rolling stones it's not easy 1966Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: It’s Not Easy
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Sit here thinking with your head of fire/ Go think the same thing and never tire…

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

From the Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
After pointing his finger at all the defects he can find in the female sex, might Mick Jagger now be showing signs of making amends? This is certainly suggested by the narrator’s admission that It’s not easy living on your own and that It seems a big failing in a man/To take his girl for granted if he can. However, no sooner has he recognized the error of his ways than he pleads extenuating circumstances: Got me running like a cat in a thunderstorm, he sings, before lifting the curtain a little on this girlfriend when he fantasizes about the glow of her long clean hair/As she goes to sit on her own high chair. Might this mysterious creature be a “honky-tonk woman”?

This track marks a return to a Chuck Berry–influenced style of rock ’n’ roll. “It’s Not Easy” (an allusion, perhaps, to “It’s So Easy!” by Buddy Holly and his Crickets?) may not be the best track on the album, but it provides Keith Richards with an opportunity to demonstrate his skills as a guitarist by opening the number with a short blues-jazz-style intro on his 6-string electric (probably his Guild M-65 Freshman) with the treble rolled off. He plays this instrument throughout, improvising highly effective blues licks. He also plays lead guitar and a solo (both overdubbed), no doubt on his Gibson Firebird. Brian plays rhythm, also on his Firebird, and Ian delivers a very good organ part.

The bass is a fuzz bass that would generally be played by Bill, but since Keith has already played fuzz bass on “Flight 505” and “Under My Thumb,” he may well be responsible here too. This was no doubt an innovative effect in 1966, but today the sound comes across as somewhat strident and provides little real support. This does not in the slightest trouble Charlie Watts, who really rocks as he works his Ludwig with gusto. Mick Jagger does not give the impression of being at all distressed by the solitude described in the lyrics. He sings with a degree of detachment and does not seem unduly concerned by the subject matter. But, hey, this is rock ’n’ roll!