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22 December 2006

What does "I laid tracks for troubadours who get killed before they reach Bombay" refer to? I get every other allusion in that song, but that one stumps me.
I always thought it just meant that *he* gave the wanderlust to poor western european musicians to hit the "silk road," thinking that they could sing for their supper along the way, only to meet a lonely and untimely end, probably from thieves killing them and stealing their instruments. In an opium den in Kabul, or maybe a brothel full of underage girls in Karachi.

Not that I have given these lines much thought.


posted by danf 22 December | 12:45
Actually, it's a reference to Brian Jones, and his massive drug intake.
posted by Lipstick Thespian 22 December | 12:52
In my head, I always pictured the train from Some Like It Hot derailing in the Indian countryside, but your explanation is much more plausible, danf.

On preview: Seriously, LT?
posted by jrossi4r 22 December | 12:52
I still remember the day that Beggars Banquet came out. Same day as the White Album. I liked Beggars Banquet a lot better, at least the first several years.
posted by danf 22 December | 13:00
I had no idea they came out the same day. What a great day for music.
posted by jrossi4r 22 December | 13:12
Well, more specifically, he was talking about all the people he'd known who'd died from drug o.d.'s, but most closely, Brian Jones, yeah.
posted by Lipstick Thespian 22 December | 15:18
Brian Jones spent a lot of time in Morrocco and India after splitting with the Stones, so I assume is an allusion to him. Jones originally considered himself the leader of the Stones (and was responsible for many of their most innovative moments: the marimabas on 'Under My Thumb' and the sitar on 'Paint It Black' ) and being ousted from the band hit him hard and probably contributed to the addictions that killed him, so maybe Mick is copping to feeling some culpability for Brian's fall from grace. Many books about the Stones acknowledge that Jones' ghost hangs over the band to this day.
posted by jonmc 22 December | 22:20
I always thought it was just historical, "troubadors" referring to military companies of crusaders who were led into ambush on the subcontinent. But of course it could be a combination. Like Combos.
posted by Hugh Janus 22 December | 22:42
Hmmm. I can see where the Brian Jones thing would fit. The thing is, though, that every other reference in the song is both literal and historical. Switching to something so personal and figurative right in the middle seems kind of odd.
posted by jrossi4r 22 December | 23:04
The Stones were never sticklers for rules or consistency, rossi. As the man himself says, It's Only Rock and Roll....

but I like it
posted by jonmc 22 December | 23:07
Tru dat.

It is one of my all-time favorite set of lyrics, though.
posted by jrossi4r 22 December | 23:14
All this is true, except for the fact that Jones was still in the band, and did some fairly significant (albeit less than his 4 band mates) stuff on this.
posted by danf 23 December | 11:26
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