rolling stones fingerprint file 1974Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Fingerprint File
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And there’s some little jerk in the FBI/ Keepin’ papers on me six feet high…

Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany, Nov. 13-24, 1973; Rolling Stones Mobile, Stargroves, Newbury, England, Apr. 1974; Island Recording Studios, London, England, May 20-25 1974
Guest musicians: Billy Preston (piano and clavinet), Charlie Jolly (tabla)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From Songfacts:
On this track, Mick Jagger sings about the F.B.I. keeping a file on him. It was probably true, considering the extensive records they had on John Lennon.

The Rolling Stones used a funk sound on this that would emerge on their next album, Black And Blue. Unlike most of their songs, they did some improvisation on this one.

Keith Richards explained in a 1975 interview with Sounds: “The middle and end part was totally off-the-cuff. It could have been a much tighter three-minute thing with just the vocal and riff but it got extended.”

This was the last song Mick Taylor played on as a Stone. He was replaced by Ron Wood on the next album.

Mich Jagger played guitar on this track, which was something he rarely did. He also played the guitar when they performed it live.

On Keno’s Rolling Stones website, this was voted the song by The Rolling Stones which was ahead of its time when released, for two main reasons: “It’s rap like before there was rap, and was written years before the George W. Bush administration would do just about everything noted in the song.” (Ref. fingerprint file)

From the Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
Probably under the influence of George Orwell (the author of 1984), Mick Jagger takes a look at life in a totalitarian society in which the slightest acts and gestures are observed and analyzed. Hence the all-pervading paranoia: the song’s hero is depressed because he is being listened in on, followed, and photographed. The Stones wrote this song in 1973, a calamitous year for the United States, thanks to the Watergate affair, which led to the resignation of Richard Nixon. It was also during this troubled time that the Nixon administration refused John Lennon a green card and then tried to deport him. And there’s some little jerk in the FBI a keepin’ papers on me six feet high may indeed be an allusion to the tug-of-war between Nixon’s henchmen and the former Beatle. (Ref. fingerprint file)