Rolling Stones songs: Flip the Switch
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
Maybe my carcass would feed the worms/ But I’m working for the other firm…
Written by: Jagger/Richards
Recorded: Ocean Way Recording Studios, Hollywood, USA, March 13-July 1997
Guest musicians: Waddy Wachtel (guitar), Jeff Sarli (bass), Joe Sublett (saxophone), Jim Keltner (percussion), Blondie Chaplin (tambourine and background vocals), Bernard Fowler (background vocals)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
This is either about someone who is dying and telling the people to pull the plug, he’s ready to go, or it is about someone who has been sentenced to death and is telling the people he’s ready to go.
Keith Richards: “Beat-wise the fastest track the Stones have ever cut or any other rock and roll song. It even beats Rip This Joint, which is always considered to be the fastest track ever cut. But it does come roaring at this beautiful beat and that’s why I’ve been saying about Charlie Watts. The album starts with Charlie and it actually ends with Charlie, the whole record, so you know, I can go on and on about him, and everybody else yeah, great, really. But to me the real pleasure is playing with Charlie Watts, who is right on the top of his game. And that makes it much easier for me. Then I can really fly.”
Mick Jagger: “It’s a very strange lyric, really, about death and about madness and criminality and so on. Quite heavy stuff, really, but it’s a good one. It’s an excellent one to start a record with.”
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Flip the Switch” is a song about death and the death sentence as the
ultimate sanction… Pick me up—baby, I’m ready to go/Yeah, take me up—
baby I’m ready to blow… Keith Richards tells of the great shock he had a
few days after writing the first few verses of this song upon hearing of the
mass suicide of thirty-nine members of Heaven’s Gate, a sect founded in
San Diego by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles. The drama
occurred between March 24 and 26, 1997, just as Comet Hale-Bopp was
passing. He writes in Life that he then “jauntily” added another verse:
Lethal injection is a luxury/I wanna give it/To the whole jury/I’m just
dying/For one more squeeze. The fatal cocktail in question, mixed by
Marshall Applewhite, was a blend of barbiturates and vodka. Might Keith
have been one to appreciate this ultimate beverage?
(Ref. flip the switch)
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Categories: Can You Hear the Music?