Sister Morphine

Album: Sticky Fingers (1971)
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  • Here I lie in my hospital bed
    Tell me, sister Morphine, when are you coming round again?
    Oh, I don't think I can wait that long
    Oh, you see that I'm not that strong

    The scream of the ambulance is sounding in my ears
    Tell me, sister Morphine, how long have I been lying here?
    What am I doing in this place?
    Why does the doctor have no face?

    Oh, I can't crawl across the floor
    Ah, can't you see, Sister Morphine, I'm trying to score

    Well it just goes to show
    Things are not what they seem
    Please, sister Morphine, turn my nightmares into dreams
    Oh, can't you see I'm fading fast?
    And that this shot will be my last

    Sweet cousin Cocaine, lay your cool cool hand on my head
    Ah, come on, sister Morphine, you better make up my bed
    'Cause you know and I know in the morning I'll be dead
    Yeah, and you can sit around, yeah and you can watch all
    The clean white sheets stained red Writer/s: KEITH RICHARDS, MARIEANNE FAITHFULL, MICK JAGGER
    Publisher: Abkco Music Inc.
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 18

  • Dennis James from Florida The guitar work was magnificent. To this day, it ranks in the top 5 best Stone's music ever played
  • Jim M. from Pasco, WaMy favorite Stones is a fine musical presentation that always evokes many visual images as well. The song carries many memories of addiction and how some of us are chosen to kick and others not. Family struggles sometimes with beautiful endings...
  • Kyle from CanadaThe song is not about a man in a car accident, it's about marianne's personal experience with drugs
  • Deethewriter from Saint Petersburg, Russia FederationTaken from Original Rolling Stone Review [June 10, 1971]: "This was supposed to be stark, intense and realistic. Some hear it that way. I find it lyrically convincing, but labored to the point of being unlistenable musically. Perhaps that is part of the conception: obviously, a song about morphine should not be pleasant to hear. The question is, is the song unpleasant because it makes us uncomfortable emotionally, or simply because it is an awkward and unsuccessful attempt to depict reality through music?"
  • Paul from Boston, MaIn his 1995 Rolling Stone interview, MJ says that Marianne contributed the line "sweet cousin cocaine" but that otherwise the song was his (words and music). This would stand to reason as Marianne was very fond of cocaine in the sixties. In her bio, she states she started using H in the late sixties, and was on serious nod during the Hyde Park concert.

    I've often wondered about the connection between "Sister Morphine" and "your jaded, faded junkie nurse".

    I think it was originally recorded in the 1968 'Beggars' sessions. Keith is not on it, as apparently he and Ry Cooder didn't hit it off. This would have been the same time as "Memo From Turner" and the "Jamming with Edward" sessions.
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaI'm glad Marianne Faithfull has finally got witing credit for this song along with Jagger/Richards, she wrote tyhe lyrics...Must of been an interesting time for the Stones and their people....truly a lot of substances around that time..
  • Harold from San Bernadino, Cawell it..just goes to show..things are not..what they seeem.
  • Michael from Farmington, MiLove this song, had to do a search while hearing it tonight. Great comments. Mick, ry, keith, and mick2 are great.
  • Susan from Toronto, CanadaMarianne Faithfull said told INTERVIEW MAGAZINE that, although the Stones did not originally credit her with co-writing this song, Keith Richards made sure she got paid royalties.
  • George from Little Rock, ArThis song is hauntingly beautiful. It seemed that every song on Sticky Fingers was a drug reference. Sister Morphine is probably the druggiest song the Stones every did.
  • Andrew from New York, United StatesThe "treatment" on the piano is just a ton of Reverb...I personally love the way Ry makes an electric slide guitar sound like an electric piano...and the great sound of Keith on that Nashville-tuned acoustic, banging out the open Am7-Am chords...FYI Nashville-tuning, also referred to as "high-strung" tuning, involves replacing the 4 lowest strings on the guitar, usually an acoustic, with the high strings from a 12-string set, which are tuned an octave higher. As Keith puts it, "it gives the sweet sound of a 12-string without the boominess underneath". Keith employed it a lot; also Mick Taylor used it for one of the acoustics on "Wild Horses". The other acoustic on "Horses" is in Open-G tuning.
  • Richard from Louisville, KyRy Cooder was not sitting in for Brian Jones. Brian Jones was six feet under in 1971. Mick Taylor was the lead guitarist at the time of this album. Keith Richards played rhythm and occasional lead.
  • Chad from Eagan, MnThis is my favorite Stones song, and I have a lot of songs I really love by them. It's so beautifiul, and yet very very haunting. It starts off slow on acoustic only, then builds momentum when Ry Cooder starts in on the slide guitar, and finally it gets moving when the rest of the band joins in with Jack Nitzsche on that really creepy sounding treated piano. That piano has to be one of the creepiest sounding instruments used in any rock and roll song.

    Best line in the song:
    Ah, come on, Sister Morphine, you better make up my bed
    'Cause you know and I know in the morning I'll be dead
    Yeah, and you can sit around, yeah and you can watch all the
    Clean white sheets stained red.
  • Someone from SomewhereCocaine was in the past used as a local anesthetic (and may still be used in some countries)... Putting cocaine on the skin has a numbing effect, which makes surgery possible without hurting the patient... It doesn't get the patient high, though...

    Today, medicines that are chemically related to cocaine is used... Novocaine and xylocaine are two examples...

    Sister morphine is a great song, btw... Really captures the eerie feeling of lying in a hospital bed waiting for the morphine to take the pain away...
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, Ca"This is about a man who gets in a car accident and dies in the hospital while asking for morphine." If this is true, whats up with the cousin coacaine thing? There are many possible reasons, can someone tell me which one?
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaI doubt it Jon. Ibet this actually was happening to a Rolling Stones member, and he decided to write a song about it. I'm listening to it and I just heard the cousin coacaine part.
  • Maya from Cal, United Statesfreaky lyrics but an awesome song.. yeah he wants cocaine too.. the "cousin cocaine" part
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, Scin this song,not only does the guy want morphine. He seems to want cocaine too, so it will ease his pain.
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