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The music of The Rolling Stones has always been filled with controversy and innuendoes. However, some of their most iconic songs contain lyrics that are massive red flags. One, in particular, stands out: “Under My Thumb” continues to spark debate among fans.

The Rolling Stones ‘Under My Thumb’ lyrics are about controlling a partner

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and The Rolling Stones have long been considered one of the forerunners of the legacy of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Many of their lyrics are littered with sexual innuendoes.

However, one song, in particular, takes a theme of control too far. “Under My Thumb” features lyrics that are all about controlling a partner.

“It’s down to me, yes it is/The way she does just what she’s told/Down to me, the change has come/She’s under my thumb,” Mick Jagger sings. He also refers to the woman in question as “a Siamese cat of a girl,” “the sweetest pet,” and “a squirming dog.”

However, Mick Jagger has quite a different opinion about the song’s lyrics and overall meaning. He once called the song “a jokey number.”

What did Mick Jagger say about the ‘Under My Thumb’ lyrics?

In a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, Mick Jagger ​discussed The Rolling Stones song “Under My Thumb.” He admitted that the tune was a bit of a “jokey number.”

He told Jann Wenner, “It’s got Brian playing these marimbas. That riff played on marimbas makes it. Plus, the groove it gets at the end of the tune.”

Jagger continued, “It speeds up, actually. And it becomes this kind of groove tune at the end. It was never a single, but it was always a very well-known album track. And then it became a thing feminists fastened on.”

“It’s a bit of a jokey number, really. It’s not an anti-feminist song any more than any of the others.”

The Stones frontman concluded, “It’s a caricature, and it’s in reply to a girl who was a very pushy woman.” In response to Wenner’s question about another questionable Stones song, “Stupid Girl,” Jagger replied, “It’s much nastier than ‘Under My Thumb.’”

‘Under My Thumb’ is also iconic for a very sad reason

The Rolling Stones perform at Altamont in December 1969.
The Rolling Stones performed at Altamont in December 1969 | Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images

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The Rolling Stones performed at the Altamont Speedway concert on Dec. 6, 1969. They shared the bill with The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

The idea was to create an atmosphere similar to the previous summer’s Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. However, that idea did not come to pass as violence ensued.

During The Rolling Stones’ performance of “Under My Thumb,” tensions erupted when 18-year-old concertgoer Meredith Hunter was stabbed and beaten to death by a Hells Angels member. Reportedly, the Hells Angels were hired as security by the management of the Rolling Stones for $500 worth of beer.

“Under My Thumb” is the fourth track on the American and United Kingdom versions of the band’s 1966 studio album Aftermath. It is also seen and heard in the films Gimmie Shelter and Let’s Spend the Night Together.