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Rolling Stones songs: Soul Survivor (alternate take)
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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) soul survivor alternate
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track 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 re-release 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.
Categories: Can You Hear the Music?