Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Under My Thumb" The Rolling Stones

It has been said that Bianca Jagger got Mick to marry her using “Rules Girl” tactics such as canceling on him at the last minute in order to get her hair done…when he had shown up in Paris just to see her. Maybe Bianca was trying to set herself up as a more formidable presence than the girl who is the object of “Under My Thumb.” Or maybe the girl who is the subject of “Under My Thumb” was once just as infuriating as Bianca.

The song is said to have been written about Mick’s then-girlfriend Chrissie Shrimpton, a model. Marianne Faithfull, who replaced Chrissie as Mick’s next girlfriend had this to say about her, “Chrissie was from the old scene, the Swinging London of dollies and pop stars. It was a very put together look. The wig, false eyelashes and thick make-up. It took her simply ages to get ready. She could never spend the night anywhere because she’d just fall apart; the times were changing and Chrissie wasn’t.” “19th Nervous Breakdown” was written about Chrissie as well. Eventually Marianne would be passed on similarly for Bianca. It seemed that Mick went from woman to woman as per the era dictated. Chrissie was the mod sixties, Marianne was the nihistic flower child of the late sixties, and Bianca, the queen of Studio 54, was the seventies. It’s not so much that he gets bored with these women so much as he outgrows them.

The marimba begins its riff alongside a buzz base, as Mick marvels at the girl he has “under his thumb” who once had him “down” and pushed him “around.” She is now dressing differently for him, hanging on his every word and otherwise acting like a luxurious well-tamed pet. I guess now that Mick is the victor; he’s grown bored because he mentions looking at “someone else.” By the time’s he through listing all the ways she’s become his possession, he’s sounding a little aggravated. He hasn't just won, he's annihilated her. She's so insignificant she resides under his thumb. She's nothing.

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