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Rolling Stones songs: Claudine
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
There was blood in the chalet/ And blood in the snow/ She washed her hands of the whole damn show…
Written by: Jagger/Richards
Recorded: EMI Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris, France, Nov. 1977; Jan. 5-March 2 1978
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
This Chuck Berry-inspired track is about the French actress and singer Claudine Longet, who was charged with fatally shooting her boyfriend, Olympic skier Vladimir “Spider” Sabich on March 21, 1976. At the trial, Longet claimed the gun discharged accidentally as Sabich was showing her how it worked. Throughout the whole court case, her former husband, the singer Andy Williams, publicly supported Longet and she was eventually convicted of misdemeanor criminal negligence and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote the song for inclusion on their 1978 Some Girls but legal difficulties prevented it finding its way onto the album. It was eventually included on the bonus disc of the 2011 Some Girls reissue. Said Richards to Spinner: “I wished, and I think all of us did at the time, that that should have been on the original album, but there was some legal difficulties and stuff. But otherwise, she was a perfect ‘Some Girl.'”
From the The Big Foot Diaries blog:
The 2011 reissue of Some Girls by the Rolling Stones included a bonus disc featuring 12 previously non-released tracks.
The first of these tracks is “Claudine,” a blues shuffle written by Mick Jagger. Lyrically, it points an accusatory finger at French singer and actress Claudine Longet, who shot and killed her boyfriend in 1976.
Her boyfriend, Vladimir “Spider” Sabich, was an American Alpine Skier who had become a star during the 1968 Winter Olympics. After a day of skiing on March 21, 1976, he returned to the house he shared with Longet in Aspen, Colorado. As he stood in the bathroom while preparing to take a shower, he was suddenly shot by Longet. Despite being struck in the abdomen (usually a non-fatal wound area) he lost a large amount of blood. In the ambulance on the way to Aspen Valley Hospital he died, with Longet at his side.
Longet maintained to police that the gun went off accidentally as Spider was showing her how to use it. She also insisted that she and he had a cozy, warm and trouble free relationship.
Police confiscated a sample of her blood and also her diary.
Cocaine was alleged to have been found in her system, and details in her diary allegedly contradicted what she had told the police about her and Spider’s relationship. However, in a blow to the prosecution, the blood and diary were deemed inadmissible to the case because they were apprehended without a warrant.
Without this key evidence the prosecution was unable to build a strong case of murder. Subsequently, Longet was convicted of “criminally negligent homicide” – a misdemeanor – and ordered to pay a small fine and spend 30 days in jail. Her time was served at her own discretion, a move allowed by the judge, so that she would spend minimal time away from her children. (Most of her jail time was spent on weekends.)
Longet was exasperated by the public because of the presumption that she was guilty. In addition, she and her defense attorney, Ron Austin, became involved during the trial and developed an open relationship. Eventually they became married, which they still are to this day.
Claudine Longet had been previously married to crooner Andy Williams from 1961 until 1975. At her trial, he publicly supported her and her claims of innocence. He was often her ride to and from the courthouse proceedings, despite her new relationship with Austin.
So why did Mick Jagger write a song about Longet? One can only assume that it’s because she was young and pretty and wet with mystery.
The Stones have never been a band to shy away from scandal. Like other great song writers, the Stones cover the gamut as far as song topics go – think Bob Dylan’s “Joey” or “Hurricane.”
Longet is the perfect subject for a song. Scarred, broken, and clinging to love, she was a recipient of circumstance. If the police hadn’t marred the crime scene, she might not have gotten away with murder.
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