Friday, August 20, 2010

Wild Horses

I've been listening to lots of The Rolling Stones lately; why, I don't know. I guess it was just their time to cycle back into my current playlist. Anyhow, last night after spending about 45 minutes listening to "Wild Horses" over and over again on repeat, it struck me-- undeniably a romantic and heartfelt ballad, and a proclamation of devotion, who was it written for, and what happened to them?

Fast-forward through a bit of research done today, when I could actually think straight enough to formulate a plan of internet trawling attack, and here are some answers: "Wild Horses" was written for the album "Sticky Fingers," which was released in 1971. During this time period, and, we'll assume, the period in which Jagger, Richards, and the band were writing songs for the album from 1966 to 1970, Jagger was in a tumultuous relationship with Marianne Faithfull, who was shrugging the merits of her last name by dallying with Jagger while married to John Dunbar. Nonetheless, she took her son and left her husband to live with Jagger, and the two became nearly permanent fixtures in the hip "Swinging London" scene. Drug use, misuse, overuse, social drama, personal drama, and relationship drama ensued. ("You Can't Always Get What You Want" has also been attributed as being influenced by her, if that's of any sway to your thinking on this matter.) For awhile, Faithfull was his muse, the significant woman in his life, his greatest pride at times, and in others, as when she fell into a drug-induced coma, his biggest mistake. At the end of 4 years, Jagger and Faithfull finally called it quits. Jagger's stated that "Wild Horses" was written while their relationship was "pretty much done," but in the tone and the lyrics, you can still hear the sound of a man who really loved her, even if it was "done."

Jerry Hall, one of Jagger's most well-known ex-wives, has always held that "Wild Horses" is her favorite Stones song, even if it was written about and for another woman.

So, that much time, that much emotion, that much love and devotion, and a song, and it still ended?

We're not exactly living in the time of fairy tales, children. The first time I heard "Wild Horses" was in the movie "Fear" in which a mid-Marky-Mark Wahlberg and a baby Reese Witherspoon play star-crossed lovers...with a murderous twist. In that movie, psychosis was apparently enough to break that devotion. All it leads me to wonder is, where does the love go? After 4 years, lots of living and a life together, when it ends, what really ends? The living arrangements? Seeing them every day? Sharing the coke? But do the emotions themselves end, or is there some part of Jagger that's still the man singing "You know I can't let you slide from my hands/ ...No sweeping exits or off-stage lines/ Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind,/ Wild horses couldn't drag me away" for Faithfull? After all, you can take away the actions, but they will never lose their meaning.


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