Rolling Stones songs: Losing My Touch
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
Ain’t it funny how things happen/ Just as we think we’ve got it all straight…
Written by: Jagger/Richards
Recorded: Studio Guillaume Tell, Paris, France, May 13-June 8 2002
Guest musicians: Darryl Jones (bass)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
Keith Richards wrote “Losing My Touch” at his house in Jamaica with the
help of Mick Jagger. “It’s about a guy on the run who’s gotta say goodbye,
and he doesn’t really know how to say it,” explains Keith in a 2002
interview. Some people have seen this story of a man on the run, who
claims he has lost his touch and says that it seems things are in a lockdown,
as a metaphor with which Keith evokes his sense of losing faith in what he
was doing. The music is a sentimental ballad, an end-of-evening song for
when the glasses are empty, the ashtrays full, and the exhausted pianist is
playing his last few notes on the piano.
The task of bringing Forty Licks to a close therefore falls to Keith, with
what sounds like an intimate confession. While he has no more than a
discreet presence on the other three new tracks on the album, without even
singing backing vocals, here he whispers his lyrics in a voice that reveals
the patina of age, and with all the emotion and sincerity that characterize his
style. Listeners might also wonder whether he was influenced by Come
Away with Me, the Norah Jones album that has sold twenty million copies
since its release in February 2002, a few months before the session at the
studios. It shares the same hushed atmosphere, breathy voice, and pared-down
instrumentation, not to mention the jazzy harmonies accentuated by
the superb beat played with the brushes by Charlie, who is very much at
home in this world. Darryl Jones, Miles Davis’s former bassist, seems here
to be playing acoustic bass, and is also very much in his element. Chuck
Leavell’s piano part is sumptuous, but at the same time light and nuanced,
combining blues and jazz with great finesse. Keith accompanies him with
well-spaced phrases on the acoustic guitar, and also plays a short solo at
2:51. At Keith’s request, Ron Wood comes in with pedal steel at 2:03.
According to Woody, Keith had a precise idea of what he wanted him to
play: “‘Ronnie please play a pedal steel line. Imagine you’re playing pedal
steel on it.’” The resulting sonority reinforces the connection with Norah
Jones, who, some years later, would sing a duo with Keith Richards on
“Illusion,” a number on his 2015 solo album Crosseyed Heart.
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