100 Greatest Rolling Stones Songs

87

"When the Whip Comes Down" (1978)

The Rolling Stones
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

A lovingly sleazy picture of New York street life, with a raw two-chord riff and a Lou Reed-style tale of a gay hustler who arrives in the big city fresh from the West Coast; he's determined to get over, whether that means garbage collecting or turning tricks. "A straight gay song," Jagger called it in Rolling Stone at the time. "I'm not sure why I wrote it. Maybe I came out of the closet."

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