Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Waiting on a Friend

Watching girls go passing by
It ain't the latest thing
I'm just standing in a doorway
I'm just trying to make some sense
Out of these girls go passing by
The tales they tell of men
I'm not waiting on a lady
I'm just waiting on a friend

A smile relieves a heart that grieves
Remember what I said
I'm not waiting on a lady
I'm just waiting on a friend
I'm just waiting on a friend

Don't need a whore
I don't need no booze
Don't need a virgin priest
But I need someone I can cry to
I need someone to protect
Making love and breaking hearts
It is a game for youth
But I'm not waiting on a lady
I'm just waiting on a friend

- Released November 30, 1981

- The song was first played as early as 1970, when Mick Taylor first joined the group and was recording with Jagger in London. Recording on "Waiting on a Friend" began in late 1972 through early 1973 in Kingston, Jamaica, during the Goats Head Soup sessions when the band still had Taylor as a member.

- Jagger said, "We all liked it at the time but it didn't have any lyrics, so there we were... The lyric I added is very gentle and loving, about friendships in the band." Jagger also had stated that the 1981 lyrics were contemplated for a future possible video, making the song the first Stones single to be packaged as a possible video for the emergingly important MTV channel. The video, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg (who also directed their 1968 special Rock and Roll Circus), became very popular on MTV and featured reggae artist Peter Tosh sitting on a stoop with Jagger who is seen waiting on Richards. The building is found at 96-98 St. Mark's Place in Manhattan, which is the same building featured on the album cover of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti.

- St. Mark's Place in Manhattan

- This is a rare mature reflection from The Stones, as Mick Jagger sings about the values of friendship as opposed to women. Then again, it may be about drugs. Keith Richards was a known heroin user at the time, and the song could be a euphemism for waiting on the "connection" - the man with the drugs. Should Keith (or in this case, Mick, as he is singing in the video) get questioned by the police, his response would be, "I'm just waiting on a friend." Reference

- The Stones hired jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins to perform the solo on this song, as well as two others on the album. Stones-recording veteran Nicky Hopkins plays piano.

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