Album: Goat's Head Soup (1973)

Songfacts®:

  • This was a rare ballad for The Stones. It was the first song they recorded in Jamaica for Goats Head Soup.
  • Keith Richards does not play on this track. Stones guitarist Mick Taylor revealed that composition of this song started out with just Mick Jagger strumming guitar, and then everybody joining in.
  • Producer Jimmy Miller was not happy with any of Mick Jagger's four takes. Jagger refused to do any more, preferring to enjoy Jamaica instead.
  • That's Nicky Hopkins on piano duty here. Hopkins tended to take the slower, ballad-style pieces while Ian Stewart took the faster jam rock, and Billy Preston would take over the piano for the funk and soul numbers.

    And while we're on Nickys, Nick Harrison did the string arrangements for "Winter" and "Angie," also from this album. Harrison wrote both classical pieces for string quartets and orchestras, and contemporary rock for the Stones and Joe Cocker.
  • Speaking of winter, not many people realize that the winter solstice (in the northern hemisphere, that's the shortest day and longest night of the year) changes slightly from year to year. Sometimes it's on the 22nd of December, through usually it's the 21st. Blame the wobbly Earth orbit and nature's general lack of concern for humanity's needs to have a nice tidy calendar. Oh, and Mayan calendar fans will fondly remember that the alleged (very false) date of the end of the calendar was slated for the 2012 solstice, which just happened to occur at 12/21/12 11:12PM. Numerologists practically fainted.
  • Jagger recalled Mick Taylor's contribution to the celestial ballad in an interview with Uncut magazine: "Mick picked up things so quickly. He only had to do them a couple of times and that was it," the Rolling Stones frontman said. "He always added these melodic lines you hadn't thought of that really helped the song a lot. He was very lyrical and it lends itself to what was a pretty basic song - but he gives it a lot of dynamic and melodic lines. Winter is kind of like an up version of 'Moonlight Mile.'"

Comments: 9

  • Cicero from Porto Alegre, BrazilI thank very much for the information about BLOOD RED WINE.
    I really love WINTER. I'm trying to play it on the piano but the rhythm is hard to keep. I loved to sing and play this song on the guitar. I was exactly searching for a piano score of this song when I discovered this nice site. (If anyone knows about a score, please tell me.) I think Carla Olsen has done us a good favour of keeping Mick Taylor playing The Stones in a jamming but careful style.
    New albums would be welcomed, Carla and Mick!
  • Paul from Boston, MaGoat's Head Soup came out during a period of Stones bashing in pop music publications including the eponymous Rolling Stone. Cameron Crowe in particular didn't like them: he preferred Steely Dan. Need I say more? While hardly their greatest album, Goat's Head Soup contains at least five songs any other band would have given their collective left nut to have recorded, of which Winter is arguably the finest.
  • Matt from Washington, Dc, DcThis song is 5:31 on Goats Head and 5:29 on the Remasterd version released in the past year. A tw0-second difference between tracks of 331 seconds and 329 seconds is just under one-half of one percent, but the original sounds closer to a ballad than the remastered. It's amazing that changing the tempo so slightly can have an effect, but it does. At :54 you can hear Mick snort, and on the remastered version it sounds more as you would expect to hear from an interview with Jagger.

    The lyric, "lights on all the Christmas trees went out" refers to a Los Angeles blackout that occured one December. People thought it would be remembered as LA's version of a New York City blackout, but it never stuck... LA is not NYC.
  • Matt from Washington, Dc, DcThis song is 3:31 on Goats Head and 3:29 on the Remasterd version released in the past year. A tw0-second difference between tracks of 211 seconds and 209 seconds is just under one percent, but the original sounds closer to a ballad than the remastered. It's amazing that changing the tempo so slightly can have an effect, but it does. At :54 you can hear Mick snort, and on the remastered version it sounds more as you would expect to hear from an interview with Jagger.

    The lyric, "lights on all the Christmas trees went out" refers to a Los Angeles blackout that occured one December. People thought it would be remembered as LA's version of a New York City blackout, but it never stuck... LA is not NYC.
  • Alastair from Stranraer, United KingdomAn outtake from the Beggars Banquet or Let it Bleed sessions called 'Blood Red Wine' was probably the genesis of the song. Some lyrics are the same as is the tempo. Carla Olsen did a cover version of 'Winter' on her album 'Truth' with Mick Taylor on guitar. Her twelve minute version draws to a close with Carla using some of 'Blood Red Wine' lyrics.
  • Craig from Melbourne, AustraliaOne of the most fantastic ballads the band has done. The strings make this song.
  • Jon-paul from Copenhagen, DenmarkExcellent song, no doubt. Lyrically, this track mentions an event that happened in Stone Canyon, California "where the lights on all the Christmas trees went out". Now, as we all know, Van Morrison also mentions something similar in the outro to "He ain't give you none" where he says "remember when we were down in the LA and the lights were out".

    Will somebody please put me out of my misery and tell what happened!!
  • John from LondonAgree with Dave great track. I think Mick Taylor was a fabulous addition to the group and its a sham he decided to leave.
    Still Great to see live
    John, London
  • Dave from London , CanadaGreat underrated track; Mick Taylor's solo is exquisite - one of my favorite Stones and Taylor solo's of all time (right up there with the outro solo from 'Sway') and it's Jagger on rhythm guitar, not Richards, who was too stoned to take part.
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