Jumpin' Jack Flash


Jumpin' Jack Flash
"Jumpin' Jack Flash"
Single by The Rolling Stones
B-side "Child of the Moon"
Released 24 May 1968 (UK)
1 June 1968 (US)
Format 7"
Recorded 20 April 1968 Olympic Studios, London
Genre Hard rock[1]
Length 3:42
Label Decca F.12782 (UK)
London 45.908 (US)
Writer(s) Jagger/Richards
Producer Jimmy Miller
The Rolling Stones singles chronology
"She's a Rainbow"
(1967)
"Jumpin'Jack Flash"
(1968)
"Street Fighting Man"
(1968)

"Jumpin' Jack Flash" is a song by English rock band The Rolling Stones, released as a single in 1968. Called "supernatural Delta blues by way of Swinging London" by Rolling Stone,[2] the song was perceived by some as the band's return to their blues roots after the psychedelia of their preceding albums Between the Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request.[3] One of the group's most popular and recognisable songs, it has been featured in many films and on the Rolling Stones compilation albums Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2), Hot Rocks, Singles Collection and Forty Licks.

Contents

Inspiration and recording

Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, recording on "Jumpin' Jack Flash" began during the Beggars Banquet sessions of 1968. Regarding the song's distinctive sound, guitarist Richards has said:

I used a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic tuned to open D, six string. Open D or open E, which is the same thing – same intervals – but it would be slackened down some for D. Then there was a capo on it, to get that really tight sound. And there was another guitar over the top of that, but tuned to Nashville tuning. I learned that from somebody in George Jones' band in San Antonio in 1964. The high-strung guitar was an acoustic, too. Both acoustics were put through a Philips cassette recorder. Just jam the mic right in the guitar and play it back through an extension speaker.[4]

Richards has stated that he and Jagger wrote the lyrics while staying at Richards' country house, where they were awoken one morning by the sound of gardener Jack Dyer walking past the window. When Jagger asked what the noise was, Richards responded: "Oh, that's Jack – that's jumpin' Jack."[5][6] The rest of the lyrics evolved from there.[4][7] Humanities scholar Camille Paglia[8] speculated that the song's lyrics might have been partly inspired by William Blake's poem "The Mental Traveller": "She binds iron thorns around his head / And pierces both his hands and feet / And cuts his heart out of his side / To make it feel both cold & heat."

Jagger said in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone that the song arose "out of all the acid of Satanic Majesties. It's about having a hard time and getting out. Just a metaphor for getting out of all the acid things."[9]

In his autobiography, Stone Alone, Bill Wyman has claimed that he came up with the song's distinctive main guitar riff on an organ without being credited for it.[4]

On the studio version of the number, Jagger provided the lead vocals and maracas, Richards played acoustic guitars, electric bass guitar and the floor tom, Brian Jones played electric guitar, Charlie Watts was on drums and Bill Wyman was on organ. Either Nicky Hopkins or Ian Stewart contributed piano, and producer Jimmy Miller joined in on the backing vocals.

Release and aftermath

Released on 24 May 1968, "Jumpin' Jack Flash" (backed with "Child of the Moon") reached the top of the UK charts and peaked at number three in the United States. Some early London Records US pressings of the single had a technical flaw in them: about halfway through the song's instrumental bridge, the speed of the master tape slows down for a moment, then comes back to speed. The first Rolling Stones album on which the song appeared was their 1969 compilation album, Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2), one year after the single was released.

The Rolling Stones have played "Jumpin' Jack Flash" during every tour since its release. It ranks as the song the band has played in concert most frequently,[10][11] and has appeared on the concert albums Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!, Love You Live, Flashpoint, The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (featuring the only released live performance of the song with Brian Jones). Jones is heard clearly, mixing with Richards' lead throughout the song. Two promotional videos were made in May 1968: one featuring a live performance, another showcasing the band lip-syncing, with Jones, Jagger, and Watts donning makeup. The intro is not usually played in concert and instead the song begins with the main riff. The open E or open D tuning of the rhythm guitar on the studio recording has also not been replicated in concert (with the possible exception of the 1968 NME awards show, no recording of which has ever surfaced). In the performance filmed for The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus in December 1968, Richards used standard tuning; and ever since the band's appearance at Hyde Park on 5 July 1969, he has played it in open G tuning with a capo on the fourth fret.

In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Jumpin' Jack Flash" at number 2 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. In 2004, Rolling Stone rated the song 124th on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. VH1 placed it at 65 on its show 100 Greatest Rock Songs.[12]

Legacy

Use in film

The song was also featured in Martin Scorsese's film Mean Streets (1973), in Ron Howard's Night Shift and at the end of Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In 2009, the song was included in the film The Boat That Rocked.

The song was Jack Wilson's walk-up song during his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Preceded by
"Young Girl" by
Gary Puckett and The Union Gap
UK number one single
19 June 1968 for 2 weeks
Succeeded by
"Baby Come Back" by The Equals

Aretha Franklin version

In 1986, the song's title was used for the Whoopi Goldberg film Jumpin' Jack Flash. In addition to the Rolling Stones' version of the song, the film features Aretha Franklin's cover version for which Ronnie Wood and Richards played guitar. This version is characterised by influences from the increasingly popular black music scene. Both The Rolling Stones' and Franklin's versions are on the film's original soundtrack recording.

Charts

Chart (1986/87) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 21
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 20
UK Singles Chart 58
German Singles Chart 42
Swiss Singles Chart 19
Dutch Top 40 48
Swedish Singles Chart 14
New Zealand Singles Chart 43

Other cover versions

A number of other artists have also performed and recorded versions of the song:

Notes and references

  1. ^ "The Top Hard Rock Songs". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/explore/style/hard-rock-d217/songs. 
  2. ^ "Jumpin' Jack Flash". Rolling Stone. 4 December 2007. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/6595969/jumpin_jack_flash. 
  3. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Jumpin' Jack Flash". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/song/t2770250. Retrieved 16 June 2006. 
  4. ^ a b c McPherson, Ian. "Track Talk: Jumpin' Jack Flash". http://www.timeisonourside.com/SOJumpin.html. Retrieved 22 June 2007. 
  5. ^ A jumping jack is an old-fashioned toy – see Jumping jack (toy).
  6. ^ In Keith Richards autobiography he mentioned, off handedly, while talking of Guy Fawks Night, something about fireworks which one was called a jumping jack. I took this as a revelation of where the real term came from. The story of a gardener awakening the two (while writing?) walking by a window prompting Mick Jagger to ask who the man was just never rang true with me. Jumping jack (Guy Fawks firework Keith mentions in his book Life)
  7. ^ The Rolling Stones (2003). Four Flicks (DVD). Warner Music Vision. 
  8. ^ Paglia, Camille. (1991) Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, New York: Vintage Books, ISNB 0679735798, p. 281
  9. ^ Wenner, Jann S. (14 December 14 December 1995). "Jagger Remembers: Mick's most comprehensive interview ever". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/mick_jagger_remembers/page/2/. 
  10. ^ Galbraith, Gary. "The Rocks Off Rolling Stones Setlists Page". http://rocksoff.org/gazzassetlists.htm. Retrieved 8 August 2008. 
  11. ^ Zentgraf, Nico. "The Complete Works of the Rolling Stones 1962–2008". http://www.nzentgraf.de/books/tcw/works1.htm. Retrieved 7 August 2008. 
  12. ^ "100 Greatest Songs of Rock & Roll (80–61)". VH1. http://www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/the_greatest/62158/episode_about.jhtml. Retrieved 9 March 2008. 
  13. ^ "Shed Seven – On Standby". discogs. http://www.discogs.com/Shed-Seven-On-Standby/release/1344333. Retrieved 28 December 2009. 

External links


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