The Rolling Stones

Jig-Saw Puzzle

Composed by Keith Richards / Mick Jagger

Song Review by

The Rolling Stones-Bob Dylan connection wasn't a huge one, but there were certainly songs from the mid- to late '60s where Dylan's influence on the Stones was apparent. One example was "Who's Been Sleeping Here?," from Between the Buttons; some curmudgeons might throw in "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" itself, though that's stretching things. Another example was one of the lesser-known songs on Beggars Banquet, "Jigsaw Puzzle." Like many of the tracks on that album, it drew on country blues for musical inspiration, and musically the song is a pretty repetitious vamp on an average blues-rock riff. The lyrics, however, are not the sort that would be heard on actual rural Delta blues records, with its surreal parade of images of weirdos and misfits, as the narrator plays the eye of the hurricane, just placidly doing his jigsaw puzzle in the midst of the mayhem. In fact, the similarity to some of Dylan's long, wordy surreal songs of the mid-'60s is close enough that it's a little surprising "Jigsaw Puzzle" hasn't been singled out by more listeners as being a Dylan imitation, particularly since it frankly sounds a little hackneyed in its approximation of Dylanesque weirdness. More of a drawback to the song, however, is its lack of melodic development, just keeping on the same basic monotonous stock blues tune for a good six minutes or so. For album filler such as this, some other creative touches were needed to make it stand out more, and these were supplied by the nervous circular rhythm, some nice slippery slide guitar, and weird wavering notes that presumably are created by the Mellotron. Brian Jones' contribution to the Beggars Banquet album has sometimes been denigrated as minimal by figures on the scene, but if he was in fact responsible for the electric slide guitar and Mellotron on this track, it does seem as if he was more helpful than has usually been acknowledged.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Beggars Banquet 1968 Digital 6:05
Greatest Rarities, Vol. 2 1991 [Bootleg]
Beggar's Banquet/Black & Blue 1999 Rolling Stones Records
Remastered Series 2004 ABKCO Records 6:06
The Rolling Stones 1964-1969 [Vinyl Box Set] 2010 ABKCO Records / Universal Distribution 6:06
No Image Cool Blokes
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