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"Rocks Off"
Rocks Off cover.jpg
Japanese single picture sleeve
Song by the Rolling Stones
from the album Exile on Main St.
Released 12 May 1972 (1972-05-12)
Recorded July 1971 – March 1972
Genre Rock and roll
Length 4:32
Label Rolling Stones Records
Songwriter(s) Jagger/Richards
Producer(s) Jimmy Miller

"Rocks Off" is the opening song on the Rolling Stones' 1972 double album Exile on Main St.. Recorded between July 1971 and March 1972, "Rocks Off" is one of the songs on the album that was 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.

Lyrics and composition[edit]

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

I'm zipping through the days at lightning speed
Plug in, flush out and fire the fucking feed
Heading for the overload
Splattered on the dirty road
Kick me like you've kicked before
I can't even feel the pain no more[1]

The song features a sudden divergence near the two minute fifteen second mark into what has been called a psychedelic jam of sorts,[attribution needed] with Mick Jagger's vocals electronically distorted and the guitar chords stretched: "Feel so hypnotized, can't describe the scene. Feel so mesmerized, all that inside me".

Recording and releases[edit]

The song's mix is notoriously haphazard, as many instruments, and even the lead vocals, fade in and out of prominence.[2] 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).

"Rocks Off" was released as a single in Japan. A live recording was captured during the band's 2002–2003 Licks Tour and released on the 2004 live album Live Licks.


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."[2] AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine considers the song a masterpiece.[3] Jonathan Zwickel of Pitchfork considers it "some of the Rolling Stones' most enduring and soulful work."[4]



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