In our recent Stones-oriented Dugout Chatter, Townsman Oats hit the nail on the head regarding the question in the thread that most interested me: What’s Mick Jagger‘s finest hour (or 30 seconds) as a vocalist?
Certainly it’s the verse in “Beast of Burden” that begins with “Now you can put me out on the street…”!
First of all, Mick is commanding. The tension for leadership within the Glitter Twins axis has always been a key feature to the band’s success. In this one moment Mick takes the wheel—and he doesn’t screw it up with one of his blackface or country bumpkin routines. Twenty-five years into his career Mick has finally become the soul singer he always wanted to be—on his own terms. This verse picks up on the work Jagger started in the ’60s, on songs like “Satisfaction” and “Under My Thumb.” Bravo.
Second, through the entire Some Girls album Mick’s voice is treated with the most-effective, straightforward vocal effects in the history of rock ‘n roll. If I could figure out exactly what effects are applied to that song and if I could apply to every song ever recorded I would. My apologies to all other great vocal effects ever used, but that’s the way I feel.
So there, Mick Jagger’s finest vocal hour is that verse from “Beast of Burden.” You’re welcome, in advance, for the role Oats and I have played in settling this debate.