Song of the Day #2,080: ‘All Down the Line’ – The Rolling Stones

exileonmainstreet‘All Down the Line’ is one of the greatest songs on one of The Rolling Stones’ greatest albums, Exile On Main Street. It bursts with the energy and attitude of all their best work.

This was the first track recorded for Exile On Main Street and Mick’s pick as the first single, though he was overruled when the band went with ‘Tumbling Dice’ instead.

Andy Johns, who mixed this track, tells a story about the band wondering how the song would sound on the radio. So they sent one of their session musicians to a Los Angeles radio station down the street from the studio with the instructions to have the DJ play it over the air.

The band piled into their limo and drove down the Sunset Strip listening over the car’s radio. But the speakers were shot, and the first listen didn’t really do it justice, so they called the station and asked the DJ to play it again.

I love that story, both for the hilarious image of The Rolling Stones using an L.A. radio station as their personal playback service, and because it’s so foreign to the programmed nature of radio today.

Yeah, heard the diesel drumming all down the line
Oh, heard the wires a humming all down the line
Yeah, hear the women sighing all down the line
Oh, hear the children crying all down the line

We’ll be watching out for trouble, yeah
And we’d better keep the motor running, yeah
Well, you can’t say yes and you can’t say no
Just be right there when the whistle blows
I need a sanctified girl with a sanctified mind to help me now

Yeah, all the people singing all down the line
Mmmm, watch the men all working, working, yeah
We’re going to open up the throttle yeah
We’re going to bust another bottle, yeah
I need a shot of salvation, baby, once in a while
Hear the whistle blowing, hear it for a thousand miles

We’re going to open up the throttle, yeah
All down the line, We’re going to bust another bottle, yeah
Well you can’t say yes, and you can’t say no
Just be right there when the whistle blows
I need a sanctified mind to help me out right now
Be my little baby for a while
Won’t you be my little baby for a while?

One thought on “Song of the Day #2,080: ‘All Down the Line’ – The Rolling Stones

  1. Dana says:

    Cute story. As I have said before though, with some notable exceptions, I’m just not a big fan of the Stones sound. It’s just too muscular and raucous for my personal taste.

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