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In June of 1978, The Rolling Stones released the album Some Girls and nothing would ever be the same. Then again, everything had already stopped being the same. The forefront of the popular music scene was overrun by the low end of the disco phase. The rock scene was filled with weaker offerings coming forth from old favorites and people were getting concerned with the death of rock and roll. The punk scene was on the rise and seemed to be stealing the testosterone from the old rock and rollers and spewing it forth as loudly as possible. It was a strange time indeed.

Those who weren't really there in the midst of the murky music scene in 1978 look back at this album and think of it as "the point at which The Stones sold out." That happened about a decade later. This was The Stones taking everything that was happening and just kicking ass.

Everything is perspective and back then perspective was shaped by different forces than those that shape it today. And they were different forces than were at work in the early 1970s and in the 1960s. Many of the great albums are a snapshot of the times, and this one came in brilliant, vibrant and controversial colors. Despite missing the mark and misunderstanding the very nature of the punk movement, The Rolling Stones took the rest of the music stylings of the day and successfully remade them in their own image.

It had been six years since The Stones' masterpiece, Exile on Main Street, and they were having trouble convincing people that they could ever again produce something truly worthy of their self-imposed label as the greatest rock and roll band in the world. The crowning achievement of the Ron Wood era would be Some Girls (although some will argue that 1981's Tattoo You was bigger, it was hardly as solid all the way through and consisted mostly of recycled material cut from earlier albums).

Miss You. A song that remains a staple on "classic rock" radio and not so overplayed that it loses its edge. A funky, not quite disco song with the kind of soul that was missing from so much of what disco brought to the table. It was catchy and mesmerizing. It spent sixteen weeks at the number one spot on the U.S. charts. It is a groove that puts you out there in your old seedy 1970s lifestyle missing some girl while all your friends want you to get over it and come hang out like you did before you got all mopey about that girl...

Well, I've been haunted in my sleep
You've been starring in my dreams
Lord I miss you
I've been waiting in the hall
Been waiting on your call
When the phone rings
It's just some friends of mine that say,
"Hey, what's the matter man
We're gonna come around at twelve
With some Puerto Rican girls that are just dyin' to meet you.
We're gonna bring a case of wine
Hey, let's go mess and fool around
You know, like we used to"

When The Whip Comes Down.

Some Girls is about as far as a politically incorrect album can go and still make the charts. The second track on the album pulls no punches as to what it is all about. You get the feeling this is some sadomasochistic thing, but the whip Mick is singing about is The Man. Were The Stones trying to tell us that all homosexual men are leather wearing slackers? Hey, they're just weaving a story here.

Yeah, mama and papa told me
I was crazy to stay
I was gay in New York
Which is a fag in L.A.
So I saved my money
And I took a plane
Wherever I go they treat me the same

Imagination.

Often known as (Just My) Imagination, this song became a complete change of pace following the first two tracks. It is a cover of a classic by The Temptations but the two versions are only marginally similar. It is about as different as two versions of exactly the same song can be. This was a specialty of The Stones more than a decade earlier, so it isn't surprising they would do it again and show they knew how to do it. All too many cover songs sound like you might as well have just bought the original. That is not the case here.

Some Girls.

The song that could "piss off the pope," as the old saying goes. There were enough people rallying to have the song banned from radio airplay and to have the album yanked from stores where impressionable youth could get their hands on it. Why? Well, Jesse Jackson strongly objected to the lines about "black girls" and women's organizations were hyped up about the misogynistic nature of the entire song. These were the days before the masses became bored with the whole "song content and lyrics" issue. This was when they were getting heated up over it. Tipper Gore probably would have had something to say if anyone had been listening to her back then. Mick Jagger was probably just blowing off steam about his collection of women. Oh, and the music that accompanies the words can drive you mad. You usually want to beat your head against the wall rather than listen to the whole thing once you've heard the lyrics sung a couple times.

Some girls give me money
Some girls buy me clothes
Some girls give me jewelry
That I never thought I'd own

Some girls give me diamonds
Some girls, heart attacks
Some girls I give all my bread to
I don't ever want it back

Some girls give me jewelry
Others buy me clothes
Some girls give me children
I never asked them for

So give me all your money
Give me all your gold
I'll buy you a house back in Zuma beach
And give you half of what I own

Some girls take my money
Some girls take my clothes
Some girls get the shirt off my back
And leave me with a lethal dose

French girls they want Cartier
Italian girls want cars
American girls want everything in the world
You can possibly imagine

English girls they're so prissy
I can't stand them on the telephone
Sometimes I take the receiver off the hook
I don't want them to ever call at all

White girls they're pretty funny
Sometimes they drive me mad
Black girls just wanna get fucked all night
I just don't have that much jam

Chinese girls are so gentle
They're really such a tease
You never know quite what they're cookin'
Inside those silky sleeves

Give me all you money
Give me all your gold
I'll buy you a house back in Zuma beach
And give you half of what I own

Some girls they're so pure
Some girls so corrupt
Some girls give me children
I only made love to her once

Give me half your money
Give me half your car
Give me half of everything
I'll make you world's biggest star by half

So gimme all your money
Give me all your gold
Let's go back to Zuma beach
I'll give you half of everything I own

Lies.

Easily the most forgettable song on the album. Let us move on.

Far Away Eyes.

The Stones lampoon both country music and radio evangelist preachers on the same song. Much to our delight it is a tasty little ballad. Amidst all the talk of sending money to the preacher on the radio and the truck driving lifestyle, the song wraps up with a fistful of tried and true sentiments...

So if you're down on your luck
I know you all sympathize
Find a girl with far away eyes
And if you're downright disgusted
And life ain't worth a dime
Get a girl with far away eyes

Respectable.

Mick and Keith attempt to shoot a little punk into the mainline and ending up creating a glitzy little self-parody song. It works marvelously well. This band was the bad boys, the Devil in the face of the bigger than Jesus band called The Beatles. Now people think they are respectable elder statesmen due for retirement and a nice cup of tea. They don't much care for that. They throw down. "Well, now we're respected in society..." So, guess what, go fuck yourselves.

Well now you're a pillar of society
You don't worry about the things that you used to be
You're a rag-trade girl, you're the queen of porn
You're the easiest lay on the White House lawn
Get out of my life, don't come back
Get out of my life, don't come back

Before They Make Me Run.

Amidst all the chest beating and parodies of those who couldn't hold their jock straps, The Stones paused. This little introspective song hides itself on the album when you're jumping around trying to get to the hits. These fellas feel something deep down.

Worked the bars and sideshows along the twilight zone
Only a crowd can make you feel so alone
And it really hit home
Booze and pills and powders, you can choose your medicine
Well here's another goodbye to another good friend

Beast Of Burden.

Right up there with the best ballads by The Rolling Stones, it has long been a victim of overplay, the death of so much good music. You hear it every day for two decades and you start to reach for the old bucket to hurl up your KFC. Sometimes you just can't carry all the pain and misery for someone else, but who was it that said you had to?

I'll never be your beast of burden
I've walked for miles and my feet are hurting
All I want is you to make love to me

Shattered.

The album closes on a nasty note, and why shouldn't it? We are talking deep, dank decadence here. Back then it was far and away my favorite track on the album. As with the best work by The Rolling Stones, the song paints a vivid picture of dirty streets and lost souls dancing across a hellish Bohemian landscape. Oh, wait, I'm sorry. The song is about New York.

Pride and joy and greed and sex
That's what makes our town the best
Pride and joy and dirty dreams and still surviving on the street
And look at me, I'm in tatters, yeah
I've been battered, what does it matter
Does it matter, uh-huh
Does it matter, uh-huh, I'm a shattered


All lyrics by Mick Jagger/Keith Richards
Except the lyrics for (Just My) Imagination
which aren't even there, silly.
No research materials used
Except the album cover (in all its mystical LP glory)
and the music itself.

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