Sister Morphine

Composers: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards & Marianne Faithfull
Recording date: March 1969
Recording location: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England
Producer: Jimmy Miller        Chief engineer: Glyn Johns
Performed onstage: 1997-98, 2015


Drums: Charlie Watts
Bass: Bill Wyman
Acoustic guitar: Keith Richards
Slide electric guitar: Ry Cooder
Vocal: Mick Jagger
Piano: Jack Nitzsche

Here I lie in my hospital bed
Tell me, sister morphine, when are you coming round again?

Oh and I don't think I can wait that long
Oh you see that I'm not that strong

The scream of the ambulance is sounding in my ears
Tell me, sister morphine, how long have I been lying here?

What am I doing in this place?
Why does the doctor have no face?
Oh I can't crawl across the floor
Ah can't you see, sister morphine, I'm trying to score

Well it just goes to show things are not what they seem
Please, sister morphine, turn my nightmare into dreams

Oh can't you see I'm fading fast
And that this shot will be my last?

Sweet cousin cocaine, lay your cool, cool hands on my head
Ah come on, sister morphine, you better make up my bed
Cause you know and I know in the morning I'll be dead
Yeah and you can sit around, yeah and you can watch all the clean white sheets stain red




(Marianne Faithfull) wrote a couple of lines; she always says she wrote everything, though. She's always complaining she doesn't get enough money from it. Now she says she should have got it all... (Cousin cocaine...), that's the bit she wrote.

- Mick Jagger, 1995

Sister Morphine comes from '68, although we cut it in early '69.

- Keith Richards, 1971

We were in Olympic and Ry Cooder guested on a couple of tracks with us. I was messing around with this. I wrote the tune really quickly; I never thought we were gonna ever release it. In fact, we didn't release it until much, much later. It was sitting around for a few years. I don't know why.

- Mick Jagger, 2015

(Ry Cooder) played slide guitar on Sister Morphine, which is killer. It's great.

- Mick Taylor, 1979

Sister Morphine... is another (I used my first bass guitar on) - a lot of the slow, bluesy things, the ballady things, songs where I wanted it to sound like a string bass. I can sort of slide on it because there are no frets, and I can almost get a little bit of that slap sound playing it with the thumb. I play every other bass with a pick, but I use my thumb on that one.

- Bill Wyman, 1978

It's about a man after an accident, really. It's not about being addicted to morphine so much as that. Ry Cooder plays wonderfully on that.

- Mick Jagger, 1995

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