Tag: Rolling Stones

Shattered – The Rolling Stones, Schmatta

“Shattered” is a song by the English rock band the Rolling Stones from their 1978 album Some Girls. The song is a reflection of American lifestyles and life in 1970s-era New York City, but also influences from the English punk rock movement can be heard.


Uh huh shattered, uh huh shattered
Love and hope and sex and dreams
Are still surviving on the street
Look at me, I’m in tatters!
I’m a shattered

Friends are so alarming
My lover’s never charming
Life’s just a cocktail party on the street
Big Apple
People dressed in plastic bags
Directing traffic
Some kind of fashion

Laughter, joy, and loneliness and sex and sex and sex and sex
Look at me, I’m in tatters
I’m a shattered

All this chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter ’bout
Shmatta, shmatta, shmatta, I can’t give it away on 7th Avenue
This town’s been wearing tatters (shattered, sha ooobie shattered)

Location, location, location. If there’s an element of luck to my story, it’s that the Stones—Mick, Keith, and Woody—lived in the same place as me. If Picasso had a “blue period” and Orson Welles a “film noir period,” then this was the Stones’ “New York period.” They wrote songs about the city—their new album gave a shout-out to 8th Street—and became part of its fabric. When Mick sang about walkin’ Central Park and about schmattas on Seventh Avenue, he was drawing from experience. I mean, how many non-New Yorkers even know what a schmatta is? (Yiddish for “rag.”)

Under Their Thumb: How a Nice Boy from Brooklyn Got Mixed Up with the Rolling Stones (and Lived to Tell About It)
Bill German
(Great book, by the way. Highly recommended.)

Keith Richards on Charlie Watts’ Drumming

If it hadn’t been for Charlie, I would never have been able to expand and develop. Number one with Charlie is that he’s got great feel. He had it then, from the start. There’s tremendous personality and subtlety in his playing. If you look at the size of his kit, it’s ludicrous compared with what most drummers use these days. They’ve got a fort with them. An incredible barrage of drums. Charlie, with just that one classico setup, can pull it all off. Nothing pretentious, and then you hear him and it don’t half go bang. He plays with humor too. I love to watch his foot through the Perspex. Even if I can’t hear him, I can play to him just by watching. The other thing is Charlie’s trick that he got, I think, from Jim Keltner or Al Jackson. On the hi-hat, most guys would play on all four beats, but on the two and the four, which is the backbeat, which is a very important thing in rock and roll, Charlie doesn’t play, he lifts up. He goes to play and pulls back. It gives the snare drum all of the sound, instead of having some interference behind it. It’ll give you a heart arrhythmia if you look at it. He does some extra motion that’s totally unnecessary. It pulls the time back because he has to make a little extra effort. And so part of the languid feel of Charlie’s drumming comes from this unnecessary motion every two beats. It’s very hard to do—to stop the beat going just for one beat and then come back in. And it also has something to do with the way Charlie’s limbs are constructed, where he feels the beat. Each drummer’s got a signature as to whether the hi-hat’s a little bit ahead of the snare. Charlie’s very far back with the snare and up with the hi-hat. And the way he stretches out the beat and what we do on top of that is a secret of the Stones sound. Charlie’s quintessentially a jazz drummer, which means the rest of the band is a jazz band in a way.

Keith Richards

Neighbors – Rolling Stones

Neighbours, neighbours, neighbours

Have I got neighbours?
Have I got neighbours?
All day and all night
Have I got neighbours?
Ringing my doorbells
All day and all night

Ladies, have I got crazies?
Screamin’ young babies
No piece and no quiet
I got TV’s, saxophone playin’
Groanin’ and strainin’
With the trouble and strife

Is it any wonder?
Is it any wonder?
Is it any wonder
That we fuss and fight?

Do unto strangers
Do unto neighbours
What you do to yourself, yourself, yourself
Yourself, yourself?
Is it any wonder?
Is it any wonder?
Is it any wonder
That we fuss and fight?

Do unto strangers
Do unto neighbours
What you do to yourself, yourself, yourself

Neighbours, neighbours, neighbours, neighbours
Neighbours, neighbours, neighbours, neighbours

Do yourself a favour
Don’t you mess with my baby
When I’m workin’ all night
You know that neighbours
Steal off my table
Steal off my table
And doin’ alright, alright, alright, alright

Neighbours do unto strangers
Do unto strangers
What you do to yourself
Yourself, yourself, yourself

Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones, Keith Richards on Writing of

I wrote “Gimme Shelter” on a stormy day, sitting in Robert Fraser’s apartment in Mount Street.

… I stayed there with Strawberry Bob and Mohammed, who were probably the first people I played it to. “War, children, it’s just a shot away…” It was just a terrible fucking day and it was storming out there. I was sitting there in Mount Street and there was this incredible storm over London, so I got into that mode, just looking out of Robert’s window and looking at all these people with their umbrellas being blown out of their grasp and running like hell. And the idea came to me. You get lucky sometimes. It was a shitty day. I had nothing better to do. Of course, it becomes much more metaphorical with all the other contexts and everything, but at the time I wasn’t thinking about, oh my God, there’s my old lady shooting a movie in a bath with Mick Jagger. My thought was storms on other people’s minds, not mine. It just happened to hit the moment. Only later did I realize, this will have more meaning than I thought at the time. “Threatening my very life today.” It’s got menace, all right. It’s scary stuff. And those chords are Jimmy Reed inspired—the same haunting trick, sliding up the fret board against the drone of the E note. I’m just working my way up A major, B major, and I go, hello, where are we ending up? C-sharp minor, OK. It’s a very unlikely guitar key. But you’ve just got to recognize the setups when you hear them. A lot of them, like this one, are accidents.

Richards, Keith. Life

The Rolling Stones, Trump, and Atlantic City

Atlantic City wasn’t where you’d expect to find the Rolling Stones in 1989. It was, for the most part, a mecca for East Coast pensioners who couldn’t endure the trip to Vegas. Church groups would show up by the busload, throw nickels in the slots, feast on a free buffet, and reboard the bus before nightfall. Frankie Valli was as rock ‘n’ roll as it got. Donald Trump lured the Stones to this den of decadence with a huge offer. It called for three concerts, December 17, 19, and 20, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, next to Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. It’d be the Stones’ last stop of the tour.

…Trump bought these shows outright for $6 million – a ton of money back then – so he was the boss. He, not the Stones, determined the ticket prices. He also got to sell/distribute the tickets however he wanted. For the December 17 show, he comped the best seats to his high rollers. Blue-haired old ladies and guys who reeked of Vitalis. They couldn’t name a single Stones song, but when they saw the value of their tickets – $500 a pair – they couldn’t resist the perk. The Stones weren’t happy, but it was their own fault for making Trump their boss for the week. At a preconcert press conference, they avoided all photo ops with him and threatened to leave if he came near them.

German, Bill. Under Their Thumb

Mick Jagger’s 10 Classic Blues Playlist – Now With Notes


1. “I Got to Go” Little Walter, 1955
It’s a fast, weird tempo – a train rhythm, because it’s an on-the-move song. Little Walter was a big influence – the Charlie parker of harmonica.

2. “First Time I Met the Blues” Buddy Guy, 1960
He was a virtuoso. B.B. King and Otis Rush were influential on a lot of British guitar players, but Buddy had more virtuosity and different licks to nick. He had a vocal style that was harsher than everyone else.

3. “40 Days and 40 Nights” Muddy Waters, 1956
It’s got these religious overtones that give it a poignancy. You could have picked so many tracks by him, but this one gives you a shiver when you put it on.

4. “Stones in My Passway” Robert Johnson, 1937
One of the essences of Robert Johnson is the eeriness, and this one illustrates that – the lyrics, the way he delivers it. The thing about blues lyrics is you never know who wrote them. They’re a patchwork of composition people take a line, embellish it with their own verses. But I never heard anything like this. This seems quite original.

5. “Lonely Avenue” Ray Charles, 1956
It’s a great tempo, a lovely shuffle. I’ve sung this with the Stones,  with other people. Doc Pomus was a good writer, very underrated, although I always rated him highly.

6. “Cold Shot” Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1984
He’s a player who absorbed all of these influences – country, Hendrix licks, but urban too. He has these lazy tempos, like this one. He sits back in the track, in that groove.

7. “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” Z.Z. Hill, 1982
I never saw him live, but I love this song. There’s a whole genre of blues songs the jealousy thing, not letting anyone in your house. But in this song, everyone is let in. The wife lets everyone in the house.

8. “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” Blind willie Johnson, 1927
He was an itinerant church singer, only did religious themes. He’s got some odd voices. He’s got this growly gospel voice, then this almost effeminate sound, like a woman’s voice. He switches from one to the other. It’s very haunted.

9. “Forty Four” Howlin’ Wolf, 1954
This is a piano blues with a funny time signature. It’s very powerful. It was almost impossible for anyone else to do that voice. He was so far off on some other plane. He had this strange voice — strange everything.

10. “Going Down” Freddie King, 1971
He came to play shows in England a lot, and I used to see him in Los Angeles all the time. This song is great, and different. It’s not just a 12-bar blues – somebody thought about how it’s going to work, with that bass line, It ups the ante from the usual.

“I tried to cover different styles and eras, although it is weighted toward the Fifties. Pop music in Britain used to be filtered through a big machine. With these records, you got the feeling it was coming to you directly, with an earthiness that spoke of another existence. John Lee Hooker, Memphis Slim, Big Bill Broonzy – they were also on television. It was considered folk art in Britain. It was slightly patronizing, but the essence of it was out there.”

Mick Jagger
The Playlist Issue
Rolling Stone, December 9, 2010

See also, Keith Richards’ 10 Classic Roots and Reggae List

Sonny Rollins Interview – NY Times Magazine

Do you think music has an ethical component?
I can hear music that elevates me, but on the other hand there’s martial music that’s made to make people go to war. So music is neutral. It has nothing to do with ethics. Music is not on the same level as trying to understand life. We’re here for 80-something years. One lifetime is not enough to get it right. I’ll be back in another body. I’m not interested in trying to get that technical about that because I don’t need to know. What I need to know is that being a person who understands that giving is better than getting is the proper way to live. Live your life now in a positive way. Help people if you can. Don’t hurt people. That works perfectly for me, man.

The jazz icon Sonny Rollins knows life is a solo trip. By David Marchese. Feb. 21, 2020, NYTIMES 

Rollins doing the saxophone with the Stones:

Keith Richards on Vietnam and the Sunset Strip in the 60’s

Taking “Street Fighting Man” to the extremes, or “Gimme Shelter.” But without a doubt it was a strange generation. The weird thing is that I grew up with it, but suddenly I’m an observer instead of a participant. I watched all these guys grow up; I watched a lot of them die. When I first got to the States, I met a lot of great guys, young guys, and I had their phone numbers, and then when I got back two or three years later, I’d call them up, and he’s in a body bag from Nam. A whole lot of them got feathered out, we all know. That’s when that shit hit home with me. Hey, that great little blondie, great guitar player, real fun, we had a real good time, and the next time, gone.

Sunset Strip in the ’60s, ’64, ’65—there was no traffic allowed through it. The whole strip was filled with people, and nobody’s going to move for a car. It was almost off-limits. You hung out in the street, you just joined the mob. I remember once Tommy James, from the Shondells—six gold records and blew it all. I was trying to get up to the Whisky a Go Go in a car, and Tommy James came by. “Hey, man.” “And who are you?” “Tommy James, man.” “Crimson and Clover” still hits me. He was trying to hand out things about the draft that day. Because obviously he thought he was about to be fucking drafted. This was Vietnam War time. A lot of the kids that came to see us the first time never got back. Still, they heard the Stones up the Mekong Delta.

Richards, Keith. Life (p. 238). Little, Brown and Company.

I Can’t Get No Interaction

Back in the AOL/dial-up era, Mick Jagger was on one of AOL’s live chat room events. From memory –

How does it feel knowing you are still being outsold by The Beatles even though they’ve been broken up for thirty years? *
No comment

My name is Michel and I’m from Quebec, so pardon my English …
Ca va Michel

Also, Mick said that it was possible to get addicted to anything. “Even something as banal as chatrooms.”

from http://www.aolwatch.org/faq2b.htm

Here’s how Scott Rosenberg of the San Francisco Examiner described his attempt to watch Mick Jagger’s appearance.

“I Can’t Get No Interaction”
You couldn’t see the thick lips, and you couldn’t hear the thick British drawl. But Monday night on America Online, you could watch Mick Jagger type.

The online celebrity forum is an increasingly common marketing tool that puts a famous name behind a keyboard to take questions from a crowd of cyber-onlookers…It’s a pretty inefficient way to find out stuff about the rich and famous–though it does provide the best insight yet available into their typing skills. Like many others, I spent the hour from 6 to 7 p.m. vainly clicking on the AOL “Coliseum” icon, pounding on the door to the room where Jagger was answering questions.

I wound up with a bunch of other Jagger turnaways in another AOL forum, the Odeon, where Oingo Boingo bandleader and movie-soundtrack composer Danny Elfman was also holding an online chat.

Question: Loved “wierd science” & “dead man’s party”. How about a new Oingo album?

Elfman 1: Are you trying to piss me off or what? I just came out with a new Boingo album. Why the f*** do you think I’m here right now?

* referring to this, presumably –
1 is a compilation album by the English rock band the Beatles, originally released on 13 November 2000. The album features virtually every number-one single the band achieved in the United Kingdom and United States from 1962 to 1970. Issued on the 30th anniversary of the band’s break-up…