Dead Flowers (Rolling Stones song)

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"Dead Flowers"
Song by The Rolling Stones
from the album Sticky Fingers
Released23 April 1971
RecordedApril 1970
StudioOlympic, London
LabelRolling Stones Records
Producer(s)Jimmy Miller

"Dead Flowers" is a song recorded by the Rolling Stones. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it appears on their 1971 album Sticky Fingers as the fourth track of side two.

Recording and performance history[edit]

Recording of "Dead Flowers" took place in April 1970 at the Olympic Studios in London. The lyrics to the song are notably dark, and feature the line, "I'll be in my basement room, with a needle and a spoon", a reference to injecting heroin.

"Dead Flowers" was written during the period when the Stones were stepping into country music territory, when Richards's friendship with Gram Parsons was influencing his songwriting. Jagger commented in 2003:

The 'Country' songs we recorded later, like "Dead Flowers" on Sticky Fingers or "Far Away Eyes" on Some Girls, are slightly different (than our earlier ones). The actual music is played completely straight, but it's me who's not going legit with the whole thing, because I think I'm a blues singer not a country singer – I think it's more suited to Keith's voice than mine.[3]

Both Richards and Mick Taylor contribute the 'honky-tonk' style lead guitar lines throughout the album version. Richards's choppier fills act primarily as a response to Jagger's vocal lines during the verses, while Taylor's more fluid licks counteract with the vocals of the chorus. It is Taylor who performs the guitar solo in place of a third verse.

"Dead Flowers" was performed live during the album tours for Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St. in 1970–72, then once during the Black and Blue Tour in 1976. It was not played again until the Steel Wheels Tour in 1989. Live performances of the song from 1995 can be found on the Stones' album Stripped and its 2016 edition Totally Stripped.


Personnel adapted from Sticky Fingers liner notes[4]

The Rolling Stones

Additional Performer

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been widely covered. Townes Van Zandt included a version of the song on his album of live covers Roadsongs;[5] this version was used in the film The Big Lebowski. Jerry Lee Lewis released a version of the song on his 2010 album, Mean Old Man, which featured Mick Jagger.[6] Willie Nelson performed this song with Keith Richards, Hank Williams III and Ryan Adams on his live album Willie Nelson & Friends – Stars & Guitars.[7]


  1. ^ "The 25 best country rock songs of all time". Classic Rock Magazine. 5 August 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  2. ^ Dimery, Robert; Lydon, Michael (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (Revised and Updated ed.). Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  3. ^ Janovitz, Bill (2013). Rocks Off: 50 Tracks That Tell the Story of the Rolling Stones. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 205. ISBN 9781250026316.
  4. ^ Sticky Fingers CD
  5. ^ Robert Palmer, "Review: Townes Van Zandt - Roadsongs, Rolling Stone, 514, June 30, 1994
  6. ^ Jerry Lee Lewis, Mean Old Man Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Friends Flank Willie Nelson On Live Album". Billboard. 20 September 2002.