Under My Thumb

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"Under My Thumb"
Under My Thumb cover.jpg
Japanese single cover
Song by the Rolling Stones
from the album Aftermath
Released15 April 1966 (1966-04-15)
Recorded6–9 March 1966
Genre Pop rock
Length3:41
Label Decca
Songwriter(s) Jagger/Richards
Producer(s) Andrew Loog Oldham
Aftermath track listing
14 tracks
Side one
  1. "Mother's Little Helper"
  2. "Stupid Girl"
  3. "Lady Jane"
  4. "Under My Thumb"
  5. "Doncha Bother Me"
  6. "Goin' Home"
Side two
  1. "Flight 505"
  2. "High and Dry"
  3. "Out of Time"
  4. "It's Not Easy"
  5. "I Am Waiting"
  6. "Take It or Leave It"
  7. "Think"
  8. "What to Do"
Alternative cover
Under My Thumb - Rolling Stones.jpg
Italian release

"Under My Thumb" is a song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The Rolling Stones recorded it for their 1966 album Aftermath . Although it was never released as a single in English-speaking countries, it is one of the band's more popular songs from the period and appears on several best-of compilations, such as Hot Rocks 1964-1971 . In 1968, it was released as a single in Japan. It was also released in Italy. [1]

Mick Jagger English songwriter, singer of The Rolling Stones

Sir Michael Philip Jagger is an English singer, songwriter, actor, and film producer who gained worldwide fame as the lead singer and one of the founder members of the Rolling Stones. Jagger's career has spanned over five decades, and he has been described as "one of the most popular and influential frontmen in the history of rock & roll". His distinctive voice and energetic live performances, along with Keith Richards' guitar style, have been the trademark of the Rolling Stones throughout the band's career. Jagger gained press notoriety for his admitted drug use and romantic involvements, and was often portrayed as a countercultural figure.

Keith Richards British songwriter, guitarist of The Rolling Stones

Keith Richards is an English musician, singer, and songwriter, best known as the co-founder, guitarist, secondary vocalist, and co-principal songwriter of the Rolling Stones. Rolling Stone magazine called Richards the creator of "rock's greatest single body of riffs" on guitar and ranked him fourth on its list of 100 best guitarists in 2011, and the magazine lists fourteen songs that Richards wrote with the Rolling Stones' lead vocalist Mick Jagger on its "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.

The Rolling Stones English rock band

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first stable line-up consisted of bandleader Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman (bass), Charlie Watts (drums), and Ian Stewart (piano). Stewart was removed from the official line-up in 1963 but continued to work with the band as a contracted musician until his death in 1985. The band's primary songwriters, Jagger and Richards, assumed leadership after Andrew Loog Oldham became the group's manager. Jones left the band less than a month before his death in 1969, having already been replaced by Mick Taylor, who remained until 1974. After Taylor left the band, Ronnie Wood took his place in 1975 and continues on guitar in tandem with Richards. Since Wyman's departure in 1993, Darryl Jones has served as touring bassist. The Stones have not had an official keyboardist since 1963, but have employed several musicians in that role, including Jack Nitzsche (1965–1971), Nicky Hopkins (1967–1982), Billy Preston (1971–1981), Ian McLagan (1978–1981), and Chuck Leavell (1982–present).

Contents

The group frequently performed "Under My Thumb" on their 1981 US Tour and 1982 European tour as the opening number at each concert. The Stones have played the song sporadically on subsequent tours in 1997–1998 and 2006.

Lyrics and music

The song's lyrics are an examination of a sexual power struggle, in which Jagger's lyrics celebrate the success of finally having controlled and gained leverage over a previously pushy, dominating woman. Jagger later reflected on the track in a 1995 interview: "It's a bit of a jokey number, really. It's not really an anti-feminist song any more than any of the others ... Yes, it's a caricature, and it's in reply to a girl who was a very pushy woman". [2] For many years starting with the 1969 tour, Jagger changed the references of "girl" in the lyric to "woman".

Like many of the songs from the Aftermath period, "Under My Thumb" uses more novel instrumentation than that featured on previous Stones records, including fuzz bass lines (played by Bill Wyman [3] ), and marimba riffs played by Brian Jones, which provide the song's most prominent hook.

Fuzz bass style of playing the electric bass or modifying its signal that produces a buzzy, distorted, overdriven sound

Fuzz bass, also called "bass overdrive" or "bass distortion", is a style of playing the electric bass or modifying its signal that produces a buzzy, distorted, overdriven sound, which the name implies in an onomatopoetic fashion. Overdriving a bass signal significantly changes the timbre, adds higher overtones (harmonics), increases the sustain, and, if the gain is turned up high enough, creates a "breaking up" sound characterized by a growling, buzzy tone.

Bill Wyman British bassist of The Rolling Stones

Bill Wyman is an English musician, record producer, songwriter and singer. He was the bass guitarist for the English rock and roll band the Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1993. Since 1997 he has recorded and toured with his own band, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. He has worked producing records and films, and has scored music for film in films and television.

Marimba percussion instrument consisting of a set of wooden bars struck with mallets

The marimba is a percussion instrument consisting of a set of wooden bars struck with yarn or rubber mallets to produce musical tones. Resonators or pipes suspended underneath the bars amplify their sound. The bars of a chromatic marimba are arranged like the keys of a piano, with the groups of two and three accidentals raised vertically, overlapping the natural bars to aid the performer both visually and physically. This instrument is a type of idiophone, but with a more resonant and lower-pitched tessitura than the xylophone. A person who plays the marimba is called a marimbist or a marimba player.

The lyrics, which savour the successful "taming of the shrew" and compare the woman in question to a "pet", a "Siamese cat" and a "squirming dog" provoked some negative reactions, especially amongst feminists, who objected to what they took as the suppressive sexual politics of the male narrator. American humanities professor Camille Paglia, for example, reports that her admiration and defense of "Under My Thumb" marked the beginning of a rift between her and the radical feminists of the late 1960s. [4] [5]

<i>The Taming of the Shrew</i> play by Shakespeare

The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1592.

Camille Paglia American writer

Camille Anna Paglia is an American feminist academic and social critic. Paglia has been a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, since 1984. She is critical of many aspects of modern culture, and is the author of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (1990) and other books. She is also a critic of contemporary American feminism and of post-structuralism as well as a commentator on multiple aspects of American culture such as its visual art, music, and film history.

Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism that calls for a radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts.

Personnel

Brian Jones British multi-instrumentalist, founding member of The Rolling Stones

Lewis Brian Hopkins Jones was an English musician, best known as the founder and the original leader of the Rolling Stones. Initially a slide guitarist, Jones would go on to play a wide variety of instruments on Rolling Stones recordings and in concerts, such as rhythm and lead guitar, sitar, dulcimer, various keyboard instruments such as piano and mellotron, marimba, wind instruments such as harmonica, recorder, saxophone, as well as drums, vocals and numerous others.

Charlie Watts British drummer of The Rolling Stones

Charles Robert Watts is an English drummer, best known as a member of the Rolling Stones since 1963. Originally trained as a graphic artist, he started playing drums in London's rhythm and blues clubs, where he met Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards. In January 1963, he joined their fledgling group, the Rolling Stones, as drummer, while doubling as designer of their record sleeves and tour stages. He has also toured with his own group, the Charlie Watts Quintet, and appeared in London at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club with the Charlie Watts Tentet.

Ian Stewart (musician) British musician and tour manager

Ian Andrew Robert Stewart was a Scottish keyboardist and co-founder of the Rolling Stones. He was removed from the line-up in May 1963 at the request of manager Andrew Loog Oldham who felt he did not fit the band's image. He remained as road manager and pianist for decades and was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the rest of the band in 1989.

Altamont incident

The song was played during the death of Meredith Hunter at the infamous Altamont Free Concert in 1969. The Stones were just finishing up the song when a fight broke out between Hells Angels on the security detail and concert-goers, ultimately culminating in the stabbing of Hunter by Hells Angel Alan Passaro after Hunter pulled out a gun.

Death of Meredith Hunter Murder in Altamont, California, on December 6, 1969

Meredith Curly Hunter, Jr. was an 18-year-old African-American teen who was killed at the 1969 Altamont Free Concert. During the performance by The Rolling Stones, Hunter approached the stage, and was violently driven off by members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club who had been contracted to serve as security guards. He subsequently returned to the stage area, drew a revolver, and was stabbed and beaten to death by Hells Angel Alan Passaro.

Altamont Free Concert 1969 music festival in northern California

The Altamont Speedway Free Festival was a counterculture rock concert held on Saturday, December 6, 1969 at the Altamont Speedway, northern California, United States.

Hells Angels Motorcycle club

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) is a worldwide one-percenter motorcycle club whose members typically ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

It is a common misconception that Hunter was stabbed while the band was playing "Sympathy for the Devil". [6] The events appear in the film Gimme Shelter . [7]

Cover versions

A number of artists have recorded cover versions of the song.

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References

  1. Discogs: The Rolling Stones – Under My Thumb / Route 66
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. Ian McPherson. "Under My Thumb". Timeisonourside.com. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  4. Paglia, Camille. (1992) Sex, Art and American Culture: New Essays, New York, Vintage, 1992, ISBN   978-0-679-74101-5
  5. Reason, Everything's Awesome and Camille Paglia Is Unhappy!, 19 March 2015
  6. Burks, John (7 February 1970). "Rock & Roll's Worst Day". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 13 September 2008.
  7. Caspar Llewellyn Smith. "Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones | DVD review | Music". The Guardian . Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  8. Stuart Maconie (30 September 2014). Cider With Roadies. Ebury Publishing. pp. 70–. ISBN   978-1-4735-0286-4.
  9. "Wayne Gibson". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  10. Adams, Bret. "London Hyde Park 1969". AllMusic . Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  11. Eduardo Rivadavia. "No Rest for the Wicked - Truth and Janey | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic . Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  12. RPM Top Singles, February 2, 1980
  13. "Grammy 2009 Winners List". MTV. 8 February 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
  14. Heather Phares (3 August 2010). "Sidetracked - La Roux | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic . Retrieved 2 October 2016.