PERFORMER: THE ROLLING STONES
SONGWRITER: MICK JAGGER / KEITH RICHARDS
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1968
COMMENTS: One of the more entertaining showbiz news stories of 1996 was the tale of Mick Jagger's marital woes. Aging former model Jerry Hall, Mick's wife and lover for some years was leaving him. Seems that Mick was doing other, younger women. NO! Say it ain't so Mick! Apparently wifey never got around to listening to her husband's old records. Particularly not this one.
Surely the Stones were among the top couple or three groove merchants in the history of recorded popular music. The precision and subtle varieties of combinations of r&b and American country music rhythms rank them the equal of any band that ever took a stage. Surely this lesser known song, a mere album track behind "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Street Fighting Man", is the final proof of their god-like powers of seduction, if such was still necessary.
Surely this back alley prowl is the sleaziest sex groove ever cut by the Stones, which is to say by anybody at all. Listen to the stalking groove at the very beginning, the lean bass notes and the few sparse guitar chords expressing the lust in the hunter's breath before Charlie pounces. The little triplets in the rhythm and bass guitars as they walk through the basic blues changes really stands out with repeated listenings.
This is a damned tuneful little song - which is where this number really separates from the blues rock pack. The vocal melody along with the words really makes the meaning, the licentious and rebellious effect to "It's no... hang-ing matter, it's no ca-pi-tol criiiiiime!"
To me, the most interesting thing about the lyrics is the extensive amount of consideration Mick gives to talking to the little runaway he is seducing about her mother. "I bet your Mama never saw you scratch like that." He is really intent on getting the maximum mileage out of thinking about stealing an innocent girl away from her mother.
"I know that you're just 15 years old, but I don't want your ID." In my home state, that's considered child molesting right there. In live versions, she gets down as young as 13. Shocking!
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