This song is a swipe at The Stones' home country of England. They imply that the people are lazy and the politicians incompetent. The Stones rarely performed in England because of the huge taxes that were levied on entertainers; it was much more profitable for them to live and work elsewhere.
A "hang fire" is a delay from when a trigger is pulled and the gun actually fires. The metaphor could apply to the lazy people who won't take action. It's also a great phrase to sing, which Mick Jagger does a few different ways throughout the song, sometimes stretching out "fire," and other times keeping it contained.
The Stones first recorded the track in 1978 at the Some Girls sessions. Lyrics were added and it was repackaged for Tattoo You.
The original title was "Lazy Bitch," probably referring to British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
This was released as a single in America but not England.
Zero from Nowhere, NjI used to think they were saying, "Hang Five", like it was some kind of surfing term, like "Hang Ten". Idk the song kinda sounds surfy, so I figured...
Craig from Newport Beach, CaThe "Lazy Bitch" demo could not have referred to Margaret Thatcher because it was recorded during the Some Girls sessions before Thatcher was even elected PM.
Craig from Newport Beach, CaMick Jagger praised Margaret Thatcher for making England more productive, so "lazy bitch" almost certainly did not refer to her. More likely it referred to an ex of his. Margaret Thatcher reversed the trend the song refers to.
Joe from Fairfax, VaThis song is about gambling I always thought. Hang Fire means to wager a bet against the odds.
Johnny from Los Angeles, CaI always thought this was an ANTHEM for lazy people!
Rob from Santa Monica, CaCombines the rock simplicity of Some Girls with the clean production of Tattoo You, resulting in one of the most fun Stones songs ever.
Jim from North Billerica, MaA "Hang fire" happens when you pull the trigger on a rifle or pistol and nothing happens for a few seconds, then the gun goes off without warning, in a delayed reaction. A misfire is where you pull the trigger and NOTHING happens. Needless to say, hangfires are quite dangerous.