Rolling Stones – Monkey Man

This song is a great album cut. It was used well in Goodfellas, the 1990 movie in a scene where the gangsters are trafficking cocaine. One of my favorite Stone songs.

This song was on Let It Bleed and it was recorded after Brian Jones was fired and before Mick Taylor replaced him. On Monkey Man, Keith Richards played electric and slide electric guitar, Bill Wyman played bass, and producer Jimmy Miller assisted drummer Charlie Watts on tambourine.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote “Monkey Man” as a tribute to Italian pop artist Mario Schifano, whom they met on the set of his movie Umano Non Umano! (Human, Not Human!).

From Songfacts

The lyrics don’t seem to make much sense, but they are probably about heroin or a bad acid trip. You can certainly draw this conclusion from the opening lines:

I’m a fleabit peanut monkey
And all my friends are junkies

Nicky Hopkins was featured on piano. He and Ian Stewart made significant contributions to The Stones on keyboards, but were never credited with being official members of the group. Hopkins and Stewart both toured with the band as well.

Most of the album was recorded after the death of Brian Jones but before his replacement, Mick Taylor, joined the band.  >>

The Stones performed this on their 1994-1995 Voodoo Lounge tour.

This song was used in the 1990 movie Goodfellas in a scene where the gangsters are trafficking cocaine. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese, who directed the 2008 Rolling Stones documentary Shine a Light.


Monkey Man

I’m a fleabit peanut monkey
And all my friends are junkies
That’s not really true

I’m a cold Italian pizza
I could use a lemon squeezer
What you do?

But I’ve been bit and I’ve been tossed around
By every she-rat in this town
Have you babe?

But I am just a monkey man
I’m glad you are a monkey woman too

I was bitten by a boar
I was gouged and I was gored
But I pulled on through

Yeah, I’m a sack of broken eggs
I always have an unmade bed
Don’t you?

Well I hope we’re not too messianic
Or a trifle too satanic
But we love to play the blues

But well I am just a monkey man
I’m glad you are a monkey woman too
Monkey woman too babe

I’m a monkey man
I’m a monkey man
I’m a monkey man
I’m a monkey man
I’m a monkey
I’m a monkey
I’m a monkey
I’m a monkey
Monkey, monkey

I’m a monkey

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

10 thoughts on “Rolling Stones – Monkey Man”

  1. Thanks for posting this, Max. For me, Monkey Man is the epitome of the late 1960s. Whenever I listen to it, I’m instantly back there. The title and lyrical contents aside, the bassline and the phrasing is just… it.

    ‘Monkey’ is slang for something that nags away at you, inside your mind. In the 60s it usually referred to a drug addiction.. The usual expression was ‘(I’ve got a) Monkey on my shoulder’, as in something irritating that you can’t get rid of that constantly whispers in your ear. (“take me, smoke me, eat me” – that sort of thing.) These days it’s also slang for something internal that’s always nagging and chattering away at you – as in having a ‘Monkey mind’. So a Monkey Man would have been referring to someone so heavily into drugs that they’ve become the monkey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I heard the song when I was younger but didn’t fully get into it until Goodfellas. It is used in that movie perfectly.
      It’s one of my most favorite Stones songs. They had those stretch of 5 albums that were great.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: