Jagger & Keith Richards
Recording date: October 1970
Recording location: Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, Mick Jagger's home, Newbury & Olympic Sound Studios, London, England
Producer: Jimmy Miller Chief engineers: Glyn Johns & Andy Johns
Performed onstage: 1971-73, 1989-90, 1997-99, 2002-03, 2005-07, 2013-19
Bass: Bill Wyman
Rhythm electric guitar: Mick Taylor
Lead electric guitar: Keith Richards
Lead vocal: Mick Jagger
Harmony vocal: Keith Richards
Saxophone: Bobby Keys
Trumpet: Jim Price
Percussion: Jimmy Miller
Sometimes we run things down... sometimes we get an idea for a song from, say, a rhythm that Charlie and Keith have played together or something, or like Bitch that Charlie and Bobby (Keys) and me played. Quite often, we go into it without the song being written - which annoys me intensely. But that's the way we record sometimes.
This is one of our groove tunes. We recorded the backing track at Olympic but the overdubs, with the brass and everything, were done live one night in my house in the country, a sort of mock baronial hall I used to have called Stargroves, where The Who and Led Zeppelin also recorded later on. The Stones' Mobile studio was one of the first. We used to park it outside our houses and do tunes. We eventually gave it to Bill, and he's just sold it to be broken up.
Instantly (when Keith walked in the studio) it went from not very good, feels weird, to BAM and there it is. Instantly changed gears, which impressed the shit out of me.
When we were doing Bitch, Keith was very late. Jagger and Mick Taylor had been playing the song without him and it didn't sound very good. I walked out of the kitchen and he was sitting on the floor with no shoes, eating a bowl of cereal. Suddenly he said, Oi, Andy! Give me that guitar. I handed him his clear Dan Armstrong Plexiglass guitar, he put it on, kicked the song up in tempo, and just put the vibe right on it. Instantly, it went from being this laconic mess into a real groove. And I thought, Wow. THAT'S what he does.
It's a guitar song but it's also somewhat dependent on the horn lines. There's a very heavy horn line on it. There was an upstairs apartment in my house and we put them up there. I don't know why, but there they were and they did the part over and over.
Maybe listeners knew a year or 6 months later that the beat turned around (in Bitch), but at the moment I wasn't conscious of that. It comes so naturally, as it's always happened, and it's always given that extra kick when the right moment comes back down again. That's what rock and roll records are all about. I mean, nowadays it's rock music. But rock and roll records should be 2:35 minutes long, and it doesn't matter if you ramble on longer after that. It should be, you know - wang, concise, right there. Rambling on and on, blah blah blah, repeating things for no point... I mean, rock and roll is in one way a highly structured music played in a very unstructured way, and it's those things like turning the beat around that we'd get hung up on when we were starting out: Did you hear what we just did? We just totally turned the beat around (laughs). If it's done in conviction, if nothing is forced, if it just flows in, then it gives quite an extra kick to it.
The brass for me is great, especially on like Bitch. I mean as long as it's used sort of tastefully. I'm not saying I'd like to work with a band with sort of five or six brass. But I wouldn't mind a band with sort of 5 saxophones.
We ALWAYS have trouble getting air play. I don't really... I think cuts like Bitch... to my mind there was never anything written that was offensive in that. But Atlantic told me they couldn't get it played. None of our songs want to encourage drug use. I don't particularly want to encourage drug use. Not encourage it - I mean, you can write about it but you don't have to encourage it.
I was reading (the lyrics to) Bitch, and I was cracking up at some of the words.
I think this really rocks, in its original version. We do it on stage a lot.
It comes off pretty smooth (when we perform it), but it’s quite tricky. There’s an interesting bridge you have to watch out for. Otherwise, it’s straightforward rock and soul that we love. It’s Charlie Watts’ meat and potatoes.
Back to Sticky Fingers.
Back to Main Page.