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Child of the Moon by The Rolling Stones: Great B-Sides

Beggars Banquet The Rolling Stones

In 1967, The Rolling Stones followed The Beatles into baroque psychedelia. While the resulting album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, has its admirers, the band were quick to abandon the summer of love, toughening their sound for the blues-rock of 1968’s Beggar’s Banquet.

Beggar’s Banquet was preceded by the single ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, a terrific riff rocker that sign-posted their new direction. The song’s b-side was curious – ‘Child of the Moon’ bore some of the hallmarks of the group’s psychedelic era, with its mystical lyrics. Charlie Watts’ drumming recalls Ringo Starr’s work on The Beatles’ own great psychedelic b-side, 1966’s ‘Rain’.

As another link to their earlier work, multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones was a major creative force in the 1960s Rolling Stones, with his flair for adding exotic instrumentation. Jones’ influence was soon to diminish, and he would be forced out of the band altogether before the end of the 1960s. He’s still on board for this cut; his saxophone parts are a vital part of the eerie textures of ‘Child of the Moon’. In the promotional video, Jones is out of the sync with the rest of The Stones, perhaps symbolic of his deteriorating relationship with the rest of the band. There are brief shots of him peeking out from behind a tree, but he doesn’t appear in frame with the rest of The Stones.

As well as these ties to the group’s earlier work, ‘Child of the Moon’ looks forward to the band’s classic rock era – Jimmy Miller is behind the desk for the first time, toughening up the band’s sound, while Keith Richards’ guitar is also prominent. Effectively ‘Child of the Moon’ serves as a transition for the band, out of the psychedelic sounds of 1967 and into the back to basics approach of 1968.

Like some of the Rolling Stones’ other late 1960s records, such as ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ and ‘Gimme Shelter’, it feels as though the group are tapping into evil, otherworldly power. Jagger would drop this approach after the Altamont tragedy in 1969, when a concertgoer was stabbed by Hells Angels security guards.

The wind blows, rain into my face
The sun glows at the end of the highway
Child of the moon, rub your rainy eyes
Oh, child of the moon
Give me a wide-awake crescent-shaped smile

She shivers, by the light she is hidden
She flickers like a lamp lady vision
Child of the moon, rub your rainy eyes
Child of the moon
Give me a wide-awake crescent-shaped smile

The first car on the foggy road riding
The last star for my lady is pining
Oh, child of the moon, bid the sun arise
Oh, child of the moon
Give me a misty day, pearly gray, silver, silky faced
Wide-awake crescent-shaped smile

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