All About You

Album: Emotional Rescue (1980)

Songfacts®:

  • In a radio interview around 1981, Keith Richards said he wrote this song for his Dalmatian dog (female). Most people assumed he wrote it about Anita Pallenberg, the mother of his two kids. He ended his tumultuous relationship with her after a 17-year-old boy shot himself on their bed.

    For those wondering about a source for the Dalmatian story, the book Old gods almost dead: the 40-year odyssey of the Rolling Stones does cite a Keith Richards interview where Keith did say that the song is about his "constantly farting Dalmatian." However, lyrics like "Tell me those lies, let me think they're true" and "So how come I'm still in love with you?" cast some doubt on this claim. There was a great deal of controversy about the song and Anita Pallenberg's feelings in the matter, so Keith might have been trying to save face at this point.

    There was a lot more to Anita Pallenberg than just a dead 17-year-old; Pallenberg was already an actress and model before she met Keith Richards. She was even part of Andy Warhol's Factory in New York, which sets the stage for scandalous behavior right there. Furthermore, she apparently dated Stones' guitarist Brian Jones prior to Richards, and in Richards' biography Life, he says that she also had a fling with Stones' frontman Mick Jagger. But the consensus is that she had a good role as a Rolling Stones partner, like a more benevolent Yoko Ono (another ex-Warhol affiliate). Let's just say that with all the cross-accusations and denials plus multiple books making different claims, we may never get to the bottom of Pallenberg's relationship with Richards or the band.

    And as to her estate groundskeeper (Scott Cantrell, the aforementioned 17-year-old), with whom she was also allegedly having an affair, here's an AOL News item as recent as 2010 which still doesn't give us any definitive answers. His death was ruled a flat suicide in 1980; Richards still rehashes the old Russian Roulette rumor anyway. Lots of mean things said back and forth in this story.
  • Mick Jagger usually writes The Stones lyrics, but Richards wrote all of these. Keith said that he almost pulled the song from the album because he was concerned that the tune might not be entirely original.
  • At the time of the recording of Emotional Rescue, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were fighting a lot. Some interpreted this song as a dig by Richards at Jagger. Speaking to Mojo in 2019 he chuckled at the memory.

    "It was a song of love, discarded love," he said. "I never really thought about it in terms of how it was going to be interpreted - 'oh, that's obviously him writing about him!' I'm just writing another film noir love song... I know that when I was singing All About You I was certainly not thinking about Mick. But relationships in the band being the way they were at the time, these feelings are transferable. And once it was pointed out to me, I said, 'Yeah! Maybe I do mean that!' We are not in control of our unconscious."

Comments: 10

  • Danny from Your Town, IaIn His Book Keith Says That Despite Rumors, It Is About Mick Jagger.
  • Vaughan from Vancouver, CanadaHere'Tis; You can't have a song without a subject and in The Stones case, you can't have a subject without writing Many tunes about the same thing. Speaking of Dylan, yep, Keith sounds like him in this number. But it is The Human Riff himself. I saw him do it in the middle of a Stones show in Van and it was his 50th. Micky J. DID NOT write most of the lyrics to Stones numbers!!! Keith wrote more than his fair share. Angie, (about Anita) is one, Satisfaction is another...etc. (er, Satisfaction was shared Keith started it).
    Now,final note: Mick is the front man, Keith runs the band. Incidently, I saw Keith with the X-pensive Winos and he did 'Gimmie Shelter'.It was good and it was terrifying. To see a man take his song and do it in the spirit of the times...wow
    Keith can hold his own against The Ego, they are partners. They genually put out good stuff and have for decades. Try to have one without the other and you will discover,they are much better together. As Keith said, "He's (Jagger) my wife and he'll say the same. Write On Keith!
  • Susan from Toronto, CanadaApparently this song is about Mick. The problems that came to a head in the late 80's were first starting to surface around 1980. Keith told ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE that he had finally kicked heroin around the time of the album "Emotional Rescue," and when he thought Mick would be glad Keith had his strength back and could help run the band, Mick--being a control freak--didn't like having to share the power with the now healthy Keith. Keith wrote some other anti-Mick songs later, but this was one, too. I, personally, love the line, "I may miss you/But missing me just isn't you." That line fits some people I know; people who are kind of emotionless and are incapable of missing anyone.
  • Patrick from Greenville, Scthis is one of Keith' worst
  • Scott from Ipswich, MaI dunno. This isn't You Don't Move Me, Keef's real F You to Mick, circa 1988. Mick spent the 1970s holding the Stones together, and this was only the second album that Keith was really present for since 1973. I don't think Keith had the reasons to be mad at Mick which he would later have, and share with every interviewer who'd listen.
  • Emily from Philadelphia, PaI love Keith: for his dalmation. Yeah, right. The song, I think, is about both Anita and Mick; it was around the time that his relationship with Anita was deteriorating and his frustration with Mick was increasing. Mick, I think, is the "jerk" referenced, where missing someone "just isn't you". The last line I imagine is for Anita, the mother of his two children and common-law wife of ten years.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaHow would Keith be this mean to his dog? Jeez! It's just your dog!
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaI have a question: How come this sounds like Bob Dylans voice to me?
  • Dave from London , CanadaIt's Keith summing up his fractured and ending relationship with Anita.
  • Chelsea from Nyc, OrThis tune marked the first in what was to become a trend on future Stonesalbums: Keith doing a ballad to close out the disc.
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