If You Can't Rock Me

Album: It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (1974)
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  • This is the first track on It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, the first album after producer Jimmy Miller left the band. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards did the production instead.
  • This song finds Mick Jagger singing about being on stage performing for the ladies in the crowd. Is this a stereotypical Stones womanizing song, or what? Notice that other groups did songs about women all the time, but the lyrics here make it like he's personally pointing out into the audience: "You lovely ladies in your leather and lace, a thousand lips I would love to taste." He even later calls out to "that black girl in the bright blue hair." Wouldn't it be eerie to be in the audience and fit that description on the song's first stage performance?

  • This was one of the last Stones songs guitarist Mick Taylor played on.
  • In fandom (not necessarily only music fandom), there's an expression called "growing the beard." That's when an artist has officially reached middle age / maturity / grace and established themselves as the dignified guru of their genre or form. In other words, they get old, but do so gracefully so that they're recognized as masters. The opposite of "jumping the shark," where you get old in the "falling down and needing Depends" sense. Anyway, It's Only Rock 'n Roll is widely recognized as the point where The Rolling Stones grew their beard.

    Along with this respected status, many critics noted a darker, edgier tone to their songs. It seems hard to fathom now, but the Stones were cutting-edge outrageous back in the '70s, in the same bad-boy reputation that modern black/death metal or gansta rap gets.
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Comments: 8

  • Whamo from San Clemente, Ca"It's Only Rock and Roll", the song, is a Stones staple in their live shows. The "Only Rock and Roll" album is an interesting salute to the reggae trend of the time. The song, and album, stands up well with time. Billy Preston, RIP, adds a lot to the groove on organ tracks. Musically, the Stones might have been a lot more interesting if Mick Taylor stuck around. But Ron Wood brought new life to the band, so it's all good.
  • Stig from Chicago, IlIf You Can't Rock Me, It's Only Rock and Roll, Luxury, Aint to Proud to Beg, Dance Little Sister, Time Waits for No One.......Sorry.....this album is masterful.....if you don't like it you must have "rocks" in your head, or be afflicted with poor taste.....rock guitar at it's best.
  • Ethan from Portland, OrThey should open shows with this. Much better than the tired Start Me Up!
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaThat makes sense. But, still, this is a good album. I really like Ain't to proud to beg, the stones doin motown, doesn't get much better. They should have perfomed that at the superbowl 2006.
  • Keith from Front Royal, VaJimmy Miller left because, like many other people who associated with the Stones too long, he was consumed by the lifestyle. Keith Richards said that during the production of "Goat's Head Soup" a year earlier, "Jimmy spent a month carving a swastika into the control board." He'd lost his marbles.

    I think you're the one who needs to grow up, Joost. Any idiot can tell what "Fingerprint File" is about and most people (including the band) can tell that it's a stupid song. Even the band themselves were dissappointed in this album. The main problem was Keith's drug habit, which often made him late or absent from the recording sessions.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaI have yet to hear this album all the way through, although my parents own the record. I listen to an Rolling Stones Radio on the internet, the basis for most of my Stones comments. Y did Jimmy Miller leave, does anyone know?
  • Joost from UtrechtEuhh...Keith from Front Royal, VA? "bright spots on an otherwise miserable album"?
    You're kidding! Learn to develop your reviewing skills. This is simply a G R E A T Stones album - one of their best. Do you _even slightly_ understand Fingerprint File? Have you heard the title song lately? Come on dude - grow up!
  • Keith from Front Royal, VaI've always liked this song. It and the title song are the bright spots on an otherwise miserable album. In live performances, the Stones fused this together with "Get Off My Cloud" to form an excellent groove.
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