Café Mouffe: Remembering “Wild Horses” in Mussel Shoals

I like to think the Rolling Stones got me through high school. Maybe my son would say the same. While reading Keith Richards’ account of the legendary Mussel Shoals recording session in 1969, where “Wild Horses” and “Brown Sugar” were put together, I decided to look for my Stones CDs to listen again to the music that made me move. Forget about the original vinyl LPs, the Sticky Fingers cover with lewd zipper affixed to the cardboard – you can’t reproduce that on a CD jewel box or ITunes download! The LPs are long gone, and, as I discovered, so are the CDs. Maybe they’re buried somewhere beneath the seat of Brendan’s Ford pickup truck. So I turn to YouTube, knowing that these embeds will be even more ephemeral.

The late Jim Dickinson played piano on Wild Horses. He says Keith Richards wrote the tune as a lullaby for his infant son Marlon. In the studio in a matter of minutes, Mick Jagger transformed it into an elegiac farewell for Marianne Faithful.

A clip from the Maysles brothers film, Gimme Shelter, documents Jagger, Richards, Dickinson, Charlie Watts and Mick Taylor listening to what they recorded that night  at Mussel Shoals.

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