Keith Richards, the enigmatic guitarist of The Rolling Stones, may make rock and roll seem effortless, but there’s one song where the process was far from easy. While Richards is renowned for his gritty guitar work and laid-back style, recording “Before They Make Me Run” was a different kind of challenge for him.
In the late 1970s, The Rolling Stones entered a new musical phase, experimenting with dance music influences on their album “Some Girls.”
Amidst the diverse tracks, “Before They Make Me Run” stood out, showcasing Richards at his most vulnerable. The song’s lyrics reflect his defiance and determination, yet capturing that same energy in the studio was a marathon effort.
“I was in the studio, without leaving, for five days… I had an engineer called Dave Jordan, and I had another engineer and one of them would flop under the desk and have a few hours’ kip, and I’d put the other one in and keep going. We all had black eyes by the time it was finished… That’s probably the longest I’ve done. There have been others that were close – ‘Can’t Be Seen’ was one – but ‘Before They Make Me Run’ was the marathon,” Richards recalled, highlighting the grueling recording process.
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Richards elaborated on the challenges faced during the recording, emphasizing the intensity of the session.
He recounted how he and the engineers worked tirelessly, taking shifts to maintain the momentum. The result was a raw and authentic track, showcasing Richards’ punk-infused spin on his usual sound.
While Mick Jagger could have tackled “Before They Make Me Run,” the authenticity of the lyrics resonated profoundly when sung by Richards. The song stands as a testament to his resilience and determination, capturing a unique moment in The Rolling Stones’ storied career. Despite the challenges faced, Richards’ enduring spirit ultimately led to the creation of one of his greatest solo tunes in The Stones’ repertoire.