Rolling Stones songs: Dear Doctor
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
So help me, please doctor, I’m damaged/ There’s a pain where there once was a heart…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, May 13-18 1968
Guest musicians: Nicky Hopkins (piano), Dave Mason (guitar)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
This song is about a man who tries to dull the pain of his wedding day with alcohol. The song has a drunken sloppy feel to it.
Along with Keith Richards, Dave Mason played acoustic guitar on this track. Mason was a member of the group Traffic, which Jimmy Miller produced before working with The Stones. Mason also recorded with Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney & Wings, Blondie and Fleetwood Mac.
Mick Jagger on playing country music: “As far as country music was concerned, we used to play country songs, but we’d never record them – or we recorded them but never released them. Keith and I had been playing Johnny Cash records and listening to the Everly Brothers – who were SO country – since we were kids. I used to love country music even before I met Keith. I loved George Jones and really fast, s–t-kicking country music, though I didn’t really like the maudlin songs too much… the country songs, like “Factory Girl” or “Dear Doctor” on Beggars Banquet were really pastiche. There’s a sense of humor in country music, anyway, a way of looking at life in a humorous kind of way – and I think we were just acknowledging that element of the music.”
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Dear Doctor” is yet another illustration of Mick Jagger’s scathing black
humor. The scenario unfolds in all probability in the southern United States,
where bourbon is the drink of choice. A boy has to get married—quite
definitely against his will, as there is nothing very pleasing about his
prospective bride, who is described as a bow-legged sow. The groom-to-be
is depressed. He appeals to his doctor and to his mother, neither of whom
can do much for him. However, this depression turns into relief when he
reads a note addressed to him by his fiancée: Darlin’, I’m sorry to hurt
you./But I have no courage to speak to your face./But I’m down in Virginia
with your cousin Lou. Outcome: There be no wedding today.
This non-marriage between two people who do not love each other is all
the more heartening for the accompanying music in the old hillbilly
tradition. Mick Jagger goes as far as to assume a Southern accent in order to
lend the tale an air of heavy cynicism. Mick Jagger: “The country songs,
like ‘Factory Girl’ and ‘Dear Doctor’ on Beggars Banquet were really
pastiche. There’s a sense of humour in country music anyway, a way of
looking at life in a humorous kind of way—and I think we were just
acknowledging that element of the music.”
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Categories: Can You Hear the Music?
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