Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Recording date: March 1966 Recording location: RCA Studios, Los Angeles, USA
Producer: Andrew Oldham Engineer: Dave Hassinger
Performed onstage: 1966-67, 1969, 1981-82, 1997-98, 2006, 2017-19, 2021
Bass: Bill Wyman
Acoustic guitar: Keith Richards
Electric guitar: Keith Richards
Vocal: Mick Jagger
Marimbas: Brian Jones
Piano: Ian Stewart
It's (Brian) on marimbas on Under My Thumb...
(Brian) was still fantastic making records, because he was so versatile. I mean, he'd have marimbas - which is why you have marimbas on Under My Thumb - or dulcimer, sitar. He kind of lost interest in guitar, in a way. But at the same time he added all of that other color, those other instruments and other ideas. He was an incredibly inventive musician.
It's got Brian playing these marimbas. That riff played on marimbas really makes it. Plus, the groove it gets in the end of the tune. It speeds up, actually. And it becomes this kind of groove tune at the end. It was never a single, but it was always a very well-known album track. And then it became a thing feminists fastened on... It's a bit of a jokey number, really. It's not really an anti-feminist song any more than any of the others... (I)t's a caricature, and it's in reply to a girl who was a very pushy woman.
REALLY? They really do? Ha ha ha. It's great to actually have done that, isn't it? Without realising it, right? Well, (those songs) were really naïve - and TRUE. You know? I don't think there was anything wrong with them. But when I say it, it doesn't seem to come out right. But those songs really were TRUE... See, what happens is that you say something and they think it applies to ALL women... But if you listen to the lyrics closely - not TOO closely - under my thumb, a girl who ONCE had ME down - you see? It's not so unfair? Why should it apply to every girl? But I think it was really true. It's funny to think about it, it was very adolescent, those songs, about adolescent experiences. There aren't any of those kind of songs, unfortunately, on (Black and Blue). We have to come up with a good one. Soon.
That's going back to my teenage years! At the time there was no feminist criticism because there was no such thing, and one just wrote what one felt. Not that I let it hinder me too much now... (The squirming dog image) was a joke. I've never felt in that position vis-à-vis a person - I'd never want to really hurt someone.
There was one song that was particularly chosen as an anti-women thing, which was Under My Thumb. And actually Under My Thumb - how does it go... (sings) Under my thumb, there's a girl who once had ME down. So the whole idea was that she - that I was under HER, she was kicking ME around. So the whole idea is absurd, all I did was turn the tables around. So women took that to be... against femininity where in reality it was... trying to "get back", you know, against being a "repressed male". (Pause) This was a long time ago (laughs).