'Honky Tonk Women' was released as a 7" single in the US exactly 51 years ago on July 11, 1969, where it peaked at #1.
Its UK counterpart, released on July 4, 1969, also reached #1.
'Honky Tonk Women' was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards while on holiday in Brazil from late December 1968 to early January 1969. Inspired by Brazilian gauchos at the ranch where Jagger and Richards were staying in Matão, São Paulo, the song was originally conceived as an acoustic country song.
Two versions of the song were recorded by the band: the familiar hit which appeared on the 45 single and their 1960s compilation 'Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2)'; and a honky-tonk version entitled 'Country Honk' with slightly different lyrics, which appeared on 'Let It Bleed'. The concert rendition... [+]
About the songs
Nearly 80 songs recorded by the Rolling Stones entered either the UK or US charts since 1963, twelve of them peaking at #1 ['Satisfaction', 'Get Off Of My Cloud', 'Paint It, Black' and 'Honky Tonk Women' were #1 in both countries].
The early years also were the most prolific and, whereas most titles were not yet penned by the Jagger-Richards tandem, record labels Decca [in the UK] and London [in the US] would issue singles at a frantic pace, building the band's reputation as the Beatles' most serious threat.
However, no global marketing strategy would emerge before the 70's, and both countries cultivated their differences in their respective discographies, as would their affiliates in other parts of the world.
The richness and diversity of the Rolling Stones singles discography is mainly due to the fact that, during the 60's, Decca would consider singles an independent market from the LPs' one, whereas London would use this format as a 'lift' for album sales. Therefore, British singles would offer non-album tracks [except for compilations], and Decca England would pass on a few US releases, while the US would opt for different B-sides and be a little more productive.
US exclusive couplings and singles would however often be released on Decca in Europe, notably in Scandinavia for which UK would exclusively press 'export' singles [Scandinavian countries also pressed their own records and imported regular UK releases, see the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian discographies].
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