Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "Neighbours" is notable as being one of two songs from Tattoo You which isn't an outtake from earlier recording sessions. Jagger was inspired by Richards' own run-ins with his neighbours after the guitarist was evicted from his New York City apartment after complaints that he was playing music too loudly. On the story, Richards said at the time of release, "...Patti [Hansen] (Richards' wife) and I (have been evicted from apartments in New York). Mick wrote the lyrics to that - and he never has trouble with neighbours... I have a knack of finding a whole building of very cool people, you know, but there'll be one uncool couple... 'Neighbours' is the first song I think Mick's ever really written for me. It's one I wish I'd written, that."
Neighbours, do yourself a favour, Don't you mess with my baby when I'm working all night, You know that neighbours steal off of my table, Steal off of my table, ain't doing all right.
Recording took place between the months of October and November 1980, and April through June 1981, at Paris' Pathé Marconi Studios and Atlantic Studios in New York City. With Jagger on lead vocals, electric guitars are performed by Richards and Ronnie Wood, with Wood taking the solo. Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman perform drums and bass, respectively. Sonny Rollins also contributes saxophone, one of his three credits for the album. Ian Stewart performs the song's piano.
"Neighbours" was performed by the Stones throughout their tours in support of Tattoo You. It re-emerged for performances on their 2002-2003 Licks Tour, with one performance being captured and released on the 2004 album Live Licks.