Rolling Stones – Prodigal Son

When I bought Beggars Banquet I knew about Sympathy for the Devil and Street Fighting Man… this song drew me into the rest of the album. I love the acoustic blues played by Keith. It sounds old…really old. This sounds like what influenced the Stones in the first place. This album is one of the Stones’ great ones and the first one produced by Jimmy Miller. Prodigal Son has remained one of my favorite Stones tracks.

Beggars Banquet peaked at #5 in the Billboard Album Chart in 1969.

This song was written by Robert Wilkins, a reverend who recorded Delta Blues in the 1920s and 1930s. Keith Richards enjoyed Blues music and admired the work of Wilkins in the ’60s, which is how The Stones came across this song.

The Prodigal Son is a story told in the Bible (Luke 15: 11-32) about a father who has two sons. The younger son asks for his inheritance early and goes off to spend the money on hedonistic pursuits. After wasting all the money, he comes home repentant, and the father welcomes him with a feast in his honor. This doesn’t go over well with the older son, who feels that he should be rewarded for good behavior, but the father stresses the value of forgiveness.

From Songfacts

Robert Wilkins’ original version was titled “That’s No Way To Get Along.” The Stones gave their version the title “Prodigal Son.”

In 1928 Wilkins wrote another song called “Rollin’ Stone.”

This is the only cover song on Beggar’s Banquet. The Rolling Stones wanted to be a Blues band when they started out, but they became more Pop-oriented soon after they formed.

Prodigal Son

Well a poor boy took his father’s bread and started down the road
Started down the road
Took all he had and started down the road
Going out in this world, where God only knows
And that’ll be the way to get along

Well poor boy spent all he had, famine come in the land
Famine come in the land
Spent all he had and famine come in the land
Said, “I believe I’ll go and hire me to some man”
And that’ll be the way I’ll get along

Well, man said, “I’ll give you a job for to feed my swine
For to feed my swine
I’ll give you a job for to feed my swine”
Boy stood there and hung his head and cried
Cause that is no way to get along

Said, “I believe I’ll ride, believe I’ll go back home
Believe I’ll go back home
Believe I’ll ride, believe I’ll go back home
Or down the road as far as I can go”
And that’ll be the way to get along

Well, father said, “See my son coming home to me
Coming home to me”
Father ran and fell down on his knees
Said, “Sing and praise, Lord have mercy on me”

Oh poor boy stood there, hung his head and cried
Hung his head and cried
Poor boy stood and hung his head and cried
Said, “Father will you look on me as a child?”

Well father said, “Eldest son, kill the fatted calf,
Call the family round
Kill that calf and call the family round
My son was lost but now he is found
Cause that’s the way for us to get along”

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

7 thoughts on “Rolling Stones – Prodigal Son”

  1. It’s pretty amazing how well the Brits could play the blues. When kids in this country couldn’t tell you who Muddy Waters or Howlin’ Wolf were, they were buying all the records and learning everything they could from them.

    Liked by 3 people

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