'Highwire' was released as a 7" single in the UK on March 4, 1991, where it peaked at #29.
Its US counterpart, released at the same time, reached #57.
This studio track actually was the first single extracted from the band's 1991 live album 'Flashpoint'. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards during the Persian Gulf War, 'Highwire' is one of the rare examples of the Stones taking on political issues. By the time of its release, Richards said about the song: "This is not about the war. It's about how you build up some shaky dictator. You can't build them up, 'cause then you've got to slam them down." The song's lyrics deconstructed the build-up to the war, and criticized the politics behind it.
Its promo video was directed by Julien Temple and depicted the band performing the song in an industr... [+]
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].
Each song from the charts offer comprehensive details on its:
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