Rolling Stones songs: Coming Down Again
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
I was caught, oh, taken for a ride/ She was showing no surprise…
Written by: Jagger, Richard
Recorded: Dynamic Sounds Studios, Kingston, Jamaica, Nov.-25.Dec. 21, 1972; Island Recording Studios, London, June 1973
Guest musicians: Nicky Hopkins (piano), Bobby Keys (saxophone)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
Although many fans think this song is about Keith Richards stealing Anita Pallenberg away from Brian Jones, Richards told a different story in his autobiography Life (2010): “Of ‘Coming Down Again,’ I said not long ago that I wouldn’t have written it without heroin. I don’t know if it was ABOUT dope. It was just a mournful song – and you look for that melancholy in yourself…
…I’m obviously looking for great grooves, great riffs, rock and roll, but there’s the other side of the coin that still wants to go where ‘As Tears Go By’ came from. And by then I’d worked a lot in the country field, especially with Gram Parsons, and that high-lonesome melancholy has a certain pull on the heartstrings. You want to see if you can tug ’em a little harder. Some people think ‘Coming Down Again’ is about me stealing Anita, but by then that’s all water under the f–king bridge.”
In 2002, Richards said: “I wonder about the songs I’ve written: I really like the ones I did when I was on (heroin). I wouldn’t have written ‘Coming Down Again’ without that. I’m this millionaire rock star, but I’m in the gutter with these other sniveling people. It kept me in touch with the street, at the lowest level.”
Nicky Hopkins played piano on this track. It also featured Bobby Keys and Jim Horn on saxophones and Pascal on percussion. Pascal contributed to Goats Head Soup on many songs during the mixing sessions in London in 1973.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Coming Down Again” is, in a sense, Keith Richards’s response to Mick
Jagger’s “Shine a Light,” recorded by the band during the Exile on Main St.
sessions. While Jagger sings of friends who leave you in the cold gray
dawn, Keith Richards wonders where are all my friends, before revealing
that he is hitting rock bottom. In all likelihood, both songs are about Brian
Jones, who faded gradually throughout the second half of the sixties, before
eventually being ousted from the band he had formed. Slipped my tongue in
someone else’s pie/Tasting better every time: the breakup with Anita
Pallenberg after she had gone off with Keith Richards was probably one of
the most painful events ever experienced by Brian Jones.
There are other possible interpretations, however. The song could be a
mea culpa from Keith Richards after being unfaithful to Anita Pallenberg,
or it could be an expression of his “relationship” with heroin, to which he
was addicted at the time, hence the title of the song. In his autobiography
Life, however, the Stones guitarist casts doubt on this interpretation: “I said
not long ago that I wouldn’t have written it without heroin. I don’t know if
it was about dope. It was just a mournful song.…”
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