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Rolling Stones - I Am Waiting (Ready Steady Go 1966)

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Retrieved from Wikipedia:
I Am Waiting on Wikipedia
"I Am Waiting"
Song by The Rolling Stones from the album Aftermath
Released15 April 1966
Recorded6–9 March 1966
Producer(s)Andrew Loog Oldham
Aftermath track listing
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"I Am Waiting" is a song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards that was first released on the Rolling Stones' 1966 album Aftermath.


  • 1 Lyrics and music
  • 2 Reception
  • 3 Other appearances
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Lyrics and music

"I Am Waiting" was recorded between 6 and 9 March 1966 at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California.[1]

The song's lyrics are obscure.[2] They have the singer "waiting for someone to come out of somewhere" but don't provide any details of the circumstances.[3] According to Allmusic critic Richie Unterberger, this is not a problem since "enhancing the general mysterious atmosphere is more important than providing an answer."[3] Music critic Bill Janovitz suggests that the first verse sounds like singer Jagger is "tiptoeing as if in a game of hide and seek."[4] Janovitz suggests that the first refrain begins to suggest that the singer may not just be waiting for an actual person, but rather it suggests "a deepening perception...that promises to offset the paranoioa in the lyrics" with the words "It happens all the time/It's censored from our minds."[4] Rolling Stones biographer Martin Elliot interprets the message of the lyrics as "don't fear the reaper."[1]

The music of the song is one of several Rolling Stones songs from this period that shows Appalachian and English folk influences.[3][4] As he does on "Lady Jane," another song from Aftermath, Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones plays a dulcimer on "I Am Waiting."[3][5] Jack Nitzsche plays harpsichord.[6] Bill Wyman's slow and "eerie" bassline and the acoustic guitars add to the effect.[2][4][5] In the song's unusual structure, the refrains are louder and rock harder than the slow verses.[3][4] In Janovitz's interpretation, the harder refrains permit Jagger to "vent the frustration" that has been built up through the verses.[4] Author James Hector remarks that this allows the song to "hot and cold with remarkable subtlety" and Rolling Stones biographer Steve Appleford states that the eruptions in the refrains produce a "fine melodramatic effect" and allows the pop music of the verses to "explode into moments of yearning."[2][5]


Unterberger calls "I Am Waiting" a "very strange but musically attractive effort" that is a "highlight" among early Rolling Stones album tracks.[3] Janovitx praises how the song combines Eastern thought that was popular in music during the mid-1960s with "broadening sonics and higher fidelity."[4] He states that Jagger "is singing with authority about fear, paranoia and a part of our minds closed from wider perception."[4] Hector calls the song "one of the band's most extra-ordinary mid-sixties compositions."[5] Author Jim Beviglia rates it as the Rolling Stones' #32 all-time greatest song, calling it a "wistful, wonderful track."[7] In 2012 the editors of Rolling Stone rated it the band's #67 all-time greatest song.[6] On the other hand, Elliott does not regard it as being particularly strong, but states that it reflects the band's attitude at the time of "art for art's sake."[1]

Other appearances

"I Am Waiting" was used in Wes Anderson's 1998 film Rushmore.[7] The band performed the song live on an episode of Ready Steady Go! in a performance that Rolling Stone described as "an image of the band maturing in real time."[6]


  1. ^ a b c Elliott, M. (2012). The Rolling Stones Complete Recording Sessions1962-2012. Cherry Red Books. pp. 75, 383. ISBN 9781901447774. 
  2. ^ a b c Appleford, S. (2000). The Rolling Stones Rip This Joint: The Stories Behind Every Song. Thunder's Mouth Press. p. 42. ISBN 1560252812. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Unterberger, R. "I Am Waiting". Allmusic. Retrieved 2016-08-04. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Janovitz, B. (2013). "I Am Waiting". Rocks Off: 50 Tracks That Tell the Story of the Rolling Stones. MacMillan. pp. 96–100. ISBN 9781250026323. 
  5. ^ a b c d Hector, J. (1995). The Complete Words and Music of the Rolling Stones. Omnibus Press. p. 43. ISBN 0711943036. 
  6. ^ a b c The Rolling Stones: Their 100 Greatest Songs. Rolling Stone. 2013. p. 96. 
  7. ^ a b Beviglia, J. (2015). Counting Down the Rolling Stones: Their 100 Finest Songs. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 124–126. ISBN 9781442254473. 

External links

  • Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics

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