Jan 05

THE ROLLING STONES – “Little Red Rooster”

Popular11 comments • 3,122 views

#182, 5th December 1964

I’m a bit slow tonight. I just typed something about Mick Jagger’s cock, and then looked at the name of the song, and – ohhhhh, right. Now I get it.

Sung, as opposed to written, it is a more discreet metaphor at least. And Jagger’s louche, amused delivery is far more the lazy rooster than the prowling one. The rest of the Stones are similarly post-coital, conjuring a morning-after mood with arrogant economy.



  1. 1
    rosie on 14 Jun 2008 #

    And unlike It’s All Over Now this one is a blues and much more authentic than Herman’s Hermits. Willie Dixon wrote it, of course, and Howling Wolf first recorded it, and compared to that primeval recording Jagger sounds like a Kent surburbanite, which of course he is and it’s never really gone away despite the legend.

    But ten-year-old me knew little or nothing about the blues and this was a big departure from what the Stones had been doing hitherto and I hated it. For all of a week, and then I loved it to bits. That’s how all the best things in life go.

    This December would be when an enlightened Junior School teacher, Mrs Nicholson, introduced ten-year-old me and the rest of the class to a serious dose of TS Eliot. She’d been reading us Old Possum, and then zapped us with Journey of the Magi

  2. 2
    thefatgit on 9 Apr 2010 #

    I have Jimmy Saville to thank for liking this one. Listening to his run down of an old chart and his one way conversations with Dignified Don, and the points scoring (open bracket, close bracket) on song titles was fun to listen to in the car in the pub car park with a bottle of coke and a bag of crisps, while Dad supped a lunchtime livener inside. A much younger me was in thrall to Jagger’s laid back delivery and those little high pitched clucks from Keef’s guitar. I liked it immensely without having a clue about The Blues or its significance regarding pop. I just liked the idea of Jagger singing as though he were #1 bird in the henhouse. The phallic imagery of this particular song even now comes second to the memoory of Saville’s lunchtime show on Radio 1 and those mysterious hits of yesteryear served with Coke and cheese & onion crisps.

  3. 3
    crag on 14 Apr 2011 #


    Redmond O’Hanlon-Explorer, writer(1997).

  4. 4
    Lena on 20 Jul 2011 #

    #2 as opposite yet again: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.com/2011/07/can-he-do-it-gene-pitney-im-gonna-be.html Thanks for reading as ever!

  5. 5
    DanH on 22 Feb 2014 #

    So surprised that this made #1 for the Stones, seemed more like an album track to me. At the same time, they broke into the US Top 10 for the first time with the superior “Time Is On My Side.”

  6. 6
    enitharmon on 22 Feb 2014 #

    Pretty sure that Little Red Rooster/Time Is On My Side was released in GB as a double A-side. I think there’s been a few of those that haven’t been retrospectively acknowledged for one reason or another.

  7. 7
    Mark G on 22 Feb 2014 #

    No, I’ve had this since 1966 or thereabouts, and the b-side is “Off the hook”

  8. 8
    hectorthebat on 1 Apr 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    Q (UK) – Top 20 Singles from 1954-1969 (2004) 3
    Rolling Stone (Germany) – Top 100 Songs by The Rolling Stones (2005) 30

  9. 9
    lonepilgrim on 20 Mar 2015 #

    the Blues purists in the Stones get the upper hand with this hit although Jagger’s studiedly indifferent delivery ensure that it avoids a deathly authenticity. Charlie Watts’ drumming is outstandingly understated, propelling the song forward while the two guitarists dream of being bluesmen.

  10. 10
    chrisew71 on 19 Apr 2018 #

    Had no idea this was a #1 in the UK. I always wondered why they seemed to play it live so much, when to my mind it was just an obscure album track.

  11. 11
    Gareth Parker on 20 May 2021 #

    8/10 for Mick and the boys. I like the brooding nature of this.

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