#47 It’s Only Rock’n’Roll

#47 It’s Only Rock’n’Roll – The Rolling Stones

This is the lead track from the album of the same name; it’s the last album before Mick Taylor left and the Stones turned to goop.

Personally my favourite Stone’s lead guitarist has always been Ry Cooder (who is also one of the best guitarists ever), but, as most potted histories of the band don’t seem to count him as a fully-fledged Rolling Stone, then I guess that laudation goes to Mick Taylor. A nice counterpoint to Keith Richards (i.e. he can actually play) Mick Taylor is responsible in a large part for the classic stones sound (this would be late sixties / early seventies), a period when most things seemed to have been in their prime, including me.

The title of the song (and album) is, of course, about much more than a 3 chord style of music: it was about the whole rock’n’roll life style which basically (and basely) included doing whatever you liked whenever it caught your fancy, only one life and I don’t spend too much time fretting over the opinions of others type thing.

Back to this song: it was recorded at the house of Ron Wood (it seems fairly clear), but exactly who was playing guitar is less clear (unless you happen to know?). What is clear is that Richards’ friendship Wood (who seemed to develop an “incredibly close friendship” pretty much overnight) marked the edging out of Mick Taylor. The album also marked the birth of the Glimmer Twins (Mick and Keith) who produced it.

Looking at all of the Stones’ guitarists these days (not counting Mr. Cooder), I’d say Mick Taylor definitely got the best of it (although Keith Richards has always been a hero of mine for another reason entirely).


If I could stick my pen in my heart
I’d spill it all over the stage
Would it satisfy ya or would slide on by ya?
Or would you think this boy is strange?
Ain’t he strayayange?
If I could win you
if I could sing you
a love song so divine.
Would it be enough for your cheating heart
If I broke down and cried? –
If I criyiyied.

I said I know it’s only rock and roll
But I like it.
I said I know
it’s only rock and roll
But I like it
like it
yes I do.
I like it
oh yes
I like it
I like it
I said: Can’t you see this old boy’s getting lonely?

If I could stick a knife in my heart
Suicide right on the stage
Would it be enough for your teenage lust?
Would it help ease your pain?
Ease your brain if I could dig down deep in my heart
Feelings would flood on the page
Would it satisfy ya
would it slide on by ya?
Would you think the boy’s insane?
He’s insayayane.

I said I know
it’s only rock and roll
. . .

Don’t you think that you’re the only girl around
I bet you think that you’re the only woman in town.

I said I know it’s only rock and roll

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