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Rolling Stones songs: Connection
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
They’re dying to add me to their collections/ And I don’t know if they’ll let me go…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: RCA Studios, Hollywood, USA, Aug. 3-7 1966; Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, Nov. 9-Dec. 6 1966
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
Keith Richards wrote most of this song, which is about the long hours the Stones spent in airports and the hard life of performing on the road, with all the travel-weary metaphors that go with it. The repeated word “connection” is a reference to connecting flights, “Everything is going in the wrong direction” is again suggesting not being able to get the right flights, and “The doctor wants to give me more injections, giving me shots for a thousand rare infections” is about the immunization shots you have to get when traveling. Oh, and “my bags, they get a very close inspection.” Well, better not have any contraband in there!
Speaking of contraband, this song was written only months before the notorious drug bust of Richards, Jagger, and Jones in 1967; notorious for being mostly trumped-up and the sentences greatly reduced following public outcry.
This song is part of the soundtrack to the 2008 film Shine a Light. It has also been covered by Everclear, Arlo Guthrie, and Montrose.
This was one of the last Stones’ songs produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, who would soon split with the group amidst much angst and complaining on both sides.
Cartoons and drawings by the Rolling Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts are used on the album artwork. Charlie Watts explains: “Andrew told me to do the drawings for the LP & he told me the title was between the buttons. I thought he meant the title was ‘Between The Buttons’, so it stayed.”
The Rolling Stones performed “Connection” for the first time in 15 years during their October 9, 2021 tour stop at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Keith Richards took over lead vocals from Sir Mick Jagger, telling the crowd: “I’m going to start off with something I haven’t done in years, but this should be fun.” The band previously played the song at a Vancouver gig in November 2006.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Connection” is essentially a Keith Richards song, almost certainly written
late at night, between two concerts, in a hotel room. The subject explores
the harsh realities of touring, not least plane changes and the dehumanized
atmosphere of airport waiting rooms.
However, as so often with the Rolling Stones, there is probably a hidden
meaning. Everything is going in the wrong direction/The doctor wants to
give me more injections/Giving me shots for a thousand rare infections:
does this refer to all the vaccinations the Rolling Stones were required to
have before setting off to conquer the world, or to various illicit substances?
Similarly, the phrase My bags they get a very close inspection/I wonder why
it is that they suspect ’em clearly alludes to the zeal of the customs officers
when the Stones arrive in town. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that in
the imagery-laden parlance of drug dealers, connection means dealer.
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Categories: Can You Hear the Music?