rolling stones thief in the night 1997Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Thief in the Night
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Oh baby you know what I’m talking, come on/ You can call the police on me baby/ Set me up and then bust me/ Come on I dare you, come on, come on…

Written by: Jagger/Richards/ De Beauport
Recorded: Ocean Way Recording Studios, Los Angeles, USA, March-July 1997
Guest musicians: Darryl Jones (bass), Pierre de Beauport (piano), Jim Keltner and Blondie Chplain (percussion), Waddy Wachtel (guitar), Darrell Leonard (trumpet), Joe Sublett (sax), Bernard Fowler and Blondie Chaplin (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:
The lyrics of “Thief in the Night” evoke a number of women who have come into Keith Richards’s life at one moment or another. “It’s a song about several women and actually starts when I was a teenager. I knew where she lived and I knew where her boyfriend lived, and I would stand outside a semi-detached house in Dartford. Basically the story goes on from there. Then it was about Ronnie Spector, then it was about Patti and it was also about Anita.

On a musical level, “Thief in the Night” started life as a guitar riff by Pierre de Beauport. While the guitar technician was playing it with Charlie in the studio, Keith, who had just arrived, became very interested in what he was hearing and joined them, adding his own personal touch. This led to Pierre’s consecration as a songwriter in the form of a share of the credits. Keith eventually decided to sing the song himself: “Mick put a vocal on the song, but he couldn’t feel it, he couldn’t get it, and the track sounded terrible.” To tell the truth, Mick Jagger seems to have been less than enthralled by the song, because after Keith had worked away all night, to the point of exhaustion, redoing the vocals with Blondie and Bernard, he discovered the next day that his tape had been sabotaged. He therefore grabbed the master and shut himself away for two days and two nights in a studio at the northern shore of Long Island to complete and mix the song. However, Don Was was quick to see that he would come up against a refusal from Mick, who would not tolerate Keith singing three songs on a record. The producer therefore suggested diplomatically that the last two tracks on the album (sung by Keith) be linked together in the style of a medley. Lo and behold, the subterfuge worked! The result is a blues-tinged R&B ballad that opens with some reversed sounds over which Pierre de Beauport’s riff can be heard. Beauport himself plays a Fender Rhodes and a Wurlitzer. Charlie goes for a mellow rhythm with very prominent ride cymbal, and the various guitar parts color the harmony with highly expressive little touches here and there. When all is said and done, “Thief in the Night” sounds more like a Keith Richards song, very much in keeping with the tracks on his two solo albums, than a Stones song

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