Rolling Stones songs: I Am Waiting
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
See it come along and/ Don’t know where it’s from/ Oh, yes you will find out…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: RCA Studios, Hollywood, USA, March 6-9 1966
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
“I Am Waiting” is a song recorded by the English rock band the Rolling Stones. It was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and released on the band’s 1966 studio album Aftermath.
“I Am Waiting” was recorded between 6 and 9 March 1966 at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California.[
The song’s lyrics are obscure. They have the singer “waiting for someone to come out of somewhere” but don’t provide any details of the circumstances. According to Allmusic critic Richie Unterberger, this is not a problem since “enhancing the general mysterious atmosphere is more important than providing an answer.” Music critic Bill Janovitz suggests that the first verse sounds like singer Jagger is “tiptoeing as if in a game of hide and seek.” Janovitz suggests that the first refrain begins to suggest that the singer may not just be waiting for an actual person, but rather it suggests “a deepening perception…that promises to offset the paranoia in the lyrics” with the words “It happens all the time/It’s censored from our minds.” Rolling Stones biographer Martin Elliot interprets the message of the lyrics as “don’t fear the reaper.”
The music of the song is one of several Rolling Stones songs from this period that shows Appalachian and English folk influences. As he does on “Lady Jane,” another song from Aftermath, Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones plays a dulcimer on “I Am Waiting.” Jack Nitzsche plays harpsichord. Bill Wyman’s slow and “eerie” bassline and the acoustic guitars add to the effect. In the song’s unusual structure, the refrains are louder and rock harder than the slow verses. In Janovitz’s interpretation, the harder refrains permit Jagger to “vent the frustration” that has been built up through the verses. Author James Hector remarks that this allows the song to “[blow] hot and cold with remarkable subtlety” and Rolling Stones biographer Steve Appleford states that the eruptions in the refrains produce a “fine melodramatic effect” and allows the pop music of the verses to “explode into moments of yearning.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
The lyrics Mick Jagger wrote for this song are somewhat enigmatic, and
inevitably recall the Dylan of Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde.
The narrator is Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere, and then
evokes escalation fears. This waiting, this thing much feared, could refer to
death, which can strike at any moment and whose existence human beings
try to banish from their thoughts.
The musical atmosphere of “I Am Waiting” is comparable to that of
“Lady Jane,” due mainly to Brian Jones’s use of the dulcimer.
It also hints at an imminent plunge into psychedelic rock.
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