“Honky Tonk Women” is a 1969 hit song by the Rolling Stones. It was a single-only release, available from 4 July 1969 in the United Kingdom, and a week later in the United States (although a country version called “Country Honk” was later included on the album Let It Bleed). It topped the charts in both nations. It entered Billboard’s Top-10 on Aug. 2nd, 1969 and was the No. 1 single on that chart for Four (4) weeks from Aug. 23rd to Sept. 13th, 1969.
The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards while on holiday in Brazil from late December 1968 to early January 1969, inspired by Brazilian “caipiras” (inhabitants of rural, remote areas of parts of Brazil) at the ranch where Jagger and Richards were staying in Matão, São Paulo. Two versions of the song were recorded by the band. The familiar version appeared on the 45 single that was never placed on or intended for an L.P. Album.
The acoustic version known as “Country Honk” appeared on the L.P. “Let It Bleed” released Dec. 5th, 1969. Thematically, a “Honky Tonk Woman” refers to a dancing girl in a western bar who may work as a prostitute; the setting for the narrative in the first verse of the rock-and-roll version is Memphis, Tennessee. “I met a gin soaked bar-room queen in Memphis”, while “Country Honk” sets the first verse in Jackson, Mississippi “I’m sittin’ in a bar, tipplin’ a jar in Jackson”.
The band initially recorded the track called “Country Honk,” in London in early March 1969. The song was transformed into the familiar electric, riff-based hit single “Honky Tonk Women” sometime in the spring of 1969, prior to Mick Taylor’s joining the group. In an interview in the magazine Crawdaddy! Richards credits Taylor for influencing the track: “… the song was originally written as a real Hank Williams/Jimmie Rodgers/ 1930s country song. And it got turned around to this other thing by Mick Taylor, who got into a completely different feel, throwing it off the wall another way.” However, in 1979 Taylor recalled it this way: “I definitely added something to “Honky Tonk Women”, but it was more or less complete by the time I arrived and did my overdubs.”
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is a song by the Rolling Stones on their 1969 album “Let It Bleed”, Also written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The song was originally released on the B-side of “Honky Tonk Women” in July 1969. Although it did not chart at the time, London Records re-serviced the single in 1973 and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” reached number 42 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Other “Lounge” pages with a “50th Anniversary – 1969” theme you might find interesting are:
“Elvis Presley Las Vegas 1969”