Jagger & Keith Richards (Inspiration by Ron Wood)
Recording date: April, October & December 1975
Recording locations: Musicland Studios, Munich, West Germany & Mountain Recording Studios, Montreux, Switzerland
Producers: The Glimmer Twins Chief engineer: Keith Harwood
Performed onstage: 1976
Bass: Bill Wyman
Rhythm electric guitar: Keith Richards
Lead electric guitar: Ron Wood
Lead vocals: Mick Jagger
Background vocals: Keith Richards, Ron Wood & Billy Preston
Piano: Billy Preston
Organ: Billy Preston
Maracas: Ollie Brown
Percussion: Ollie Brown
That number came about from Keith and I in a hotel, you know... idea swaps. And it eventually came around to, What was that one you were working on, Woody? So I thought, Oh, great, here's my chance. I immediately made up this riff.
All of us, independently and together, were into reggae, and it was also a mood of the time. I had this particular lick that I took into the studio and the others said, What are we going to start with? and I said, I've got this song. Charlie was sitting behind his kit, so he was already into it and then Keith and Mick both got into the motion of it. That was Hey Negrita, which came together very easily. The key to getting a song across in this band is never to try and write all the words. If you've got the rhythm, you're lucky! Let Mick write the words and then you're in with a chance.
Well, (Bill and Charlie are) not the best dancers in the world. Charlie's not bad. It's kind of half Caribbean rhythm and half not. It's kind of a strange lick but it is kind of danceable. I think that was written in the studio.
I hate telling about it. If I tell you what the song is about, will you put it in your own words? Okay: it's about a South American whore, and the singer, a poor man, is trying to get her price down. One last dollar / I've got my pride / I'll cut your balls and I'll tan your hide. A very deep subject, eh?
Hey Negrita. It's a compliment. I mean, it's not a put down. I mean, what's the problem, the Hey part? No, I think hey will get past. What, you think colored people won't like it? Well... only the most sensitive ones. It's about South Americans, that's just what you say, you know? You say, hey negrita... one negri... negrota... you say to a lady one, a lady negress... hey negrita! In fact, it's been done, been said to my old lady (Bianca de Macias), you see?
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