Night Music: Rolling Stones, “Monkey Man”

The Stones were at the top of their game in the midst (at the start almost) of an incredible run of great music. I have to admit I haven’t listened much to Let It Bleed in recent years because it seemed so familiar, spoiled by overplaying on classic rock radio and my own turntable decades ago, but having a listen today I was struck by how fresh and awfully good the lesser known songs are.

I’m talking Country Honk, and You’ve Got the Silver, and this one. They defy genre and characterization. They rock, but they’re blues and country, and just plain Stones, all at once. It’s surprising what you end up with when you go back to the familiar.

3 thoughts on “Night Music: Rolling Stones, “Monkey Man”

  1. I have to rank this one as a Top 10 Stones song. The guitar/piano interplay (Nicky Hopkins) is perfect, especially from 2:35-3:12, the lyrics are Jagger at his sarcastic best, and Charlie is as good as it gets.

    • We were watching Good Fellas yesterday and I had forgotten that near the end of the paranoid helicopter sequence, an amazing bit of storytelling that is punctuated by fractured and fragmented clips of great rock, as if some crazyperson keeps hitting the Scan button on the radio tuner and every station is playing a great frantic blue rock song, Monkey Man comes on.

      I would have no problem if someone made a Stones Top 10 and included Monkey Man, but can such a list have both it and Gimme Shelter? Or leave Gimme Shelter off? Tough one, for sure.

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