Tuesday, February 21, 2012
American Without Tears
The Rolling Stones song "Play With Fire," recorded very early in 1965, is steeped in England, with references to locales around London: Knightsbridge, St. John's Wood, Stepney. I have no idea what those areas are supposed to represent, so I don't really get the song. Neither did most Americans, since the single - it was actually the B side to "The Last Time" - peaked at No. 96 on the American charts.
By the time of "Get Off of My Cloud," cut in L.A. in September 1965, the band was still using Britishisms: "The parking tickets were just like flags, stuck on my windscreen." We don't have windscreens here in the U.S.; we have windshields. But maybe Mick didn't know that.
It didn't take long, though, for Jagger to realize where the money was, and who his real retail market would be. In December 1965, on "19th Nervous Breakdown," he sang, "Your mother who neglected you owes a million dollars tax." They don't have dollars in England.