Torn and Frayed

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"Torn and Frayed"
Song by The Rolling Stones from the album Exile on Main St.
Released 12 May 1972
Recorded December 1971–March 1972
Sunset Sound Recorders, Los Angeles, USA
Genre Rock, country
Length 4:17
Label Rolling Stones/Virgin
Writer(s) Mick Jagger/Keith Richards
Producer(s) Jimmy Miller
Exile on Main St. track listing

"Torn and Frayed" is a song by the Rolling Stones featured on their 1972 album Exile on Main St.

Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "Torn and Frayed" is called "a twangy, three-chord honky tonk, but not typically country... the progression of the chords brings gospel music to mind",[1] by Bill Janovitz in his review of the song. The song comes from side two of Exile, the side known for its acoustic folk and country tunes. Janovitz continues, "The music comes as close to definitive country-rock or Stax-like country-soul as anything from the era, barring Gram Parsons — an immediate influence on the Stones." Gram Parsons was present for the recording sessions of Exile at Nellcôte, and "Torn and Frayed" is perhaps the most overtly Parsons-influenced cut the Stones ever recorded, with a country-soul flavour reminiscent of the Parsons-fronted Flying Burrito Brothers' 1969 debut album The Gilded Palace of Sin.

In fact, Al Perkins, a good friend and collaborator of Parsons', appears on the track and performs the song's pedal steel guitar. Jagger performs lead vocals and is accompanied by Richards on backing. Richards provides the song's base of acoustic guitar and electric Telecaster. Mick Taylor bass and Charlie Watts performs drums. Organ is performed by Jim Price and piano is played by Nicky Hopkins.[2] Recording took place at Los Angeles' Sunset Sound Studios between the months of December 1971 and March 1972.

Janovitz says of the lyrics, "'Torn and Frayed' follow a vagabond-like guitar player whose 'coat is torn and frayed...'"

"Torn and Frayed" was performed by the Stones during the 1972 tour of America and was reintroduced to setlists during the 2002 leg of the Licks Tour. In 2009, it was covered by The Black Crowes on Warpaint Live. The song was also covered by Phish during their cover of Exile on Main St. on 31 October 2009. The song later appeared in another of their live shows in Cincinnati on 21 November 2009, as well as during their Superball IX festival in 2011 and at a live show in Pittsburgh on 23 June 2012.


  1. ^ Janovitz, Bill. "Torn and Frayed". allmusic. Retrieved 21 September 2006. 
  2. ^ "Torn and Frayed". Keno's Rolling Stones Lyrics. 2007 (accessed 21 September 2007).