Rolling Stones – Wild Horses

This was first released by Gram Parsons’ Flying Burrito Brothers in 1970. The Stones’ version was written in 1969, but had to wait for Sticky Fingers in 1971.

Wild Horses was said to be started as a song for Keith Richards’ newborn son Marlon. It was 1969 and Keith regretted that he had to leave his son to go on tour.

Mick Jagger’s girlfriend at the time, the singer Marianne Faithfull, claims “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away” was the first thing she said to Mick after she pulled out of a drug-induced coma in 1969. Jagger rewrote Keith’s lyrics, keeping only the line “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.” His rewrite was based on his relationship with Marianne Faithfull, which was disintegrating.

The Stones recorded this during a three-day session at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama from December 2-4, 1969. It was the last of three songs done at these sessions, after “Brown Sugar” and “You Gotta Move.” Jim Dickinson played piano on this song. The Stones regular pianist Ian Stewart didn’t want to play it because he hated playing minor chords.

Jim Dickinson went on to be a producer with Aretha Franklin, Big Star and the Replacements, and did a lot of movie soundtrack music with Ry Cooder.

The song was on what is arguably their best album in Sticky Fingers. One year prior to its release on Sticky Fingers, Gram Parsons convinced Jagger and Richards to allow him to record “Wild Horses” with his band The Flying Burrito Brothers. He had become good friends with Richards and helped with the arrangement of “Country Honk” as it appeared on the album Let It Bleed. The song was included on the album Burrito Deluxe released in 1970.

Wild Horses by the Stones peaked at #28 in the Billboard 100 and #11 in Canada in 1971.

Keith Richards: “‘Wild Horses’ almost wrote itself. It was really a lot to do with, once again, f—ing around with the tunings. I found these chords, especially doing it on a twelve-string to start with, which gave the song this character and sound. There’s a certain forlornness that can come out of a twelve-string. I started off, I think, on a regular six-string open E, and it sounded very nice, but sometimes you just get these ideas. What if I open tuned a twelve-string? All it meant was translate what Mississippi Fred McDowell was doing – twelve-string slide – into five-string mode, which meant a ten-string guitar.”

From Songfacs

Parsons was good friends with Keith Richards, and the musicians often cited each other as an influence. Said Parsons: “I picked up some rock and roll from Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger knows an awful lot about country music. I learned a lot about singing from Mick.”

Regarding “Wild Horses,” he said it was “a logical combination between their music and our music. It’s something that Mick Jagger can accept, and it’s something I can accept. And my way of doing it is not necessarily where it’s at, but it’s certainly the way I feel it.” (Quotes from Bud Scoppa’s liner notes in the Sacred Hearts and Fallen Angels collection.)

There are other theories as to Mick’s muse for this song, however. Jagger’s longtime girlfriend Jerry Hall in The Observer Magazine April 29, 2007, said: “‘Wild Horses’ is my favorite Stones song. It’s so beautiful. I don’t mind that it was written for Bianca.” (Not likely, since Jagger didn’t meet his future wife Bianca until 1970, which was after the song was recorded.)

Muscle Shoals Sound Studios (actually located in Sheffield, Alabama) opened in May 1969 when Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records (The Stones’ label) loaned money to four of the musicians at nearby FAME studios so they could start their own company and install 8-track recording equipment (FAME was on 4-track). Wexler sent many of Atlantic’s acts to Muscle Shoals, since the musicians were fantastic and it was a dry county with nothing to do, which meant the artists were more likely to stay focused. The studio also had a distinctive sound that can be heard on this track, especially on Jagger’s vocals – you can hear a slight distortion that was caused by the console.

When The Stones left the Shoals, they headed for Altamont, California, where they gave a free concert on December 6, 1969 – a disastrous show where a fan was stabbed to death by a Hells Angels security guard. In the documentary Gimme Shelter, which chronicles the concert, there is a scene where the band is listening to playback on “Wild Horses” at Muscle Shoals Sound.

The Sticky Fingers album had very elaborate packaging. Designed by Andy Warhol, the cover photo was a close up of a man’s jeans with a real zipper on it. It was also the first time the tongue logo was used.

Stones guitarist Mick Taylor played acoustic guitar on this song in what’s known as “Nashville tuning,” in which you use all first and second strings and you tune them in octaves.

The Chinese rock star Cui Jian sang this with Mick Jagger when The Rolling Stones played a concert in Shanghai on April 8, 2006. Jian was supposed to open for The Stones in 2003, but their Chinese tour was canceled because of S.A.R.S. 

The Sundays covered this song. Their version appears on the soundtrack to Buffy The Vampire Slayer. 

To coincide with the release of Britain’s Got Talent star Susan Boyle’s cover of this song, Universal/Polydor re-released The Rolling Stones’ original as part of a special digital bundle featuring three versions of the track. The other two being a recording backstage during the band’s Voodoo Lounge tour in 1995, which was included on the Stripped live album and a video of a live performance of the song recorded at Knebworth in 1976.

Wild Horses

Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted I bought them for you
Graceless lady you know who I am
You know I can’t let you slide through my hands

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses couldn’t drag me away

I watched you suffer a dull aching pain
Now you’ve decided to show me the same
No sweeping exit or offstage lines
Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses couldn’t drag me away
I know I’ve dreamed you a sin and a lie
I have my freedom but I don’t have much time
Faith has been broken tears must be cried
Let’s do some living after we die

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day

Rolling Stones – I’ve Got The Blues—–Sunday Album Cut

This is a perfect song for a slow Sunday…kick back and enjoy this 1971 classic song by the Stones.

Mick Jagger wrote the lyrics about his breakup with Marianne Faithfull.

Bobby Keys played the saxophone on this track and Jim Price, who also came up with the horn arrangements, played the trumpet. They both joined The Stones for their 1970 European tour. Billy Preston also played the gospel organ on this track.

Sticky Fingers was the first album The Stones recorded on their own label and the first in which Mick Taylor played guitar on nearly all the tracks. The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, and #1 in Canada, and the UK.

Many consider this and Exile on Mainstreet their best albums.

I’ve Got The Blues

As I stand by your flame
I get burned once again
Feelin’ low down, I’m blue

As I sit by the fire
Of your warm desire
I’ve got the blues for you, yeah

Every night you’ve been away
I’ve sat down and I have prayed
That you’re safe in the arms of a guy
Who will bring you alive
Won’t drag you down with abuse

In the silk sheet of time
I will find peace of mind
Love is a bed full of blues

And I’ve got the blues for you
And I’ve got the blues for you
And I’ll bust my brains out for you
And I’ll tear my hair out
I’m gonna tear my hair out just for you
If you don’t believe what I’m singing
At three o’clock in the morning, babe, well
I’m singing my song for you

Rolling Stones – Dead Flowers

When I saw the Stones on the 2006 Bigger Bang tour I was looking forward to this song than any other. It was the second time I had gone to see them. This time it was in Kentucky at the famous Churchill Downs venue that is not meant for Rock and Roll but it was cool.

The lyric “Making bets on Kentucky Derby Day” drew a huge response from the rain-drenched crowd. The song was on the great Sticky Fingers album released in 1971. Gram Parsons who was into country music heavily and hanging around with the Stones probably influence this track to a point.

This song rolled during the final credits of The Big Lebowski. Allen Klein, the ex  Rolling Stones manager and owner of the song initially wanted $150,000 for the movie’s use of it. He was then convinced to let them use it for free when he saw the scene in which The Dude says, “I hate the f—in’ Eagles, man!”. The version in the movie was a Townes Van Zandt cover.

From Songfacts

In this song, Mick Jagger addresses a girl named Susie with more than a little disdain: She’s welcome to send him dead flowers, but he’ll put roses on her grave. The music and lyrics both have a distinct country vibe. Jagger explained in 1995: “I love country music, but I find it very hard to take it seriously. I also think a lot of country music is sung with the tongue in cheek, so I do it tongue-in-cheek. The harmonic thing is very different from the blues. It doesn’t bend notes in the same way, so I suppose it’s very English, really. Even though it’s been very Americanized, it feels very close to me, to my roots, so to speak.”

Mick Jagger, 2003: “The ‘Country’ songs we recorded later, like ‘Dead Flowers’ on Sticky Fingers or Far Away Eyes on Some Girls, are slightly different (than our earlier ones). The actual music is played completely straight, but it’s me who’s not going legit with the whole thing, because I think I’m a blues singer not a country singer – I think it’s more suited to Keith’s voice than mine.” >>

The line, “I’ll be in my basement room with a needle and a spoon” is probably a reference to shooting up heroin. 

Dead Flowers

Well when you’re sitting there in your silk upholstered chair
Talkin’ to some rich folk that you know
Well I hope you won’t see me in my ragged company
Well, you know I could never be alone

Take me down little Susie, take me down
I know you think you’re the queen of the underground
And you can send me dead flowers every morning
Send me dead flowers by the mail
Send me dead flowers to my wedding
And I won’t forget to put roses on your grave

Well when you’re sitting back in your rose pink Cadillac
Making bets on Kentucky Derby Day
Ah, I’ll be in my basement room with a needle and a spoon
And another girl to take my pain away

Take me down little Susie, take me down
I know you think you’re the queen of the underground
And you can send me dead flowers every morning
Send me dead flowers by the mail
Send me dead flowers to my wedding
And I won’t forget to put roses on your grave

Take me down little Susie, take me down
I know you think you’re the queen of the underground
And you can send me dead flowers every morning
Send me dead flowers by the U.S. Mail
Say it with dead flowers in my wedding
And I won’t forget to put roses on your grave
No, I won’t forget to put roses on your grave

Rolling Stones – Moonlight Mile

Next to Memory Motel, this is one of my favorite Stones songs. It has yet to be played into the ground by radio.

Keith Richards was not at the recording session because of one reason or another. Richard likes the song, though. With Richards gone, Mick Taylor did all the guitar work on the recording.

The song was on Sticky Fingers and the album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Chart, #1 in the UK, and #1 in Canada in 1971.

Mick Jagger: That’s a dream song. Those kinds of songs with kinds of dreamy sounds are fun to do, but not all the time – it’s nice to come back to reality.”

From Songfacts

This was the result of an all-night recording session at Stargroves, The Stones’ mobile recording studio. A moonlight mile is a night time cocaine session. 

he working title was “The Japanese Thing.”

Jim Price, who usually arranged horns and played the trumpet and piano.

Paul Buckmaster, known for his work with Elton John, arranged the strings.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal’s Marc Myers, Jagger explained the creation of the song: “I also came up with an Oriental-Indian riff on my acoustic guitar. At some point during the tour I played it for Mick Taylor, because I thought he would like it. At that point, I really hadn’t intended on recording the song. Sometimes you don’t want to record what you’re writing. You think, ‘This isn’t worth recording, this is just my doodling.’

“When we finished our European tour in October 1970, we were at Stargroves… We were sitting around one night and I started working on what I had initially written. I felt great. I was in my house again and it was very relaxing. So the song became about that – looking forward to returning from a foreign place while looking out the window of a train and the images of the railway line going by in the moonlight.”

Moonlight Mile

When the wind blows and the rain feels cold
With a head full of snow
With a head full of snow
In the window there’s a face you know
Don’t the nights pass slow
Don’t the nights pass slow

The sound of strangers sending nothing to my mind
Just another mad mad day on the road
I am just living to be lying by your side
But I’m just about a moonlight mile on down the road

Made a rag pile of my shiny clothes
Gonna warm my bones
Gonna warm my bones
I got silence on my radio
Let the air waves flow
Let the air waves flow

Oh I’m sleeping under strange strange skies
Just another mad mad day on the road
My dreams is fading down the railway line
I’m just about a moonlight mile down the road

I’m hiding sister and I’m dreaming
I’m riding down your moonlight mile
I’m hiding baby and I’m dreaming
I’m riding down your moonlight mile
I’m riding down you moonlight mile

Let it go now, come on up babe
Yeah, let it go now
Yeah, flow now baby
Yeah move on now yeah

Yeah, I’m coming home
‘Cause, I’m just about a moonlight mile on down the road
Down the road, down the road