Night Music: The Rolling Stones, “I Am Waiting”

When this clip started I saw the tow-headed kid playing the zither and thought it was cute, before realizing that it was Brian Jones playing a dulcimer. (So, it turns out that a zither is the large group of instruments that involve strings stretched across a resonator box. Specific types of zithers include pianos, guitars, autoharps and dulcimers, among many others.)

This song is the soundtrack to a big scene in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore, which we watched tonight, but it is also one of those songs that is permanently fixed in my head, my own soundtrack. If I’m standing, waiting for something to happen, for the theater to let us in or my daughter to come downstairs so we can go out, it is this tune I will start singing quietly to myself, for obvious reasons.

It was originally released on the Stones’ Aftermath album, their first great album, musically ambitious and accomplished. These Stones, in 1966, were a little bit artsy, trying hard to expand their range, while at the same time burnishing their images as provocateurs. More than eight years later, when I landed in college, the debate continued to rage about whether Stupid Girl was misogynistic hate or closely-observed satire.

Not so with this one, which is more mysterious than a challenge.

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