The big rumor about this song is that it was written about David Bowie's wife, Angela, who wrote in her autobiography that she once walked in on Bowie and Mick Jagger in bed together - a story Jagger denies. According to the rumor, Jagger wrote this song to appease her, but it was Jagger's bandmate Keith Richards who wrote most of the song. Jagger had this to say about it: "People began to say that song was written about David Bowie's wife but the truth is that Keith wrote the title. He said, 'Angie,' and I think it was to do with his daughter. She's called Angela. And then I just wrote the rest of it."
There was also speculation that Richards' girlfriend Anita Pallenberg inspired this song, but Keith cleared it up in his 2010 autobiography Life, where he wrote: "While I was in the [Vevey drug] clinic (in March-April 1972), Anita was down the road having our daughter, Angela. Once I came out of the usual trauma, I had a guitar with me and I wrote 'Angie' in an afternoon, sitting in bed, because I could finally move my fingers and put them in the right place again, and I didn't feel like I had to s--t the bed or climb the walls or feel manic anymore. I just went, 'Angie, Angie.' It was not about any particular person; it was a name, like ohhh, Diana. I didn't know Angela was going to be called Angela when I wrote 'Angie.' In those days you didn't know what sex the thing was going to be until it popped out." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
A rare ballad for The Stones, this was the first single released from Goat's Head Soup. It wasn't typical of their sound, since most of the band's material at the time was hard and aggressive. Still, it was a huge hit, and their only ballad that hit #1 in the US.
This is one of the few Rolling Stones songs that is acoustic.
Keith Richards wrote this song in Switzerland after the Exile on Main St. album had been approved by the record company, but before it was released. "Angie" was one of the first songs The Stones recorded for Goat's Head Soup, which they first attempted in Jamaica at the Dynamic Sounds studio in Kingston. They got very little done at these sessions, arriving nightly with armed escort and locking the doors until they were done for the day. Much of the album was done at sessions in Los Angeles and London under more hospitable conditions.
The Angela Bowie rumor picked up steam in 1990, when she went on The Joan Rivers Show and claimed she once walked in on David Bowie and Mick Jagger in bed together naked. What's even more shocking is that Rivers had her own talk show. She was quickly replaced by Arsenio Hall.
Nicky Hopkins played piano on this track. He became part of the band's inner circle after working on the 1966 Stones album Between The Buttons. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
In 2005 German chancellor Angela Merkel appropriated this acoustic ballad for her Christian Democratic Union Party. "We're surprised that permission wasn't requested," said a Stones spokesman of Merkel's choice of song. "If it had been, we would have said no."
The line from this song, "Ain't it time we said goodbye," was used as the title to Robert Greenfield's 2014 book, which chronicles his time covering the Stones' 1971 British tour and their Exile on Main St. sessions for Rolling Stone magazine. Greenfield is not a fan of the song, however, calling it "soppy and far too sweet for my taste."