Posts Tagged ‘Wild Horses’

Sarah Grace McLaughlin (aka Bishop Briggs) at The Troubadour

Bishop Briggs was without a doubt one of the breakthrough act of 2016. We can only imagine how much this talented voice will rise in 2017, With a soft and lulling, yet compelling voice Briggs hits a whole new level of appeal with a blend of dark beats and galactic layers. Her unique mix of alternative r&b/soul is straight up dope, and absolutely addicting.

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From the moment Bishop Briggs’ compelling breakthrough single “Wild Horses,” you could tell this girl had it going on. Intrigued by her soulful voice and dope-ass beats, with all but a few songs released to her name, Bishop Briggs quickly turned heads. From her former home of Hong Kong and Japan, the London-born Scot, now living in Los Angeles, has been showing her sheen worldwide. Her debut track “Wild Horses” reached #1 on Spotify’s US Viral Chart , with airplay on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 Show . 2016 has seen Bishop Briggs tour with Coldplay, Passion Pit and Kaleo. She’s also performed on national television with spots on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night With Seth Meyers. It goes without saying that Bishop Briggs she’s only going to continue slaying in 2017.

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Did Gram Parsons wrote “Wild Horses.”

Or at least maybe he co-wrote it. maybe he gave the lyrics to Keith. Whatever, I don’t care. Is it Gram’s style of songwriting, we also know the Stones‘ style, both before and after meeting Gram (and musically, Ry Cooder).

Now in the February ’13 issue of Uncut we have Mick’s brother saying it was a Gram Parsons’ composition (“not that he ever got anything for it”). And we have an old quote from Mick himself, “I remember we sat around originally doing this with Gram Parsons…” Etc. Really Mick, you “remember” that much… in ’71? And knowing Gram, I imagine he wasn’t doing anything? Just sitting around, watching?.

No, there’s no proof. Unless you believe in the analysis of art and life as proof.Is it possible that the original lyrics, written by Gram and perhaps modified slightly by the Rolling Stones, were written about/for Gram’s sister Little Avis. Gram Parsons felt tremendous responsibility for Avis after their parents’ death, and overwhelming guilt at times for leaving her. And, no doubt, some guilt over what was happening to him, and that he would also soon be leaving her for good. “Faith has been broken, tears must be cried.” His letters to Avis mirror the thoughts and feelings in the song. The notebook, with the lyrics and chords to Wild Horses wtitten in Grams handwriting that people point to as “evidence” that Gram wrote the song actually points to the opposite conclusion. The lyrics are all written out exactly as they are on the record. When you compose a song you scribble out lines, try new ones and write stuff in the matgins. It looks messy. The version in Gram’s notebook looks more like it was transcribed from another source.

Keith Richards has stated in interviews and in writing that he began writing the song for his son, Marlon, as he was about to leave on tour. He showed the roughed out lyrics to Mick and Mick turned it into a love song. What reason would Keith have to lie about it? He has always gone out of his way to sing Gram’s praises. Mick and Keith are two of the most prolific song writers in the history of popular music history and have more big hits under their belts than you can count. They also have a history of doing lots of covers and giving the writers of those covers their due.

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

I watched you suffer a dull aching pain,
Now you’ve decided to show me the same
No sweeping exits or offstage lines
Can make me feel bitter or treat you unkind

I know I 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.

Originally published in Gram Parsons InterNational blog, 2013

Ahead of the highly anticipated reissue of  the 1971′s album  “Sticky Fingers”, The Rolling Stones have released a previously unheard acoustic version of  the song “Wild Horses.” 

The song is one of the most beloved in the Rolling Stones’ canon, and an indispensable document of classic rock and roll. The new remaster and arrangement puts it in a whole new context: Now it’s even more tender, emotionally bare and Mick’s vocals are given a new clarity and intimacy.

More poignantly, the song takes on an even more haunted feeling, given that it comes in the wake of the deaths of both Jagger’s girlfriend L’Wren Scott and the band’s longtime saxophonist Bobby Keys.

“For three days in December 1969, the Rolling Stones stopped into Muscle Shoals studios in Alabama and managed to lay down three songs, one of which was ‘Wild Horses,’” writes Jim Beviglia in our Behind The Song feature. “The composition of this plaintive ballad was begun by Keith Richards, whose first child was born in August 1969, causing Keith regret about going out on the road and leaving the boy behind.”

“It was one of those magical moments when things come together,” Richards wrote in his 2010 autobiography Life about the song’s genesis. “It’s like ‘Satisfaction.’ You just dream it, and suddenly it’s all in your hands. Once you’ve got the vision in your mind of wild horses, I mean, what’s the next phrase you’re going to use? It’s got to be couldn’t drag me away.” The album is out May 26th.

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The song was recorded in 1969 but wasn’t released until 1971 due to the band’s legal tussle with their manager. The band’s normal piano player bowed out of the session because he didn’t like playing minor chords. And the track was originally intended by the guitarist to be a song about missing his newborn son, only to be hijacked by the lead singer, who turned it into a depiction of a burned-out relationship.

For The Rolling Stones, such drama has always been par for the course. That they overcame all of that and turned out a gem like “Wild Horses,” the song saddled with all of the aforementioned obstacles, is a testament to their talent, chemistry, and unfailing ability to rise above all the chaos, self-induced and otherwise.

For three days in December 1969, the Stones stopped into Muscle Shoals studios in Alabama and managed to lay down three songs, one of which was “Wild Horses.” (“Brown Sugar” was one of the other two, ) The composition of this plaintive ballad was begun by Keith Richards, whose first child was born in August 1969, causing Keith regret about going out on the road and leaving the boy behind.

“It was one of those magical moments when things come together,” Richards wrote in his 2010 autobiography Lifeabout the song’s genesis. “It’s like ‘Satisfaction.’ You just dream it, and suddenly it’s all in your hands. Once you’ve got the vision in your mind of wild horses, I mean, what’s the next phrase you’re going to use? It’s got to be couldn’t drag me away.”
So Richards wrote the music, using a 12-string acoustic guitar to really draw out the melancholy in those chords, and the chorus. He then handed the song off to his songwriting partner-in-crime Mick Jagger to complete the verses. And that’s when the track took a turn away from Marlon, the name of Richards’ little boy, and perhaps veered toward Marianne, as in Faithfull, Jagger’s on-again, off-again lover of that era.

Jagger recalled his contributions to “Wild Horses” in the liner notes to the 1993 Stones’ anthology Jump Back: The Best Of The Rolling Stones. “I remember we sat around doing this with Gram Parsons, and I think his version came out slightly before ours,” Mick said. “Everyone always says it was written about Marianne, but I don’t think it was; that was all well over by then. But I was definitely very inside this piece emotionally. This is very personal, evocative, and sad.
That heaviness hangs in the air throughout the song. You can hear it in the lazily-strummed guitars of Richards and Mick Taylor, in Richards’ just-right electric solo, in Charlie Watts thudding fills. Jim Dickinson filled in on the tack piano when Ian Stewart famously begged off playing the sad chords. As for Jagger, he holds back the histrionics and plays it straight,
The opening lines hint at a simpler time in the couple’s life together: “Childhood living is easy to do/ The things you wanted I bought them for you.” As time passes, however, they become inseparable in anguish as well: “I watched you suffer a dull aching pain/ Now you’ve decided to show me the same.”As bad as things get though, the narrator’s loyalty never wavers. “You know I can’t let you slide through my hands,” Jagger sings at the end of the first verse. Perhaps alluding to the drama in her life, he uses the metaphor of the stage to describe his steadfastness: “No sweeping exits or offstage lines/ Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind.” And there’s that chorus, Richards joining in for high and lonesome harmonies with Jagger.

Gram Parsons’ version with the Flying Burrito Brothers does indeed predate the Stones’ release of the song on Sticky Fingers by a year, giving rise to unsubstantiated rumors that he deserved some songwriting credit. Among the many cover versions of the song that have been done through the years, The Sundays of “Here’s Where The Story Ends” fame checked in with a particularly memorable take, thanks to the ethereal vocals of Harriet Wheeler.

The final chorus of the song ends with Jagger changing the kicker line. Instead of the horses dragging him away, he sings, “We’ll ride them someday.” Some might say it’s a hopeful ending, but it also sounds like the kind of thing someone would say as parting words to a loved one they won’t be seeing again. This kind of poignancy isn’t what we often consider when we think of The Rolling Stones.