The Rolling Stones
Writer(s): Mick Jagger, Keith Richards (see lyrics here)
Released: August 20, 1973
First Charted: September 1, 1973
Peak: 11 US, 1 1 CB, 15 GR, 1 2 HR, 1 4 RR, 38 AC, 1 CL, 5 UK, 15 CN, 1 5 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.2 UK, 1.2 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 189.32 video, 316.49 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
At a time when the Rolling Stones typical material “was hard and aggressive,” SF this was “a numb-but-sensitive breakup ballad, a plea for everything to be over.” SG It is “one of the better Rolling Stones’ ballads with a lush melody and a very vulnerable Mick Jagger.” TC The song was written primarily by guitarist Keith Richards FB “about the end stages of a relationship, the time when you’re still in love but making each other miserable. It’s written and sung with sad empathy.” SG
Cynically, it can be viewed as “a song directly targeted to the Stones’ female fans who wanted to view them as broken angels rather than amoral libertine wanderers.” SG However, it “was the song that the Stones needed at that moment. It was…their last grand-scale pop moment for a while.” SG It would be five years before they’d reach the top of the charts again.
As for the song’s subject, there are different rumors. One is that David Bowie’s wife Angela caught her husband in bed with Jagger and the Stones bribed her to keep quiet by writing a song for her. Another suggests that it was about Anita Pallenberg, Richards’ longtime girlfriend. It’s also been said it was about actress Angie Dickinson.
In his autobiography Life, Richards said he wrote it while in a Swiss rehab facility when his withdrawl symptoms starting wearing off and he could move his fingers again well enough to strum his guitar. “Anita was down the road having our daughter.” SF She was named Dandelion Angela, although Richards says the song “was not about any particular person…I didn’t know Angela was going to be called Angela when I wrote ‘Angie.’ In those days you didn’t know what sex the thing was going to be until it popped out.” SF
First posted 10/26/2021; last updated 9/19/2023.