The Rolling Stones song Mick Jagger called “punk”

In terms of music, punk isn’t the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones. However, go further behind the surface into their mentality, and few bands have more captured the essence of punk.

If it were up to Jagger, The Rolling Stones would have an entire arsenal of punk tunes. However, the band is a democracy, and the vocalist has always battled to get his ideas through to his colleagues, particularly Keith Richards, whose inclinations are on the opposite end of the spectrum.

The Stones hired Paul McCartney to play bass on the track ‘Bite My Head Off’ off their current album, Hackney Diamonds. Jagger stated the song’s meaning: “I was kind of surprised Paul wanted to play on that track, actually. I wrote so many punk songs for the Stones, and I could never get away with them, but Paul is a very open-minded person – musically speaking.”

Jagger, according to Richards, has always introduced radical ideas to the rest of the band and will most likely continue to do so. He stated to The Sun:

Mick’s a punk! The punk side of Jagger has always been there, and we’ll never get rid of it.

Even though The Rolling Stones were not participating in the punk movement when it exploded in the late 1970s, Jagger was intrigued by the idea. While the band never released a full-fledged punk record, they did incorporate aspects of the genre into their style on the 1978 album Some Girls.

According to Rolling Stone, Jagger’s major influence for the album was New York City, which gave the record “an extra spur and hardness.” However, the New York punk culture had another influence, as the vocalist revealed:

“And then, of course, there was the punk thing that had started in 1976. Punk and disco were going on at the same time, so it was quite an interesting period.”

The vocalist then cited ‘Respectable’ as an example of The Rolling Stones exhibiting their punk sensibility. He had this to say about the song: “Yeah, this is the kind of edgy punk ethos. Yeah, the groove of it — and on all of those songs, the whole thing was to play it all fast, fast, fast. I had a lot of problems with Keith [Richards] about it, but that was the deal at the time.”

Despite the fact that Some Girls was influenced by New York, Jagger favored the British form of punk over the American version. He asserted, “The sort of punk scene in New York, you know, you had the Ramones and you had the New York Dolls, but they didn’t really play that kind of music … it was more of a glam look.”

While there isn’t a prolific number of punk songs produced by The Rolling Stones over the years, Jagger’s credentials as a punk-rocker are clear for all to see, as he demonstrated on ‘Respectable’.


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