Rolling Stones songs: Soul Survivor
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
You ain’t giving me no quarter/ I’d rather drink sea water…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Rolling Stones Mobile, Nellcote, France, Jun.-Nov. 1971; Sunset Sound Studios, Los Angeles, USA, Dec. 1971-March 1972; RCA Studios, Los Angeles, USA, March 1972
Guest musicians: Nicky Hopkins (piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
In a literal sense, “Soul Survivor” tells of the final moments of a group of
sailors whose frail vessel is heading for the rocks. Metaphorically, the song
is evocative of the end of a relationship. That between a man and a woman?
Or between two friends? “Soul Survivor” could thus be seen as describing
the tensions that rose to the surface during the grueling sessions at Nellcôte
between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who really established himself as
the architect of this album. Hence the innuendo pregnant with meaning:
You’ve got a cut-throat crew… I’ve taken all of the knocks, you ain’t giving
me no quarter. Hence, too, this humility in the guise of derision or
provocation: When you’re flying your flags, all my confidence sags. In other
words, the singer is the soul survivor and it is the Rolling Stones who are
heading toward shipwreck. A crazy interpretation? Perhaps! All the same, it
is worth noting that the initial lyrics, most probably written by Keith (it is
the guitarist who sings on the alternative cut of “Soul Survivor” on the 2010
rerelease of Exile on Main St.), contain no such allusion. What can be said
for sure is that Exile on Main St. ends the way it began, with an
extraordinary riff typical of Keith Richards.
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