better – if not the best song – on a great album. The track starts off with a guitar riff, followed by a rhythm section accompaniment, along with a saxophone (courtesy of none other than Bobby Keyes), and later in the song, an organ (ex-Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan lends a hand or two). The lyrical content, in which the protagonist anticipates the arrival of a woman who’s been gone “[e]ver since I’ve been a child” clearly conveys a sense of longing and anticipation, as does the music (especially the lead guitar riff). Ron Wood does his best Dylan impression for this song, and on the whole, he does Dylan serious justice.
The B-side, “Lost and Lonely”, is the penultimate track of the album, is a ballad that begins with a minor key melody played on a bass guitar, accompanied by a single guitar until the vocals begin 24 seconds into the track: “Lost and I’m lonely/Looking for you/Out of my mind/’Cause it’s you I can’t find”. The song’s protagonist vows that “if there could be a next time/I promise I’ll stand by you”. Wood’s vocals are ideal for this track; the lyrics are sung with a world weariness that makes this a credible slab of AOR. Background vocals on the song are provided by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and there is even a brief harmony part when Wood vows that they should “be together again”. In the context of the album, this melancholy-sounding tune is a nice change of pace from some of the more upbeat songs on the album before Wood finally brings it home with the ebullient-sounding “Don’t Worry”.
Presumably, this single (catalog #: CBS 7425) was issued with the orange and yellow Columbia label common during this period. The U.S. release of this single seems to have been issued with a picture sleeve (shown above). I did find Canadian and Australian releases of this single as well, and a white label promo of this single (one version of the white label promo had “Breakin’ My Heart” on the flip side instead of “Lost and Lonely”).