Emotional Rescue (song)

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"Emotional Rescue"
Single by the Rolling Stones
from the album Emotional Rescue
B-side"Down in the Hole"
Released20 June 1980
Recorded1–19 October 1979
LabelRolling Stones Records
Producer(s)The Glimmer Twins
The Rolling Stones singles chronology
"Emotional Rescue"
"She's So Cold"
Emotional Rescue track listing
10 tracks
Side one
  1. "Dance (Pt. 1)"
  2. "Summer Romance"
  3. "Send It to Me"
  4. "Let Me Go"
  5. "Indian Girl"
Side two
  1. "Where the Boys Go"
  2. "Down in the Hole"
  3. "Emotional Rescue"
  4. "She's So Cold"
  5. "All About You"
Music video
"Emotional Rescue" - OFFICIAL PROMO on YouTube

"Emotional Rescue" is a song by the English rock and roll band, the Rolling Stones. It was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and is included on their 1980 album Emotional Rescue.

Given the fact that Keith Richards was becoming (relatively) clean, he was reportedly starting to demand to be involved with the business decisions that Mick Jagger had been taking care of throughout the past decade. This caused a rift between the two, and they rarely were in the studio at the same time. Mick would record in the early evening, and Keith would stroll in late at night.[2]

Composition and writing[edit]

Mick Jagger wrote the song on an electric piano and from the beginning it was sung in falsetto (similar to Marvin Gaye's lead vocal on his 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up"). When the song was brought into the studio they kept the electric piano and falsetto lead. With Ronnie Wood on bass and Charlie Watts on drums they worked out the song. They then added the saxophone part[3] played by Bobby Keys.[4] Bass guitarist Bill Wyman plays synthesizer on the record, while Jagger and Ian Stewart play electric piano. Wyman's synthesizer can be heard faintly during the verses on the right channel/speaker and plays a simple pattern of a few notes using a string-synth set up.

Jagger said the song was about "a girl who's in some sort of manhood problems", not that she was going crazy but she's "just a little bit screwed up and he wants to be the one to help her out".[3]

Released as the album's lead single on 20 June 1980, "Emotional Rescue" was well received by some fans. Other fans of the Rolling Stones' work took note of the change in direction and were disappointed by it. Reaching No. 9 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 3 on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts,"Emotional Rescue" became popular enough to feature on all of the band's later compilation albums.

Billboard said that "The hook is settled in the offbeat, but once it's repeated the tune becomes addicting."[5] Cash Box said that it was influenced by the music of "Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions, Thom Bell and (on the U.K. side) Eric Burdon," but is brought up-to-date by the "heavy beat."[6] Record World said that "Jagger sings falsetto and street talks while the band cooks a raw, funky dance mix."[7]

Despite touring extensively since the song's release in 1980, the Stones had never performed the track in concert until May 3, 2013, when the band debuted the song in their set list with a slightly different arrangement, during the first show of the 2013 leg of the 50 & Counting... tour, in Los Angeles, California.

Music video[edit]

Two music videos were produced to promote the single; one shot on traditional video,[8] directed by David Mallet and one shot with thermal imaging,[9] directed by Adam Friedman.


The Rolling Stones
Additional personnel


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1980) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 9
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[11] 9
Canada (RPM)[12] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[13] 16
Germany (Official German Charts)[14] 15
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[15] 5
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[16] 16
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 11
UK Singles (OCC)[18] 9
US Billboard Hot 100[19] 3
US Cashbox Top 100 3

Year end charts[edit]

Year-end chart (1980) Rank
Australia (Kent Music Report)[20] 61
US Top Pop Singles (Billboard)[21] 53


  1. ^ a b Mason, Stewart. "Emotional Rescue by The Rolling Stones - Track Info | AllMusic". allmusic. Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  2. ^ Rock and Walk: Rolling Stones' 'Emotional Rescue' Retrieved December 27, 2023
  3. ^ a b The Rolling Stones - Off The Record by Mark Paytress, Omnibus Press, 2005, page 297. ISBN 1-84449-641-4
  4. ^ "Ultimate Classic Rock".
  5. ^ "Top Single Picks". Billboard. July 5, 1980. p. 67. Retrieved 2023-01-20.
  6. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. July 5, 1980. p. 22. Retrieved 2022-01-01.
  7. ^ "Hits of the World" (PDF). Record World. July 5, 1980. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-02-20.
  8. ^ "Rolling Stones - Emotional Rescue.mpg". YouTube. 2012-01-24. Archived from the original on 2021-12-19. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  9. ^ "Rolling Stones - Emotional Rescue (Full Thermo-Vision Version) - 1980". YouTube. 2011-12-09. Archived from the original on 2021-12-19. Retrieved 2014-11-06.
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Emotional Rescue" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  12. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Library and Archives Canada. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  13. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Emotional Rescue" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  14. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Emotional Rescue" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  15. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Emotional Rescue" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  16. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Emotional Rescue". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  17. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Emotional Rescue". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Rolling Stones: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  19. ^ "The Rolling Stones Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  20. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1980". Kent Music Report. January 5, 1981. Retrieved January 17, 2022 – via Imgur.
  21. ^ "1980 Talent in Action – Year End Charts : Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 92, no. 51. December 20, 1980. p. TIA-10. Retrieved 5 April 2020.