rolling stones sexdrive 1991Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Sexdrive
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I can drive you fast/ I can drive you slow/ Put me on the hot seat/ I’ve got no sense control…

Written by: Jagger/Richards
Recorded: Hit Factory Studio, London, England, Jan. 7-18 1991
*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:
It is to a hypnotic beat somewhere between “Hot Stuff” and “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” by James Brown that Mick Jagger reveals his addiction to sex. At any rate, this is the story told by Julien Temple’s video, shot in May 1991. In it the Stones singer is shown lying on a couch talking about his problem to a psychoanalyst played by Charlie Watts, while three attractive young women pass before his eyes and then disappear behind a theater curtain, eventually followed by Keith Richards.

Is this mere tonguein-cheek fantasy on the part of Mick Jagger? “Sex Drive” was released as a single in May 1991 but did not meet with chart success. There are different mixes by Michael H. Brauer: “Sexdrive” the Dirty Hands Mix (B-side of the European single) and “Sexdrive” the Club Version (a maxi single in the Netherlands). In the United States, “Sex Drive” was released as a single with a live version of “Undercover of the Night” on the flip side.

“Sex Drive” clearly has one eye on the “Godfather of Soul” (James Brown). The tone is set with Mick Jagger’s opening roar: dance, funk, and rock. Bill and Charlie establish a fabulous groove, and the guitars have some surprises in store. Who would have imagined Keith swinging to a funk beat with quite as much conviction, and playing his astonishing rhythmic lick at 1:41? Or Ronnie, for that matter, or even Mick, who also seems to have a hand in the superb guitar demonstration? The Kick Horns, who had already played on Steel Wheels, make a first-rate contribution with some very funky riffs and an excellent sax solo at 2:11.

The backing vocalists, meanwhile, are Tessa Niles, who had sung on “Continental Drift” (also on Steel Wheels), and Stones newcomer Katie Kissoon. One of the two is presumably playing the tambourine, and both are wonderful in the coda. Finally, Jagger is exceptional, and sets the track on fire with his highly charged performance. It is curious that “Sex Drive” failed to make a mark on the charts. Presumably the fans were disconcerted by what they saw as its excessively funky style.