The Stones recorded this during a three-day session at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama from December 2-4, 1969. It was the last of three songs done at these sessions, after "Brown Sugar
" and "You Gotta Move."
Muscle Shoals Sound Studios (actually located in Sheffield, Alabama) opened in May 1969 when Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records (The Stones' label) loaned money to four of the musicians at nearby FAME studios so they could start their own company and install 8-track recording equipment (FAME was on 4-track). Wexler sent many of Atlantic's acts to Muscle Shoals, since the musicians were fantastic and it was a dry county with nothing to do, which meant the artists were more likely to stay focused. The studio also had a distinctive sound that can be heard on this track, especially on Jagger's vocals - you can hear a slight distortion that was caused by the console.
When The Stones left the Shoals, they headed for Altamont, California, where they gave a free concert on December 6, 1969 - a disastrous show where a fan was stabbed to death by a Hells Angels security guard. In the documentary Gimme Shelter
, which chronicles the concert, there is a scene where the band is listening to playback on "Wild Horses" at Muscle Shoals Sound.