Sir Mick Jagger rewrote part of ‘Living in a Ghost Town’ because he felt it was “too dark”.
The Rolling Stones released the surprise new single on Thursday (23.04.20) and though the song’s messages resonate with the current state of the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was actually recorded more than a year ago, but had a few small changes made in order to make it even more fitting for this time.
Mick told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe: “It wasn’t written for now but it was written about being in a place which was full of life, and then now there’s all bereft of life, so to speak.
“And when I went back to what I’d written originally lyrically, it was all full of plague terms and things like that.
“I never actually used that, but it was all there. It was very close to the times that we’re living through now.
“But Keith Richards and I both had the idea that we should release it. But I said, ‘Well I’ve got to rewrite it’.
“Some of it is not going to work and some of it was a bit weird and a bit too dark. So I slightly rewrote it. I didn’t have to rewrite very much to be honest. It’s very much how I originally did it. I was just jamming.”
It’s been 15 years since the group – which includes Mick, Keith, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts – released an album of original material and the 76-year-old singer admitted the delay is down to his own exacting standards as he wants the tracks to be more than just “good”.
He said: “Long time ago. Last original Stones. Yeah, it was so long.
“And I think one of the problems I personally have with it is that it’s suddenly that you want it to be really good. So I don’t just want it to be a good album, I want it to be great. You know? Yes, I’m very hard on myself.
“If I write something or if I write something with Keith Richards or whatever, it’s going to be great,” he adds. “It can’t just be good.”