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The Dirty Work Definition Essay

This article considers how and why people work with difficult emotions. Extending Hughes’ typology of the physical, social and moral taints that constitute ‘dirty work’, the article explores the nature of a previously neglected and undefined concept, emotional dirt. Drawing on data from a situated ethnographic study of Samaritans, we consider how the handling of difficult and burdensome emotions, which are often written out of rational accounts of work, is outsourced to others who act as society’s agents in the containment of emotional dirt. We provide the first explicit definition of emotional dirt, and contribute an extension to the existing tripartite classification of occupational taint. Moreover, in naming emotional dirt we seek to open up a sphere of research dedicated to understanding its emergence, nature and relational effects. To this end, we demonstrate how taint emerges as a sociological consequence of the performance of emotional labour as emotional dirty work, while considering how management of the difficult, negative or out-of-place emotions of others can be framed as a positive experience such that it can be good to feel bad when handling emotional dirt.

Dirty Work is the Rolling Stones' 18th British and 20th American studio album. It was released on 24 March 1986 on the Rolling Stones label by CBS Records. Produced by Steve Lillywhite, the album was recorded during a period when relations between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards soured considerably, according to Richards' autobiography Life.[1][2]


The sessions for Dirty Work, the first album under the Rolling Stones' recording contract with CBS Records, began in April 1985 in Paris, running for two months before breaking for a short spell.[3] Mick Jagger had just released his first solo album, She's the Boss (1985), much to Richards' annoyance, since the latter's first priority was the Rolling Stones and he was stung that Jagger was pursuing a career as a pop star.[4] Jagger was often absent from the Dirty Work sessions while Richards recorded with Ronnie Wood, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts; Jagger's vocal parts were added later on.[citation needed] The divide between Jagger and Richards was on public view on 13 July 1985, when Jagger performed a solo set at Live Aid while Richards and Wood supported Bob Dylan's set on acoustic guitars.

Charlie Watts' involvement in the recording sessions was also limited; in 1994 Watts told Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes that during the 1980s he had been addicted to heroin and alcohol. Steve Jordan and Anton Fig play drums on some tracks; Ronnie Wood plays drums on "Sleep Tonight". Jagger would later cite Watts' personal state as one of the reasons he vetoed a tour in support of Dirty Work in 1986, preferring to start work on his second album, Primitive Cool (1987).[citation needed]

Four of the album's eight original compositions are credited to Jagger/Richards/Wood and one to Jagger/Richards/Chuck Leavell. Only three are credited to Jagger/Richards, the lowest number on any Rolling Stones album since Out of Our Heads (1965). Dirty Work is the first Rolling Stones record to feature two tracks with Richards on lead vocals ("Too Rude" and "Sleep Tonight").

Following a further month of final recording in July and August 1985 (which saw guest appearances by Jimmy Page, Bobby Womack and Tom Waits), co-producer Steve Lillywhite supervised several weeks of mixing and the creation of 12-inch remixes. On 12 December, Ian Stewart, one of the Stones' founding members and their longtime pianist and road manager, died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 47. As a tribute, a hidden track of Stewart playing Big Bill Broonzy's "Key to the Highway" was added to close the album.

Outtakes and demo versions[edit]

Outtakes and demo versions from the Dirty Work sessions are available on various bootlegs, and include numbers like:[5]

  • "Strictly Memphis"
  • "You're Too Much" (Keith Richards on vocal)
  • "Treat Me Like a Fool" (Richards on vocal)
  • "She Never Listens to Me" (Richards on vocal)
  • "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" (Ivy Jo Hunter, Stevie Wonder)
  • "Deep Love" (Richards on vocal)
  • "What Am I Going to Do with Your Love"
  • "Crushed Pearl" (Richards on vocal)

Artwork and packaging[edit]

The original vinyl release of Dirty Work came shrinkwrapped in dark red cellophane. Breaking with Rolling Stones tradition, Dirty Work was the first of their studio albums to contain a lyric sheet in the US, apparently at the insistence of then-distributor CBS Records. Also included was a comic strip, drawn by Mark Marek, called "Dirty Workout".[6]

In 2005, Pitchfork Media included the album cover in their list of "The Worst Record Covers of All Time", with Brent DiCrescenzo saying that no other cover "goes so far to completely tarnish the reputation of a Valhalla-ensconced band while demonstrating the crushing awfulness of 1980s aesthetics".[7]

Release and reception[edit]

In March 1986, the Rolling Stones' cover of "Harlem Shuffle" (their first lead single from a studio album not to be a Jagger/Richards original since the band's earliest days) was released to a receptive audience, reaching #13 in the UK and #5 in the US. The follow-up single "One Hit (To the Body)" was a US top 30 hit and featured a revealing video of Jagger and Richards seeming to trade blows.

Dirty Work was released a week after "Harlem Shuffle", reaching #4 in the UK and US (going platinum there), but the critical reaction was less than enthusiastic. Some reviewers felt the album was slight in places, with weak, generic songwriting from Richards and Wood and puzzlingly abrasive vocals from Jagger. Some felt Jagger was saving his best material for his solo records, though the critical reaction to those releases was muted as well. People named it one of the worst albums of 1986, denoting "The worst fears of the Baby Boomers come true: If the Stones are sounding this old and tired, what does it say about their original fans?"[13]

However, in 1986, Robert Christgau called Dirty Work "a bracing and even challenging record [which] innovates without kowtowing to multi-platinum fashion or half-assed pretension. It's honest and makes you like it."[14] In 2004, Stylus Magazine's "On Second Thoughts" feature assessed the album as "a tattered, embarrassed triumph, by far the most interesting Stones album since Some Girls at every level: lyrical, conceptual, instrumental."[15] The re-evaluation of the album finds that despite its change of style to a then current 80s-style production and experimentation, the album features "the most venomous guitar sound of the Stones' career, and Jagger's most committed vocals."[15]

Keith Richards said that songs on the album were structured so they could be played live with a view to touring to support the album, before Jagger decided he wasn't going to tour after all.[16] (As aforementioned, Jagger later cited his concerns about Charlie's health for not doing so.) The band would later perform One Hit (To the Body) at some dates on their Steel Wheels tour, making it the only song from Dirty Work to be played live.[17]

Dirty Work went on to sell close to 4 million copies worldwide, a good number considering the bad vibe around the band back then, with no tour support and lack of promotion from the band members.[18]

The album produced a US Top 5 hit for the Rolling Stones, the cover of "Harlem Shuffle," and featured a number of guest appearances, including contributions by Tom Waits, Marku Ribas, Patti Scialfa, Bobby Womack, and Jimmy Page on "One Hit (To the Body)".

In 1994 Dirty Work was remastered and reissued by Virgin Records, and again in 2009 by Universal Music. It was released on SHM-SACD in 2011 by Universal Music Japan.

Track listing[edit]

6."Winning Ugly"Jagger, Richards4:32
7."Back to Zero"Jagger, Richards, Chuck Leavell4:00
8."Dirty Work"Jagger, Richards, Wood3:53
9."Had It with You"Jagger, Richards, Wood3:19
10."Sleep Tonight"Jagger, Richards5:10
11."Untitled hidden track" (uncredited excerpt from "Key to the Highway") 0:33


  • An unlisted and uncredited excerpt from "Key to the Highway" (Big Bill Broonzy, Charles Segar - 0:33) closes the album. It was played by Ian Stewart, who died a few months after recording sessions for the album had ended.


The Rolling Stones

Additional personnel

  • Chuck Leavell – keyboards[19]
  • Ivan Neville – backing vocals, bass guitar, organ, synthesizer
  • Jimmy Page – electric guitar on "One Hit (To the Body)"
  • Bobby Womack – backing vocals, electric guitar on "Back to Zero"
  • Philippe Saisse – keyboards
  • Anton Fig – shakers
  • John Regan – bass guitar on "Winning Ugly"
  • Dan Collette – trumpet
  • Ian Stewart – piano
  • Marku Ribas – percussion
  • Jimmy Cliff, Don Covay, Beverly D'Angelo, Kirsty MacColl, Dolette McDonald, Janice Pendarvis, Patti Scialfa and Tom Waits – backing vocals


  • Engineered by Dave Jerden
  • Additional engineer – Steve Parker
  • Assistant engineers – Tom Crich, Mike Krowiak
  • Recorded at Pathe Marconi Studios Paris
  • Mixed at R.P.M. and Right Track Studios N.Y.C.
  • Art direction and package design – Janet Perr
  • Art direction and photography – Annie Leibovitz
  • Inner sleeve artwork – Mark Marek



Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  1. ^Rich, Motoko (1 August 2007). "A Rolling Stone Prepares to Gather His Memories". New York Times. Retrieved 6 March 2008. 
  2. ^Richards, Keith (2010). Life. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-03438-X. OCLC 548642133. 
  3. ^Zentgraf, Nico. "The Complete Works of the Rolling Stones 1962–2008". Retrieved 20 March 2008. 
  4. ^Richards, Keith. Life. Orion (Kindle edition). p. 464 and 470. ISBN 978-0-297-85862-1. 
  5. ^"The Complete Works of the Rolling Stones - Database". Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  6. ^"Dirty Work - The Rolling Stones - CD, LP - Recordsale". Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  7. ^"The Worst Record Covers of All Time - Page 8 - Pitchfork". Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  8. ^link
  9. ^"Robert Christgau: CG: rolling stone". Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  10. ^Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 952. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  11. ^"The Rolling Stones: Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Archived version retrieved 15 November 2014.
  12. ^"The Rolling Stones - Dirty Work/Steel Wheels/Voodoo Lounge And More - Uncut". Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  13. ^"Worst of Song". people.com. 22 December 1986. Archived from the original on 31 March 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2017. 
  14. ^Christgau, Robert (15 April 1986). "Winning Ugly: An Essay on Dirty Work". Village Voice. 
  15. ^ abSoto, Alfred (September 2004). "On Second Thought: Rolling Stones - Dirty Work". Stylus Magazine. 
  16. ^Keith Richards - In His Own Words by Mick St Michael, Omnibus Press, 1994, page 33. ISBN 0-7119-3634-X
  17. ^"The Rolling Stones Tour Statistics - songs played total". setlist.fm. Retrieved March 4, 2018. 
  18. ^"Rolling Stones Popularity Analysis". 2 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016. 
  19. ^Saulnier, Jason (8 April 2010). "Chuck Leavell Interview". Music Legends. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  20. ^ abKent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  21. ^"The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work – austriancharts.at"(ASP). Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  22. ^"Top Albums/CDs - Volume 44, No. 5, April 26, 1986". RPM. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  23. ^"dutchcharts.nl The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work"(ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  24. ^"InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 26 January 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2013. Note: user must select 'The Rolling Stones' from drop-down.
  25. ^"Album Search: The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work"(ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  26. ^ ab"Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1986" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  27. ^Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  28. ^"charts.org.nz The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work"(ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  29. ^"norwegiancharts.com The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work"(ASP). Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  30. ^Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  31. ^"swedishcharts.com The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work"(ASP). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  32. ^"The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work – hitparade.ch"(ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  33. ^"The Rolling Stones > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  34. ^"Allmusic: Dirty Work : Charts & Awards : Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  35. ^ abcdefg"Rolling Stones Billboard Hot 100 history". Rovi Corporation / Billboard. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  36. ^ ab"Rolling Stone singles history – UK charts archive". Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  37. ^"Austriancharts.at - Jahreshitparade 1986". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 9 November 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  38. ^"RPM Top 100 Albums of 1986". RPM. 27 December 1986. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  39. ^"Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1986" (in Dutch). Archived from the original(ASP) on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  40. ^"Les Albums (CD) de 1986 par InfoDisc" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original(PHP) on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  41. ^Billboard Magazine – 1986: The Year in Music & Video. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 27 December 1986. 
  42. ^"Canadian album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work". Music Canada. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  43. ^"French album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work" (in French). InfoDisc. Select THE ROLLING STONES and click OK
  44. ^"Les Albums Or :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  45. ^"Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Rolling Stones; 'Dirty Work')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  46. ^"Dutch album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  47. ^"British album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 February 2012. Enter Dirty Work in the search field and then press Enter.
  48. ^"American album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 16 February 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

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