rolling stones goats head soup winterCan You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Winter
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It sure been a cold, cold winter, lord/ My feet been draggin’ cross the ground…

Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Dynamic Sounds Studios Kingston Jamaica, Nov. 25-Dec. 21 1972
Guest musicians: Nicky Hopkins (piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From Songfacts:
This was a rare ballad for The Stones. It was the first song they recorded in Jamaica for Goats Head Soup.

Keith Richards does not play on this track. Stones guitarist Mick Taylor revealed that composition of this song started out with just Mick Jagger strumming guitar, and then everybody joining in.

Producer Jimmy Miller was not happy with any of Mick Jagger’s four takes. Jagger refused to do any more, preferring to enjoy Jamaica instead.

That’s Nicky Hopkins on piano duty here. Hopkins tended to take the slower, ballad-style pieces while Ian Stewart took the faster jam rock, and Billy Preston would take over the piano for the funk and soul numbers.

And while we’re on Nickys, Nick Harrison did the string arrangements for “Winter” and “Angie,” also from this album. Harrison wrote both classical pieces for string quartets and orchestras, and contemporary rock for the Stones and Joe Cocker.

Speaking of winter, not many people realize that the winter solstice (in the northern hemisphere, that’s the shortest day and longest night of the year) changes slightly from year to year. Sometimes it’s on the 22nd of December, through usually it’s the 21st. Blame the wobbly Earth orbit and nature’s general lack of concern for humanity’s needs to have a nice tidy calendar. Oh, and Mayan calendar fans will fondly remember that the alleged (very false) date of the end of the calendar was slated for the 2012 solstice, which just happened to occur at 12/21/12 11:12PM. Numerologists practically fainted.

Jagger recalled Mick Taylor’s contribution to the celestial ballad in an interview with Uncut magazine: “Mick picked up things so quickly. He only had to do them a couple of times and that was it,” the Rolling Stones frontman said. “He always added these melodic lines you hadn’t thought of that really helped the song a lot. He was very lyrical and it lends itself to what was a pretty basic song – but he gives it a lot of dynamic and melodic lines. Winter is kind of like an up version of ‘Moonlight Mile.'”

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
The “Winter” lyricist was Mick Jagger. He draws a parallel between a cold, cold winter and the absence of his loved one, and hopes that with the fine days of summer, love will come. There is a sentimental aspect that is not exactly at home in the Stones world. Is the song an expression of nostalgia, under Jamaica’s constant sunshine, for England and in particular the Christmas season?
Although “Winter” is credited to Jagger-Richards, the music was born mainly of a collaboration between the Stones singer and Mick Taylor (following the example of “Moonlight Mile” on Sticky Fingers), both of whom are playing guitar. This was the first song on Goats Head Soup to have been recorded at Dynamic Sound Studios in Kingston.

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