Stray Cat Blues

Album: Beggars Banquet (1968)

Songfacts®:

  • This is a song about sex with minors, and a casual attitude towards sex in general. "It's no hanging matter, it's no capital crime" means that there's nothing really wrong with it - that it's not worth hanging someone over. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Michael - London, England
  • The Rolling Stones used the sound of The Velvet Underground's "Heroin" for this song.
  • In the lyrics, the girl in the Beggar's Banquet version is 15 ("I can see that you're fifteen years old"). However, on their 1969 USA tour and subsequent ones, Mick Jagger reduced the age of the girl to 13. He wanted to test public opinion to the limit. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Shaun - Carlisle, England, for above 2
  • Rocky Dijon played the congas. The Stones first used him on percussion for their 1967 song "Citadel," and he also played on "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'?." Dijon went on to do a lot of work with Taj Mahal. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France

Comments: 17

  • Melinda from AustraliaExcellent song. Just shows you in the lyrics how far The Rolling Stones we’re pushing the boundaries in those days. And the American influence on their music. The authentic thing about them was the fact that they really lived the life they sung about. Yes, Mick Jagger lived a jet setting RocknRoll aristocratic lifestyle. But surprisingly he was consistently using drugs periodically until the mid 1970’s I think. His skill as a lyricist throughout their crazy existence always impresses me. Watch old videos of him. He is a solid, grounded articulate little genius. Match that with Keith Richard’s musical ability. And you have masterpieces.
  • Gadflyonthewall from New YorkSam Sweet Home Alabama came out several years after YaYa's was released. The live version is much more of a traditional blues and was a showcase for Mick Taylor's virtuosity. On recent tours they've been performing the studio version.
  • Gadflyonthewall from New YorkI believe the term 'groupie' was actually coined by Bill on a 1965 Australian tour. Seeing as Bill is six years older than the Glimmers, it's all the more nasty. In '65 he'd have been at least 10 years older than the average groupie. Of course he kept his notorious taste for 'chicken' well into middle age.
  • Gadflyonthewall from New YorkThe Stones were hanging out at the Silver Factory on E. 47th as early as 1965, but I wonder if they were aware of what the VU was doing? Would love t know if the Glimmers actually saw the Exploding Plastic Inevitable show.

    The lyric so Brechtian that I wonder if it's yet another song that shows the hand of Marianne.
  • Davíd from Woburn, MaI believe I read in an interview somewhere that Mick wrote this as a tribute to young groupies trying to have sex with rock stars (not a real cat, Wayon.) I love the distorted instrumental section at the end of the song.
  • Dilip from Poway, CaIronic that this song predates by over 10 years Bill Wyman's relationship with Mandy Smith.
  • Susan from Toronto, CanadaA girlfriend of Mick Jagger's named Devon Wilson said the following about Mick and this song: "You know the song STRAY CAT BLUES? He told me he wrote it about a certain chick. He said he usually doesn't write like that but he had this one particular lady in mind. When he was in California the girl called him and said, `Thanks for writing that song about me.' He was shocked because he didn't think she could have recognized herself. But she did and it completely freaked him." Mick Jagger shared Devon Wilson with Jimi Hendrix, and she gave this interview to "Rags" magazine about her ability to romantically snare two such rock stars. I read the reprinted interview in David Henderson's book titled JIMI HENDRIX. Devon also said about Mick in the same interview, "He told me he likes fourteen-year-old girls who look like little boys."
  • Harry from Nyc, NySoundgarden covered it on the B side of the Rusty Cage single.
  • Patrick from Greenville, Scthis is just another example of how the stones pushed the boundaries of decency in rock further than anyone before. they just didn't give a damn
  • Joe from Perth, Australiathis is a stones songs you never hear on the radio
    this is a real rocker
  • R from Montreal, Qc, CanadaJohnny Winter's version is very good.

    About groupies that were runing after the group. If you have ever been in a band or close to a band you understand what he's talking about.
  • Sam from Shanghai, Chinathe version on ya-ya's has a bit of a sweet home alabama thing about it
  • Ethan from Portland, OrAn absolutely smokin' tune.
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnThe Grateful Dead's "Mexicali Blues" also deals with a man's sexual relationship with a minor, in this case "a girl that's just fourteen." Of course, that song doesn't turn out quite so well for its protagonist.
  • William from Naperville, IlOnce upon a time back in the 60's there was an "exodus" of teens. They left home in droves, many of them runaways leaving behind disfunctional family lives of sexual abuse, drunkenness, physical abuse, etc. Many of them fell into the ranks of the "hippies", and there were many adults quite willing to exploit them by whatever means possible. This song is about a 15 year old runaway who falls into the clutches of a man quite willing to provide the "feast upstairs" if she will provide the sex. The part about the no capitol crime-no hanging matter probably refers to lax laws at that time regarding statutory rape.
  • Wayon from Gig Harbor, Wathis song is about a small animal that is lost from his owner and is real sad, like when mick says i bet your mom dont know you can scratch my back, thats cuz the cat scrached him
  • Brian from Alluhrst, Njthis is a great song on of the best on the album
see more comments

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