100 Greatest Rolling Stones Songs

Graham Wiltshire/Redferns59/100

59. "Angie" (1973)

One of the band's softest and most tenderhearted ballads (and their only ballad to go Number One), "Angie" was written by Richards while he was being treated for heroin addiction at a clinic in Switzerland. "Once I came out of the usual trauma," he recalled, "I didn't feel like I had to shit the bed or climb the walls or feel manic anymore. I just went, 'Angie, Angie.' " Completed during the Goats Head Soup sessions in Jamaica, it became a gently strummed benediction with a processional piano by Nicky Hopkins and strings arranged by Nicky Harrison. "Angie" has inspired much speculation as to its inspiration. Despite writing it at the time of his daughter Angela's birth, Richards claims the lyrics were just a placeholder that stuck: "I didn't know Angela was going to be called Angela when I wrote 'Angie,' " he said. "Sometimes you have a hook, a phrase or a word or a name or something, which maybe you don't even intend to keep. . . . It was just a working title, like, who's gonna call a song 'Angie,' how boring, another chick's name, ya know."

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