rolling stones memo from turner 1968Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Memo from Turner
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You’ll still be in the circus when I’m laughing, laughing in my grave…

Written by: Jagger/Richard
*Earlier take of the song (‘Metamorphosis’ version)
Recorded: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, Nov. 17 1968
Guest musicians: Nicky Hopkins (piano), Steve Winwood (guitar), Jim Capaldi (drums)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From Songfacts:
The Stones recorded this for the movie Performance, starring Mick Jagger as a guy named “Turner.” It is on the soundtrack.

Keith Richards balked at recording this because he was not happy about the love scenes between Jagger and his girlfriend, Anita Pallenberg, in the movie.

The version on Metamorphosis features Traffic members Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi singing backup.

This was released as a single in 1970 only in the UK. This version was credited only to Jagger and peaked at #32. It can be found on The Singles Collection.

Jagger sings this in Performance to the assembled mobsters while persuading them to take their clothes off. The scene wasn’t originally scripted in the Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg-directed movie. Jagger recalled to Mojo in a 2019 interview:
“‘Memo from Turner’ is like watching a total kind of video, a foreshadowing of MTV. It’s very cleverly done, although at the time I quite understand what Don wanted in that scene when he told me – it was sort of thrown in a bit last minute and wasn’t in the original parts of the scripts. It was a sequence that he added later.”

From the Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book: (Performance version):
In 1968, Mick Jagger took his first steps as an actor in Performance, directed by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg. He plays the part of Turner, a former rock star. The plot involves a gangster named Chas (James Fox) who has been on the run since killing another hood. He takes refuge with Turner, who lives with two young women, Pherber (Anita Pallenberg) and Lucy (Michèle Breton), in his apartment in Notting Hill, London. A strange relationship develops between the two men from very different milieux, against a background of narcotics and decadence. With the ambition of attaining the same kind of success that Richard Lester had known with the Beatles, Warner had hoped that the Glimmer Twins would write the music for this full-length movie. However, Anita Pallenberg’s intimate relationships during the shoot with Mick Jagger on the one hand and Donald Cammell on the other led Keith Richards to slam the door on the project. As a result, the original soundtrack features only one number, “Memo from Turner,” sung by the Stones singer. Although credited to Jagger-Richards, it seems to have been written by Jagger alone (with a modest contribution from Cammell) is typically “Stones” in spirit. Sean Egan rightly calls it the “great lost Rolling Stones classic.” In the film, Turner/Jagger performs the song to a group of dumbfounded criminals. And the lyrics are pretty hard-hitting: I remember you in Hemlock Road in 1956/You’re a faggy little leather boy with a smaller piece of stick. (Ref. rolling stones songs memo from turner)