Rolling Stones songs: Emotional Rescue
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
Yeah, the other night, crying/ Crying baby, yeah I’m crying…
Written by: Jagger/Richards
Recorded: EMI Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris, France, June 10-Oct. 19 1979; Electric Lady Studios, NYC, USA, Nov-Dec. 1979
Guest musicians: Bobby Keys (saxophone)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
In this song, Mick Jagger is trying to get his girl back, promising to come to her “emotional rescue” if she takes him back. He comes off a little creepy, especially in the spoken part where he repeats, “You will be mine, all mine.”
Like their hit “Miss You,” this song is a sop to disco, with Mick Jagger singing much of the song in falsetto, à la The Bee Gees. Many Stones fans hated it, but the song was a hit; released as the first single from the album, it made the Top 10 in many territories, including the UK and US.
The song didn’t have much staying power, though, and was rarely heard once it fell off the charts. The next single from the album, “She’s So Cold,” was more typical of their sound and had a much longer shelf life.
Around this time, Keith Richards was less involved because he was getting cleaned up, so Mick Jagger had a lot of creative control on the Emotional Rescue album. Jagger wrote the song in the studio on an electric piano, then recorded the basic track with drummer Charlie Watts and bass player Ron Wood. Keith Richards overdubbed some guitar, but had little else to do with it. Still, per tradition, the song was credited as having been written by him and Jagger.
The phrase “emotional rescue” is something Mick Jagger came up with. It never entered the lexicon, but Stevie Wonder used it in the lyric to his 1982 hit “That Girl”:
She thinks in no time flat
That she’ll be free and clear to start
With her emotional rescue of love
That you’ll leave torn apart
Two music videos were shot for this song. The first uses the kind of thermographic imagery used on the album cover to show the band in colorful, flickering outlines performing this song. It was cutting-edge stuff for 1980, but unwatchable for more than 30 seconds.
The second one is easier on the eyes. That one was shot by acclaimed director David Mallett and shows the band performing it on a colorful set. It was shot at the same time as their “She’s So Cold” video.
Jagger got the idea for the falsetto from listening to Don Covay’s song “Mercy, Mercy,” where Covay sings the harmony part in falsetto.
The song runs 5:38, but was cut down to 4:07 for both music videos.
There were a lot of stops and starts when recording the album. Bobby Keys’ sax solo and Mick Jagger’s vocals were added almost a year after the rhythm track was recorded.
The Stones played this for the very first time in concert on May 3, 2013, 33 years after they recorded the tune. Keith Richards was not a fan of the disco-based song and it never made a Stones setlist until the first show of their 50 and Counting tour at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
Mick Jagger wrote both the words and the music to “Emotional Rescue,”
which came into being in a similar fashion to “Miss You.” Here, Mick
Jagger takes on the role of a man who is deeply in love with a poor girl in a
rich man’s house, and cries over her absence. Initially fatalistic, in the
second verse he resolves to rescue her. “You would never really write a
song like that in real life. Comes out in the studio, ’cause it’s all ad-libbed,
the end part. It was never planned like that,” commented Jagger in 1980.
“Emotional Rescue” is thus a love song and, at the same time, an ode to
dance. What never fails to surprise, is the falsetto voice adopted by Mick
Jagger, which is completely unlike anything he had done before. It
inevitably calls to mind the Bee Gees of “Saturday Night Fever” or Marvin
Gaye on “Got to Give It Up,” certainly not a rock singer, and even less a
bluesman. Although atypical of the Stones’ output, “Emotional Rescue”
would nonetheless perform more than creditably when released as a single
(with the very bluesy “Down in the Hole” as its B-side) on June 20, 1980,
rising to number 3 on the Billboard chart and number 9 in the United
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Categories: Can You Hear the Music?