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Memory Motel by The Rolling Stones

Album: Black And BlueReleased: 1976
  • The Memory Motel is in Montauk on Long Island. It's near The Church Estate, which Andy Warhol bought in 1972. Arthur Schneider, who owns the Memory Motel, told us that The Stones stayed at Warhol's estate when they were on tour in 1975-'76. (They were good friends with Warhol, who designed the Sticky Fingers album cover.) Since the Memory Motel was the only place in the area with a pool table and a piano, The Stones would occasionally come by and hang out at the bar. The owners at the time were not impressed - they hated The Stones.
  • It's widely speculated that "Hannah Honey" with the curled nose is none other than Carly Simon. Jagger had been romantically linked to Carly around this time, and her physical traits are eerily similar to the song's descriptions. One theory is that Simon wrote "You're So Vain" after a one-night-stand with Jagger at The Memory Motel. Simon has never said who that song is about. (thanks, Justin - New York, NY)
  • Mick Jagger and Keith Richards duet on vocals. Richards did not play guitar on this.
  • With Mick Taylor gone, The Stones were auditioning lead guitarists while recording Black And Blue. Harvey Mandel from Canned Heat played lead on this while session man Wayne Perkins played acoustic, but Ron Wood eventually got the job.
  • Jagger played the acoustic piano, Richards the electric piano, and Billy Preston the synthesizer.
  • On their live album No Security, Dave Matthews duets with Jagger in place of Richards. Matthews joined The Stones onstage from time to time and also sang this with Jagger on a televised St. Louis concert in 1997. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
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Comments: 19

'Hannah' in Memory Motel is a reference to Annie Liebovitz. Annie was the tour photographer for the Stones' Tour of The Americas, and she was with the band when they rehearsed at Andy Warhol's complex near Montauk in June/July 1975. They also spent a few days upstate at an airfield in Newburgh, NY familiarizing themselves with the articulated 'lotus' stage which was set up in a hangar. It was during this time they played Brown Sugar on a flatbed truck in the streets of Manhattan to promote the tour; and Annie photographed Mick's stitched-up wrist in a local emergency room after he pushed his hand through a glass door at a restaurant. Mick, Keith, and Ronnie stayed at the Warhol complex, while Charlie, Bill, Stu, and Billie Preston stayed elsewhere. I don't recall seeing Ollie Brown there. TOTA was Ronnie's first tour with the Stones. They set their equipment up in the living room of the main house, and in the evenings ran through the songs they had rehearsed for the Tour, playing into early the next morning. I recall that Mick's 6.9 Mercedes 300SEL and Keith's blue Bentley Continental were there, and someone showed up in an AMC Pacer...an egg-shaped 2-door car with large windows. There was a curved driveway in front of the main house, and everyone took turns behind the Pacer's wheel.Chuck Boone - La Cresecnta, Ca, Ca
I can't debate the actual location of Memory Motel - if it is in Montauk or East Hampton, but it is on Montauk Highway - which may run through part of the Hamptons. Anyways, I was out there a few times when I was younger on fishing trips with my good buddy and our dads and we drove by the Memory Motel. I have pictures of it still. It was a pretty cool moment getting to see it - especially since I love that song. Also, as far as Carly Simon goes for the character I know there are rumors of Mick bedding her but I didn't know it was near or at the Memory Motel... Anyways, I had heard that song is actually about Warren Beatty? Could be wrong on that one though.Greg - Harrington Park, Nj
1st off, the Memory Motel is in Montauk, Long Island; not the Hamptons, Long Island. I had a summer home in Montauk, so I know this for a fact.
The reference 'bout Banton Rouge in the song refers to one of the first stops on the Stones Tour of American in 1975, the Stones were at Andy Warhol's place in Montauk rehearsing for the upcoming tour of America. There is another reference 'bout San Antonio, Texas... another stop on the tour.
If you ask me, this song is about a woman Mick was with while rehearsing in Montauk, but she had to leave to go sing in a bar in Boston and he is thinking about her while he is on tour, he just can't get her out of his mind. Haven't we all been there!
Who that woman is, only Jagger knows.
Ron - Santa Barbara, Ca
I'd interpret the song as more of a montage than a place in Montauk, as Baton Rouge is some distance from Long Island. Beautiful song. Likewise I'm unaware of any motel with 22 floors, but let the song be yours in your heart. Sometimes with Facebook, you have to accept that people are just memories of loves that used to mean so much.Matt - Washington, Dc, Dc
The Stones can certainly paint a picture both lyrically and musically. Cool little video too and love the history of one of my fav spots on the Island!Chris Ray - Fleming Island,fl., Fl
This song is underrated...I only discovered it less than a year ago, and I wish I knew of it sooner. It's so beautiful, one of my top 5 favorite Stones songs. I love Keith's vocals, and the inflection in Mick's voice throughout the song.Kim - Wappingers Falls, Ny
I agree with Madeline if carly simon wrote your so vain about mick why would she ask him to sing back up?Ashley - Quincy, Il
Carly Simon most likely wrote YOU'RE SO VAIN about Warren Beatty. I've read her comments where she beat around the bush to the point of almost admitting it was about Warren, but not quite.Susan - Toronto, Canada
I have never thought "You're So Vain" was about Mick Jagger - He sings background vocals! He just might be that vain...come to think of itMadeline - Grass Valley, Ca
Perfect.. What more can I say?Mr. B - Doon Bish, England
One of my alltime fav stones songs - LUV MEMORY MOTEL! Another Stones gem (an underated one in my opinion) is "If I was a Dancer (Part II)" I luv Micks growling & the heavy funk/rockin it. Brings back funtimes growing up on L.I. Can't wait to visit Montauk & the "Memory" :)
Peace. LH, NYC
Lisa - New York, Ny
Charlies drums sound incredible on this track. IN fact, his drums sound on Black and Blue is miles ahead of anything the band recorded up to this time. You see, the Stones recorded Charlie's drums virtually the same way since Brown Sugar in 1969. That is, snar mic, overhead mic for the toms, and bass mic. Thats it! On this album, its obvious they dedided to go for a more hi-tech sound.Craig - Melbourne, Australia
Music fans have always hotly debated whether "You're So Vain" was written about Mick Jagger or Warren Beatty, and Carly kept her mouth pointedly shut about the verdict. Until a dinner party last year. She told a group of friends the correct answer to that question and immediately convinced them to swear secrecy. Now, all she will say is the cong is about "...a man whose name contains an A, an E, and an R." So there we go, right back where we started from.Steve - Birmingham, Al
The Memory IS in "The Hamptons, Long Island." Montauk is the eastern most hamlet of East Hampton.Nick - East Hampton, Ny
It's so shocking when Mick's voice changes to Keith's in this song. Anyway, I dislike/hate You're So Vain. If it's about Mick Jagger, I have more reason to hate it. From this song it sounds like they are both pretty vain.Johnny - Los Angeles, Ca
Great song. I miss Long Island and the beach. This song "feels" like Montauk.Helene - Orlando, Fl
The song was written about the Memory Motel out in Montauk on Long Island. The Stones stayed at Andy Warhol's estate out there around the time they were writing material for Black and Blue. They visited the bar at the Memory a few times, and incorporated it into the song.

It's also widely reported that "Hannah Honey" is Carly Simon - as legend has it that Mick bedded her at the Memory.
Justin - New York, Ny
i always thought it was written at the 'Memory Motel' out in the Hamptons, Long Island. There is a hotel by that name and they had stayed there.Jay - Charlotte, Nc
a very unlike stones song....itmeans precisely wot it says.Dhrupad - Guwahati, India