Undercover of the Night

“Undercover of the Night”
Single by The Rolling Stones
from the album Undercover
Released November 1, 1983
Format 7″
Recorded November 1982, January – March, May – August 1983
Genre new wave
Length 4:32
Label Rolling Stones
Writer(s) Mick Jagger, Keith Richards
Producer Chris Kimsey
The Rolling Stones singles chronology
Time Is on My Side” (live)
Undercover of the Night
She Was Hot
Undercover track listing

Undercover of the Night” is the lead track and first single from English rock and roll band The Rolling Stones‘ 1983 album Undercover.

[edit] Inspiration and recording

The song was largely a Charlie [Watts]… [We] took it up into some wonderful adventures with all these different changes… There was a great percussive and acoustic version, which is the kind of song it should be. The final polished, glossed-up version may have been Mick’s vision of the song…”

The lyrics see Jagger explore the then-ongoing political corruption in South America:

All the young men, they’ve been rounded up;
And sent to camps back in the jungle;
And people whisper, people double-talk;
Once proud fathers act so humble

Jagger said, in those same liner notes to Jump Back, that the song was “heavily influenced by dub style (a sub-genre of reggae music) echo on the instruments.

[edit] Release

“Undercover of the Night” was released as the first single taken from the album on November 1, 1983. Initial reception was warm with the song reaching number 9 in the US and number 11 on the UK Singles Chart, though the violent depictions spelled out by Jagger were believed to be why its popularity quickly waned. Jagger in Jump Back’s liner notes: “I think it’s really good but it wasn’t particularly successful at the time because songs that deal overtly with politics never are that successful, for some reason.” Richards countered: “There were a lot more overlays on this track, because there was a lot more separation in the way we were recording at that time. Mick and I were starting to come to loggerheads.” The 1980s were famously a rough time for the leaders of the Rolling Stones.

An elaborate MTV (They did eventually aired a edited version. However still not before 9 PM due to the violent imagery.), and the uncensored version of the video would be included on the band’s Video Rewind compilation.

The song has been performed sporadically on every tour since its release, most recently on the Forty Licks.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Undercover of the Night, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.