The Rolling Stones (with Sonny Rollins): Waiting On A Friend


Waiting On A Friend


The Rolling Stones


Tattoo You (7243-8-39521-2-0)

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Mick Jagger (vocals), Keith Richards (guitar, vocals), Mick Taylor (guitar), Bill Wyman (electric bass), Charlie Watts (drums), Sonny Rollins (tenor sax),

Nicky Hopkins (piano)


Composed by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards


Recorded: Kingston, Jamaica, late 1972-early 1973 and April 1981


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

"Waiting On A Friend" was a meeting of an all-time top-three rock 'n' roll band and an all-time top-three tenor saxophonist. This laid-back, breezy tune, which became a Top 15 hit for the Stones in 1981, was uncharacteristic for them in that it contained none of the nastiness and frazzled blues edges that defined the band. Jagger later wrote lyrics to the original demos that matched the friendly melody with a rare openness and sincerity about the virtues of true friendship.

There's still not that much jazzy about this song, but bringing in Sonny Rollins to supply some sax to it made sense. After all, the originator of "St. Thomas" wasn't going to be such a bad fit for a song that possesses a mild calypso flavor. Rollins's effortless expression and reedy tone blended with Jagger's "ooo's" and "yeahs" as naturally as did Hopkins's light piano or the rich rhythm guitars.

The Rolling Stones and Sonny Rollins met in a musically neutral location for a song that doesn't represent a high point for either side, but is nonetheless a pleasant diversion by both.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron


  • 1 james Toney // Feb 06, 2009 at 01:03 AM
    Who are the other two of the top three rock and roll bands in your estimation?
  • 2 S. Victor Aaron // Feb 06, 2009 at 02:53 AM
    At least in terms of popularity and influence, I'd say that the other two are The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.
  • 3 James Toney // Feb 06, 2009 at 11:59 PM
    I would too. Just wondering what other's thought.
  • 4 Andrew // Feb 08, 2009 at 06:58 PM
    Unaccountably missing from the 40 Licks album ... maybe the 50 Lick Album in 2013?
  • 5 James Toney // Feb 10, 2009 at 03:26 AM
    Well they had to have room for classics like "Keys To Your Love" and the other 3 new ones from 2002. "Waiting For A Friend" would have been my choice as a fan beginning in 1964, over "Emotional Rescue." I always considered that song to be a joke on the original "who started a joke" guys the BeeGees.