Rolling Stones unreleased: Trouble Man
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Written by: Marvin Gaye
Recorded: Nov. 3-Dec. 10 1993, Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin, Ireland
From Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012:
During late November the sessions had got to the point of overdubbing backing vocals and playbacks. Ron Wood said that there were a lot of firsts with the album and one of those was Charlie Watts attending playbacks! Trouble Man is a real session outtake in so far as it is just Mick Jagger on piano and vocals warming up before proper recording. During a second version Keith Richards joins in on guitar.
“Trouble Man” is a song composed and written by American recording artist Marvin Gaye released on the Motown subsidiary, Tamla, in November 1972. The song became one of Gaye’s signature songs for the remainder of his life and would later be the basis of a biography as a sort of nickname for him. The album version of the song was the only one released as a single in November 1972, where it became a top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 reaching number seven on that chart in January 1973.
The song is the title track and theme for the blaxploitation film of the same name. The song is about the travails of the movie’s lead character, “Mister T”, and also relates to issues in Gaye’s private life. Gaye described the song as one of the most honest recordings he ever made. He played drums and piano on the record and performs all the vocals himself. Gaye sings most of the song in falsetto while reaching a gospel-styled growl during the bridges of the song.
The performances of the song during Gaye’s later concerts became one of his highlights during his 1970s and early 1980s tours. The song was also used as two instrumental “theme songs” on the accompanying album, in which Gaye played synthesizers to accompany saxophone solos from his musicians. Gaye also recorded a slightly different version of the song primarily for the movie’s opening, in which he sang in both tenor and falsetto.
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