rolling stones beggars banquet salt of the earth 1968 album discography rock musicCan You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Salt of the Earth
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Let’s think of the wavering millions/ Who need leaders but get gamblers instead…

Also known as: SILVER BLANKET
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, May 9-10 & 13-18 1968; Sunset Sound Studio, Los Angeles, USA, July 1968
Guest musicians: Nicky Hopkins (piano), Watts Street Gospel Choir (backing vocals)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From Songfacts:
This was one of Keith Richards’ first lead vocal performances for The Stones (his first was on “Something Happened To Me Yesterday” from Between The Buttons). He and Mick Jagger both sing on this with the Watts Street Gospel choir singing background.

The title refers to the working class – they’re “The salt of the Earth.” In 1970, Jagger said: “The song is total cynicism. I’m saying those people haven’t any power and they never will have.”

The Stones played this on Rock and Roll Circus, a British TV special The Stones taped in 1968 but never aired because they were upstaged by other acts on the show. A series of musical acts and circus performances, it was released on video in 1995.

The Stones performed this in Atlantic City in 1989 with Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin of Guns N’ Roses on vocals.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards performed this at the 2001 “Concert For New York,” which honored the rescue workers, cops, and firefighters in New York City after the World Trade Center disaster.

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
The salt of the earth refers to a passage in the Bible: the Sermon on the
Mount as told in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. “Ye are the salt of
the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is
thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under
foot of men.” In other words, people can become the “salt of the earth” by
following the precepts of Jesus Christ, which promote a taste for life itself.
In this case, the “salt of the earth” represents the “best of humankind,” what
could be called the elite. Over the course of the centuries, however, the
expression has taken on a different meaning, and is now used to denote
those who are engaged in a struggle: the workers against the bosses, the
exploited against the exploiters, and the weak against the strong.

Mick Jagger raises his glass to the hardworking people, to the lowly of
birth. He prays for the common foot soldier, for his wife and his children
who burn the fires and who still till the earth. He spares a thought for the
wavering millions who need leading but get gamblers instead, for the stay-
at-home voter his empty eyes gaze at strange beauty shows and a parade of
the gray-suited grafters. The cynicism of the Rolling Stones’ singer is
rivaled only by that of society itself.
“‘Salt of the Earth,’ I think I came up with the title of that and had the
basic spur of it, but Mick did all the verses,” reveals Keith in Life. “This
was our thing. I’d spark the idea… and after that, Mick, it’s all yours.
Halfway through he’d say, where do we break it? Where do we go to the
middle? Where’s the bridge?”
It is worth noting that the working title of this song was “Silver Blanket.”
(Ref. rolling stones salt of the earth)

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