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Rolling Stones songs: Grown Up Wrong
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Well you were easy to fool, when you were in school/ But you’ve grown up all wrong…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Regent IBC Studios, London, England, Sept. 28-29 1964
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
When writing this song, Mick Jagger put himself in the shoes of a teenager
who sees his girlfriend drifting away from him: you’ve grown up all wrong,
he tells her. By this he means: you’ve become an adult without me realizing
it, you’ve grown up too quickly. And as a result, I’m through with you.
For many fans, and also for the establishment—though for quite
different reasons—this song is highly symbolic. Its title sums up perfectly
the image the Rolling Stones wanted to convey of themselves to the media
—using Andrew Oldham’s extensive PR know-how—as “the band that has
grown up all wrong.” Indeed it is possible to see the group as one big
symbol. Mick, Brian, Keith, Bill, and Charlie took delight in demolishing
the last remaining vestiges of the previous era with hooks that reflected
teenage fantasies and chord progressions that had originated in the studios
and frenetic clubs of Chicago and Detroit. “Grown Up Wrong” is a bit like
Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning” or John Lee Hooker’s “Boogie
Chillen’”—a song with a hypnotic beat that hits listeners in the guts.
With an excellent slide guitar intro played by Brian Jones (probably on his
Gretsch), this is the second Jagger-Richards number (after “What a
Shame”) that ventures into blues territory. Ballads like “Tell Me” and
“Congratulations” had become a thing of the past, and from now on the
blues would shine through in the Stones’ own songs. “Grown Up Wrong” is
constructed around Brian’s riff and supported by Bill’s drone bass. Charlie
plays a heavy, vehement beat on his Ludwig drum kit with the hi-hat halfopen. Hand claps that are not particularly convincing in terms of either the
way they are recorded or their execution double the snare drum and
reinforce the insistent rhythm. Brian plays a solo, mainly without
bottleneck, that never really leaves the ground. Mick shares the refrains
with Keith, who provides backing vocals with plenty of reverb—mainly to
good effect. And it is again Mick who plays harmonica in the coda, with
very good blues phrasing. Although attractive, “Grown Up Wrong” is not
one of the Stones’ best songs nor one of their finest productions. However,
the Jagger-Richards songwriting partnership was gradually finding its
groove and before long would yield what made it unique.
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Categories: Can You Hear the Music?