Friday, February 7, 2014

Rolling Stones Friday: Dead Flowers

The Rolling Stones earned their reputation as masters of American blues and R&B, but they also were great interpreters and inventors of country music. One of my favorite Stones songs is "Dead Flowers", recorded in 1969 and released on Sticky Fingers in 1971. Sticky Fingers was the first LP done entirely without Brian Jones and with Mick Taylor.  

"Dead Flowers" has always been one of my favorite Stones's songs, love the feel and sound of it.  Keith Richards was spending a lot of time with Gram Parsons and was heavily influenced by his Americana / country songwriting.

Here's a live version recorded in Texas in 1972. Mick Taylor's guitar work is terrific, as is Ian Stewart's piano.

The song has been covered by many, including everyone from Guns N' Roses to Miranda Lambert. But the idea to feature the song this week came from hearing Townes Van Zandt sing this line is his very striking version used in the Coen Bros. film The Big Lebowski, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman: "Ah, I'll be in my basement room with a needle and a spoon..."  Hoffman this week suffered a similar fate to Gram Parsons, some lessons being tough to learn, addiction being a powerful force.  

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