"Under My Thumb" is a song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for The Rolling Stones. Its first appearance was as an album track on 1966's Aftermath, and though it was never released as a single, it is one of the band's more popular songs from the period, appearing frequently on best-of compilations. It was also recorded by The Who in 1967 and is available on The Who's Odds and Sods CD remastered in 1998. The version released on Odds and Sods is not the original single version, but an unfinished take that omits the lead guitar part.
"Under My Thumb" was featured prominently by the band on their 1981 USA Tour and 1982 European tour as the opening number at each concert. The Stones have played the song sporadically on subsequent tours in 1997-98 and 2006.
The song's lyrics, an examination of a sexual power struggle, were very much in tune with the rebellious, vaguely misogynistic attitude that the mid-'60s Stones had cultivated.
Jagger's lyrics celebrate the satisfaction of finally having controlled and gained leverage over a previously pushy, dominating woman. The lyrics, which savor the successful "taming of the shrew" and compare the woman in question to a "pet", a "cat" and a "squirming dog" provoked negative reactions among some listeners, especially feminists, who objected to the suppressive sexual politics of the male narrator. Jagger later reflected on the track in a 1995 interview: "It's a bit of a jokey number, really. It's not really an anti-feminist song any more than any of the others.... Yes, it's a caricature, and it's in reply to a girl who was a very pushy woman."
Due to tape speed changes, "Under My Thumb" is microtonal, sounding in a key somewhere between F minor and F# minor.
The song was also notable for its (unintentional) connection with the unfortunate death of Meredith Hunter at the notorious Altamont concert in 1969. The Stones were halfway into the number when a fight broke out between Hells Angels on the security detail and concertgoers, ultimately culminating in the stabbing of Hunter by Hells Angel Alan Passaro after Hunter apparently pulled a gun; whether he did so before or after he was stabbed is still disputed.
In the early 1980s, punk band Social Distortion covered the song before the release of their first LP. This version is now available on their rarities collection, Mainliner: Wreckage from the Past. In the mid-1990s they re-recorded it as a hidden track on their album, White Light, White Heat, White Trash, and also on Live at the Roxy, as it had become a live staple for the band.
Kim Carnes performed Under My Thumb in Savoy, New York in 1981 in the Mistaken Idenity tour.
Weird Al Yankovic used the part of this song in his Rolling Stone medley "Hot Rocks Polka".
Chilean rock band Los Miserables recorded a cover of "Under my Thumb" too, based on the Social Distortion's version. The particularity of this tribute track is that the lyrics were changed into Spanish under the title "Bajo este Sol" (Under this Sun). The lyrics were not translated in line with the original work, but were re-invented conserving only the melodic line of the Rolling Stones']] original. Bajo este Sol is included in the album Date Cuenta (2000).
Perhaps the most popular cover of the song came in 1974 by Wayne Gibson, who had initially recorded the track in 1966 for Columbia Records. His cover was re-released on the Pye label where it reached the top 20 in the UK singles chart, with Gibson performing the song on popular TV shows of the time such as BBC's Top of the Pops and Crackerjack and on Granada's pop show 45.
Tina Turner recorded the song on her second solo album "Acid Queen" in 1975.