Album: Sticky Fingers (1971)
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  • Lyrics
  • 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."
  • Despite (or maybe because of) the rather provocative title, this became one of the more popular Rolling Stones songs, often appearing in their setlists. It wasn't released as a single, but got plenty of play on rock radio.

    In 1974, Elton John broke the "bitch" barrier on pop radio with "The Bitch Is Back," which went to #4 in the US.
  • 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.
  • Speaking with Rolling Stone, Keith Richards said: "It comes off pretty smooth, but it's quite tricky. There's an interesting bridge you have to watch out for. Otherwise, it's straightforward rock and soul that we love. It's Charlie Watts' meat and potatoes."
  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
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Comments: 25

  • Movieball Jones from ParisClassic greatness. In the Bitch Extended version on the Sticky Fingers reissue, the early lyrics are clearly about cocaine, hence "I'm so tired, ain't had a bump all week." The whole first verse is about fiending for bumps of blow...the only thing that makes your heart starts beating like a big bass drum. Remember, Keith showed up late to this session, the lyrics are all Mick. Amazing song, the extended version is superior because lyrics are more raw and music mire out of control. Keith's honking Chuck Berry lead kills.
  • Adrian from London, United KingdomIt'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 it
  • Richie from Ft Worth, Tx, Tx@ 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"
  • Deethewriter from Saint Petersburg, Russia FederationTaken 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."
  • Zero from Nowhere, NjNo 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.
  • Rick from Landrum, ScAccording to some people, every song is about drugs. Get a clue! Also, Richards was the only band member that was into heroin. Great song.
  • Johnny from Kyoto, JapanI think Heroin and Love are virtually interchangeable for song interpretations. They both make you lose your s--t.
  • Crazy68 from Long Beach, CaI believe the song is about Heroin, which a few of these gentlemen were addicted to. However, many songs have ambigous meanings...
  • Robert from Detroit, MiMy 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!
  • Dane from Lima,ohio, FlA groove that just won't quit.One of their best songs,off their best regular(not a hits album).The horns make it swing.
  • Brian from Boston, MaThis is the Stones best album.So much talk about Exile on Main St.Sticky fingers is better
  • Josh from Tucson, AzIt 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.
  • Chris from Niagara Falls, Nynote that the song says charlie in it..charlie watts...
  • Steve from Binghamton, NyAre 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 :)
  • Susan from Toronto, CanadaFor 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"!!!!
  • Paul from Tampa, FlI 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
  • James from Gettysburg, PaGod bless you Maya and Sandra, this song kicks ass! Love can be a bitch someimes.
  • Steve from Winnipeg, Canadalove the name hahaha lol jk
  • Chuck from C-ville, VaOne of Keith's best solos.
  • Bill from Erie, PaThe 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".
  • Pepper from Virginia Beach, Vaif 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.
  • Ethan from Portland, OrAlso 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?
  • Maya from Cal, United Statesyeah i love this song, and sandra's right.. frig women's groups.. lol.. they shouldn't even try messin with the stones
  • Sandra from Tx, United StatesOh, frig women's groups. I consider myself a feminist, but that doesn't have anything to do with the music I love.
  • Chelsea from Nyc, OrKeith played the solo on this song during the '72/'73 tours when Taylor was playing almost all the other solos.
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