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The Rolling Stones - Jumpin' Jack Flash lyric meanings and song facts

All facts provided by Songfacts

Bill Wyman wrote most of this, including the main riff, on the piano. It was still credited only to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, something Wyman was never happy about.
Bill Wyman: "We got to the studio early once and... in fact I think it was a rehearsal studio, I don't think it was a recording studio. And there was just myself, Brian and Charlie - the Stones NEVER arrive at the same time, you know - and Mick and Keith hadn't come. And I was just messing about and I just sat down at the piano and started doing this riff, da-daw, da-da-daw, da-da-daw, and then Brian played a bit of guitar and Charlie was doing a rhythm. We were just messing with it for 20 minutes, just filling in time, and Mick and Keith came in and we stopped and they said, 'Hey, that sounded really good, carry on, what is it? And then the next day we recorded it. Mick wrote great lyrics to it and it turned out to be a really good single."
Mick Jagger: "It's about having a hard time and getting out. Just a metaphor for getting out of all the acid things." (thanks, bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
The name "Jack Flash" came about after Keith and Mick were up all night trying to think of a song. Keith's gardener's footsteps woke them up. When Mick asked what the noise was Keith said it was "Jack Flash" outside. The gardener's name was Jack Dyer. (thanks, Christopher - Chicago, IL)
A promotional film, which was an early music video, was shot with The Stones performing this wearing body paint and outrageous costumes. The paint and costumes would become a trend in the '70s with bands like Kiss.
For The Stones, this was a return to the Blues style of their early years. Their previous album, Her Satanic Majesties Request, had more of a psychedelic sound.
In the US, this was a hit for Aretha Franklin in 1986. Her version was produced by Keith Richards, who also played guitar. It hit #21.
The title was used for the name of a Whoopi Goldberg movie in 1986. Aretha Franklin's version was used.
This was intended for Beggar's Banquet, but they left it off the album and released it as a single because The Stones were very pleased with the results.
This was rumored to be about drugs. A "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is supposedly a way to inject heroin into the tear ducts.
Keith Richards: "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 Phillips cassette recorder. Just jam the mic right in the guitar and play it back through an extension speaker." (thanks, bertrand - Paris, France)
Don McLean referenced this in "American Pie" with the words "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack Flash sat on a candlestick, 'Cause fire is the Devil's only friend." The 'Devil' was rumored to be Mick Jagger. (thanks, Helen - York, England)
Like the other songs he used in the movie Mean Streets, Martin Scorsese played this song from his original album, giving it more of a raw sound. (thanks, Ace - Las Vegas, NV)
In 2004, Chevy used this in a commercial for their Corvette, but the ads were quickly pulled over objections from viewers. The ad showed a young kid driving the car in a very dangerous manner. It was meant to portray the kid dreaming about the car, but a lot of people didn't see it that way.

All facts provided by Songfacts


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