Friday, May 2, 2014

Rolling Stones Friday: Jigsaw Puzzle

Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger
While The Rolling Stones supposed "rivalry" with The Beatles always drew a great deal of media speculation, the more interesting dynamic to me was how much The Stones, Mick Jagger in particular, were influenced by Bob Dylan. Certainly that influence was seen on one of the Stones' signature songs, "Sympathy For The Devil", that we featured here on Rolling Stones Friday two weeks ago.

But maybe the most overtly Dylan-esque song the Stones ever did was "Jigsaw Puzzle", an underrated country folk gem recorded and released in 1968 on Beggars Banquet:

Everything about it speaks of Bob Dylan - the ragged acoustic guitars, bluesy slide guitar, Nicky Hopkins's barrelhouse piano, and certainly most obviously the crazy cast of characters in the word-heavy, odd story lyrics. With the bishop's daughter, a luger-toting gangster, 20,000 grandmas waving their hankies in the air, and the Queen, all that's missing is Napoleon in rags. Note Mick's references to his band members (for the legendary groupie hound Bill Wyman: "And the bass player, he looks nervous about the girls outside.").

I love the sound of the opening slide guitar, played by Keith Richards not Brian Jones who was technically still in the band but out of action by this point.  "And the guitar players look damaged, they've been outcasts all their lives."

To the best I can uncover,  "Jigsaw Puzzle" has never been played live by the Stones, which is inexplicable and unfortunate.


No comments: