1964 was a wildly successful year for the Rolling Stones, including their debut on the Ed Sullivan show and a highly successful US tour. At the end of that tour, they went into RCA Studios in Los Angeles and quickly cut a number of songs, including one of my favorites from that era, "Heart of Stone". Still at a time when they mainly did covers, the Jagger/Richards composition became their 2nd single to make the top 20 on the US charts and appeared on the UK version of Out of Our Heads (1965) and many later greatest hits and compilations packages.
Heavily influenced by the American soul music of the time, but also with a bit of a country flavor, the ballad is striking for its distinctive, somewhat discordant guitar sounds and tough, slow burn but building chorus: "But you'll never break, never break, never break, never break [pause, bam bam bam bam!] this heart of stone."
You get 3 versions, first the recorded original:
A lip synched TV version from 1965:
And last but certainly not least, one of my all time favorite Rolling Stones covers, by WYMA Hall of Famers The Mekons on their 1988 album So Good It Hurts. Sally Timms fantastic vocal captures all of the melancholy of the song while twisting the gender issues: