The first original Rolling Stones song in eight years, the band originally cut "Living In A Ghost Town" in a Los Angeles studio back in 2019. When the coronavirus pandemic started spreading worldwide, Jagger and Richards thought the song would resonate. The four group members fine-tuned the track in isolation and released it on April 23, 2020.
Jagger explained to Zane Lowe of Apple Music that he was jamming on the guitar and quickly penned some lyrics "about being in a place which was full of life but is now bereft of life" in around 10 minutes.
Once the world started locking down because of COVID-19, Jagger and Richards both decided the band should release the reggae-flavored, harmonica-driven track. However, Jagger wanted to rewrite the lyrics. "Some of it is not going to work and some of it was a bit weird and a bit too dark," he explained. "So I slightly rewrote it. I didn't have to rewrite very much, to be honest. It's very much how I originally did it."
The previous original Rolling Stones songs released were "Doom and Gloom
" and "One More Shot
" from the band's 2012 hits collection GRRR!
Dating from sessions with producer Don Was in Los Angeles in 2019, the song became eerily relevant when the pandemic swept the world. Jagger told Uncut magazine. "When I look back on my original lyric notes, I'd written it about being left in a semi-alive state after a plague. It was weird because it wasn't really that different, if you know what I mean. I'd done some of the vocals, but I hadn't really finished them."