I am listening to the Rolling Stones today. At the moment I have “Sympathy For the Devil” blasting way too loud. I am wishing beyond hope that I could dance to this, but even before it was discovered I have issues with disintegrating discs in my lower back, I wasn’t much of a dancer. I’m singing along though, although some might have issue with my definition of “singing” if they could hear my screeching.
I’m reminded of a friend of my first husband’s, the only one of his friends I actually liked, whose name was Mike. Mike and I shared a love of music. He had an extensive collection, similar to mine. However, I had very little music of the Rolling Stones and he offered to record some for my listening pleasure.
“There’s just one condition,” he said. “I refuse to record ‘Under My Thumb’ for you.”
I could not imagine why. It was definitely one of the songs I’d scratched onto the list he had been scrutinizing. I imagined myself dancing around to it once the kids had gone to sleep and my then husband had driven off to the bars and I had the house to myself.
Typically I am drawn to songs with interesting lyrics. The Stones don’t really fill that criteria for me; they are much more about the sound and the rhythm. I remember at that time NOT wanting to listen songs with lyrics about how people were dealing with love gone wrong….I just wanted to dance when no one was looking, work out some of the anger I was hiding, some of the excess energy I had in those days. I wanted to wear myself out so I could go to sleep and not think about all the steps I had to start taking to get out of my lousy marriage and on with my life.
I remember pleading with Mike to add that song. “No way,” he said. “It degrades women. I hate that song. I just won’t do it. Especially for you.” I think that his words somehow spurred me onto taking the first steps I needed to find my way out of that marriage and I’m so glad I’m where I am today.
He warmed my heart that day, made me hope that someday I’d find someone just like him (and I did) and consequently, every time I hear that song now, I’m reminded that good men do exist. It’s the next song on the LP I’m playing. I’m going to turn it up loud and dance and sing. Yeah, the lyrics suck….but I know I’ll never be under anyone’s thumb ever in my life. And I’ll always thank Mike for not putting that song on the tape he made for me way back then.