Right place at the right time: Jim Dickinson in "Wild Horses" | Rock Candy

Right place at the right time: Jim Dickinson in "Wild Horses"



"Wild Horses" from the Maysles brothers' "Gimme Shelter"

This is hands down one of the greatest scenes in the "Gimme Shelter." Here the Stones are, just after cutting "Wild Horses," listening to the playback for the first time — fidgeting, singing along awkwardly, toe-tapping snake skin boots — completely lost in the song.

That's Dickinson sitting on the couch next to Keef. Here's how he got there:

"I went to film school at Baylor, so when they started setting up lights pointing at a couch in the studio, I knew what was going on, and I went over and sat down. And I had the last joint, and Keith [Richards] knew I had the last joint, so he came over and sat down beside me. And that's how I got in the film." [Pop Culture Press]

And here's how he happened to be working a Stones' session at all:

The 'Stones I met through Stanley Booth, the rock writer, who was traveling with them... Stanley called while they were on the road and asked if The Stones could record in Memphis - they had three days at the end of the '69 tour - 'cause they wanted to record when they were, y'know, 'hot' from playing together. With [Musicians] Union regulations back then - I don't know if they're still the same way - you could get either a touring or a recording permit but not both. They were in a position where they could tour but not record and had been prevented from recording in Los Angeles. So, they were looking for a place where nobody would care and I told 'em that they couldn't record safely in Memphis at that time - 'cause The Beatles had tried to record at Stax and had had word that there was no way - but I told 'em about Muscle Shoals.

So, Stanley called [Jerry] Wexler, who put it together, and then Stanley called me back and, when The Stones got to Muscle Shoals, I was there. I was the only 'outside' person who was allowed to stay. On the third day, when they recorded "Wild Horses," which began with a minor chord and Ian Stewart [Stones pianist and road manager] wouldn't play minor chords, [laughs] y'know... I didn't find out why, for years, and Stew finally told me one day, at a hotel in New York, about his thing of not playing minor chords, and I thought "thank god" man [laughs]. But for that, I would have no 'claim to fame.'

Actually, my 'true claim to fame' with The Rolling Stones comes with a line in "Brown Sugar." It was the first night, when he was doin' the vocals, he was singing the line "...just about midnight" - the second night, when he was overdubbing it, he was leaving it out and I told him to put it back in [laughing]... [Perfect Sound Forever]

[Elsewhere: This week's A&E Feature "World Boogie Forever"

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