We’ll Ride Them Some Day

The Banker horse is a breed of feral horse that lives on barrier islands in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and they are a popular tourist attraction.  With Hurricane Florence pounding the coast, many people are thinking about all of these horses and praying for their safety.  In respect for the beautiful creatures, I am going to write about the Rolling Stones song ‘Wild Horses’ today.  This song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and it came out in 1971 on the ‘Sticky Fingers’ album.  ‘Wild Horses’ was released as the second US-only single, and it reached number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Rolling Stone ranked it number 334 in its ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’ list in 2004.

The model and actress Anita Pallenberg had gone out with Brian Jones for a couple of years, but when Jones was in the hospital Pallenberg and Richards started making love in the back seat of Richards’s Bentley.  Jones beat her up and Richards came to her rescue.  Anita was aloof, immoral and utterly fascinating, a self professed witch and it did not take long for the band members to fall under her spell.  She added value to the Stones by transforming them from pop stars into cultural icons.  Richards was in a loving relationship with Pallenberg and their first child, Marlon, was born in August of 1969, however the Stones had already agreed to do their first United States concert tour in a number of years, so only a few months after the birth of his son, Marlon (born August 10, 1969) Richards had to leave his longtime girlfriend and newborn son to go to America.  Keith regretted that he had to leave his son to go on tour, so he decided to write a love song, but all he had was this line, “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away”, and the music, where he used a 12-string acoustic guitar to really draw out the melancholy in those chords.  He passed that on to his writing partner Mick Jagger who rewrote Keith’s lyrics, only keeping that line.  His rewrite was based on his dramatic relationship with Marianne Faithfull, which was rapidly disintegrating.

In 1964, Marianne Faithfull a British singer, songwriter and actress at the age of 18, got her first hit with the song ‘As Tears Go By’, which was written by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham.  This opened up doors to the hippest circles in London, where she frolicked with the most luminous of the young, rich, and reckless, including Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones.  She was a beautiful woman, in the days when flower power and women’s lib were starting to tease everyone’s sexual yearnings into making love, not war, not trusting anyone over 30 and turning on, tuning in and dropping out of society.  Her legendary affair with Mick Jagger produced one hit single, ‘Sister Morphine’, and countless headlines.  Her popularity was overshadowed by personal problems of being an anorexic, alcoholic and a heroin addict and Faithfull left this relationship as a strung-out junkie.

In July 1969, Faithfull went along with Mick Jagger to Australia for the filming of the drama Ned Kelly, where she was supposed to play the lead female role, Ned’s sister.  Soon after she arrived, Faithfull landed in the hospital from an overdose of sleeping pills and Mick stayed at her bedside until she came out of her coma.  Also in 1969, it is rumored that Marianne was seduced by guitarist Keith Richards while she was still the long-term girlfriend of Jagger.  Richards said that he had seduced Marianne to get revenge on Jagger, who he found out had enjoyed a fling with Anita Pallenberg.  Richards was interrupted when Jagger returned home early, so he jumped out of the window, clutching his clothes, although he left his socks behind.  Jagger and Faithfull’s on-again, off-again relationship was falling apart by the Spring of 1970, they had split permanently and by late Spring 1971, Jagger was married to another woman.  It was reported that Jagger has slept with 4,000 women, fathered seven different children with four different mothers and is a great-grandfather.  Most of Jagger’s relationships came to swift endings, because he could not keep his grubby hands, or sticky fingers off of other women.  At 73 year old Jagger had a new baby with ballerina Melanie that was given the eccentric name Deveraux Octavian Basil Jagger.

The Stones recorded this song during a three-day session at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama from December 2-4, 1969.  It was the last of three songs done at these sessions, after ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘You Gotta Move’.  Gram Parsons was good friends with Keith Richards and this song was first given to him for his band, the Flying Burrito Brothers, to record on their 1970 ‘Burrito Deluxe’ album.  Some people even say that Gram actually helped to write ‘Wild Horses’, but Gram insisted that Mick and Keith had given it to him.  Mick and Keith got Gram to work on ‘Beggars Banquet’ and ‘Let It Bleed”.  Gram Parsons died in the desert from a drug overdose on September 19, 1973.

There is a heaviness that hangs in the air throughout this song.  It exists in the lazily-strummed guitars of Richards and Mick Taylor, and in Richards’ guitar solo, and also in Charlie Watts thudding drums.  Jim Dickinson filled in on the piano, because the Stone’s regular piano player Ian Stewart disliked playing sad chords.  In this love song, a girl falls from grace in the eyes of the singer, because of her drug use.  She was no longer the girl that he first fell in love with, although he still loves her.  The destruction of their relationship made him disillusioned.  They each hurt each other, she felt the pain from her drug use and from his destructive pattern, and now she wants to get back at him by having affairs.  Even though they have each hurt one another, there is still a great deal of love that still exists between them.  Their relationship is over, but he still wants to stay with her, saying that wild horses couldn’t drag him away, although he doesn’t think that he has much time.  There is no going back because they have destroyed each other in this relationship, all they can do is mourn the end of this great love that they shared.  He thinks that perhaps they will be able to be together after death and share their love again, where they can ride those wild horses together.

Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted I bought them for you
Graceless lady you know who I am
You know I can’t let you slide through my hands

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses couldn’t drag me away

I watched you suffer a dull aching pain
Now you’ve decided to show me the same
No sweeping exit or offstage lines
Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses couldn’t drag me away
I know I’ve dreamed you a sin and a lie
I have my freedom but I don’t have much time
Faith has been broken tears must be cried
Let’s do some living after we die

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Swift, for FOWC with Fandango – Tease, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Dramatic, for Ragtag Community – Grubby, for Scotts Daily Prompt – Value and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Eccentric.

16 thoughts on “We’ll Ride Them Some Day

  1. You may have made this my new favorite song (although I don’t identify with addictive drug use or with promiscuity and vindictiveness, but it doesn’t matter in this context). My favorite song a couple decades ago (and a like long before that) was “Lets Stay Together.”

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