Tuesday, June 19, 2018

50 years ago: The Rolling Stones hit #1 in the UK with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”

First posted 2/10/2021.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

The Rolling Stones

Writer(s): Mick Jaggers, Keith Richards (see lyrics here)


First Charted: May 24, 1968


Peak: 3 US, 11 CB, 2 HR, 1 CL, 12 UK, 5 CN, 2 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.25 UK, 0.25 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 21.09 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were both busted for drugs in 1967 and the Stones’ album Their Satanic Majestices Request proved the band were “ill-suited to psychedela.” KL They “needed a great, gutsy single to re-establish themselves.” KL Organist Bill Wyman said, “It had been nearly 18 months since we had a US or UK top three single. Our reputation was now based on anything but the music.” KL

The band’s “confidence returned with the powerful single” KL “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” Some saw it as “the band’s return to their blues roots.” WK Rolling Stone magazine called it “supernatural Delta blues by way of Swinging London.” WK Guitarist Brian Jones saw it as a return to their “funky, essential essence.” WK NME said, “The Stones have a unique flair for taking a basically simple formula and turning it into a miniature epic.” KL

Interestingly, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” has been hailed as the song that “marked a transition to guitar rock.” SF Danny Garcia, the director of the documentary Rolling Stone: Life and Death of Brian Jones, said, “During the ‘60s the band evolved from an R&B band to a pop band to a psychedelic band until they found their sound with ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ in ’68.” SF

Richards says he and Jagger wrote the song while staying at Richards’ country house. They woke up one morning by the gardener walking past the window. Jagger asked what the noise was and Richards replied, “Oh, that’s Jack – that’s jumpin’ Jack.” WK Jagger has said the song is “about having a hard time and getting out,” specifically that it was a metaphor for getting away from acid. WK

The song marked the band’s seventh trip to the top of the UK chart and it marked their eleventh trip to the top 10 in the U.S. It became one of their most popular songs; they’ve played it over 1,100 times in concert. WK Songfacts.com even claims it is their most-performed song. SF


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for The Rolling Stones
  • AMG All Music Guide
  • KL Kutner, Jon, and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Page 140.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

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