rolling stones sparks will fly 1994Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Sparks Will Fly

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You’d better stand back/ The flames are high/ Better get help/ Can’t stop the fire…

Written by: Jagger/Richards
Recorded: Ronnie Wood’s Sandymount Studios, Kildare, Ireland, July 9-Aug. 6 and Sept. 1993; Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin, Ireland, Nov. 3-Dec. 10 1993 ; Don Was’ Studio and A&M Studios, Los Angeles, USA, Jan. 15-Apr. 1994
Guest musicians: Darryl Jones (bass), Bernard Fowler (backing vocals)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
“Sparks will fly” presumably refers to what is going to happen upon the return of the narrator (a strong and handsome stud?), who is planning to transmit his passion to his partner, to make her scream with pleasure, which is apparently not too difficult a task. I have never found a woman so hot, sings Jagger, who also claims to be in total chaos. The Stones singer would reveal with some amusement that Keith and Charlie were a little surprised by the tenor of the words, not least by the phrase I want to fuck your sweet ass. “Did he really say that?” Mick said Keith asked. “Did he?”

The idea for the song came to Keith while he was lighting a wood fire on the grounds of Ron Wood’s home. He was immediately inspired by the sight of the jumping sparks, and rushed to Ronnie’s home studio. Only Charlie was in attendance and this shows, for the song is built around an absolute understanding between Keith Richards and Charlie Watts. “‘Sparks Will Fly’ was actually eyeball-to-eyeball with Charlie Watts more than anybody to start with,” Richards tells Jas Obrecht, “because we wouldn’t let anybody else play on it until we’d honed down that rhythm track thing dead right. You know, it was like, three’s a crowd [laughs] for a minute, until we’d worked it out.” And it has to be acknowledged that the rhythm part is absolutely impeccable, the two musicians complementing each other perfectly and acting totally in sync.

Charlie’s part is magnificent and possesses an exceptional sound, as does Keith’s guitar, which roars out from beginning to end of the track. Of particular note is a very good rhythm passage at 1:47 that is typical of open-G playing. Keith can also be heard on an acoustic, presumably one of his Martins, while Ronnie takes the solo most likely on his ESP TE fitted with a B-bender (2:02). Darryl Jones delivers an efficient and discreet bass part, and Mick succeeds in setting the song alight with his highly flammable lyrics. It is worth emphasizing the quality not only of his performance but also of the sound recording.

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