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Mick Jagger explained why one of The Rolling Stones‘ songs was great. In addition, he responded to listeners who felt one of the band’s 1960s songs was anti-feminist. Notably, the track appeared on a hit album.

The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger holding a microphone
The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger | Evening Standard/Getty Images

Mick Jagger discussed how Brian Jones helped make 1 of The Rolling Stones’ songs great

During a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, Jann S. Wenner asked why The Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” was so great. “It’s got Brian [Jones] playing these marimbas,” he said. “That riff played on marimbas really makes it.”

Jagger also praised the rhythm of “Under My Thumb.” “Plus, the groove it gets in the end of the tune,” he noted. “It speeds up, actually. And it becomes this kind of groove tune at the end.”

Jagger commented on the track’s notoriety. “It was never a single, but it was always a very well-known album track,” he said. “And then it became a thing feminists fastened on.”

Wenner asked Jagger if feminists “illegitimately” fixated on the song, which describes a man having a lot of control over his love interest. “It’s a bit of a jokey number, really,” Jagger replied. “It’s not really an anti-feminist song any more than any of the others.”

Keith Richards said some real women inspired The Rolling Stones’ ‘Under My Thumb’

Wenner said the song was more of a caricature than a song about actual women. “Yes, it’s a caricature, and it’s in reply to a girl who was a very pushy woman,” Jagger said. Jagger said he didn’t believe the song was about anyone in particular.

The book Keith Richards on Keith Richards: Interviews & Encounters includes a 1971 interview. In it, Richards commented on “Under My Thumb.” “It was all a spinoff from our environment … hotels, and too many dumb chicks,” he recalled. “Not all dumb, not by any means but that’s how one got.

“When you’re canned up — half the time it’s impossible to go out, it’s a real hassle to go out — it was to go through a whole sort of football match,” he added. Richards said “Under My Thumb” was similar to another Rolling Stones song: “Stupid Girl.”


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How the song and its parent album performed on the pop charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“Under My Thumb” was never a single, so it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The track appeared on the album Aftermath, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 50 weeks.

According to The Official Charts Company, “Under My Thumb” didn’t chart in the United Kingdom either. Meanwhile, Aftermath became a big hit there. It topped the U.K. chart for eight weeks, staying on the chart for 24 weeks altogether.

Jagger liked “Under My Thumb” even if some feminists did not.