Dirty Work

Album: Dirty Work (1986)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is the title track from the album that showed the band together on the cover for the first time since Their Satanic Majesties Request in 1967 (Annie Leibovitz took the photo). There was no bonhomie in the band, though: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards weren't getting along, and Jagger was putting his best efforts into his solo career.
  • This was one of the few Stones songs that Ron Wood got a writing credit for. He came up with the guitar part he played with Keith Richards.
  • The album came out in the middle of a scandal over offensive content in rock music. Many conservative groups, including a bunch of politician's wives called the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), were trying to get music they considered offensive banned from radio and TV. The Rolling Stones were not targeted by the PMRC, probably because many of their members liked the group, and The Stones record company kept it that way by wrapping the album in red plastic to hide any offensive words.

Comments: 2

  • Alastair from Stranraer, United KingdomAn outtake from the sessions shows that in an earlier version of the song, the phrase Dirty Work was reference to sexual shenanigans. Before Jagger (was it he?) decided on a different theme.
  • Susan from Toronto, CanadaIt's funny Mick sings this song, because Keith apparently wrote this song ABOUT Mick. Mick was also working on his first solo album SHE'S THE BOSS at the time DIRTY WORK was being recorded. Keith felt the other Stones were working hard on DIRTY WORK and Mick would just pop in briefly to record his vocals and leave. This lines like, "You never roll your sleeves up do you ever, baby?" So Mick is actually singing a song critical of himself!
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