This is a rare Stones song with a dominant bassline. Many of their songs were driven by the rhythm guitar of Keith Richards.
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 on this album 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 and Keith went mad, but it sounded great on the dance floor.”
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.
The same day they recorded this track, The Stones came up with the idea for “Start Me Up.”
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