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Rolling Stones songs: If You Let Me
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
It’s nice to talk to you today/ It’s very pleasant anyway/ Is this as far as you go, girl/ But I’ll let you guess…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, Nov . 9-Dec. 6 1966
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
It was obvious why most of the songs on the Rolling Stones outtakes collection Metamorphosis remained in the can when they were first done: they were too weak, either as performances, recordings, or songs (and sometimes all three at once). There were, however, a few cuts that were decent items on their own merits, and could have been issued at the time they were recorded without causing embarrassment. Perhaps the best of them was “If You Let Me,” an outtake from their sessions for Between the Buttons. Why didn’t it make it onto that album? It’s not clear. It’s very much in the style of the more English, folky material from that record: tuneful and restrained, yet with some tough rock beneath the surface, and certainly much sexual longing.
Among the principal hooks of the track are the jangling, descending guitar and dulcimer of the instrumental intro, repeated elsewhere in the track as well. There are low fuzzy, almost farting notes heard in the verses, which like other similar tones on mid-’60s Rolling Stones records are so odd that it’s not certain what instrument is producing them. Mick Jagger goes through the verses with as much of a tender, gentle timbre as he ever mustered, the verse briefly breaking out into a straightforward rock arrangement with rhythm section. It ends up on an almost dainty chorus, Jagger deliberately slowing his vocal as soft harpsichord-like chords play behind him, the track briefly coming to a dead halt.
The meaning of the lyrics is kind of vague, but they seem to reflect both the onrushing excitement and shyness sparked by a new love affair, perhaps finding real-life inspiration in Jagger’s budding relationship with Marianne Faithfull. It’s a haunting and pleasingly tuneful number, one of the few things on Metamorphosis that doesn’t sound like it was pulled out of a moldering garbage can. Perhaps the Stones felt it was just too dainty and precious to be included on Between the Buttons, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying discovering it on this relatively out of the way album; in fact, it’s one of the only things on Metamorphosis that makes fans feel like the album isn’t totally second-rate.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“If You Let Me” is one of the most interesting songs on Metamorphosis. A new amorous adventure is starting, but who knows where it will lead? You can get me/If you let me: the two lines of the refrain can be interpreted a number of ways. Might this also be a plea for free love? Similarly, It’s a brand new thing for me/Loving you so physically reveals a certain shyness or even naïveté, which is not, strictly speaking, a characteristic of Mick Jagger. Should this be seen as an implicit reference to the—then nascent— relationship between the Stones singer and Marianne Faithfull?
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Categories: Can You Hear the Music?