This song is about groupies. Songwriters often write about subjects they're familiar with, and Mick Jagger was an expert in this area.
Originally, this was called "Starf--ker," which is slang for a groupie. Atlantic Records made them change it, eliminating "f--k" from the title, although the band always refers to it by the original title.
Suggestion credit: Bertrand - Paris, France
Feminist groups were outraged at the negative portrayal of women. Mick Jagger did not apologize, saying he was just describing what he saw.
This contains the lyric, "She'll get John Wayne before he dies," but John Wayne refused permission to use his name. Engineer Andy Johns put some echo over the lyric and convinced the record company that it was unrecognizable, which it wasn't. When Goats Head Soup came out on CD, the lyric was not distorted.
The Stones blew up a giant, inflatable penis when they performed this on their 1975 tour.
This was banned by the BBC.
In contrast to John Wayne, Steve McQueen was reportedly amused by the reference to him in the lyric. In addition to the John Wayne lyric,references to 'keeping her pussy clean' was also distorted at the original release,and subsequently restored in later issues (US only..in Europe they came through unscathed).
Suggestion credit: Louie - Middletown, NY
During The Stones 1975 tour, Mick Jagger said: "People always give me this bit about us being a macho band, and I always ask them to give me examples. "Under My Thumb"... Yes, but they always say Starf--ker, and that just happened to be about someone I knew. There's really no reason to have women on tour, unless they've got a job to do. The only other reason is to f--k. Otherwise they get bored, they just sit around and moan. It would be different if they did everything for you, like answer the phones, make the breakfast, look after your clothes and your packing, see if the car was ready, and f--k. Sort of a combination of what (road manager) Alan Dunn does and a beautiful chick."
Jack Flash from TorontoI agree with those who believe this song was written about Carly Simon, whom we all know had an affair with Mick. Carly would then go on to write "You're so Vain", perhaps about Mick. You've got to figure Mick and Carly were still friends cause he sings back up on this track.
Marc from Schoten, BelgiumThe lyrics page here shows "Honey I like your two tone kisses" but listen to Jagger and more importantly read his lips when he sings this song live. When doing that it'll be pretty clear he sings "... two tongue kisses". - Marc, Schoten, Belgium
David from Woburn, MaUnder My Thumb may have been pushing it a little bit, but Starf***er and Some Girls are just plain filthy fun. Read Keith's autobiography Life, turns out Bill was the worst about bringing women up to his hotel room.
Curt from Coumbus, OhWe always thought it was:
Lead guitars and movie stars Get their tongue beneath your hood - even raunchier.
Andrew from New York, United StatesI believe the lyric is, "..if I ever get back to FUN City, girl..." not "one city". "Fun City" is one of my hometown, NYC's, many nicknames. Although Detroit is also sometimes mentioned as "Fun City"...I read that the record label actually made the Stones clear the lyrics with Steve McQueen himself, who was, as stated above, amused and gave permission. I never heard of any problems with John Wayne and think the two are maybe being confused...
Pj from Okc, OkWhy was this song banned from radio? Its a great song and now days there is a lot of stuff that is considered more offensive. I heard it once on a local radio station for a Stones special it didn't hurt anybody!
Garrett from Nashville, TnMany have pondered whether the subject of this song was Carly Simon, one of Mick's flings. Reading the lyrics ("going back to NYC where you belong" and "we made a pretty pair") the theory seems credible. It would also make Carly's "You're So Vain" kind of an "answer" song.
Keith from Front Royal, Va"Don't understand what feminist groups were so enraged about." What aren't they enraged about? Feminazis live and breath hatred for all men. Period. Oh yeah, great song.
Dave from Le Mars, IaThis song is just fun.
Peter from Baltimore, Mdactually at live shows in the mid-late 70's (1975-76 TOTA an 1978 Some Girls tour) the lyric in the last verse was changed to "Jimmy Page, was quite a rage/I cannot see the reason why/If i ever get back to one city girl, im gonna make you jump all night"...the version on Love You Live is incredible.
Matteo from Sardinia, OtherOn a live bootleg instead of the lines: "Ali McGraw got mad with you for giving head to Steve McQueen" Jagger sung: "Jimmy Page is full of rage for givin' head to S.McQueen"
Matt from Russell Springs, KyDon't understand what feminist groups were so enraged about. These aren't women in general that Jagger is singing about. It's about groupies. That's a select group that pretty much obviously engaged in the activities the lyrics state.
Goats Head Soup is an underrated Stones release, IMO. Not bad at all. Great Mick Taylor work, practically the last bit of virtuostic power we'd see from him as he'd be silenced by the next record, It's Only Rock N' Roll.