rolling stones undercover too toughCan You Hear the Music?


Rolling Stones songs: Too Tough
*Click for 

But I don’t think you ever knew/ What you’ve bitten off/ But in the end, you spat me out/ You could not chew me up…

Written by: Jagger/Richards
Recorded: EMI Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris, France, Nov. 11-Dec. 16 1982; Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas, May 1983; The Hit Factory, NYC, USA, June-July 1983
Guest musicians: Chuck Leavell (keyboards)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
I still see you in my dreams with a kitchen knife… The narrator, who has
just taken a teenage bride, whom he loves deep inside, clearly fears that his
former lover is going to make life impossible for him. He invites her to go
ahead and try, perhaps with poison or drugs. The message speaks for itself.
“Too Tough” has its origins in an instrumental that the Stones recorded
in Rotterdam during the Black and Blue sessions in January and February
1975 with Wayne Perkins on guitar. Then named “Cellophane Trouser” (or
alternatively “Cellophane Y-Fronts,” or even “Back to the Country”), it was
reworked seven years later in Paris, at Chris Kimsey’s instigation, and
gradually took shape around this riff, crafted, once again, by Keith

However, “Too Tough” kicks off with a guitar riff that is most probably not
played by Keith, as the sound is less his than Mick’s or Ronnie’s. These two
share the rhythm guitar part, while Keith does not seem to come in with his
third rhythm part (stereo left) and various slide phrases until the first refrain
(0:43). Ronnie takes care of the solo, probably on one of his Zemaitises
with a highly distorted sound, and as Mick would observe in an interview,
the result possesses an almost heavy metal quality. Charlie and Bill calmly
handle the rhythm section, while Mick pushes his somewhat tired-sounding
vocal cords to the limit. He also has difficulty hitting the top notes in the
first two lines of the first refrain. The sound recording is no more than
average, and Jagger has somewhat overloaded his lead vocal by repeatedly
double-tracking himself, thereby stifling any spontaneity. Chuck Leavell
seems to come in with layers of synthesizer in the refrains, and at various
points on the track (for example 0:56), Charlie (presumably) can be heard
playing what sounds like toms—although it may in reality have been
produced by Sly Dunbar’s Simmons drums. “Too Tough” gives the
impression that the Stones are forcing themselves to play rock ’n’ roll,
rather than genuinely taking pleasure in playing it.

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