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Bitch by The Rolling Stones

Album: Sticky FingersReleased: 1971
  • Love is the "bitch," not any specific woman. Mick Jagger had many relationships he could base this on, including his breakup with Marianne Faithfull. He broke up with her after she tried to commit suicide while they were in Australia in late 1969 (Mick was filming Ned Kelly). As soon as Marianne recovered, Mick dumped her.
  • The Stones recorded this song, and many others on the album, at the Stargroves estate in Hampshire, England using their mobile recording unit manned by engineer Andy Johns. Keith Richards arrived at Stargroves after his bandmates had been working on this song for a while with little success. According to Johns, the song sounded sluggish until Richards strapped on his guitar. "He put on his clear Perspex guitar and kicked up the tempo," Johns said. "The song went from a laconic mess to being all about the groove. Just instantly. As soon as Keith started playing, he transformed the song into what it was meant to be."
  • Released as a single, this did not chart, probably because it was banned from many radio stations for its sexual content and outrageous title.
  • Along with "Under My Thumb," this didn't help the Stones' image with women's groups.
  • The album cover was designed by Andy Warhol. It was a close-up photo of a man in a pair of jeans complete with an actual zipper. The zipper caused problems in shipment because it scratched the record. They figured out that if they opened the zipper before shipment, it did minimal damage.
  • This features Bobby Keys on sax and Jim Price on trumpet. They provided horns on albums and tours for The Stones in the early '70s.
  • The Goo Goo Dolls covered this in 1997 on the compilation album No Alternative.
  • The album title Sticky Fingers refers to the aptitude of a person who is likely to steal. It went well with the lawless image The Stones put forward. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
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Comments: 24

It's obvious what the song is about, and it's not about stealing! It's about H! About being strung out on H. You gotta mix it child You gotta fix itAdrian - London, United Kingdom
@ Robert from Detroit .. there is a live version on youtube -- from the bigger bang tour -- it is clear what he
sings in that version .. the word is "stoned" ..which makes sense with the last part of that stanza "ain't touched a thing all week"
Richie - Ft Worth, Tx, Tx
Taken from Original Rolling Stone Review [June 10, 1971]: "Jagger in one of his most popular poses: demonic. here he flaunts naughty words and naughty thoughts as if he still thought they were naughty. The arrangement is straight-ahead. The horns sound great here as they are used primarily for purposes of syncopation and rhythm. The bass and drums — the Rolling Stones bottom that has driven its way through over 200 cuts and which is the true instrumental trademark of the group — burns like a bitch."Deethewriter - Saint Petersburg, Russia Federation
No alternative may have been RELEASED in 1997, but most of the songs are from the 1992-ish era. Don't really know though, the copy I have was burned for me by a friend. And yeah great song, I like both versions.Zero - Nowhere, Nj
According to some people, every song is about drugs. Get a clue! Also, Richards was the only band member that was into heroin. Great song.Rick - Landrum, Sc
I think Heroin and Love are virtually interchangeable for song interpretations. They both make you lose your s--t.Johnny - Kyoto, Japan
I believe the song is about Heroin, which a few of these gentlemen were addicted to. However, many songs have ambigous meanings...Crazy68 - Long Beach, Ca
My band is just learning this song and I think there is a mistake in the lyrics. For the second stanza, Mick doesn't say "tired." He says something else that sounds like "strong" or "distraught." Can't quite make it out, but it isn't "tired." It's not unusual for lyrics to be repetative, but why repeat the same line right at the beginning of the song.? He's hungry, drunk and tired. What else could he be? Anybody who can figure out the word gets a prize!Robert - Detroit, Mi
A groove that just won't quit.One of their best songs,off their best regular(not a hits album).The horns make it swing.Dane - Lima,ohio, Fl
This is the Stones best album.So much talk about Exile on Main St.Sticky fingers is betterBrian - Boston, Ma
It seems as if Mick Jagger is singing this song as if he is being called a bitch. "Yeah when you call my name". So women, don't worry, its not about you.Josh - Tucson, Az
note that the song says charlie in it..charlie watts...Chris - Niagara Falls, Ny
Are you kidding me? Sticky Fingers was the album with the zipper on the front. You don't have to be Einstein to figure out that the phrase didn't have anything to do with stealing....and yeah, I always thought the song itself was about being addicted to pharmeceuticals :)Steve - Binghamton, Ny
For years I thought the line, "I'm feeling hungry, can't see the reason," was actually, "I'm failing Harvard, can't see the reason"!!!!Susan - Toronto, Canada
I have a different theory on what this song is about. I always believed it to be about a drug habit and not a woman. Look at the chorus." you got to mix it , you got to fix it, love it's a bitch" Sounds like the love of the drug is the bitch.
Anyone else agree?
Paul, Fl
Paul - Tampa, Fl
God bless you Maya and Sandra, this song kicks ass! Love can be a bitch someimes.James - Gettysburg, Pa
love the name hahaha lol jkSteve - Winnipeg, Canada
One of Keith's best solos.Chuck - C-ville, Va
The Stones played this at their first-ever gig in China, in response to the PRC's government censoring about 5 of their songs. Their point was that "censorship is a bitch".Bill - Erie, Pa
if an alien came down to earth and asked me to play one Stones song to explain what they are all about, this would no doubt be the one.Pepper - Virginia Beach, Va
Also this is hardly a mysogonistic song - it's about the perils of love and the power women hold over men. It's quite empowering, isn't it?Ethan - Portland, Or
yeah i love this song, and sandra's right.. frig women's groups.. lol.. they shouldn't even try messin with the stonesMaya - Cal, United States
Oh, frig women's groups. I consider myself a feminist, but that doesn't have anything to do with the music I love.Sandra - Tx, United States
Keith played the solo on this song during the '72/'73 tours when Taylor was playing almost all the other solos.Chelsea - Nyc, Or