Album: Let It Bleed
. . .
“You Got The Silver” is the fourth song that is cited as “the first song Keith sang lead vocals on,” after “Connection,” which was a dual vocal with Mick, “Something Happened To Me Yesterday,” where he sang the choruses, and “Salt of The Earth,” where he sang the first verse.
But “You Got The Silver” is all Keith, supposedly because engineer Glyn Johns accidentally erased Mick’s vocals while Mick was in Australia shooting his second film, Ned Kelly. Though why they didn’t have Mick just send them a file via Dropbox is beyond me. In any event, while Johns told this story in his book Sound Man, it doesn’t explain why there is a high quality bootleg floating around of “You Got The Silver” with Mick singing. And given that “You Got The Silver” was recorded in February 1969, but the Let It Bleed sessions went off and on until July, why didn’t they just wait until Mick got back?
The answer, of course, is because it was Keith’s goddamn song, which like “Gimme Shelter,” was no doubt spurred by the possibility she’d had an affair with Mick Jagger on the set of Performance. But unlike “Gimme Shelter,” the mood of “You Got The Silver” was more pensive, at least at the beginning, as it starts off with just Keith and an acoustic guitar.
Hey babe, what’s in your eyes?
I saw them flashing like airplane lights
You fill my cup, babe, that’s for sure
I must come back for a little more
At the end of the verse, a slide comes swooshing in — using the reverse reverb effect that Johns claims erased Mick’s vocal — and as Wyman and Watts softly come in, Keith continues, pensively.
You got my heart, you got my soul
You got the silver, you got the gold
You got the diamonds from the mine
Well, that’s all right, it’ll buy some time
Like a few of the songs on Let it Bleed, “You Got The Silver” starts off sparsely, and adds more instruments as the song continue, so after the first chorus, Nicky Hopkins joins in with with an absolutely grand cinematic organ instrumental break that leads to one last quiet verse. Oh, and somewhere deep in the mix, Brian Jones is playing autoharp, but good luck finding it.
Tell me, honey, what will I do
When I’m hungry and thirsty too?
I’m feeling foolish, and that’s for sure
Just waiting here at your kitchen door
That reference to the “kitchen door” is no doubt another Robert Johnson reference, just like the “get it on rider” reference in “Let it Bleed.” After this verse, “You Got The Silver” turns into a full blown country-rock song, Watts finally coming in with his full kit, Hopkins adding piano on top of the organ, and Keith ratcheting up the tension by singing at the top of his range.
Hey baby, what’s in your eyes?
Is that the diamonds from the mine?
What’s that laughing in your smile?
I don’t care, no, I don’t care
Oh babe, you got my soul
You got the silver, you got the gold
You got your love, just leave me blind
I don’t care, no, that’s no big surprise
I’ll be the first to admit that “You Got The Silver” is a bit slight, musically, and had Mick sang it, it probably wouldn’t have as much impact. Which is probably another reason that they decided that Keith should sing it, to give it something that well and truly distinguishes it from the rest of the songs on the album. In any event, “You Got The Silver” didn’t get a live performance for 30 years, when they realized that there was another song besides “Happy” and “Connection” (which Keith claimed during the X-pensive Winos tours) that could be a Keith showcase in concert.
“You Got The Silver” Official Lyric Video
“You Got The Silver” (Mick Jagger Vocals)
“You Got The Silver” Live in San Jose, 1999
“You Got The Silver” live in New York City, 2006
“You Got The Silver” live in London, 2013
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