Honky Tonk Women (3:34)

Cover of Rolled Gold +

From Rolled Gold + and 120 other releases

Honky Tonk Women is a 1969 hit song by The Rolling Stones. Released as a single on 4 July 1969 in the UK and a week later in the US, it topped the charts in both nations.

Two versions of the song were recorded by the band: the familiar hit which appeared on the 45 single and their collection of late 1960s singles, Through The Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2); and a honky-tonk version entitled “Country Honk” with slightly different lyrics, which appeared on Let it Bleed. The concert rendition of the song featured on Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out differs from both the hit version and the country version, with a markedly different guitar introduction and an entirely different second verse.

The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards while on vacation in Brazil from late December 1968 to early January 1969. Inspired by Brazilian gauchos at the ranch where Jagger and Richards were staying, the song was originally conceived as an acoustic country song. Richards has said: ” was originally written as a real Hank Williams/Jimmie Rogers/1930s country song.”

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, while “Country Honk” sets the first verse in Jackson.

Recorded in London in early February 1969 without Brian Jones, the band initially recorded the track called “Country Honk”. The song was transformed into the familiar electric, riff-based hit single “Honky Tonk Women” sometime in the spring of 1969, prior to Mick Taylor’s joining the group.


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