Song of the Day #1,011: ‘Under My Thumb’ – The Rolling Stones

I was coming up with ideas for the follow-up to Elvis Costello Weekends and it occurred to me that if my CD collection and musical knowledge were sufficient, The Rolling Stones would be perfect candidates.

Here’s a band that often comes up in the same breath as The Beatles, who have written as many classic songs, and who have released three times as many albums. I’ve always fallen on The Beatles side of the old “Beatles or Stones” question, but there is no doubt that it’s a legitimate contest.

But I don’t feel qualified to tour the Stones catalog the way I have for The Beatles, Bob Dylan or Elvis Costello. So Rolling Stones Weekends are out. I’ve decided what to do after Elvis hangs up his guitar, and it’s rather odd, but you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks for that.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to at least give The Stones the honor of a theme week. And because I own exactly five of their albums, it seems a perfect fit to feature a song from each.

We begin with 1966’s Aftermath, the band’s seventh studio album (in three years!) and the first to consist solely of songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Their previous seven albums contained mostly covers with a smattering of originals. Considering that those originals included such classics as ‘Play With Fire’ and ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,’ I’m surprised nobody thought to hand them the reins sooner.

Between the UK and US releases of Aftermath you could find early hits ‘Paint it Black,’ ‘Mother’s Little Helper’ and today’s SOTD. This is a modest, bluesy record and a very easy listen. It’s also the kicking off point of one of the most remarkable streaks in recording history. Over the next six years, The Stones released six classic albums that cemented them as rock legends.

Under my thumb
The girl who once had me down
Under my thumb
The girl who once pushed me around

It’s down to me
The difference in the clothes she wears
Down to me, the change has come,
She’s under my thumb

Ain’t it the truth babe?

Under my thumb
The squirmin’ dog who’s just had her day
Under my thumb
A girl who has just changed her ways

It’s down to me, yes it is
The way she does just what she’s told
Down to me, the change has come
She’s under my thumb
Ah, ah, say it’s alright

Under my thumb
A Siamese cat of a girl
Under my thumb
She’s the sweetest pet in the world

It’s down to me
The way she talks when she’s spoken to
Down to me, the change has come,
She’s under my thumb
Ah, take it easy babe
Yeah

It’s down to me, oh yeah
The way she talks when she’s spoken to
Down to me, the change has come,
She’s under my thumb
Yeah, it feels alright

Under my thumb
Her eyes are just kept to herself
Under my thumb, well I
I can still look at someone else

It’s down to me, oh that’s what I said
The way she talks when she’s spoken to
Down to me, the change has come,
She’s under my thumb
Say, it’s alright.

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,011: ‘Under My Thumb’ – The Rolling Stones

  1. Dana says:

    I too favor the Beatles over the Stones, and by a fair measure. But I certainly like a number of Stones tunes. Today’s SOTD is certainly a classic, but not necessarily one of my favorites. I do like “Mother’s Little Helper” from this album. Not really that familiar with the songs that weren’t hits.

    Looking forward to a bit of Stones education this week.

  2. pegclifton says:

    Me too! I hope “Satisfaction” will be played this week!

  3. Amy says:

    You own five albums by The Rolling Stones?! You never cease to surprise me.

    First, I’d like to go on record that you don’t have to be an expert to devote a blog post (or a series of blog posts) to a song or an artist. Your devoted followers don’t expect you to know everything!! Still, a week of Rolling Stones’ tunes will do quite nicely.

    Since it has been a while since I’ve shared an American Idol clip, I’m going to share one that I found particularly amusing. During last year’s largely train wreck of a season, one of the most gruesome aspects was adorable and innocuous Tim Urban’s march from week to week. In one evening devoted to The Rolling Stones, Tim decided to grace us with a somewhat reggae (??) rendition of today’s SOTD:

    I wish I had found a clip with the judges’ critique, because, if I recall, Simon was brutal!

    And with a whole night of AI devoted to songs by The Rolling Stones, I’m certain to have more videos to share this week 🙂

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