Night Music: The Rolling Stones, “Rip This Joint”

A friend posted a link today to Bill Plummer’s recording of “The Look of Love,” which features a sitar, psychedelic cover art and a prominent bass line. When I saw the link I thought: The baseball player? Or the bass player? Or have I got the names screwed up? I didn’t have the names screwed up.

If you Google Bill Plummer, the baseball player comes up. He played from 1968 to 1978 for the Cubs, Reds and Mariners. He was primarily a backup catcher, put together 1007 PA with a .188 BA and 14 homers during that time. As so often happens with catchers, he ended up a manager for the Mariners in 1992, when they had a .395 winning percentage.

The only reason I knew Bill Plummer, bassist, is because if you read the inner sleeves of the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street elpee, Bill Plummer shows up as an acoustic bass player on some of the songs. I have to admit, I don’t remember the name of everybody who plays on every album, but not only did I play Exile a lot and read the notes closely, but I also discovered that my “hi-fi” set at the time—a belt driven AR turntable and a fairly cheap but wood boxed desk radio with stereo RCA inputs—was capable of letting me get deep into the Stones’ mix. I couldn’t believe I could hear Bill Plummer in all that grimey noise. The mix is brilliant.

Plus, it couldn’t have escaped my attention at the time that a catcher on the Reds and a bass player for the Stones had the same name, and from such linkages memories are made.

The songs Plummer played on are “Rip This Joint,” “Turd on the Run,” “I Just Wanna See His Face,” and “All Down the Line.” I know all this because I found a website devoted to the Stones that is plug ugly, but goes on and on and on with interesting facts, documents and conversation, called It’s a good place to go if you want to get caught in the sway of the Stones.

I also learned at iorr (which is the acronym for It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll) that Bill Wyman later claimed that he played bass on at least some of the tracks credited to Plummer. And the posters at credit that info, another website of dubious aesthetics that seems to get the job done Stones-wise. Just as the Stones and Bill Plummer, among others, get the job done with this one. . .

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