A song about a gay prostitute who works the streets of New York, this is about the closest The Stones came to punk rock. Another song on the album, "Shattered," also presents the seedy side of New York City.
Written entirely by Mick Jagger, the Stones frontman said: "I don't know why I wrote it. Maybe I came out of the closet (laughs). It's about an imaginary person who comes from L.A. to New York and becomes a garbage collector."
Mick Jagger on the song's homosexual nature (1978): "There is one song that's a straight gay song - 'When the Whip Comes Down' - but I have no idea why I wrote it. It's strange - the Rolling Stones have always attracted a lot of men (laughs). That sounds funny, but they're not all gay. And, of course, I have a lot of gay friends, but I suppose everyone does in New York City, and what's that have to do with the price of eggs?... I sure hope the radio stations will play 'When the Whip Comes Down.'"
Suggestion credit: Bertrand - Paris, France for above 2
The song has an interesting title considering what Keith Richards was going through at the time. He had been busted in Canada with enough drugs to face trafficking charges, and was waiting for his sentence. This was a huge distraction while they were making this album, as Richards faced significant jail time and The Stones had to think about what to do without him. After the album was released, Richards got his sentence and was very happy to hear that he would be put on probation and ordered to play a concert for the blind.
A live version recorded in Memphis in 1978 is on the Sucking In The Seventies greatest hits compilation.
Lou from Middletown, NyFloating around the net are two long versions of this - one the basic backing track, with some early vocals, and a full blown finished track from that with full backing vocals and overdubs - both which run over 10 freaking hard bashing minutes. The latter has two extra verses - one about the guys problems with dad and how mom accepts hm, and another about 'Wall St Brokers going home to their wives/while I live out my life! It is definitely worth seeking out, as The Stones have NEVER played harder for such a long time on a studio track.
Bo from San Francisco, CaWhat does the title mean? Also, the Stones denied this was about male prostitution, though they said it was about a hypothetical gay man. The lyrics certainly make it sound about prostitution.
Elaine from Oakwood, GaAlways great - always the Stones - have survived with the best of the best - better then the punk of today! I still can listen to them all day long!
Kevin from Reading , PaOne of those songs that has aged well. Good, rough rock and roll from the late 70s Stones. A no-frills, no BS kind of rock song.
Susan from Toronto, CanadaMick Jagger was heavily influenced by the Ramones' "53rd and 3rd" when writing this song, which is no surprise since the songs are so much alike lyrically, structurally and sound-wise.
Craig from Melbourne, AustraliaStones out-punk the punks.
Rob from Santa Monica, CaA remarkably effective rock song, considering it it just two chords alternated throughout.
Ace from Kansas City, MoMick joins Keith and Woody on electric guitar on this track.
Brett from New York, NyThis is an excellent nasty song that perfectly characterizes the tenor of this album. Few albums take shots at the younger generation of bands with as much authority as "Some Girls" does.