Tumbling Dice

Composers: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Recording date: October 1970 & December 1971-March 1972
Recording locations: 
Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, Mick Jagger's home, Newbury, England; Olympic Sound Studios, London, England
& Sunset Sound Studios, Los Angeles, USA

Producer: Jimmy Miller      Chief engineers: Glyn Johns, Andy Johns & Joe Zagarino
Performed onstage: 1972-73, 1975-78, 1981-82, 1989-90, 1994-95, 1997-99, 2002-03, 2005-07, 2012-14

Probable line-up:

Drums: Charlie Watts & Jimmy Miller
Bass: Mick Taylor
Electric guitars: Keith Richards (incl. solo) & Mick Jagger
Lead vocal: Mick Jagger
Harmony vocal: Keith Richards
Background vocals: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Clydie King, Venetta Fields Sherlie Matthews
Piano: Nicky Hopkins
Saxophone: Bobby Keys
Trumpet: Jim Price
 

Mmm yeah

Women think I'm tasty, they're always trying to waste me

Make me burn the candle right down

Baby, baby
I don't need no jewels in my crown

Cause all you women is low down gamblers
Cheating like I don't know how

Baby, I'm no crazy
There's fever in the fuck house now

This low down bitching got my poor feet itching
Don't you know the deuce is still wild?

Baby, I can't stay
You've got to roll me and call me the tumbling dice

Always in a hurry, I never stop to worry
Don't see the time flashing by

Honey, got no money
I'm all sixes and sevens and nines

Say now, baby, I'm the rank outsider
You can be my partner in crime

Baby, I can't stay
You've got to roll me and call me the tumbling dice
Roll me and call me the tumbling (come on, baby) dice


Oh my, my, my, I'm the lone crap shooter
Playing the field every night, every night

Baby, I can't stay
You've got to roll me and call me the tumbling dice
Roll me and call me the tumbling dice


Got to roll me

Got to roll me

Got to roll me - mmm yeah

Got to roll me

Got to roll me - yeah

Got to roll me (keep on rolling)

Got to roll me
(keep on rolling)
Got to roll me
(keep on rolling) - ah yeah

Got to roll me - ...baby, call me the tumbling...
Got to roll me - ... dice, yeah

Got to roll me - roll me, baby, sweet little sugar

Got to roll me - now, yeah

Got to roll me
- roll... now, now, now, now...
Got to roll me
- oh darling now
Got to roll me
- ... darling baby, oh
Got to roll me
- come on, baby
Got to roll me - baby, all night

Got to roll me
 
 

TrackTalk

Keith and me (wrote it). I wrote the lyrics. (He did the groove.)... It comes back to that thing where I really don't remember who had the melody or not, but it doesn't really matter. I don't really know what people like about it. I don't think it's our best stuff. I don't think it has good lyrics. But people seem to really like it, so good for them.
- Mick Jagger, 1995


This was done in the basement of my house, this grand Edwardian Villa called Villa Nellcote in Villefranche in Cap-sur-mer (sic), where we did all of Exile. I remember writing the riff upstairs in the very elegant front room, and we took it downstairs the same evening and we cut it. A lot of time when ideas come that quick, we don't put down lyrics, we do what what we call vowel movement. You just bellow over the top of it, to get the right sounds for the track.
- Keith Richards, 1993


I know we did that one fairly early on in France because I remember the weather. The basic idea, as you can hear from Good Time Women, was already there. But it took a while for it to turn into Tumbling Dice. We were stuck for a good lyrical hook to go with this really great riff, so we left it in abeyance for a bit. And then I think Mick came up with the title Tumbling Dice, although we may have got it from someone else. Ha!
- Keith Richards, 2010


With Tumbling Dice we worked on that for a couple of weeks at least, just the basic track. I know we had a hundred reels of tape on the basic track. That was a good song, but it was really like pulling teeth. It just went on and on.
- Andy Johns, engineer


There must have been at least 30 two-inch reels on Tumbling Dice. I mean, Keith sat there one afternoon just playing the reprise for about six hours. Just round and round and round and round. Sitting in a chair with his legs up on something.
- Andy Johns, 2010


Charlie had a hard time playing the out-section. You know, where it breaks down before the end? He had a mental block on it.
- Andy Johns, 2010


Tumbling Dice was written to fit Keith's riff. It's about gambling and love, an old blues trick. I had a lot of friends at that time who used to fly to Las Vegas for the weekend.
- Mick Jagger, 1993


Tumbling Dice, there's an outtake I've found that has completely different lyrics. It wasn't until we got to L.A. that I rewrote them. The original lyrics were crap. So it was nothing to do with the original experience of recording the album, if you see what I mean.
- Mick Jagger, 2009


(T)hat's the perfect tempo (for that song). Try to top that one up and you lose the flow.
- Keith Richards, June 1994


(M)y pet theory is that if you play a particular song long enough onstage, then they mumble to one another, Oh, that's a good song. It's like you've endorsed your own material simply by playing it onstage.
- Mick Jagger, 1978, told people are beginning
to appreciate the song


I really loved Tumbling Dice. Beautifully played by everybody. When everybody hits it, that's those moments of triumph.
- Keith Richards



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