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Rocks Off

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Title: Rocks Off  
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Subject: Tumbling Dice, Sweet Black Angel, Exile on Main St, Shake Your Hips, The Family Cat
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Rocks Off

"Rocks Off"
Japanese single cover
Single by The Rolling Stones
from the album Exile on Main St.
B-side "Sweet Virginia"
Released 12 May 1972 (album)
September 1972 (single) Japan
Recorded July 1971 - March 1972
Genre Rock and roll
Length 4:32
Label Rolling Stones/Virgin
Writer(s) Jagger/Richards
Producer(s) Jimmy Miller

"Rocks Off" is the opening track on the Rolling Stones' 1972 double album Exile on Main St.. It was also released as a single in Japan.

Recorded between July 1971 and March 1972, "Rocks Off" is one of the songs on the album that was written and recorded at Villa Nellcôte, a house Keith Richards rented in the south of France during the summer and autumn of 1971. Overdubs and final mixing for the song were later done at Sunset Sound studios in Los Angeles, California between December 1971 and March 1972.

The lyrics to the song are wide-ranging, harsh and brutally frank at times; as in Richards obviously referring to an injection of heroin:

The song features a sudden divergence near the two minute fifteen second mark into what has been called a psychedelic jam of sorts, with Jagger's vocals electronically distorted and the guitar chords stretched:

Allmusic critic Jason Ankeny claims that the song "perfectly sets the mood for what's to follow -- murky, gritty, and menacingly raw, its strung-out incoherence captures the record's debauched brilliance with marble-mouthed eloquence."[1] Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine considers the song a masterpiece.[2] Jonathan Zwickel of Pitchfork considers it "some of the Rolling Stones' most enduring and soulful work."[3] The song's mix is notoriously haphazard, as many instruments, and even the lead vocals, fade in and out of prominence.[1] The villa's basement, where many of the songs were recorded, was extremely hot and many of the guitars could not stay in tune as a result. Jimmy Miller produced the track, and it features session men Nicky Hopkins on piano, Jim Price and Bobby Keys on brass, as well as regular band members Jagger (lead vocals), Richards (backing vocals, guitar), Charlie Watts (drums), Mick Taylor (guitar), and Bill Wyman (bass).

A live recording was captured during the band's 2002-2003 Licks Tour and released on the 2004 live album Live Licks.


  1. ^ a b Ankeny, J. "Rocks Off".  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Zwickel, J. (June 23, 2004). "Top 100 Albums of the 1970s".  

External links

  • Allmusic Review
  • Rocks Off Music Video
  • Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
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