Under My Thumb
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|"Under My Thumb"|
Japanese single cover
|Single by The Rolling Stones|
|from the album Aftermath|
|B-side||"I Just Want to Make Love to You"|
|Released||April 15 (UK), June 20 (US), 1966 (album)
March 1968 (single) Japan
|Recorded||March 6–9, 1966|
|Label||Decca (album only)/London|
|Producer||Andrew Loog Oldham|
"Under My Thumb" is a song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for The Rolling Stones. Its first appearance was as an album track on 1966's Aftermath. Although it was never released as a single in English speaking countries, it is one of the band's more popular songs from the period, appearing frequently on best-of compilations. In 1968, it was released as a single in Japan.
It was during a performance of this song at the infamous 1969 Altamont Free Concert that the Hells Angels, who were acting as security for the band, stabbed Meredith Hunter to death. It is a common misconception that Hunter was stabbed while the band was playing "Sympathy for the Devil". The events appear in the Gimme Shelter movie.
"Under My Thumb" was featured prominently by the band on their 1981 USA Tour and 1982 European tour as the opening number at each concert. The Stones have played the song sporadically on subsequent tours in 1997–98 and 2006.
Lyrics and music 
The song's lyrics are an examination of a sexual power struggle, in which Jagger's lyrics celebrate the satisfaction of finally having controlled and gained leverage over a previously pushy, dominating woman. Jagger later reflected on the track in a 1995 interview: "It's a bit of a jokey number, really. It's not really an anti-feminist song any more than any of the others... Yes, it's a caricature, and it's in reply to a girl who was a very pushy woman".
Starting with the 1981 tour, Jagger changed most of the references of "girl" in the song to "woman".
Like many of the songs from the Aftermath period, "Under My Thumb" uses more novel instrumentation than that featured on previous Stones records, including fuzz bass lines (played by Bill Wyman), and marimba riffs played by Brian Jones, which provide the song's most prominent hook.
The lyrics, which savour the successful 'taming of the shrew' and compare the woman in question to a "pet", a "cat" and a "squirming dog" provoked some negative reactions, especially amongst feminists, who objected to what they took as the suppressive sexual politics of the male narrator. American humanities professor Camille Paglia, for example, reports that her admiration and defence of "Under My Thumb" marked the beginning of a rift between her and the radical feminists of the late 1960s.
- Mick Jagger - Vocals, Handclaps
- Keith Richards - Electric Guitar
- Brian Jones - Acoustic guitar, Marimba
- Bill Wyman - Bass guitar, fuzz bass
- Charlie Watts - Drums
Altamont death 
The song was also notable for its (coincidental) connection with the death of Meredith Hunter at the notorious Altamont Free Concert in 1969. The Stones were just finishing up the number when a fight broke out between Hells Angels on the security detail and concert-goers, ultimately culminating in the stabbing of Hunter by Hells Angel Alan Passaro after Hunter pulled out a gun.
Cover versions 
In 1967, after the imprisonment of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, on drugs charges, The Who recorded covers of "Under My Thumb" and "The Last Time" as a single. The intention was to help Jagger and Richards make bail, but by the time the single was made available, they had been released. A version by The Who is available on the 1998 reissue of the band's Odds & Sods. The version released on Odds & Sods is not the original single version, but an unfinished mix that omits the lead guitar part.
Fast radio did an Italo disco girl-group remake of the Rolling Stones classic in 1983.
Canadian rock band Streetheart recorded a cover of Under My Thumb in 1979. Streetheart's cover was their biggest hit on the Canadian Top 40 charts.
In the early 1980s, punk band Social Distortion covered the song before the release of their first LP. This version is now available on their rarities collection, Mainliner: Wreckage from the Past. In the mid-1990s they re-recorded it as a hidden track on their album, White Light, White Heat, White Trash, and also on Live at the Roxy, as it had become a live staple for the band.
"Weird Al" Yankovic used part of this song in his Rolling Stones medley "Hot Rocks Polka".
The Who released a cover of Under my Thumb on the 1998 reissue of their album Odds & Sods
Chilean rock band Los Miserables recorded a Spanish-language cover of "Under My Thumb", based on the Social Distortion's version. In this version, "Bajo este Sol" ("Under this Sun"), the lyrics are unrelated to the original work, conserving only the melodic line of the Rolling Stones' original. Bajo este Sol is included in the album Date Cuenta (2000).
A cover of the song came in 1974 by Wayne Gibson, who had initially recorded the track in 1966 for Columbia Records. His cover was re-released on the Pye label where it reached the top 20 in the UK singles chart, with Gibson performing the song on popular TV shows of the time such as BBC's Top of the Pops and Crackerjack and on Granada's Pop Show 45. It also became a favourite in the UK's Northern Soul clubs, not a clientele usually associated with the Stones' music.
Industrial metal band Ministry with Burton C. Bell covered "Under My Thumb" on their 2008 covers album Cover Up, with some minor lyrical changes. This version was nominated for the 51st Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance.
The Pietasters, a Washington, D.C. ska/soul band, recorded a studio version of the song for their 1996 Comply album.
A live version by Terence Trent D'Arby appears on his 2006 compilation album Do You Love Me Like You Say.
Courtney Love performed a live version.
- Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones – The Guardian – September 6, 2009
- The Rolling Stone Interview. Rolling Stone. Accessed April 2, 2007.
- Under My Thumb Time is On Our Side
- [dead link] http://digitaldreamdoor.nutsie.com/pages/best_bassperf.html #48
- Paglia, Camille. (1992) Sex, Art and American Culture: New Essays, New York, Vintage, 1992, ISBN 978-0-679-74101-5
- "Grammy 2009 Winners List". MTV. February 8, 2009. Retrieved February 6, 2012.