The Spider and the Fly (song)

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"The Spider and the Fly"
Song by The Rolling Stones from the album Out of Our Heads
Released 30 July 1965 (US)
20 August 1965 (UK)
Recorded 13 May 1965, RCA Studios, Hollywood
Genre Blues
Length 3:38
Label London PS429 (stereo), LL3429 (mono)
Composer(s) Mick Jagger
Keith Richards
Producer(s) Andrew Loog Oldham
Out of Our Heads track listing
Play With Fire
"The Spider and the Fly"
"One More Try"

"The Spider and the Fly" is a song by British rock and roll band The Rolling Stones first released on the US version of their 1965 album Out of Our Heads. In the UK it was released as the B-side to "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction".

The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, presumably influenced by Mary Howitt's 1829 poem of the same name. One of their earliest attempts at country music, this laid-back country-blues number[1] was cut by the band during their first tour of the US at Chicago's Chess Records.

The lyrics speak of the search for women on a night out:

Sittin' thinkin' sinkin' drinkin'
Wondering what I'd do when I'm through tonight

Smokin', mopin', maybe just hopin'
Some little girl will pass on by

By the end of the song, one is left wondering which person is the spider and which is the fly.

Singer Mick Jagger said in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, "I wasn't really that mad about it, but when you listen to it on record, it still holds up quite interestingly as a blues song. It's a Jimmy Reed blues with British pop-group words, which is an interesting combination: a song somewhat stuck in a time warp." [2]

Of particular note is the early use of the Rolling Stones' "ancient form of weaving" by guitarists Keith Richards and Brian Jones. Jagger performs harmonica on the recording while Jack Nitzsche provides percussion and keyboards.

The Stones have performed "The Spider and the Fly" twice on tour, in both 1965 and 1966 and during their 1995 leg of the Voodoo Lounge Tour. A studio "reworking" of the song was included on their 1995 live album Stripped and features the notable and amusing switch of the female subject of the song's age from thirty to fifty - a nod at the Stones' own advancing ages.

In 1996, the song was recorded by blues-rock guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd (with featured harmonica playing by veteran bluesman James Cotton), and included in the soundtrack for the movie, "Michael", which starred John Travolta & Andie MacDowell. It has also been recorded by blues artist John Hammond on his 2003 album Ready For Love and Roland Van Campenhout on his 2003 album Lime & Coconut.


  1. ^ DeGagne, Mike. "Rolling Stones : The Spider and the Fly, Song Review". AllMusic. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Jagger Remembers". Rolling Stone. Dec 14, 1995 (accessed 26 April 2007).