♫ Honky Tonk Women ♫

A few days ago when I played Get Off Of My Cloud by the Rolling Stones, this one was mentioned by a couple of you in comments, and I was rather surprised to find that I hadn’t played it here before, but according to my archives, I haven’t (sometimes those archives lie to me, though).  Funny … I always thought this was “Honky Tonk Woman”, but it’s not … it’s “Women” plural!  Learn something new every day!

This was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.  According to Keith Richards, the song had its origins …

“… in Brazil. Mick and I, Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg who was pregnant with my son at the time. Which didn’t stop us going off to the Mato Grasso and living on this ranch. It’s all cowboys. It’s all horses and spurs. And Mick and I were sitting on the porch of this ranch house and I started to play, basically fooling around with an old Hank Williams idea. ‘Cause we really thought we were like real cowboys. Honky tonk women. And we were sitting in the middle of nowhere with all these horses, in a place where if you flush the john all these black frogs would fly out. It was great. The chicks loved it. Anyway, it started out a real country honk put on, a hokey thing. And then couple of months later we were writing songs and recording. And somehow by some metamorphosis it suddenly went into this little swampy, black thing, a Blues thing. Really, I can’t give you a credible reason of how it turned around from that to that. Except there’s not really a lot of difference between white country music and black country music. It’s just a matter of nuance and style. I think it has to do with the fact that we were playing a lot around with open tunings at the time. So we were trying songs out just to see if they could be played in open tuning. And that one just sunk in.”

Lead guitarist Brian Jones was a founding member of the group and was considered their leader in their early years. Unfortunately, drug abuse made him pretty much worthless by 1969, and when The Stones finished recording Honky Tonk Women on June 8, 1969, they drove to his house and fired him. The single was released July 3, 1969, the same day Jones was found dead in his swimming pool.  The single was given away to all the fans who helped clean up after The Stones free concert in Hyde Park on July 5, 1969. This was the first concert Mick Taylor played with the band. A life-size cutout of Brian Jones, who died two days earlier, was kept on stage and the show was dedicated to him.

Mick Taylor had taken over for Brian Jones on lead guitar, and this was his first appearance on a Stones recording. Taylor claims he came up with the famous guitar riff, even though Richards plays it.

This was banned in China. When the group made arrangements to play there for the first time in 2003, they had to agree not to play this, “Brown Sugar,” “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” and “Beast Of Burden.” They ended up not playing because of a respiratory disease that was going around China.

This song hit #1 in both the UK and U.S., and was in the top #5 almost everywhere it played!

Honky Tonk Women

Rolling Stones

I met a gin-soaked, bar-room queen in Memphis
She tried to take me upstairs for a ride
She had to heave me right across her shoulder
‘Cause I just can’t seem to drink you off my mind

It’s the honky tonk women
Gimme, gimme, gimme the honky tonk blues

I laid a divorcée in New York City
I had to put up some kind of a fight
The lady then she covered me with roses
She blew my nose and then she blew my mind

It’s the honky tonk women
Gimme, gimme, gimme the honky tonk blues
It’s the honky tonk women
Gimme, gimme, gimme the honky tonk blues

It’s the honky tonk women
Gimme, gimme, gimme the honky tonk blues

Writer/s: Keith Richards, Mick Jagger
Publisher: Abkco Music Inc.
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

15 thoughts on “♫ Honky Tonk Women ♫

  1. One appeal about The Rolling Stones was aside from a few drifts (the cringeable ‘We Love You’…but the beautiful ‘Lady Jane’) they tended to stick to their blues and rock roots.
    This one, like’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ and ‘Brown Sugar’ conjures up that american bad boy a’wandering into bad places, doing bad things, heading on down that crossroads…. Still paying homage to Robert Johnson.

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  2. Pingback: ♫ Honky Tonk Women ♫ — Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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