SATURDAY JAM: When you're sitting back in your rose pink Cadillac...
Posted Saturday, May 6, 2023, at 12:25 AM
The Kentucky Derby always puts me in the mood for the Rolling Stones. If you know, you know.
It's all about one line in the second verse of the ninth of 10 songs on the 1971 classic "Sticky Fingers."
A rather dark song, "Dead Flowers" is told from the perspective of a down-and-out junky (Is there any other kind?) addressing a well-to-do subject. It's an unrequited love situation.
While both of the song's verses juxtapose the life of narrator and his beloved, that one particular stanza always sticks with me:
Well, when you're sitting back in your rose pink Cadillac
Making bets on Kentucky Derby day
I'll be in my basement room with a needle and a spoon
And another girl can take my pain away
I suppose any description of heroin use gets one's attention, but it's more than that. As Mick addresses Little Susie, he assures her that his devotion can stand up to her indifference, to his own addiction, even to him turning got "another girl," though I suppose that other girl is probably the drug itself.
Despite it all, she can send him her own castoffs all she wants — he "wont forget to put roses on your grave." The poetry of it is morbidly beautiful, complete with the junkie believing he's outliving anyone.
The song plays well on the album too, coming as it does after "Sister Morphine," another tale of addiction, and before "Moonlight Mile," which concludes a dark and underrated Side 2 of "Sticky Fingers" with a bit of redemption.
Of note in this live rendition is not only seeing Mick and Keith share a mic — always a joy — but the picking of Mick Taylor, who was the shortest on tenure and longest on talent of the Stones' four guitarists. Dang, can that dude play.
Enjoy Kentucky Derby day, folks. Here's hoping you're hanging with the mint julep crowd rather than the "needle and a spoon" contingent.