Rip This Joint

This article is about Rip This Joint, the song. For the "That '70s Show" episode, see Rip This Joint (That '70s Show episode).
"Rip This Joint"
Song by The Rolling Stones from the album Exile on Main St.
Released 12 May 1972
Recorded December 1971 & March 1972
Genre Rock 'n' roll, rockabilly
Length 2:23
Label Rolling Stones/Virgin
Writer(s) Jagger/Richards
Producer(s) Jimmy Miller
Exile on Main St. track listing

"Rip This Joint" is the second song on the Rolling Stones' 1972 album Exile on Main St.

Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "Rip This Joint" is one of the fastest songs in the Stones' canon, with a pronounced rockabilly feel. Jagger's breakneck delivery of the song's lines spells out a rambling tale set across America from the perspective of a foreigner.

Richards quotes the speed of the song; "It's one of the fastest ones of the lot and it really keeps you on your toes".

Mama says yes, Papa says no, make up you mind 'cause I got to go. I'm gonna raise hell at the Union Hall, drive myself right over the wall.
Mister President, Mister Immigration Man, let me in, sweetie, to your fair land. I'm Tampa bound and Memphis too. Short, fat Fanny is on the loose.

In his review of the song, Bill Janovitz says, "The result is a frenetic pace that approaches the tempos played by hardcore punk bands roughly ten years later, certainly recognizing the raw excitement of early roots rock & roll years before... Though the band most likely did not sit down and preconceive it as such, the record seems to set out to cover nothing less than the wide-open spaces of America itself via the nation's music — from urban soul to down-home country to New Orleans jazz. 'Rip This Joint' sets the tone for this journey, as a modern-day "Route 66" travelogue from Birmingham to San Diego."[1]

Recording began in late 1971 at Richards' rented home in France, Villa Nellcôte, using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. With Jagger on lead vocals, Richards sings back-up and plays electric guitar along with Mick Taylor, and Charlie Watts plays drums. Bill Plummer provides upright bass for the recording while Nicky Hopkins performs Johnnie Johnson-like piano. Bobby Keys plays two saxophone solos, Jim Price performs trumpet and trombone.[2]

"Rip This Joint" was played frequently by the Stones throughout the early to mid-1970s before disappearing completely from their setlist. The song was reintroduced to the band's setlists at various club dates in Europe on the 1995 Voodoo Lounge Tour (as released in 2016 on Totally Stripped) and was also performed on the Licks Tour in 2002 and 2003.

The song was featured as the closing track to the Stones' 1975 compilation album Made in the Shade.

"Rip This Joint" was used at the very beginning of Christopher McQuarrie´s The Way of the Gun.

Punk rock band Green Day covered the song on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on May 11, 2010, as part of a week of Stones covers to promote the re-release of Exile on Main St.


  1. "Rip This Joint". allmusic. 2007 (accessed 29 June 2007).
  2. "Rip This Joint". Keno's Rolling Stones Lyrics Page. 2007 (accessed 29 June 2007).
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