This tells two stories, a young man shot by police in a case of mistaken identity, and a 10-year girl who dies in an alley of a drug overdose. Neither is based on a true story, but is a commentary on urban America.
Mick Jagger recalled to Uncut magazine in 2020 that he can't remember any specific inspiration. "It's the timing," he said. "New York as a violent place. America as a heavy-handed police state. We can go back 100 years and it's probably even heavier. Obviously, all that time ago it was heavy in a lot of places, heavy now and heavy before."
The horns were arranged by trumpet player Jim Price, who along with Bobby Keys on sax, provided the brass on records and tours for The Stones in the early '70s. This was the last time Price recorded with The Stones. He went on to produce other artists, including Joe Cocker.
Keith Richards played bass and shared lead guitar duties with Mick Taylor.
Billy Preston played the piano.
The Stones played this on their 1973 European tour, even though it describes events in America.
Chuck Findley played trumpet on this. Other artists he worked for include George Harrison, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, the Carpenters, Julio Iglesias, Rod Stewart, Robert Palmer and Madonna.
Agnello Noel from MumbaiHeart breaker, heart breaker You stole the love right out of my heart. -- There's something personal here too maybe.
Jim from Long Beach, CaI love this song. The keyboards by Billy Preston snd the horns by Jim Price and Bobby Keys..
John from New Orleans, LaIf you listen on headphones you can hear all the little nuances in kieths playing. I love how he anticipates the beat. Also- I absolutely love Kieths bass playing. He's always so aggressive on the bass. Examples: Sympathy For The Devil. And listen to all the songs he plays bass on on Exile on Main Street. He also sings back-up on every song on Exile.
Craig from Melbourne, AustraliaGreat funky/heavy riff. For some reason or another, never seems to work live. They just cant get the timing right.
David from Orlando, FlCan't believe there is any question about who played lead on this. In the early '70s Keith was pretty much anchored to solos built on pentatonic scales and Chuck Berry style riffs (listen to his solo on Bitch for a prime example). Mick Taylor had developed considerably more as a virtuoso musician, fluent in many complex scales other than pentatonic, and with a fluid, soaring style featuring his blistering finger speed and beautiful tonal bending quality. He is the guy rippin' it up on this one, while Keith does what he does best, which is holding down the rhythm. On the bootlegs from the Mick Taylor era, there is no "trading off" on anything--Keith anchors the rhythm and Mick Taylor tears it up.
Lazarus from Washington, DcThere is no 'uncertainty' on who plays this lead. It's the incredible Mick Taylor, the best thing that ever happened to the Stones. Keith was asleep at the switch for much of Goat's Head Soup, and if you listen to the Stones' albums that feature Mick Taylor, you'll find some of the best leads anywhere. Want proof? Check out "Sway", "Can you hear me Knockin'", "Moonlight Mile", "Winter" (one of the most underrated songs ever) "Silver Train" and indeed the aformentioned "Heartbreaker". The guy was a genius and never got the recognition he deserved, both in co-writing and his stellar guitar work.
Ptlover from None Ya, KsAwesome! Definately one to listen to.
Jon from London, EnglandI agree... the use of the wah pedal is amazing
Johnny from Los Angeles, CaThis is a possibility, but it may be true that the police are the "Heartbreakers" since they killed the guy because of mistaken indentity. But the reason songfacts has is more likely. I always wondered about the name though....
Brian from Alluhrst, NjI love this song
Jim from Philadelphia, PaAwesome song. I love the wah guitar.
Brick Bradford from L.a., CaMick Taylor plays the amazing guitar solo and wah-wah.
Jon from North Bergen, NjThis track features the finest guitar playing on any Stones recording. Mick Taylor was a noteable British Blues Guitarist and had a short stint with the Stones. He is credited for the 'wah' playing - however, the it is uncertain whether the guitar solo was he or Keith Richards. With its sustain, melody and poise, this was the finest guitar solo on any Stones record.
Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScGreat song! Great beat too! And awesome vocals!
Jo-c from Lima, PeruActually, the story about the kid who was shot is true. I'm not sure about the other one, but the kid story is definitely true. Great song, amazing horns. One of my favourites ever.
Kent Lyle from Palo Alto, CaThe "wah wah" guitar was undoubtedly Taylor, since Richards never seemed to be a wah wah kind of guy.
Shurley from Midland, TxWas Jim Price raised in Midland, Texas. If so, how can I get in touch with him? I have the piano he was raised on. We are moving and we want to sell it. We wanted him or his mother to have the first chance at it. Thanks, Shurley
Mike from Seattle, WaActually the woodwind legend Jim Horn did the lion's share of the sax work on this album, including those monster Baritone parts on this song.
Chelsea from Nyc, OrAll of the "Goat's Head Soup" songs made their live debuts on the 1973 European tour. Billy Preston plays clavinet.
The lyrics to "Heartbreak Hotel" were written by a steel guitar player who was once a dishwasher repairman. He was inspired by a newspaper story about a man who killed himself and left behind a note saying only, "I walk a lonely street."
The third verse of "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies ("they shook and lurched all over the church floor...") was inspired by girl whose parents would speak in tongues at their Pentecostal service.