Rolling Stones – Before They Make Me Run

A great “Keith” song on the great Stone’s album Some Girls released in 1978. Some of the lyrics make me laugh because of how honest they are. Maybe one of the best lines in Rock “I wasn’t looking too good but I was feeling real well”… It doesn’t get much more straightforward than that.

Some of the others are not so fun such as “Booze and pills and powders, you can choose your medicine, Well here’s another goodbye to another good friend.” In the world Keith was living in, it rang true. I’ve read that this line was about Keith’s good friend Gram Parsons who had died of a heroin overdose in 1973.

Richards recorded the song in five days without sleeping in March of 1978, a year after he was busted for heroin in Canada.

This and Happy are my favorite Keith Richards songs with the Stones. You Got the Silver is up there also. This is a Jagger/Richards song but Keith wrote most if not all of this one.

Great raw Rock and Roll song.

Keith Richards: “For sheer longevity – for long distance – there is no track that I know of like ‘Before They Make Me Run.’ That song, which I sang on that record, was a cry from the heart. But it burned up the personnel like no other. I was in the studio, without leaving, for five days… I had an engineer called Dave Jordan and I had another engineer, and one of them would flop under the desk and have a few hours’ kip and I’d put the other one in and keep going. We all had black eyes by the time it was finished… That’s probably the longest I’ve done. There have been others that were close – ‘Can’t Be Seen’ was one – but ‘Before They Make Me Run’ was the marathon.”

From Songfacts

This is about the rock and roll lifestyle that got Keith Richards in trouble. The song was recorded while he was out on bail after getting caught with heroin and arrested for drug trafficking in Toronto in 1977. He was found guilty of the lesser charge of heroin possession, and sentenced to probation.
Richards sang lead and did the majority of the work on this song. With Keith’s drug charges pending, Mick Jagger took a lot of control on the album, but this song was pretty much all Keith.
The original title was “Rotten Roll.”
Richard’s vocals were double-tracked to make them stand out.
A member of The Byrds, Parsons died in 1973 at age 26 after taking an overdose of alcohol and morphine. His corpse was stolen and burned in the Mojave Desert.
An engineer named Dave Jordan helped mix this song. He went on to work with groups like The Specials and The Pogues.

Before They Make Me Run

Worked the bars and sideshows along the twilight zone
Only a crowd can make you feel so alone
And it really hit home
Booze and pills and powders, you can choose your medicine
Well here’s another goodbye to another good friend

After all is said and done
Gotta move while it’s still fun
Let me walk before they make me run
After all is said and done
I gotta move, it’s still fun
I’m gonna walk before they make me run

Watched my taillights fading, there ain’t a dry eye in the house
They’re laughing and singing
Started dancing and drinking as I left town
Gonna find my way to heaven, ’cause I did my time in hell, oh yeah
I wasn’t looking too good but I was feeling real well

Oh after all is said and done
I gotta move I had my fun
Let us walk before they make us run

After all is said and done
I did alright, I had my fun
But I will walk before they’ll make me
I will walk before they’ll make me (run)
I will walk before they’ll make me (run)
I will walk before they’ll make me run

So if it’s all been said and done
I gotta move I had my fun
Let me walk before they make me run

So let me walk before they make me run
I want to walk before they’ll make me run

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

38 thoughts on “Rolling Stones – Before They Make Me Run”

  1. This is indeed a lot like Happy, which is my fave Keith song. I haven’t listened to this one enough. Thanks for the reminder of it.

    Did you see that Rolling Stone has updated their list of the 500 best albums? Of course I compared it to our album draft. There was plenty of overlap, plus we have some good picks in the draft that RS clearly overlooked. :p I think I saw Big Star on the list twice.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I haven’t seen the updated list…I need to check that one out. The old one had all three Big Star Albums…I would think a couple of them may have dropped off.
      I’ll take a look at that today.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The older he gets, the more reminiscent me his tobacco voice on the old Bob Dylan, who watched out just as badly to his voice. But that Keith Richards is still alive must be because of his character; it has nothing to do with his lifestyle.


      1. I agree with you on Tattoo you…personally it was the last Stones album that I REALLY liked…Steel Wheels was ok…but no… Tattoo You wasn’t up to Some Girls.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh cool! I need to check it out. Another one I’m interested in for some reason is The Zombies…They were 100. I want to see how much they dropped.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m thinking too much with this…I know it’s subjective…I wonder how they judge the albums….how they relate today?

        Take Marvin Gaye…that album deserves to be #1 I have no complaint…but what did that album do since last time? I mean it’s still the same album.
        I guess it comes down to looking at the lists as two completely different lists that don’t relate to each other.

        I do like this one though. The biggest surprise to me is Born to Run at 21…I thought it would be higher….thanks again for the link…this makes it simple and you can see the others without have to slowly drag through that long list one by one.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think it’s a group effort with lots of voters – more than 300, with everyone from Robert Christgau, Mick Avory and Eric Burdon to Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Carly Rae Jepsen. I don’t know if they doctor the results or leave them as is. Someone with one big album that’s kind of the consensus pick, like Gaye, maybe has the advantage over an act with a few viable choices like The Beatles or The Stones.


    1. This and Happy are the two for me…I like some of the others but not as well…
      Yes Talk is Cheap is very good. That one and the Wilburys album came out around the same time…I had both. It was better than the last Stones album at the time….Dirty Work


  2. Great song. Mick has a stronger voice, but knowing it is Keith’s story gives oomph to his singing it. I think it’s a good idea they double recorded his voice. WTH about Gram Parson’s body????

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I know…that is some story…they have a movie about it. Gram wanted his body there but wow…can you imagine stealing a body? His manager didn’t get in too much trouble.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no they were not pleased at all. Drinking had to be involved. The manager said it was so easy to do…well yea…not many people would think about that..I hope not anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea being wealthy doesn’t make up for those things happening. That is terrible. He lived off of that trust fund right?
        I remember his various bandmates would be upset at him for being late or whatever because he had that fund to live on…they didn’t.

        Liked by 1 person

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