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The story of Under My Thumb by The Rolling Stones

Under My Thumb is a signature track of the English rock band The Rolling Stones. Although never released as a single, the song has provided the band with huge success. In this article, learn more on the story of Under My Thumb by The Rolling Stones.

The band

Boasting a career spanning almost half a century and the release of 29 studio albums with over 100 singles, The Rolling Stones are one of the most influential bands of all time. With their bluesy rock-and-roll sound, the band took the world by storm in the late 1960s and are arguably the most popular on the planet. Lead by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards - the only ever-present members - The Rolling Stones continue to perform to sell-out crowds. Alongside Jagger and Richards, in the current line-up are Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts. Previous members include Mick Taylor, Bill Wyman and Brian Jones, the latter being a member of the infamous 27 Club.

The song

Under My Thumb was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and is the fourth song on side one of the 1966 album Aftermath. The song features Jagger on lead vocals and harmonica, Richards and Brian Jones on guitar, Charlie Watts on drums, Bill Wyman on bass and Ian Stewart on piano. Jones also contributed percussion with the marimba, a xylophone-esque instrument originating in Guatemala. Under My Thumb lyrics such as "Under my thumb, the girl who once had me down / Under my thumb, the girl who once pushed me around", imply that the song glorifies the satisfaction attained by gaining control of a dominant female. The song caused some controversy among feminists, although Jagger has gone on record to say that he was only turning the tables on repressed males.

Cover versions

Such is the popularity of Under My Thumb by The Rolling Stones that the song has been covered on more than a handful of occasions. The most famous cover was by The Who in 1967, which was performed to raise money to pay a bail charge for Jagger and Richards, following imprisonment on drug charges. Ironically, they had already been released before the song. Other notable covers are those by Wayne Gibson in 1974, Blind Faith in 1969 and Michael Hutchence of INXS in 1994.

Other information

Both coincidentally and unfortunately, Under My Thumb was the song played by The Rolling Stones at the now infamous Altamont Speedway concert of 1969. As the song was finishing, a fight erupted between the Hells Angels, who happened to be the concert security, and spectators. Amidst the chaos, Meredith Hunter was stabbed and tragically killed by Alan Passaro.

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