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Music / It's Only Rock 'N' Roll

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It's only rock 'n' roll, but we like it!

It's Only Rock 'N' Roll is the twelfth studio album (fourteenth American album) by The Rolling Stones, released in 1974. It is their last album with Mick Taylor, who quit shortly after release. However, he would latter appear on Tattoo You on archive tracks. His future replacement Ronnie Wood (at the time a member of the Faces) made some contributions to this album, particularly the Title Track (which is now a classic Stones song).

A fan club dedicated to The Rolling Stones was named after this album.



Side One

  1. "If You Can't Rock Me" (3:46)
  2. "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" (3:30)
  3. "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It)" (5:07)
  4. "Till The Next Goodbye" (4:37)
  5. "Time Waits For No One" (6:37)

Side Two

  1. "Luxury" (5:00)
  2. "Dance Little Sister" (4:11)
  3. "If You Really Want To Be My Friend" (6:16)
  4. "Short And Curlies" (2:43)
  5. "Fingerprint File" (6:33)

Principal Members:

  • Mick Jagger - lead vocals, guitar
  • Keith Richards - guitar, vocals, bass
  • Mick Taylor - guitar, vocals, bass, synthesizer, congas
  • Charlie Watts - drums
  • Bill Wyman - bass, synthesizer


Till The Next Trope:

  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: There's a song with that title and that exact theme.
  • Alliterative Title: "Fingerprint File"
  • Break Up Song: "Ain't Too Proud To Beg"
    I know you wanna leave me, but I refuse to let you go
    If I have to beg, plead for sympathy
    I don't mind 'cause it means that much to me
  • Cover Version: "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", a The Temptations cover.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: "Dance Little Sister"
    Dance, little sister, dance
    It make me hot, I wet with sweat
    It hurn like hell, I've four hours left
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The album cover was designed by Belgian illustrator Guy Peellaert, who also did the cover of David Bowie's Diamond Dogs that same year.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: "Time Waits For No One" has the message that life should be enjoyed, for it is short and nobody can stop it.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: "It's Only Rock & Roll" features Ron Wood playing guitar, while he was still officially a member of The Faces.
  • Epic Rocking: "The 6:37 "Time Waits For No One" and the 6:33 "Fingerprint File".
  • Face on the Cover: The band is shown descending stairs.
  • Heavy Meta:
    • "If You Can't Rock Me"
    The band's on stage and it's one of those nights, oh yeah
    The drummer thinks that he is dynamite, oh yeah
    You lovely ladies in your leather and lace
    A thousand lips I would love to taste
    I've got one heart and it hurts like hell
    If you can't rock me somebody will
    • "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll"
    I said I know it's only rock 'n' roll, but I like it, like it, yes I do
  • Henpecked Husband:
    • "If You Really Want To Be My Friend"
    If you really want to be my man
    Get your nails out of my back
    Stop using me
    You know I really, really want to be your friend
    But just a little faith is all we need
    • "Short And Curlies"
    It's too bad, she's got you by the balls
    You can't break loose at all
    She's got your name
    She's got your number
    You're screamin' like thunder
    And you're trapped like a rat in a hole
  • Love Bubbles: Sort of. In the music video of "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It)", where the band expresses their love for Rock & Roll, a bubble machine fills the tent where they are playing.
  • Misogyny Song: "Short And Curlies".
    She crashed your car
    She spend your money
    And you can't get away from it all
    It's too bad, she's grabbed a handful
    And you can't get away from it all
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It)" about the love for rock 'n' roll, despite it just being that.
  • One-Word Title: "Luxury"
  • The Power of Rock: "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It)"
  • Properly Paranoid: "Fingerprint File" has a paranoid atmosphere, depicting the protagonist being followed and telephone tapped.
  • Protest Song: "Fingerprint File" against government surveillance.
    Feeling followed
    Feeling tagged
    Crossing water
    Trying to wipe my tracks
    And there's some little jerk in the FBI
    A keepin' papers on me six feet high
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Simpsons: In "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation" Homer enlists in a rock summer camp lead by various famous rock stars. When it's over he is depressed, but Jagger cheers him up: "It's only rock 'n' roll camp." To which Homer sobs: "But I like it!"
  • Special Guest: David Bowie sang co-lead on the original recording of "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It)", although his vocals were wiped for the finished version.
    • Ron Wood and Kenney Jones of The Faces both play on the same song. Kenney was very surprised they left his playing on the finished song, as he thought they would have Charlie Watts re-record the drum parts on the song.
  • Spoken Word in Music: "Fingerprint File" ends with Jagger talking to his girlfriend on the telephone, informing her that they are being tapped and expressing his paranoid feelings.
  • Take That, Critics!: "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It)" was written as a Take That! to critics claiming that the Stones' albums weren't as good as their last one any-more.
    If I could dig down deep in my heart
    Feelings would flood on the page
    Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya?
    Would ya think the boy's insane? He's insane
    I said I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it
  • Textless Album Cover: The album cover is just a picture.
  • Title Track: "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It)".
  • Whispering Ghosts: "Fingerprint File" has Jagger whisper about his fear of being shadowed. It's never made clear in the song whether he might be might be imagining this or not?
  • The Workaholic: "Luxury"
    I'm working so hard to keep you in the luxury, oh yeah