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Rolling Stones songs: Dirty Work
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
You let somebody do the dirty work/ Find some loser, find some jerk…
Also known as: LET SOME FUCKER DO THE DIRTY WORK
Written by: Jagger/Richards/Wood
Recorded: Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris, France, Apr. 8-June 17 1985; RPM Studios, NYC, USA, July 16-Aug. 17 & Sept. 10-Oct. 15 1985; Right Track Studios, NYC, USA, Nov. 5-Dec. 15 1985
Guest musicians: Chuck Leavell (keyboards)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
This is the title track from the album that showed the band together on the cover for the first time since Their Satanic Majesties Request in 1967 (Annie Leibovitz took the photo). There was no bonhomie in the band, though: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards weren’t getting along, and Jagger was putting his best efforts into his solo career.
The song itself is angry, but very vague, with Jagger ranting about a woman who finds someone else to do her dirty work for free. In Steely Dan’s 1972 song “Dirty Work,” the phrase is used to describe cheating.
This was one of the few Stones songs that Ron Wood got a writing credit for. He came up with the guitar part he played with Keith Richards.
The album came out in the middle of a scandal over offensive content in rock music. Many conservative groups, including a bunch of politician’s wives called the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), were trying to get music they considered offensive banned from radio and TV. The Rolling Stones were not targeted by the PMRC, probably because many of their members liked the group, and The Stones record company kept it that way by wrapping the album in red plastic to hide any offensive words.
From the Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
Once again, Mick Jagger takes a stand. In this song he reveals his deep loathing for all those who exploit others, those who never get their hands dirty, those who make other people do their dirty work. Little by little, the singer shows that anger is brewing. I’m beginning to hate it. You’re a user. I hate ya, he belches in complete empathy with those who are suffering. A
protest song, then, albeit one that has never been performed live. Initially titled “Let Some Fucker Do the Dirty Work,” “Dirty Work” can be seen to some extent as a new version of “Salt of the Earth” (on Beggars Banquet)