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"
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
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