rolling stones all the way down 1983Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: All the Way Down
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I was King, Mr. Cool/ Just a snobby little fool…

Written by: Jagger/Richards
Recorded: EMI Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris, France, Nov. 11-Dec. 16 1982; Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas, May 1983; The Hit Factory, NYC, USA, June-July 1983
Guest musicians: Jim Barber (guitar), Chuck Leavell (piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
Here, Mick Jagger wields his memories with all the skill of a great rock ’n’
roll author. There is no mincing of words: he gets straight to the point. The
song’s protagonist remembers when he was a naïve, eager-to-please
twentyone-year-old, and recalls the woman who entered his life at that time.
The years have now passed and there have been birthdays, kids, and suicides
His verdict is harsh: But still I play the fool and strut/Still you’re a slut.
The Stones chose “All the Way Down” as the B-side of their single
“Undercover of the Night,” but have never performed the song live. Maybe
they felt it was a little disappointing? This is what Ron Wood suggests:
“‘All the Way Down’ could have been a better song (we didn’t explore its
full potential).

The guitarist has a point: “All the Way Down” is not exactly the best song
on the album. There is something routine about it… The Stones probably
needed to get their album finished. The track opens with a slightly sped-up
voice (Keith, according to the writer Martin Elliott), picked up on the
control room talk-back mic: “Don’t wanna hear it from the beginning, just
drop us in,” the voice seems to be saying. Keith (probably) then launches
into a riff strongly colored by phasing, before being joined by the rest of the
band. He is answered by two other rhythm guitars, most probably Mick and
Ronnie. From 0:56 on, Keith can also be heard strumming an acoustic
guitar, an instrument that was sadly becoming something of a rarity in the
Stones’ universe. Charlie and Bill do what is required of them and are
joined by bongos and congas from 1:41 on (at the back of the mix). What
can be said about this song? The bridge (1:20) is in poor taste, with Jagger
doubling himself in a falsetto. The break at 2:11 recalls that of “Rocks Off”
in its general style, but without being remotely as brilliant; it is simply a riot
of completely pointless vocal effects. If the performance of the Stones
singer is not exactly unforgettable, the sound recording and/or mixing does
nothing to help. Ron Wood has made the very fair assessment: “In terms of
the musical peaks on that album, there really aren’t that many.”
It is time for Keith to rise from his slumber…

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