Jesse Jarnow

“in another land” – the rolling stones

“In Another Land” – The Rolling Stones
from Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)
released by ABKCO (buy)

(file expires March 6th)

While backing up files recently, I discovered a cache of mp3s I’d totally forgotten about — bits and bobs snagged mostly from the OG Napster, including lots of B-sides and random live cuts. “In Another Land” by the Rolling Stones is neither of these, though it is an obscurity. In fact, perusing the tracklist, nearly all of Their Satanic Majesties Request could be considered as such. The Stones’ sloppy-ass answer to Sgt. Pepper, it yielded virtually no songs that have entered the classic rock canon — pretty bizarre for an album by one of rock’s most legendary bands released at the peak of the psychedelic ’60s.

The only song in the Stones’ catalogue to be penned and sung by bassist Bill Wyman, “In Another Land” sounds a bit like the Pink Floyd then being piloted across town (and the cosmos) by Syd Barrett. In other words, it’s charming and cute and utterly blokey. The melody is simple and awesome. I love the childlike jump on “I stood and held your hand,” both the notes sung and the way Wyman sings ‘em. Run through (what I suspect is) a Leslie rotating cabinet, Wyman’s voice shimmers, and the whole cut feels as if it were conceived and recorded underwater. This is no grand statement. From what I remember, it’s mostly just Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts fucking around on a day when none of the other Stones bothered to show up. Perhaps this isn’t what Mick and Keef’s great demonic overlord wanted to groove on, but maybe they should’ve let Wyman take calls from the listeners every now and again.

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