The lyrics were seemingly inspired by Mick Jagger's deteriorating relationship with his wife, Bianca. Jagger has claimed otherwise, saying: "'Miss You' is an emotion, it's not really about a girl. To me, the feeling of longing is what the song is."
Session musicians included Sugar Blue (James Whiting) on harmonica, Mel Collins on sax and Ian MacLagan on electric piano. Collins had played with King Crimson, MacLagan had been in the band Faces with Stones guitarist Ron Wood. Sugar Blue was from Harlem, but was playing in the Paris metro (their subway) when someone from The Stones record company heard him and brought him to the sessions.
The bassline, horns and drums gave this a disco sound. It alienated many of their fans, but also propelled it to the top of the charts. The Stones thought of it as more R&B than disco.
Drummer Charlie Watts explained: "A lot of those songs like 'Miss You' were heavily influenced by going to the discos. You can hear it in a lot of those four on the floor rhythms and the Philadelphia-style drumming. Mick and I used to go to discos a lot... It was a great period. I remember being in Munich and coming back from a club with Mick singing one of the Village People songs - 'Y.M.C.A.', I think it was - and Keith went mad, but it sounded great on the dance floor."
Suggestion credit: Bertrand - Paris, France
This was the first single released from Some Girls. Jagger took a lead role on the album, mainly because Keith Richards had been arrested for drug possession in Toronto the previous year, and it was unclear what his sentence would be. Facing a maximum of life in prison, Keith had other things to worry about besides making an album. After this was released, the Canadian judge sentenced Richards to continue his addiction treatment and play a benefit concert for the blind.
Jagger and Billy Preston came up with the basic track while touring Europe in 1976. Stones bassist Bill Wyman said: "The idea for those bass lines came from Billy Preston. We'd cut a rough demo a year or so earlier after a recording session. I'd already gone home, and Billy picked up my old bass when they started running through that song. He started doing that bit because it seemed to be the style of his left hand. So when we finally came to do the tune, the boys said, Why don't you work around Billy's idea? So I listened to it once and heard that basic run and took it from there. It took some changing and polishing, but the basic idea was Billy's."
The same day they recorded this track, The Stones came up with the idea for "Start Me Up."
This is a rare Stones song with a dominant bassline. Many of their songs were driven by the rhythm guitar of Keith Richards.
This was the first song The Stones released as a 12-inch single. It was an extended dance mix that ran 8:36 and was released on pink vinyl. This version is not available on CD.
This was the last of eight #1 hits for The Rolling Stones in America.
When this song hit the charts, some other rockers felt safe entering the disco waters. Most notably Rod Stewart, who went disco with "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" after hearing this song and seeing that The Stones were getting away with it. Stewart's song was a huge hit, but he faced more of a backlash from rock fans as he seemed to embrace the genre. Rather than shy away from his sexy smash, Stewart embraced it, making the song a staple of his setlists (somewhat ironically) throughout his career.
In the book Playboy Interviews with John Lennon & Yoko Ono (the book version has sections that were edited out of the official interview published in the magazine), Lennon is quoted as saying: "'Bless You' is again about Yoko. I think Mick Jagger took 'Bless You' and turned it into 'Miss You'... The engineer kept wanting me to speed that up - he said, 'This is a hit song if you'd just do it fast.' He was right. 'Cause as 'Miss You' it turned into a hit. I like Mick's record better. I have no ill feelings about it. I think it's a GREAT Stones track, and I really love it. But I do hear that lick in it."
Suggestion credit: Susan - Toronto, Canada
Blues legend Etta James covered this on her year 2000 album Matriarch Of The Blues. It was usually the other way around for The Stones, as they covered many Blues songs in their early years.
Van Halen used the bassline to this on their 1981 song "Push Comes To Shove."
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards performed this at the 2001 "Concert For New York," which helped victims of the attacks on The World Trade Center.
In 2002, Dr. Dre re-mixed this for the Austin Powers In: Goldmember soundtrack.
Melinda from AustraliaLove this song. You can feel the longing in every lyric. I always loved the vivid lyric ‘we’re gonna come around at 12 with some Puerta Rican girls that are just dyin to meet you, we’re gonna bring a case of wine’. Clearly, those lyrics come directly from Mick Jaggers real life experience . Girls dyin to meet him.
The slow sexiness of this song was what struck me when I first heard it. It proved to me that despite all the endless groupies and real long term girlfriends/wives Mick Jagger had, he missed some of them deeply by separation. Just like everyone else. Marianne Faithfull nearly destroyed him in the early days. I bought Emotional Rescue too. And loved that song. I’m different, I believe Keith Richard’s insistence on sticking to R’n’b, rock and roll and blues, hindered Mick Jagger’s musical genius. It’s a fact Jagger wrote Miss You when Keith Richard wasn’t around to put a stop to it. Miss You’s brilliance is proof of what Mick jagger could have achieved without Keith Richard’s constant determination to disallow modern influences. Miss You is a perfect example of the time it came out.
Markantney from BiloxeSep16, Though the Stones say it's more R&B than Disco, at the time, if an R&B song was popular and played in Disco clubs; I don't recall a big distinction between the two categories?
Very weird how huuuuuggggeeee Disco was in its prime but once folks came down from their highs and it wasn't as popular, no one wants to claim it:):)
This song was big in the "Hood", it actually got us looking-listening for more Stones songs.
Glenn from New Paltz, NyThe missing lyrics referencing girls and streetcars may have been edited (butchered) by radio programmers. The lyrics are on all of my copies, both vinyl and CD. This is not the first time that political correctness has reared its ugly head and edited the art of the singer. Who Are You...by The Who has also been edited by radio stations recently. I am flabbergasted that censorship has gotten to this level. We really have gone NUTS here in the good ole US of A!
Diva1 from Pasadena, Tx[the book Jagger Unauthorized by chistopher anderson says this song is was inspired by micks studio 54 nights with jerry hall pg 336- Iceman, South Glastonbury, CT] Nonsense, Anderson was a hack. It's most likely about Bianca. The song was written before he began his affair with Jerry Hall, and recorded while he was living with Hall, separated from Bianca. The song is about loss, the pain of separation - that's what gave/gives it resonance. In an interview before his death, Lennon, talking about the song, said, 'It's sad, but at least Mick got a song out of his divorce from Bianca.'
Jay from Brooklyn, NyThe opening line of this song always sounded to me like "I've been haulin' ass so long". I knew that I was hearing wrong because I don't think you can say that on the radio, but I could never figure out what the actual words were.
Walda from Clearwater, FlMolly Roseburg, OR Wow! I can't believe someone actually heard the same line in "Miss You" as I did ~ "girls will come and go, they're just like streetcars." Thank you Molly, I thought I was crazy. Thank you, I can finally get some "satisfaction". W. Emerson
Russell from Chicago, IlSugar Blue's harp makes this good song great.
Lee from Atlanta, GaThe "disco version" extended lyrics are as follows:
Yeah, we gonna do up this town We gonna mess and fool around Hey Man! What's with you? Yeah, you been strung out for too long You know girls will come and go They're just like streetcars! I said, I been standing here too long You know something, I feel abandoned! Woo Baby!
Danny from Your Town, IaI agree, the bass line makes this song. One of my favorite Stone's song. Keith has said many times that he initially hated this song and that Mick was up to his ass in the disco/ cub scene, which Keith wanted to keep it rock.
Chris from Niagara Falls, NyThe song is amazing...the 8:30 minute cut is sweet
Mick from Manchester, EnglandThis is one of the alltime jams in the history of music. Makes me get funky
Andrew from Birmingham, United StatesThe disco beat sounds really exciting. In the '70s the disco beat became really common with the Rolling Stones, didn't it? I've been a Rolling Stones fan for a long time now. If you Stones continue, I wish you guys the best of luck!
Linda from Ocean Park, WaIn 1987 Prince performed onstage with the Stones in London. He told them that he wished he'd written the song, "Miss You". If you know Prince at all you know this is an ultimate compliment.
Craig from Melbourne, AustraliaThe 12" version has extra lyrics, including the "girls will come and go" part.
The song was written AFTER Start me up. Start me up, as a reggae song, was 1st conceived in 1973.
This was NOT the Stones last #1 single. Start me up was.
Mick & Keith performed this at the 9-11 show, as well as Salt of the Earth. But, the announcer didnt realise Keith was in the band, and said "Ladies and Gentlemen, please thank Mick Jagger". Mick looked over at Keith and the two of them laughed their heads off at the error.
Eric from Hastings, Mnthis tune always gets stuck in my head
Rick from Grapevine, TxRE: Molly's comment. I too remember the line. I don't know what happened to it.
Jeffrey Tobias from Portland, OrMiss You, by the Rolling Stones, seems to have changed lyrics from the original Miss You, written by Charles Tobias in 1929, and is getting paid for that song today. John Lennon accused mick jagger in 1980 of using his song, Miss You, and changing the lyrics. It sounds like the lyrics were changed to the 1929 version.
Molly from Roseburg, OrWhen "Miss You" first came out, I swear there were more words, right after the lines about bringing a case of wine and messing and fooling around like we used to. The words said something like, "girls will come and go, they're just like streetcars." I can't be the only one who remembers this! Did the single get edited so as not to offend feminists or something?
Steve from Culver City, CaSugar Blue contributed more than harmonica on Miss You. He co-wrote the music. Unfortunately, as in almost all cases of somebody outside of Keith collaborating, he received no credit. An original of the sheet music exsists with Sugar Blue's name on it. The Some Girls Sessions yielded 6 songs featuring Sugar Blue on four albums. "Miss You" "Some Girls" "Down in the Hole" "Send it to Me" "Everything is Turning to Gold" "Black Limousine"
Iceman from South Glastonbury, Ctthe book Jagger Unauthorized by chistopher anderson says this song is was inspired by micks studio 54 nights with jerry hall pg 336
Amy from Dallas, TxMy favorite Stones song, and yep, the bass on this song is great!
Johnny from Los Angeles, CaYes, that's true Joey. Why don't more people comment? Jeez, this is one of the stones best songs! People who think it's disco should listen to Emotional Rescue, which is a piece of crap. Sry stones, but c'mon. Good thing they rebounded with tatoo you a year later.
Joey from Boston, MaBill Wyman's bass playing on this is incredible. Most people pay attention to the harmonica riff, but the bass is also what drives the song.
Ty from Canal Fulton, Ohi once heard that the "Miss You" riff was written by Rory Gallagher and stolen by Keith Richards... i dont know if it's completely true, but i believe i read it in an interview with Gallagher's bass player Gerry McAvoy
Marc from Philadelphia, PaMick Jagger told John Lennon that if he speeded up "Scared" it would be a hit.
John told him "You do it" and thats how Miss you came about
Dana from Louisville, KyJohn Lennon said in one of his final interviews in 1980 that he suspected "Miss You" was a direct rip-off of his 1974 song "Scared", changing the lyrics and speeding up his song.