Rolling Stones songs: Let It Bleed
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
She said, “My breasts, they will always be open/ Baby, you can rest your weary head right on me/ And there will always be a space in my parking lot/ When you need a little coke and sympathy”…
Also known as: IF YOU NEED SOMEONE
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, June 5-July 3 1969
Guest musicians: Nicky Hopkins (piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
Keith Richards’ fingers began to bleed as he played acoustic guitar for hours while Mick Jagger worked with an engineer on the drum track. The title came from Keith’s desire to record his track. At least that’s the story the band tells. Here’s an alternate meaning: The phrase “Let It Bleed” is intravenous drug user slang for successfully finding a vein. The syringe plunger is pulled back and if blood appears, is called letting it bleed.
This was the first Stones song to also be the album title.
Ian Stewart, often considered “The sixth Stone,” played the piano. This was his only appearance on Let It Bleed.
There are many references to sex and drugs in the lyrics to this track – an example of the Stones writing about what they knew.
This was recorded around the same time as The Beatles Let It Be, but the similar titles were just a coincidence.
The Stones recorded this after the death of Brian Jones but before Mick Taylor joined the band as his replacement. As a result, Keith Richards played both acoustic and slide electric guitar, and Bill Wyman played bass and autoharp. Autoharp is a string instrument with a series of chord bars attached to dampers which, when pressed, mute all but the desired chord. An autoharp is not really a harp – it’s a zither.
The English TV cook and author Delia Smith baked the cake on the album sleeve before she became famous. She got the gig through being a friend of the photographer, Don McAllester. In 1971, two years after the release of Let It Bleed, Delia Smith’s first cookery book, How To Cheat at Cooking, was launched and by the end of the decade she’d become the UK’s best known TV cook.
Smith recalled how McAllester commissioned her to make a “gaudy cake,” so she used mauve icing and red and green cherries. It was only when Smith took it along to the studio, she discovered it would be photographed for a Rolling Stones album.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
This song may owe its title to an exclamation made by Keith Richards,
when, exhausted after spending hours in the studio playing the same chords
over and over, he ended up with bleeding hands and was unable to play. An
argument is said to have broken out with Mick Jagger and Jimmy Miller,
both of whom were determined to continue the session. However, the
Stones guitarist offers a different account: “‘Let It Bleed’ was just one line
in that song Mick wrote. It became the title—we just kicked a line out. We
didn’t know what to call that song.” With “Let It Bleed,” the Glimmer
Twins continued to rub the conformists the wrong way, all those narrow
minds for whom they had always had an aversion. Provocation being a
formidable weapon, and one they were very fond of using, insipid
compromise has no place here. “Let It Bleed” is clearly a drug song, in
which a little coke is snorted and the narrator ends up being knifed in my
dirty filthy basement with that jaded, faded, junky nurse. The expression
“let it bleed” can also be interpreted as a junky looking for a vein.
However, this is also, and most importantly, a song in which sex is no
longer merely suggested, but demanded for its therapeutic benefits: She said
“My breasts, they will always be open/Baby, you can rest your weary head
right on me/And there will always be a space in my parking lot.” And a few
lines further on: You can be my rider, you can come all over me. The lyrics
could not be more explicit.
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Categories: Can You Hear the Music?