The Best Songs: The Rolling Stones – Loving Cup


Give me little drink from your loving cup.
Just one drink and I’ll fall down drunk.

One of many highlights from The Rolling Stones best album: Exile on Main St., and hence.. one of the greatest pieces of art produced the last 50 years.


Exile on Main St. is the tenth British and 12th American studio album by English rock band The Rolling Stones. Released as a double LP in May 1972, it draws on many genres including rock and roll, blues, soul, R&B, gospel and country. The release of Exile on Main St. met with mixed reviews, but it is now generally regarded as the band’s best album. In 1987, as part of their 20th anniversary, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #3 on the 100 Best Albums of the Last Twenty Years. In 2003, the album was ranked 7th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, the highest a Rolling Stones album ranked on the list.


An early version of this song, with a completely different piano intro, was recorded between April and July 1969 at Olympic Sound Studios in London, during the Let It Bleed sessions. Recording of the version of “Loving Cup” that appears on Exile on Main St. started in December 1971 at Los Angeles’ Sunset Sound Studios and lasted until March 1972. Mick Jagger performs lead and backing vocals with Keith Richards. Richards and Mick Taylor perform the song’s guitars. Bass and drums are provided by Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts, respectively. Piano is provided by Stones’ recording veteran Nicky Hopkins. Saxophone is by Bobby Keys and both trumpet and trombone are by Jim Price. The album’s producer, Jimmy Miller, provides the maracas.


The Song kicks of with ~14s of brilliant solo piano playing by the great Nicky Hopkins, then enter Mick & Keith vocals…:

I’m the man on the mountain, come on up.
I’m the plowman in the valley with a face full of mud.
Yes, I’m fumbling and I know my car don’t start.
Yes, I’m stumbling and I know I play a bad guitar.

we’re rolling.. and when Charlie Watts drum enters at 51s..  it’s all prime exile music.. blended gospel, soul & pure rock’n roll..

Give me little drink from your loving cup.
Just one drink and I’ll fall down drunk.

I’m the man who walks the hillside in the sweet summer sun.
I’m the man that brings you roses when you ain’t got none.
Well I can run and jump and fish, but I won’t fight
You if you want to push and pull with me all night.

Give me little drink from you loving cup.
Just one drink and I’ll fall down drunk.

I feel so humble with you tonight,
Just sitting in front of the fire.
See your face dancing in the flame,
Feel your mouth kissing me again,
What a beautiful buzz, what a beautiful buzz,
What a beautiful buzz, what a beautiful buzz.
Oh, what a beautiful buzz, what a beautiful buzz.

Yes, I am nitty gritty and my shirt’s all torn,
But I would love to spill the beans with you till dawn.

Give me little drink from your loving cup.
Just one drink and I’ll fall down drunk.


“Loving Cup” has been performed sporadically by the Stones’ since its introduction to their catalogue. It was heard during the 1972 tour of America, and was re-introduced to setlists during the 2002-2003 Licks Tour. It was also performed with Jack White during the 2006 leg of the A Bigger Bang Tour, with this version featured in the Martin Scorsese 2008 documentary film Shine a Light and on thesoundtrack album.

This is a song lifting my spirits every time a hear it, it has never let me down… Great art has many faces and roles in my life… Loving Cup is an injection of joy & greatness… much like James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)” & Muddy Waters version of : “Got  My Mojo Working”. It’s one of those songs you always return to.

Please try this @home:
Listen the song  (loud .. of course), and:

  • focus first on Nicky Hopkins piano…stay with the piano till
  • Charlie kicks his drums @ 51s.. then stay with the drums.. full focus on the drumming..
  • then the piano again at the quite section around 2min..
  • then again drums from 2:22.. all the way home to rock’n roll paradise…

I promise a great “mindful” experience. Experiencing great art is all about being present & mindful.

The Stones were never all about Mick & Keith… Charlie Watts was always the glue in their art…
Loving Cup is one of my fav “Charlie Watts” songs.


So.. finally.. the good stuff: the videos

First: a great video w/lyrics & stunning pictures:

Alt version: Recorded between April and July 1969 at Olympic Sound Studios in London, during the Let It Bleed sessions.

1972-05-18 Montreux, Switzerland – rehearsal video:

“shine a light” version w/Jack White:

Check out: