I had intended to do only four Stones posts. But writing that series and referencing the movie Performance reminded me of a great song from that flick, “Memo from Turner.” In this 1970 movie, Mick Jagger plays Turner who – according to Wikipedia – is a “reclusive, eccentric former rock star who has “lost his demon”, and who lives there with his female friends Pherber and Lucy, with whom he enjoys a non-possessive and bisexual menage a trois, and their child maid Lorraine.” Been there, done that!
Anyway, the movie is largely forgotten but “Memo from Turner” is just such a great tune. It is lazy and moody and sounds for all the world like a bunch of guys just picked up instruments and made it up – words and all – right on the spot. The great Ry Cooder plays slide on this and it sets the tone and feel for the whole song. And supposedly, Randy Newman (!) is on piano. But it’s Jagger’s perverse, louche, drunken-sounding, vocal that pulls everything together here.
Gentlemen (and ladies) – your love is all I crave:
Didn’t I see you down in San Antone on a hot and dusty night?
You were eating eggs in Sammy’s when the black man there drew his knife.
Aw, you drowned that Jew in Rampton as he washed his sleeveless shirt,
You know, that Spanish-speaking gentlemen, the one that we all called “Kurt.”
Come now, gentleman, I know there’s some mistake.
How forgetful I’m becoming, now you fixed your bus’ness straight.
I remember you in Hemlock Road in nineteen fifty-six.
You’re a faggy little leather boy with a smaller piece of stick.
Well you’re a lashing, smashing hunk of man;
Your sweat shines sweet and strong.
Your organ’s working perfectly, but there’s a part that’s not screwed on.
Weren’t you at the coke convention back in nineteen sixty-five?
You’re the misbred, grey executive I’ve seen heavily advertised.
You’re the great, gray man whose daughter licks policemen’s buttons clean.
You’re the man who squats behind the man
Who works the soft machine.
Come now, gentleman, your love is all I crave.
You’ll still be in the circus when I’m laughin’
Laughin’ in my grave.
When the old men do the fighting and the young men all look on.
And the young girls eat their mothers meat from tubes of plasticon.
Be wary please my gentle friends of all the skins you breed.
They have a tasty habit – they eat the hands that bleed.
So remember who you say you are and keep your noses clean.
Boys will be boys and play with toys so be strong with your beast.
Oh Rosie dear, doncha think it’s queer, so stop me if you please.
The baby’s dead, my lady said,
Why you all
Work for me!”