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Rolling Stones songs: Hey Negrita
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Flash of gold in your ears, child/ Flash of gold in your eyes…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany, Apr. 2 1975; Atlantic Studios, NYC, USA, Jan-Feb. 1976
Guest musicians: Billy Preston (keyboards and backing vocals), Ollie Brown (percussion)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
Mick Jagger wrote the lyrics about his wife at the time, Bianca, who he affectionately called “Negrita.” The title was sometimes misinterpreted as a racial slur.
The Stones were experimenting with reggae music, which was an influence on this track. Ron Wood said of how it came together: “I had this particular lick that I took into the studio and the others said, What are we going to start with? and I said, I’ve got this song. Charlie was sitting behind his kit, so he was already into it and then Keith and Mick both got into the motion of it. That was Hey Negrita, which came together very easily. The key to getting a song across in this band is never to try and write all the words. If you’ve got the rhythm, you’re lucky! Let Mick write the words and then you’re in with a chance.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Hey Negrita” was a milestone in the history of the Rolling Stones, as it
would seal the union between the four bandmates and the guitarist who was
still a member of the Faces at the time. Wood recalls the memorable
audition in Munich during which the song saw the light of day: “I walked
into the studio, took one look at Mick, Keith, Bill and Charlie and
announced, ‘I’ve got a song. I’ve played it to you before.’” The foursome
followed his lead without any difficulty and “Hey Negrita” was born. All
that remained was to write the words. And what words! The song would
prove extremely controversial. Denounced as sexist, it was also suspected
of being racist by all those who saw the word Negrita, meaning little black
girl in Spanish, as a pejorative term. Apparently it was nothing of the sort
for Mick, who would deny any racist intent by claiming it was the
nickname of his wife, Bianca. For him it was simply “about a South
American whore, and the singer, a poor man, is trying to get her price
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