Street Fighting Man
The Rolling Stones (1968)
Intoxicated by the air of revolution blowing over from the Paris student protests and having shown his face at the earlier anti-Vietnam demonstration in London’s Grosvenor Square, Mick Jagger cast himself as the narrowhipped harbinger of violent uprising, bemoaning “sleepy London town” for not being sufficiently insurrectionary as the clash and rattle of the Stones’ backing reverberated with the sound of “marching, charging feet.” Street Fighting Man was seized upon as a clarion call for the genuine revolutionary fervour boiling over in 1968, with socialist newspaper Black Dwarf comparing the lyrics to Engels, US radio stations banning it and Decca initially refusing to release it. “It’s stupid to think you could start a revolution with a record,” sniffed the singer, nervously back-peddling away from his position as the Che Guevara of pop. Perhaps not, but few have written a better soundtrack to one.