If you like this please consider supporting the site. Stones Data is not affiliated to the band. Your donation helps to do what I do, pay for its maintenance costs and keep the page updated daily. Thank you! *Donate here
Rolling Stones songs: Who’s Driving Your Plane?
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
And I wanna see your face when your knees and your legs/ Are just gonna break down and die…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: RCA Studios, Hollywood, USA, Aug. 3-7 1966; IBC Studios, London, England, Aug. 31-Sept. 2 1966
Guest musicians: Jack Nitzsche (piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
While the Rolling Stones came up with some good B-sides in the ’60s that are well remembered today (“Play With Fire,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”), a bunch of them were among the most obscure and less distinguished efforts in their early catalog, sounding like castoffs or hurriedly thrown-together tracks. One of them was “Who’s Driving Your Plane?,” the B-side of “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing in the Shadow?”
It didn’t make it onto an LP at the time, and in fact had to wait until 1989 to appear on an album in the U.S., when it showed up on the box set Singles Collection: The London Years. “Who’s Driving Your Plane?” does sound like something that might have been quickly knocked together in the studio to fill up the B-side, bearing a pretty standard blues-boogie chord progression — a formula the Rolling Stones had transcended on most of their original compositions by 1966. It is a different animal from the kind of R&B they were doing in 1964, however, by virtue of its oddball production, starting off with a downright berserk fuzz guitar.
The echo on Mick Jagger’s vocal is pretty weird, too, shadowing the main line with a delayed, faint hollow repetition that sounds as if it’s coming from the staircase in the next studio. The tempo is done in a slow near-burlesque fashion (the burlesque element particularly strong in Ian Stewart’s piano), and the mix is so clamorous that you get the impression it was either recorded at four a.m. at the end of a difficult recording session, or at 10 a.m. when most of the band was still nursing hangovers. And, finally, the lyrics are much more outrageous than the blues/R&B material the Rolling Stones had covered, with Jagger savaging a woman with less grace (and more surrealism) than heard even in most other Rolling Stones songs.
Like some other Stones songs of the time, it used an almost postmodern phrase as a central lyric, this being “Who’s driving your plane?” itself, which had an aura of absurdity à la the guy who lives on the apartment of the 99th floor of his block on “Get Off of My Cloud.” Understandably, “Who’s Driving Your Plane?” didn’t generate a spate of cover versions, but there’s been at least one, done long afterward by the Honeymoon Killers.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Who’s Driving Your Plane” is an electric blues number of the kind the
Rolling Stones had enjoyed playing since day one. An ideal musical context
for Mick Jagger, who uses the lyrics to lay into his girlfriend (real or
imagined). What does he reproach her for? Not so much for being trained
by her father or for submitting to the incessant psychological pressure of
her mother, but rather for not knowing how to (or not wanting to) cut the
umbilical cord. Who’s driving your plane? is a turn of phrase typical of
Jagger, on a par with “Get Off of My Cloud.” Are you in control or is it
driving you insane? The lover asks the question knowing, and fearing, the
Support the page here!
Your donation helps to do what I do and keep updating the page daily. Thanks in advance!
Categories: Can You Hear the Music?