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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.