Moonlight Mile (song)

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"Moonlight Mile"
Song by The Rolling Stones from the album Sticky Fingers
Released April 23, 1971
Recorded October 1970
Genre Rock
Length 5:56
Label Rolling Stones/Virgin
Writer Jagger/Richards
Producer Jimmy Miller
Sticky Fingers track listing

"Moonlight Mile" is a song from The Rolling Stones' 1971 album Sticky Fingers.

Credited to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, many consider "Moonlight Mile" one of the Rolling Stones' most underappreciated ballads.[1] Recording took place in October 1970 at Stargroves. The song was the product of an all-night session between Jagger and guitarist Mick Taylor. Taylor had taken a short guitar piece recorded by Richards (entitled "Japanese Thing") and reworked it for the session. Jagger performs the song's prominent acoustic guitar riff. Jagger felt it easier to extemporize with Taylor, as Richards was not present. It was Taylor's idea to add a string arrangement by Paul Buckmaster to the song. Jim Price—the Rolling Stones' usual trumpeter—plays piano.

"Moonlight Mile was all Mick's. As far as I can remember, Mick came in with the whole idea of that, and the band just figured out how to play it.[2] - Keith Richards, Life magazine

The lyrics are elliptical and mysterious, but touch on the alienation of life on the road.

In a review of the song, Bill Janovitz says, "Though the song still referenced drugs and the road life of a pop-music celebrity, it really is a rare example of Jagger letting go of his public persona, offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the weariness that accompanies the pressures of keeping up appearances as a sex-drugs-and-rock & roll star."[1] Rock critic Robert Christgau said the song, "re-created all the paradoxical distances inherent in erotic love with a power worthy of Yeats, yet could also be interpreted as a cocaine song."[3] This is a reference to the first stanza, which reads, "When the wind blows and the rain feels cold, With a head full of snow..." . It was meant to be about coming down from a cocaine high.

The track featured extensively during the final episode of the first part of the HBO series The Sopranos' sixth season, "Kaisha", as well as giving its title to and being used in the 2002 motion picture Moonlight Mile. The song has been covered live by The Flaming Lips and on The 5th Dimension album, Earthbound. American hard rock supergroup Saints of the Underground covered this song for their only album Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner. Southern soul artist Lee Fields covered this song on his 2012 album Faithful Man.



  1. ^ a b Janovitz, Bill. "Moonlight Mile". allmusic. Retrieved 2006-06-28. 
  2. ^ Time is on our side (19 March 2000). "Moonlight Mile". reviews of "Moonlight Mile"; quote from Life Magazine. Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, Mick Jagger's home, Newbury, England & Olympic Sound Studios, London. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "The Rolling Stones". Rolling Stone. 2007 (accessed 28 June 2007).

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