New York Film Locations

The Rolling Stones Pop Video at St Marks Place

25 November 2018

The song "Waiting on a Friend" by the Rolling Stones was from their 1981 album “Tattoo You”, and was released as the album's second single after "Start Me Up," "Waiting on a Friend" became a radio staple in the US where it reached #13 on the singles chart in early 1982. It did not fare as well in Europe, reaching only #50 on the UK Singles Chart but as high as #9 in the Netherlands.

The music video for the song was shot in New York during July 1981 and was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who also directed their 1968 special The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. Matching the song's lyrics, Jagger is seen waiting for Keith Richards in the doorway of an apartment block. The building, at 96-98 St. Mark's Place in Manhattan, is notable for appearing on the cover of Led Zeppelin's 1975 album Physical Graffiti. The two then walk down the street and enter the St. Mark's Bar & Grill where the other three band members are already drinking. Jagger sings the song to Richards and the video concludes with the band setting up for a gig at the back of the bar, largely ignored by the other patrons.

The lyrics to the song see a more mature side of singer Jagger represented. He speaks of setting aside women and vices in favour of making some sense of his life and finding the virtues inherent in true friendship: “Don't need a whore, I don't need no booze, don't need a virgin priest. But I need someone I can cry to, I need someone to protect.” The song is noted for its dreamy qualities brought on by the soft guitars, smooth rhythm, and Jagger's lilting refrain of "doo-doo-doo"'s. Stones-recording veteran Nicky Hopkins performs the track's running piano. The Stones hired jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins to perform the solo on this song, as well as two others on the album.

"Waiting on a Friend" was included on the Stones' compilation albums Rewind (1971–1984) (1984), Jump Back (1993), and GRRR! (2012). A 1981 live performance of the song featured on the concert film Let's Spend the Night Together (1983). A 1997 performance with saxophonist Joshua Redman was recorded during the Bridges to Babylon Tour and released in 1998 on the live album No Security and the concert film Bridges to Babylon Tour '97–98. The song was used in the film The Normal Heart (2014).

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on the set of the music video for "Waiting on a Friend"

On the set of the music video for "Waiting on a Friend" in New York City

Location: 96-98 St. Mark's Place in New York City

Location: 96-98 St. Mark's Place in New York City


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