The Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women" was released today in 1969 in the USA

July 19, 2017

The Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women"

is released today in 1969 in the US

It became the fifth

of their eight Billboard number one hits

Honky Tonk Women was written

by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

while on holiday in Brazil

from late December 1968 to early January 1969

inspired by Brazilian "caipiras"

(inhabitants of rural, remote areas of parts of Brazil)

at the ranch where Jagger and Richards

were staying in Matão, São Paulo

Keith Richards credits Mick Taylor

for influencing the track:

"The song was originally written as a real Hank Williams/Jimmie Rodgers/1930s country song.

It got turned around to this other thing by Mick Taylor, who got into a completely different feel, throwing it off the wall another way"

In 1979 Mick Taylor humbly recalled it this way:

"I definitely added something to Honky Tonk Women, but it was more or less complete by the time I arrived with the Stones and did my overdubs"

A honky-tonk version entitled "Country Honk"

with slightly different lyrics

appeared on the Let It Bleed album

Thematically, a "honky tonk woman"

refers to a dancing girl in a western bar 

who may work as a prostitute;

The setting for the narrative in the first verse of the blues version is Memphis, Tennessee:

"I met a gin soaked bar-room queen in Memphis"

"Country Honk"

sets the first verse in Jackson,Mississippi:

"I'm sittin' in a bar, tippin' a jar in Jackson"

The Rolling Stones

  • Mick Jagger – lead vocals

  • Keith Richards – lead guitar, rhythm guitar, background vocals

  • Mick Taylor – lead guitar

  • Bill Wyman – bass

  • Charlie Watts – drums

Additional personnel

  • Reparata and the Delrons – background vocals

  • Nanette Workman – background vocals (credited as "Nanette Newman")

  • Doris Troy – background vocals

  • Ian Stewart – piano

  • Jimmy Miller – cowbell

  • Steve Gregory and Bud Beadle – saxophones​

 

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