100 Greatest Rolling Stones Songs

47

"Connection" (1967)

The Rolling Stones
K & K Ulf Kruger OHG/Redferns

So this is what it felt like to be the Rolling Stones in 1966 – dark, jumpy, surly, a little bit paranoid, barely a step ahead of the law. Jagger and Richards sum up their jangled nerves in "Connection," one of their most searing vocal duets, over a staccato rhythm-guitar riff. (It's one of the first Stones songs to feature Richards' voice so prominently.) They sing about being locked up in some kind of prison cell or asylum ("The doctors want to give me more injections") with tongue-in-cheek wit: "The bags, they get a very close inspection/I wonder why it is that they suspect 'em?" There's a jolly swagger in the way they blend their voices. Yet the paranoia turned out to be totally justified in real life. Soon after "Connection" came out on Between the Buttons in January 1967, the Stones found themselves targeted by the police and facing the prospect of jail time. During their drug-possession trial later that year, Jagger and Richards flaunted their outlaw defiance – as Jagger announced to the press, after posting bail, "There's not much difference between a cell and a hotel room in Minnesota. And I do my best thinking in places without distractions." "Connection" flaunts the us-against-the-world rebel defiance that would forever define the band. Although it's barely two minutes long, and never became any kind of hit, "Connection" has always been a favorite of Stones connoisseurs – including Richards: This was the Stones song he picked to bust out on his first solo tour, in 1988.

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