Jagger & Keith Richards
First release: single,
Recording date: April
location: Olympic Sound Studios, London
Performed onstage: 1968-73,
1975-79, 1981-82, 1989-90, 1994-95, 1997-99, 2002-03, 2005-07, 2012-13
Watts & Keith Richards
Bass: Keith Richards
Acoustic guitars: Keith
Lead vocal: Mick
Background vocals: Mick
Jagger, Keith Richards & Jimmy Miller
Organ: Bill Wyman
I was born in a crossfire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain
But it's all right now, in fact it's a gas
But it's all right
I'm Jumping Jack Flash, it's a gas, gas, gas
I was raised by a toothless, bearded hag
I was schooled with a strap right across my
I was drowned, I was washed up and left for
I fell down to my feet and I saw they bled
Yeah, yeah, I frowned at the crumbs of a crust
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was crowned with a spike
right through my head
Come on, yeah
Jumping Jack Flash, it's a gas
Mick and I were in my house (laughs) in England
in the country... and we'd been up all night and it was 6:30 in the morning,
a dismal day, you know, English, grey. And we were just both crashing,
Mick was on the couch and I was in an armchair with a guitar and we were,
like, on the verge. And suddenly this sound of these boots (laughs) went
by the window, clump clump clump - really, I mean, you had to be
there to hear it - and woke Mick up, What was that? And I said -
I looked out the window and I thought, Oh, that's Jack, that's jumpin'
Jack. You know and then we started to play with those words. But I
mean, really, it was sort of virtually woke up out of a stupor by this
guy's boots, he was my gardener, he was a great guy but he's another story.
And but... I just said, That's Jack. Well he's leaping about a bit.
I said, it's jumpin' Jack and then flash came and suddenly
we were wide awake and we started to work, you know. You never know when
they're going to come.
Keith Richards, 2003
Jumpin' Jack Flash comes from this
guy Jack Dyer, who was my gardener. He'd lived out in the country all his
life. I'll put it this way: Jack Dyer, an old English yokel. I once said,
you ever been to town? And town, to an Englishman, means London, right?
And he says, Oh Yeah, I was up there V.E. Day, when the war finished.
That cathedral is something. He meant Chichester, the local big town,
seven miles away... Mick says, Flash. He'd just woken up. And suddenly
we had this wonderful alliterative phrase. So he woke up and we knocked
Keith Richards, July 1997
And the only guitar in the house was tuned
that way. It's really Satisfaction in reverse. Almost an interchangeable
riff, except it's played on chords instead of a Gibson Maestro Fuzztone.
Keith Richards, July 1997
We got to the studio early once and... in
fact I think it was a rehearsal studio, I don't think it was a recording
studio. And there was just myself, Brian and Charlie - the Stones NEVER
arrive at the same time, you know - and Mick and Keith hadn't come. And
I was just messing about and I just sat down at the piano and started doing
this riff, da-daw, da-da-daw, da-da-daw... and then Brian played
a bit of guitar and Charlie was doing a rhythm. We were just messing with
it for 20 minutes, just filling in time, and Mick and Keith came in and
we stopped and they said, Hey, that sounded really good, carry on, what
- Oh, that was just something we were messing
- That sounds good.
And then the next day all I can really remember...
we recorded it and Mick wrote great lyrics to it and it turned out to be
a really good single.
Bill Wyman, 1982
There was nothing about love, peace and flowers
in Jumpin' Jack Flash.
Jumpin' Jack Flash was recorded at
Olympic; we were doing it deliberately for a single. Keith is playing my
floor tom-tom on it to give the boom-da, boom-da sound. Now
you'd just program it and loop it or something daft like that. The sound
on Jumpin' Jack Flash is very close together, because we do sit
close to each other in the studio, much to most engineers' amazement nowadays.
Nobody does that any more, really.
Charlie Watts, 2003
I want the Stones being the Stones and that's
what we think Jumpin' Jack Flash is. The Stones really sell sounds.
You're in the studios with them and everything seems to be drifting to
no purpose and then it all comes together quite suddenly.
Jimmy Miller, May 1968
Jumpin' Jack Flash was in open E, and
there's a certain ring that you need there. And what's always fascinating
about open stringing is you can get these other notes ringing sympathetically,
almost like a sitar, in a way. Unexpected notes ring out, and you say,
there's a constant. That one can go all the way through this thing.
Keith Richards, 1992
(I used a) Gibson Hummingbird (acoustic) tuned
to open D, six string. Open D or open E, which is the same thing - same
intervals - but it would be slackened down some for D. Then there was a
capo on it, to get that really tight sound. And there was another guitar
over the top of that, but tuned to Nashville tuning. I learned that from
somebody in George Jones' band in San Antonio in (1964)... (The high-strung
guitar) was an acoustic, too. Both acoustics were put through a Phillips
cassette recorder. Just jam the mic right in the guitar and play it back
through an extension speaker.
Keith Richards, 2002
With Jumpin' Jack Flash and Street Fighting Man
I'd discovered a new sound I could get out of an acoustic guitar. That
grinding, dirty sound came out of these crummy little motels where the
only thing you had to record with was this new invention called the
cassette recorder... Playing an acoustic, you'd overload the Philips
cassette player to the point of distortion so that when it played back
it was effectively an electric guitar...There are no electric
instruments on Street Fighting Man at all... All acoustic guitars. Jumpin' Jack Flash the same. I wish I could still do that, but they don't build machines like that anymore.
Keith Richards, Life (2010)
It's funny. Through the years so many people
have told me I put the Stones back where they belonged. But I had nothing
to do with the fact - they'd already written Jumpin' Jack Flash.
They were already quite willing to go back there. I'm sure the chemistry
worked. Being a drummer, I was very rhythm-minded.
Jimmy Miller, 1979
Jumpin' Jack Flash is the most basic
thing we have done this time, although that may or may not be in the album
Mick Jagger, June 1968
I shall be pleased if it is a hit, but that
applies at any time. I think it is a good record but I'm not going to turn
round and say people are out of their skulls if they don't buy it. It has
a nice catchy chorus line and it's a good performance number... We've had
some lousy records which have gone to Number One, and some funny ones -
I think this disc is better than those.
Mick Jagger, May 1968
(T)he more I hear Jumping Jack the
more I realize I was wrong (to think Child of the Moon was the more
commercial side). It has that same appeal as Satisfaction and now
I'm really getting to love it - it really is a gas, gas, gas!
Brian Jones, May 1968
It's about having a hard time and getting
out. Just a metaphor for getting out of all the acid things.
Mick Jagger, 1995
I like a lot of Stones songs - I like Jumpin' Jack Flash and Street Fighting Man, all for different reasons.
Mick Taylor, 2012
I love Satisfaction dearly and everything, but those chords are pretty much a de rigueur course as far as songwriting goes. But Flash
is particularly interesting. It's allllll right now.
It's almost Arabic or very old, archaic, classical, the chord setups
you could only hear in Gregorian chants or something like that. And
it's that weird mixture of your actual rock and roll and at the same
time this weird echo of very, very ancient music that you don't even
know. It's much older than I am, and that's unbelievable! It's like a
recall of something, and I don't know where it came from.
Keith Richards, Life (2010)
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