Waiting on a Friend

  Composers: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
  Recording date: November-December 1972, October-December 1980 & April-June 1981
Recording locations: Dynamic Sound Studios, Kingston, Jamaica; Rolling Stones
Mobile Unit, Paris, France;
& Atlantic Studios, New York City, USA

Producers: The Glimmer Twins          Chief engineers: Andy Johns & Chris Kimsey
Performed onstage: 1981, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2013-14

Probable line-up:

Drums: Charlie Watts
Bass: Bill Wyman

Acoustic guitar: Mick Jagger

Electric guitar:
Keith Richards

Lead vocals: Mick Jagger
Background vocals: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Piano: Nicky Hopkins
Saxophone: Sonny Rollins
Conga drums: Mike Carabello
Guiro: Mike Carabello
Claves: Mike Carabello
Cabasa: Mike Carabello

 

Oo-ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh, yeah yeah
Oo-ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh, yeah yeah

Watching girls go passing by

It ain't the latest thing
I'm just standing in a doorway
I'm just trying to make some sense

Out of these girls go passing by
The tales they tell of men

I'm not waiting on a lady

I'm just waiting on a friend

Mmm, a smile relieves a heart that grieves
Remember what I said

I'm not waiting on a lady

I'm just waiting on a friend

I'm just waiting on a friend
Just waiting on a friend
I'm just waiting on a friend
I'm just waiting on a friend
Just waiting on a friend

Oo-ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh, yeah yeah
Oo-ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh, yeah yeah

Mmm, don't need a whore, I don't need no booze
Don't need a virgin priestess
But I need someone I can cry to
I need someone to protect

Making love and breaking hearts
It is a game for youth

But I'm not waiting on a lady

I'm just waiting on a friend, huh

I'm just waiting on a friend
I'm just waiting on a friend
I'm just waiting on a friend
I'm just waiting on a friend
I'm just waiting on a friend

I'm just waiting on a friend

Oo-ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh, yeah yeah
Oo-ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh, yeah yeah
  
 

TrackTalk

We were first recorded it in Jamaica with Nicky Hopkins. But it had absolutely no melody, top line or anything. It was the band just playing this thing, this riff and this pretty melody. And then I had to go back and start thinking, Well what's that going to be about?

- Mick Jagger, 2021

This one dates from the Goats Head Soup sessions. We all liked it at the time but we didn't have any lyrics, so there we were. As well as the vocal, we stuck on that amazing sax solo at the end by Sonny Rollins. The lyric I added is very gentle and loving, about friendships in the band. At least I think that's what it was about. The influence of the video comes in here because when we scripted it we had me and Keith sitting round waiting for each other. But I can't actually remember now if that was the original idea of the song.

- Mick Jagger, 1993

Mick Jagger, I donít think he understood what I was doing, and I didnít understand what he was doing. My wife was the one that persuaded me to do that recording. I said: Man, the Rolling Stones. I donít want to do any record with the Rolling Stones. Iíd considered them ó and itís faulty ó not on the level of jazz. But my wife said, No, no, you must do it. So I said, OK, let me see if I can relate to what they are doing; let me see if I can make it sound as good as possible... I didnít relate to them because I thought they were just derivative of black blues. I do remember once I was in the supermarket up in Hudson, New York, and they were playing Top 40 records. I heard this song and thought, Whoís that guy? His playing struck a chord in me. Then I said, Wait a minute, thatís me! It was my playing on one of those Rolling Stones records.

- Sonny Rollins, 2020


Just let me be cynical for a moment. First of all, it's really NOT about waiting on a woman friend. It's just about a FRIEND; it doesn't matter if it's a man or a woman. I can see people saying, Oh, we're all much older now, Mick's writing this much more compassionate stuff, must be about a real person. But that's only in their perception of it.
- Mick Jagger, 1983



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