Rolling Stones songs: 2000 Light Years from Home
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
Bound for a star with fiery oceans/ It’s so very lonely, you’re a hundred light years from home…
Also known as: Title 12; Toffee Apple
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, July 7-22 1967
Guest musicians: Nicky Hopkins (piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
Space exploration was big at the time, and was probably an influence on this song. Pink Floyd was making music with a similar sound.
The psychedelic sound reflected the times. It was the summer of love (1967)
Mick Jagger got the idea for this while in jail on drug charges.
The Stones played this on their Steel Wheels tour in 1989. A show in Atlantic City was broadcast with this song shot in 3D, which viewers could see using those goofy glasses.
Various echo effects and drum sounds were added in overdubbing.
On this track, their lead guitarist, Brian Jones, played a Mellotron, an early synthesizer. Jones played a number of unusual instruments in his time with the band, which lasted from their founding in 1962 until 1969, when he was fired after a number of clashes with his bandmates over his reliability and contributions. Just weeks after leaving the band, the 27-year-old Jones drowned in his swimming pool.
The ’90s psychedelic group The Brian Jonestown Massacre recorded a tribute to the Stones’ psychedelic period (and this song) called Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
Mick Jagger wrote “2000 Light Years from Home” in his cell in Brixton
Prison during the night of June 29–30, 1967. Found guilty of the illegal
possession of Benzedrine, he had been sentenced to three months in jail.
Naturally, he did not know that he would be released on bail the following
day, and was seized by a feeling of terrible loneliness, hence these superb
lyrics. The author displays great subtlety in expressing his anxiety through
metaphor. The personal situation of the Stones’ singer is cleverly
transformed into that of an astronaut whose sense of isolation grows as he
approaches his final destination, the star Aldebaran. Here he is, one hundred
light-years from home, then six hundred, then one thousand, and finally two
thousand. The scenario is reminiscent of Ray Bradbury or Arthur C. Clarke,
whose short story “The Sentinel” was made into a film by Stanley Kubrick
(2001: A Space Odyssey) and released the following year.
“2000 Light Years from Home” could also be interpreted as the allegory
of an LSD trip, the realization, in a certain sense, of the “politics of ecstasy”
propounded by Timothy Leary. It would start with a soft explosion, bound
for a star with fiery oceans, where energy is present in every part. A
metaphor, Rolling Stones–style, for the Summer of Love. Musically, the
song admittedly bears something of a resemblance to what the California
bands were doing at the same time (for instance “Eight Miles High” by the
Byrds and “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane). It would, however, exert
a profound influence on the British progressive scene.
“2000 Light Years from Home” was released as a single in several
countries, notably the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany.
In Germany it reached number 5 on January 5, 1968 (with “She’s a
Rainbow” as the B-side).
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Categories: Can You Hear the Music?
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