Salt of the Earth

Composers: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Recording date: May & July 1968
Recording location: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England & Sunset Sound Studios, Los Angeles, USA
Producers: Jimmy Miller        Chief engineer: Glyn Johns
Performed onstage: 1968, 1989, 2001* (performed by Mick & Keith), 2003

Probable line-up:

Drums: Charlie Watts
Bass: Bill Wyman
Acoustic guitar: Keith Richards
Slide electric guitar: Keith Richards
Lead vocals: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Background vocals: Watts Street (L.A.) gospel choir
Piano: Nicky Hopkins
 

Let's drink to the hard working people
Let's drink to the lowly of birth
Raise your glass to the good and the evil
Let's drink to the salt of the earth

Say a prayer for the common foot soldier
Spare a thought for his back breaking work
Say a prayer for his wife and his children
Who burn the fires and who still till the earth

When I search a faceless crowd
A swirling mass of greys and blacks and whites
They don't look real to me
In fact they look so strange

Raise your glass to the hard working people
Let's drink to the uncounted heads
Let's think of the wavering millions
Who need leading but get gamblers instead

Spare a thought for the stay-at-home voter
His empty eyes gaze at strange beauty shows
And parades of grey-suited grafters
A choice of cancer or polio

When I look into that faceless crowd
A swirling mass of greys and blacks and whites
They don't look real to me
Oh don't they look so strange?

Let's drink to the hard working people
Let's think of the lowly of birth
Spare a thought for the ragtaggy people
Let's drink to the salt of the earth

Let's drink to the hard working people
Let's drink to the salt of the earth
Let's drink to the 2000 millions
Let's think of the humble of birth

Let's take a drink to the salt of the earth
Let's take a drink to the salt of the earth
Let's take a drink to the salt of the earth
Let's take a drink to the salt of the earth
Let's take a drink to the salt of the earth
Let's take a drink to the salt of the earth
Let's take a drink to the salt of the earth
Let's take a drink to the salt of the earth

 
 
TrackTalk

(That was recorded in the) studio (not on a cassette). Mick's words, but I think I was there for a bit of them too. I'd forgotten about that actually. Nearly all Mick, that one.
- Keith Richards, 1971


Salt of the Earth, I think I came up with the title of that and had the basic spur of it, but Mick did all the verses.
- Keith Richards, Life (2010)


My voice first appeared solo on the first verse of Salt of the Earth. (Not so: Keith's voice first appears solo on "Something Happened to Me Yesterday".) We did the chorus together, me and Mick.
- Keith Richards, 1971


(T)he song is total cynicism. I'm saying those people haven't any power and they never will have.
- Mick Jagger, 1970

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