Tattoo You is the sixteenth studio album (eighteenth American album) by The Rolling Stones, released in 1981. Curiously for such a successful and popular record, it was largely a happy accident; the Stones had planned a large-scale American tour for the summer of 1981, to be followed by a European leg the next year. Tattoo You was assembled largely from discarded songs and old out-takes so the band would have a product for the tour to promote.
It is generally considered to be (alongside Some Girls) the last great Rolling Stones album, though in this case it has a lot to do with how some of the material dates back from the Emotional Rescue sessions to as early as 1972 (which, of course, would mean Mick Taylor appears on this album). The album was listed at #213 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time.
It is most famous for the classic hit "Start Me Up" (which has its roots as a reggae song called "Never Stop", written during the Some Girls sessions). It is also their last studio album to reach #1 on the US charts.
- "Start Me Up" (3:31)
- "Hang Fire" (2:20)
- "Slave" (4:59) note
- "Little T&A" (3:23)
- "Black Limousine" (3:32)
- "Neighbours" (3:31)
- "Worried About You" (5:16)
- "Tops" (3:45)
- "Heaven" (4:21)
- "No Use in Crying" (3:24)
- "Waiting on a Friend" (4:34)
- Mick Jagger - lead vocals, guitar, harmonica
- Keith Richards - guitar, backing and lead vocals, bass
- Mick Taylor - guitar
- Charlie Watts - drums
- Ronnie Wood - guitar, vocals, bass
- Bill Wyman - bass, guitar, synthesizer
Waiting on a Trope:
- Album Filler: Technically this entire album could be seen as filler, as a lot of the tracks were out-takes and leftovers from older recordings. But artistically and commercially the record was a smash success, often seen as the Stones' last classic album.
- Break Up Song:
Ain't no use in cryingStay away from meAin't no useStanding at the stationGazing down the trackThere ain't no train coming babyI ain't never, never coming back
- "No Use in Crying"
Just like your burned out cigaretteYou threw away my loveWhy did you do that baby?I wonder why, why you do these things to me?
- "Worried About You"
- Casting Couch: "Tops"Your such a natural you don't need no acting schoolDon't need no casting couchOr be a star in bedNever, never, never let success go to you pretty headCause I'll take you to the top, baby
- Cranky Neighbor: "Neighbours"Ladies, have I got crazies?Screaming young babiesNo piece and no quietI got T.V.'s, saxophone playingGroaning and strainingWith the trouble and strifeIs it any wonderIs it any wonderIs it any wonderThat we fuss and fight?Neighbours, do unto strangersDo unto neighboursWhat you do to yourself, yourself, yourself
- Downer Ending: "Black Limousine"We used to shine, shine, shine, shineSay what a pair, say what a teamWe used to ride, ride, ride, rideIn a long black limousineThose dreams are gone babyLocked away and never seenWell now look at your face now babyLook at you and look at me
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Start Me Up"You make a dead man come.
- Isn't It Ironic?: "Start Me Up" was famously used by Microsoft for the Windows 95 launch. The lyrics include the well-known refrain "You make a grown man cry." Anyone who used Windows 95 would find that line very apt...
- Of course, considering why the speaker is crying, it's possible that Microsoft knew the context and was Getting Crap Past the Radar.
- A popular urban legend states that Mick Jagger ran into Bill Gates at a party, quoted him an enormously inflated price as a joke... and Gates wrote him a check on the spot.
- "Start Me Up" is now being used by Toyota. One has to wonder if "Start me up / I'll never stop" is really the right kind of lyrics for a car company that had a problem with their cars accelerating and not stopping because of a pedal defect.
- The line "I can't compete..." also seemed appropriate as Microsoft got accusations of monopolization.
- Lazy Bum: "Hang Fire"You know marrying money is a full time jobI don't need the aggravationI'm a lazy slob
- Lust Object: "Little T&A"She's my little rock 'n' rollMy tits and ass with soul baby
- Made a Slave: "Slave"Don't wanna be your slave24 hours a dayHey, why don't you go down to the supermarket?Get something to eat, steal something of the shelves
- Misogyny Song: "Little T&A", reducing a partner to just tits and ass.But the bitch keeps bitchingSnitcher keeps snitchingDropping names and telephone numbers and all, well
- One-Word Title: "Slave", "Business", "Tops" and "Heaven".
- Pep-Talk Song: "Start Me Up"Start it upIf you start it upKick on the starter give it all you got, you got, you got
- The Power of Friendship: "Waiting on a Friend"Don't need a whoreI don't need no boozeDon't need a virgin priestBut I need someone I can cry toI need someone to protectMaking love and breaking heartsIt is a game for youthBut I'm not waiting on a ladyI'm just waiting on a friend
- Protest Song: "Hang Fire", which address the unemployment in England under Margaret Thatcher. Interestingly enough the song wasn't released on single in England.
- The Manhattan apartment house seen in the music video for "Waiting on a Friend" is the same one shown on the cover of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti. In the video we also see reggae musician Peter Tosh in a cameo.
- The Simpsons: In "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation" Homer enlists in a rock summer camp lead by various famous rock stars. The intro to "Start Me Up" is played by Keith Richards when he and Mick Jagger first make their appearance.
- Special Guest: Jazz great Sonny Rollins plays saxophone on "Waiting on a Friend".
- Spoken Word in Music: "Slave" and "Tops" feature a spoken word section.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Keith Richards sings lead on "Little T&A".