Rolling Stones songs: Factory Girl
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
Waiting for a girl and her knees are much too fat/ Waiting for a girl who wears scarves instead of hats…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, May 13-18 1968
Guest musicians: Rik Grech (fiddle), Rocky Dijon (congas), Dave Mason (mandolin)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
This song is a great example of Mick Jagger taking on a persona, which he often did in his lyrics. Here, he sings from the perspective of a guy who is waiting for his girlfriend – a destitute, disheveled sort – to get out of work at the factory. It’s quite a contrast to Jagger’s reality: a glamorous rock star who often dated models.
Dave Mason, who did some session work for Jimi Hendrix and was a member of the band Traffic, played the mandolin on this song.
Ric Grech was brought in to play fiddle on this track. Grech was a violinist and bass player who was a member of the band Family in the ’60s and went on to play in Blind Faith with Eric Clapton. He also played on Gram Parsons’ solo albums in the ’70s, and he appears on Ron Wood and Ronnie Lane’s 1976 Mahoney’s Last Stand project.
Drummer Charlie Watts: “On Factory Girl, I was doing something you shouldn’t do, which is playing the tabla with sticks instead of trying to get that sound using your hand, which Indian tabla players do, though it’s an extremely difficult technique and painful if you’re not trained.”
Guitarist Keith Richards: “To me ‘Factory Girl’ felt something like Molly Malone, an Irish jig; one of those ancient Celtic things that emerge from time to time, or an Appalachian song. In those days I would just come up and play something, sitting around the room. I still do that today.”
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
The scenario of “Factory Girl” is a man fed up with waiting for his
girlfriend, who is getting ready to leave the factory, and paints an unusual
picture of her. The tone employed by Mick Jagger is simultaneously ironic
and cynical, and there is indeed something caricatural, if not grotesque,
about the factory worker he describes. She has curlers in her hair, her knees
are much too fat, and she wears scarves instead of hats. Furthermore, she
has no money anywhere and has a tendency to get me into fights and to get
drunk on Friday night. Musically, “Factory Girl” is a folk song. Keith
Richards: “To me ‘Factory Girl’ felt something like ‘Molly Malone,’ an
Irish jig; one of those ancient Celtic things that emerge from time to time,
or an Appalachian song. In those days I would just come up and play
something, sitting around the room. I still do that today. If Mick gets
interested I’ll carry on working on it; if he doesn’t look interested. I’ll drop
it, leave it and say, ‘I’ll work on it and maybe introduce it later.’”
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