Angie is a tale of lost love and dreams.
You may be familiar with this tune by one of the greatest rock bands of all time. But who is the song about?
We’ll dust off our rocking shoes and dive into this song’s story.
Who Originally Wrote Angie?
Writing credits for Angie go to Keith Richards and Michael Jagger. The hit appears on the 1972 album Goat’s Head Soup.
The pair first met at school as youths in 1949. But it wasn’t until 11 years later that they crossed paths again. At the time, Mick was a student at London’s School of Economics, while Richards struggled at Sidcup Art College.
In 1960, Jagger joined Richards’ band along with future Stones member Brian Jones. Formed as a blues cover band, they recorded their first single, Chuck Berry’s “Come On.”
While the duo gets credit for Angie, there are rumors about the origin.
The most lurid rumor is that Mick wrote the song to please David Bowie’s wife. Angela Bowie wrote in her autobiography that she once walked in on Bowie and Mick Jagger in bed together. Jagger denies this story and says that Keith Richards wrote most of it.
A rare ballad for the Rolling Stones, Angie isn’t typical of their aggressive sound. It’s also one of the few acoustic Rolling Stones songs.
Was Angie Written About Someone Special?
Whether Jagger wrote the song about Bowie’s wife or Richards’ daughter, it’s safe to say the person was particular.
However, “Angie” refers to various hard drugs in British slang. Keith once said that the song is a goodbye to heroin. Allegedly, he came up with the name of the song in Switzerland, where he was in rehab.
Richards cleared it up in his 2010 autobiography. He says he was in rehab while his wife, Anita Pallenberg, was down the road having their daughter, Angela.
However, he didn’t know Angela was going to be named Angela when he wrote it. He said that in those days, you didn’t know what sex the child would be until it popped out.
Keith wrote Angie in an afternoon, sitting in bed, and came up with the name. Jagger later wrote the rest of the song.
Did Angie Top the Charts?
Angie was the first #1 hit in the U.S. for the Rolling Stones.
The song was also a #1 hit in both Canada and Australia. Additionally, Angie topped the charts in many countries throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Belgium, France, Italy, and Norway are a few countries where the song hit #1.
The song was too long for radio play at the time. So some radio stations shortened it to three minutes, leaving out the coda and the second instrumental section.
Angie is frequently performed in concert and was included in set lists on their 1973, 1975, and 1976 tours. In addition, it has been a touring staple since their 1982 European Tour.
What Artists Have Covered Angie?
Other artists have recorded over 70 cover versions of Angie, plus over 30 instrumental versions. Artists that have covered the song include Top of the Pops and the Stereophonics.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular covers of Angie.
Gov’t Mule is a jam band and southern rock icon. Their leader, Warren Haynes, played with the Allman Brothers for many years and David Allen Coe before that.
Angie appears on the Gov’t Mule release, Stoned Side of the Mule. The album was recorded live at The Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, on October 31, 2009. Even though it’s not all acoustic, this cover is closest to the Rolling Stones’ original version.
Tori Amos is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. She’s a classically trained musician with a mezzo-soprano vocal range.
Angie appears on Tori’s 1992 EP titled Crucify. Performed solo on piano, Amos’s version is beautiful and haunting.
She also released a live version in 2005 on the live album B of A Pavilion, Boston, MA. It’s the last in a series of six official bootleg recordings from the Original Sinsuality tour.
Samuel Paul Kershaw is an American country music artist. He has 16 albums with three platinum and two gold certifications.
Sammy recorded his version of Angie for the 1997 release entitled Stone Country. The album is a compilation of Rolling Stones songs performed by country stars. Sammy’s version is classic country.
What Are the Rolling Stones Doing Now?
The band toured Europe in the summer of 2022. The tour was titled “Sixty” to celebrate 60 years together. And, in 2021, they released a new box set for their album Tattoo You to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
The original lineup consisted of Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards. Jones died in 1969, and Mick Taylor took his place. Ronnie Wood replaced Taylor in 1974.
Drummer Charlie Watts played until he died in 2021. Bill Wyman left the band in 1993 and has been a solo artist since 1997.
Jagger and Richards are the only remaining original members.
Angie and the Stones Are Still Rolling
Active for six decades, the Rolling Stones are one of the most popular and enduring bands in modern music. Besides Angie, their discography includes 25 studio albums. The last was Blue and Lonesome from 2016.
Since their first concert in July 1962, the Rolling Stones have performed more than 2000 concerts worldwide. The band received multiple Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
But don’t look for the Stones to stop any time soon. Mick has squashed any retirement rumors and says he loves being on tour and wouldn’t do it if he didn’t enjoy it.
Have you ever seen the Rolling Stones live? Tell us about it in the comments!