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Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: René ()
Date: January 5, 2015 09:48

Comments, input and alterations are very welcome!
_______________________________________________________________________________

Sway
(Mick Jagger / Keith Richards)

Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Unit, Stargroves, Newbury, Berkshire, UK &
Olympic Sound Studios, London, UK, March - May 1970

Mick Jagger - lead vocals, backing vocals, electric guitar
Keith Richards - backing vocals
Charlie Watts - drums
Bill Wyman - bass
Mick Taylor - electric guitar
Nicky Hopkins - piano
Paul Buckmaster - strings

Did you ever wake up to find
A day that broke up your mind
Destroying your notion of circular time

It's just that demon life has got you in it’s sway
It's just that demon life has got you in it’s sway

Ain't flinging tears out on the dusty ground
For my friends out on the burial ground
Can't stand the feeling, getting so brought down

It's just that demon life has got me in it’s sway
It's just that demon life has got me in it’s sway

There must be ways to find out
Love is the way they say is really strutting out

Hey, hey, hey now
One day I woke up to find
Right in the bed next to mine
Someone that broke me up with a corner of her smile, yeah

It's just that demon life has got me in it’s sway
It's just that demon life has got me in it’s sway
It's just that demon life has got me in it’s sway
It's just that demon life has got me
It's just that demon life has got me

Produced by Jimmy Miller

First released on:
The Rolling Stones - “Sticky Fingers” LP
(Rolling Stones Records COC 59100) UK, April 23, 1971
_______________________________________________________________________________

Sway (single version)
(Mick Jagger / Keith Richards)

Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Unit, Stargroves, Newbury, Berkshire, UK &
Olympic Sound Studios, London, UK, March - May 1970

Mick Jagger - lead vocals, backing vocals, electric guitar
Keith Richards - backing vocals
Charlie Watts - drums
Bill Wyman - bass
Mick Taylor - electric guitar
Nicky Hopkins - piano
Paul Buckmaster - strings

Did you ever wake up to find
A day that broke up your mind
Destroying your notion of circular time

It's just that demon life has got you in it’s sway
It's just that demon life has got you in it’s sway

Ain't flinging tears out on the dusty ground
For my friends out on the burial ground
Can't stand the feeling, getting so brought down

It's just that demon life has got me in it’s sway
It's just that demon life has got me in it’s sway

There must be ways to find out
Love is the way they say is really strutting out

Oh, hey now
One day I woke up to find
Right in the bed next to mine
Someone that broke me up with a corner of her smile

It's just that demon life has got me in it’s sway
It's just that demon life has got me in it’s sway
It's just that demon life has got me in it’s sway
It's just that demon life has got me
It's just that demon life has got me

Produced by Jimmy Miller

First released on:
The Rolling Stones - “Wild Horses / Sway” 7” single
(Rolling Stones Records RS 19101) US, June 12, 1971 (first pressing only)

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: RobberBride ()
Date: January 5, 2015 10:11

One word: EPIC
In every way.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: glimmerkkp ()
Date: January 5, 2015 10:12

Great song thumbs up Too bad it's not often played live, especially in the 70's


---------------------------

[glimmerkkp.blogspot.com]

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: NEWMAN ()
Date: January 5, 2015 10:19

My No. 1 Stones song. Epic indeed!

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: Come On ()
Date: January 5, 2015 11:15

Formidable!

thumbs up

2 1 2 0

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: Silver Dagger ()
Date: January 5, 2015 11:23

An incredible song that sounds like it was written and recorded on the spot in one of those moments where the band was waiting for Keith to arrive. And that created a controversy as Mick Taylor who supplies all the guitars claims it was written by him and Jagger which could well have been the case.

The song has a peculiar atmospheric moment at the beginning – Bill Wyman playing a note on his bass and Mick laconically counting in 1, 2, 3, 4. They used the same clever device to create a dark vibe at the beginning of Midnight Rambler – a low rumble and the sound of descent into a dark place. It’s a precious moment - almost like being allowed to sneak into the studio to catch a quick earful of the Stones working on their latest song.

And what a song it is. It rocks, it soars, it mesmerises. The lyrics are pure low life, brownstone blues – drugs, booze, late nights, couldn’t give a shit/we piss anywhere man anti-establishment funk, no doubt influenced by Mick and Keith’s current lifestyle.

“Ain't flinging tears out on the dusty ground for all my friends out on the burial ground
Can't stand the feeling getting so brought down
It's just that demon life has got me in its sway”

This is heavy stuff. Brian, Jimi, Jim, Janis all spring to mind.

Sway starts off so nonchalantly, a slow paced blues that picks up jewels and gold along the way. Listen to how Mick Taylor comes in with one of trademark solos at 1.35 and then Keith joining Mick on the chorus with that badass high harmony of his. It sure gets the heart pumping and the hackles standing up on your back.

The song is also notable for apparently being the first to feature Mick playing guitar on a Stones album.

Listen also to how Paul Buckmaster’s fabulous orchestration comes in on the second verse, not in your face but gently in the background and enough to give the song a lift. This really is rock music of the highest order. No wonder Miles Davis wanted to work with Buckmaster if he could create that kind of vibe.

And then we get Mick Taylor’s second solo, his tour de force starting at 2.38 and boy, does he take that guitar to the stratosphere. It fills the room while the tightest rhythm section in rock drive the song on.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015-01-05 11:28 by Silver Dagger.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: DiscoVolante ()
Date: January 5, 2015 11:50

It's my favorite guitar solo of all time, and one of my favorite Stones tracks overall. Nothing but fantastic. HUGELY underrated among the rest of their songs. It's a big shame that they hardly play it live and actually a bit disrespectful to Mick Taylor to not let him play his greatest contributions to the band.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Date: January 5, 2015 12:05

Quote
DiscoVolante
It's my favorite guitar solo of all time, and one of my favorite Stones tracks overall. Nothing but fantastic. HUGELY underrated among the rest of their songs. It's a big shame that they hardly play it live and actually a bit disrespectful to Mick Taylor to not let him play his greatest contributions to the band.

But they did indeed let him play on it?

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: drewmaster ()
Date: January 5, 2015 13:13

A truly great track that brilliantly expresses the derangement and devastation that drugs – the demon life – can bring about. The lyrics are remarkable; for example, “someone that broke me up with a corner of her smile” captures, in just a few words, the punch-in-the-gut heartbreak of realizing that a love affair is doomed to end.

Jagger is at the top of his game, but Taylor’s incredible guitar-work, of course, is what ultimately makes the track soar. Nicky Hopkins’ piano is sublime (as always). And Paul Buckmaster’s strings are the icing on the cake.

A masterpiece.

P.S. There was clearly a lot of time and care devoted to achieving this track’s full potential, as evidenced by the multiple early takes you can find on YouTube, such as this one.



And for anyone curious as to what the unedited Taylor outro would have sounded like ...



Drew



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015-01-11 18:34 by drewmaster.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: LuxuryStones ()
Date: January 5, 2015 13:50

It took me 20 years to realize that it is Jagger on guitar, not Richards.
Great song.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Date: January 5, 2015 14:00

Quote
LuxuryStones
It took me 20 years to realize that it is Jagger on guitar, not Richards.
Great song.


Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: Rollin92 ()
Date: January 5, 2015 14:45

If this song doesn't prove that Watts and Wyman were one hell of a duo, I don't know what does.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: Big Al ()
Date: January 5, 2015 17:51

A marvellous recording, despite the annoying fade-out during Taylor's wailing. I noticed that the solo was cut-short during recent live renditions. I guess they were trying to stay true to the studio-take. It would be wonderful if an unedited version would surface for inclusion on the forthcoming Sticky Fingers Deluxe.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: stanlove ()
Date: January 5, 2015 18:01

The only song on Sticky Fingers that I don't like. Skip it everytime.I am always amazed that people think its a good song. But tastes vary.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: nightskyman ()
Date: January 5, 2015 18:07

Great track/recording. Guitars, or the guitar sound as well as rhythm section are awesome. That's what I listen for most on this.

Don't really think it's a 'great' song, even melody wise (lyrically, as has already been said...it is decadent,badass shit). Just love the sound, the feel of it. It's certainly a highlight for Jagger and Taylor.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2015-01-05 18:21 by nightskyman.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: NICOS ()
Date: January 5, 2015 18:16

No words...........

__________________________

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: Naturalust ()
Date: January 5, 2015 19:08

Great tune. Never tire of it. Possibly the best thing that ever happened to Ronnie Wood.

peace

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: runaway ()
Date: January 5, 2015 19:18

One of their finest from the album Sticky Fingers, I listened to this album day and night at the time.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: Title5Take1 ()
Date: January 5, 2015 19:59

On the Bigger Bang tour I was debating seeing the Stones at Angel Stadium or splurging for a smaller venue at the MGM Grand in Vegas (the same month) and making a Vegas weekend of it. And I decided on the MGM Grand. And they played SWAY in Vegas. And they didn't play SWAY in Anaheim. Just because of SWAY alone I was soooooo glad I chose the Vegas gig over Anaheim. I'm still glad.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: ROLLINGSTONE ()
Date: January 5, 2015 20:32

Heard it live in Glasgow 2006. Brilliant.

"I'll be in my basement room with a needle and a spoon."

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: Green Lady ()
Date: January 5, 2015 21:01

Quote
stanlove
The only song on Sticky Fingers that I don't like. Skip it everytime.I am always amazed that people think its a good song. But tastes vary.

You are not alone. I wish I could see what other people see in it - but I can't. I'll concede that the lyrics are great - but as for the rest, it leaves me cold.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: Doxa ()
Date: January 5, 2015 21:44

A deep, mysterious, frightening song. A great, great example how much the blues is constituted in the DNA of the Stones, and this gets as original and mature they ever can accomplish. Its laconic surface covers deep, deep feelings, ready to explose, which reminds me of the YA-YA'S version of "Stray Cat Blues". The band continues there from where they stop in American tour, catching strong blues-based hard rock waters.

It is an interesting showcase of how strongly Mick Taylor had integrated to the sound of the band, and actually extending its repertuare by his own signature skills. This is captured still in the creative uphill he was in the band, and is actually one of his highlight contributions to band's released studio output. The thing is that, Taylor no doubt giving brilliance into group, it is also him gaining a lot as a guitarist being in a right context in a right time. It surely must have been creativewise thrilling to make music people like Jagger at the time. What we hear there is a full grown up guitarist, just discovered his own signature style, the one we will always associated with him. Had he stayed with people like Mayall, we probably would not hear stuff like "Sway" coming out of his soul. (It is strange to think while listening to his deep, mature, reflective solos that the guy was some twenty years old 'boy' back then.)

If we add inspired Jagger into mix, whose guitarist skills were record strong good enough by then, we hear an odd Stones track in which we find ourselves not missing a Keith Richards guitar contribution at all. If this is Jagger's first relaesed guitar part, is this also the first Stones tune in which, if there is a guitar, has not Richards? All together, "Sway" is a strong statement of Jagger's independence as a song-maker, him handling the process from the first scratch to the finished product.

But it is not just a two Micks show, everything seems to be perfect in this recording, of which we always shoud credit much the producer, Jimmy Miller. Wyman/Watts axis have that idiosyncratic interplay of theirs, taking care of the foundation and Stonesy groove. The use of Buckmaster is brilliant, Keith's backing vocals are wonderful... But in the end, what makes the track so atmospheric and dangerous, is the odd slight sloppiness of the whole soap. Not everything is in tune - for example, Jagger's vocals - and that exactly adds the bluesy magic of the Stones. For me that is simply irrestible, but I know that won't please every ear.

- Doxa



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 2015-01-05 22:00 by Doxa.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: duke richardson ()
Date: January 5, 2015 22:38

a very dramatic song, with that solo and the strings at the end. Jagger singing at the top of his lungs.

they heard so many people saying "why don't you do 'Sway' live?" that they finally gave it a shot..

its good that they did try the song live but it really didn't go too well..

very hard to replicate that intensity..

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: MrBobMartini ()
Date: January 5, 2015 22:45

I think it' a nice little song, but that's it. Jagger's rythm guitar is more notable to me than Taylor's solo, which just never spoke to me the way it apparently does to other people. Bill and Charlie are on fire though.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: Doxa ()
Date: January 5, 2015 22:59

Quote
Silver Dagger

The song has a peculiar atmospheric moment at the beginning – Bill Wyman playing a note on his bass and Mick laconically counting in 1, 2, 3, 4. They used the same clever device to create a dark vibe at the beginning of Midnight Rambler – a low rumble and the sound of descent into a dark place. It’s a precious moment - almost like being allowed to sneak into the studio to catch a quick earful of the Stones working on their latest song.

.

A great observation (the analogy to "Midnight Rambler"). To an extent they tried decades later to use the device in the beginning of "Rough Justice", but, to say it mildy, with lesser effect...

By the way, I love the way how the vibe changes in the beginning of STICKY FINGERS; upgoing positive energy of "Brown Sugar" transforms into deep darkness of "Sway".. what a flow! Since "Sugar" ends like a live cut (and Stones-like sloppy), and then "Sway" starts with counting... that is almost like following a live band. Great production ideas. By the way, does "Sugar" end also with some voices heard in the back, like cheering a great take, or is it just beginning of a following track?

- Doxa

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: Naturalust ()
Date: January 5, 2015 22:59

Yeah I think Mick's guitar playing is great But what most gets me about Sway is the awesome vocals. Mick is really singing on this one, not pushed or contrived, just a superb effort. When he sings "destroyed your notion of circular time" you can really feel it. The harmony vocals are awesome too.

As usual, huge kudos to the late great Jimmy Miller for making this track work so well. They have never been as good without him, imho.

peace

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: dandelion1967 ()
Date: January 5, 2015 23:04

Amazing track. Great lyrics. Astonishing Taylor solo. Jagger's on fire. Rough sound. What else can one ask for?

--------------------------------------------


"I'm gonna walk... before they make me run"

--------------------------------------------



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015-01-05 23:05 by dandelion1967.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: 2000 LYFH ()
Date: January 6, 2015 00:58

Quote
dandelion1967
Amazing track. Great lyrics. Astonishing Taylor solo. Jagger's on fire. Rough sound. What else can one ask for?

More of the same! Love everything about it, Taylor's slide, Keith's backing vocals, Bill's bass, just the way all the instruments mix with each other creating that rough sound.

Also think Wild Horses was an excellent choice to follow. And what an album, probably my favorite album of all time...

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: treaclefingers ()
Date: January 6, 2015 01:00

Most substantial non-hit, non-warhorse in their entire catalogue and better than anything this side of Exile (and most of Exile).

I hope I'm not under selling it.

Re: Track Talk: Sway
Posted by: JimmyTheSaint ()
Date: January 6, 2015 01:15

One of my favorites. Love the hey, hey, hey now...and the outro. Always pumps me up. I hope there is an alternate, unedited version included in a future release from the archives. One that doesn't cut off or fade out Taylor's solo at the end.

Never saw it performed live as I went to about 15 shows between 1989 and 2002.

Heard it once in a small tavern that I happened upon at a street festival in Buffalo. I just went in to use the bathroom, and on my way out the opening lick fired up loud from the jukebox. I went straight to the bartender for a drink and savored every moment of it - the drink and the song.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 2015-01-06 01:24 by JimmyTheSaint.

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