Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones Song Meaning

Once Marianne Faithfull (Marianne Faithfull), girlfriend of Mick Jagger (Mick Jagger), almost went to the next world, taking a huge dose of sleeping pills. According to legend, after coming out of a six-day coma, the girl said: “The wild horses could not carry me away.”

This phrase is heard in the chorus of the ballad Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones, but the authors do not agree that the song is dedicated to Marianne. They mention other sources of inspiration and interpret the main idea of ​​the work in a completely different way.

The history of creation and the meaning of the song Wild Horses

The musicians talked about the composition in many interviews. First, let’s figure out how she is related to Faithfull.

Back in December 1969, Keith Richards made it clear that the composition had nothing to do with Marianne:

I wrote this song because I was happy at home with my old lady. [речь о жене]. I wrote it as a love song. I had only this: “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away”, and I gave the phrase to Mick. And Marianne just ran away with that guy, and he twisted everything, but, nevertheless, she is beautiful.

The True Adventures Of The Rolling Stones,
Stanley Booth

Mick Jagger also denied the claim that they were inspired by Faithfull:

Everyone says it’s about Marianne, but I don’t think so; by that time it was all in the past. But I definitely took this thing very close to my heart. It is very personal, evocative and sad. She seems pretty sinister now, but it was a pretty rough time.

Synopsis for Jump Back (1993)

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Rather, the song is dedicated to Marlon, the son of Keith Richards. The musician confirmed this version:

Yes…because I knew we had to go to America and get back to work…and I really didn’t want to leave. It was a very touchy moment. The baby is only two months old, and you’re leaving. Millions of people do it all the time, but still…


Let’s hear what the members of The Rolling Stones had to say about working on the composition.

Keith Richards:

If there’s a classic way Mick and I collaborate, this is it. I had a riff and a chorus line. Mick took up the verses. Just like in the case of Satisfaction. Wild Horses is about the common reluctance to be on the road, a million miles from where you want to be.


Wild Horses wrote itself almost by itself. Again, we had a hell of a lot of fiddling with the formation. To begin with, I picked up the chords by specifically playing a twelve-string guitar, which gave the song character and sound. A certain sense of hopelessness can emanate from the twelve-string. I think I first played in regular E for the six string and it sounded really good, but sometimes you get ideas.

Life, 2010

It was one of those magical moments when everything comes together. As with Satisfaction. You just dream about her, and suddenly she is completely in your hands. Since the image of wild horses came to your mind, what phrase do you then use? It should be: “They couldn’t carry me away.”

Life, 2010

Mick Jagger:

It was the melody [Кита], and he wrote the phrase “wild horses”, but I wrote everything else. I like this song. This is an example of a popular song. So take the “wild horses” cliché, which is really terrible, but use it in a way that doesn’t sound like a cliché when you do it.


Mick Taylor:

Wild Horses is all Jagger, pure Mick. Even Ian Stewart didn’t play in it. Stu had an aversion to minor chords or changing chords too often.


Recording and release

The Rolling Stones recorded Wild Horses on December 2-4, 1969 at Muscle Shoals Studios in Sheffield, Alabama. Before her, they then completed work on Brown Sugar and You Gotta Move.

Gram Parsons was the first to release the song. The famous country singer performed Wild Horses with The Flying Burrito Brothers.

Rolling Stones was released as the second single from the Sticky Fingers album on June 12, 1971. Such a long pause arose due to legal disputes with the band’s former label.

The track peaked at number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number eleven on the Canadian charts.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine named Wild Horses one of the five hundred greatest songs of all time.

Clip Wild Horses

In 1995, the Rolling Stones filmed a black-and-white music video for an acoustic version of Wild Horses.

Cover versions

Subsequently, Wild Horses were performed by many famous musicians. The version of the British group The Sundays was very popular. It is featured in the movie Fear, the TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and CSI, and the famous Budweiser beer commercial.

Interesting Facts

  • In Wild Horses, Mick Taylor played a Gibson acoustic guitar in Nashville tuning.

Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones Lyrics

Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted I bought them for you
Graceless lady you know who I am
You know I can’t let you slide through my hands

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses couldn’t drag me away

I watched you suffer a dull aching pain
Now you’ve decided to show me the same
No sweeping exit or offstage lines
Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind


I know I’ve dreamed you a sin and a lie
I have my freedom but I don’t have much time
Faith has been broken tears must be cried
Let’s do some living after we die

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day

Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones Lyrics

It’s easy to live in childhood
I bought you things that you wanted.
Sinful lady, you know who I am
You know I can’t let you slip away

Wild horses couldn’t carry me
Wild, wild horses couldn’t carry me.

I watched you suffer from aching pain.
Now you decided to show me the same.
But neither hasty disappearances, nor behind-the-scenes lines
Won’t make me suffer or mistreat you


Yes, I pictured you as a sinner and a liar.
I’m free, but I don’t have much time.
Faith broken, tears must be shed.
Let’s live a little after death.

Wild horses couldn’t carry me
Wild, wild horses, one day we’ll ride them.
Wild horses couldn’t carry me
Wild, wild horses, one day we’ll ride them.

Quote about the song Wild Horses

Vulnerability! That’s what you have to deal with in songs like this. You have to experience them on an emotional level, otherwise it doesn’t make sense. When I wrote these verses, I felt vulnerable.

Mick Jagger, 2015

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