We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to look back at two of our favourite artists coming together back in 1993, as Prince takes on a Rolling Stones classic.
Prince was an artist as mercurial and morphing as your favourite superhero. The singer was a deft hand at pretty much any musical genre you passed along to him and his cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Honky Tonk Women’ is proof of that.
The Purple One took on the 1969 track as part of a recording session in 1993 for his unreleased symbol album, which has been teasing diehard fans for some time now. The unreleased album is a holy grail for some Prince cult members, recorded as a single session in 1993 the record is a collector’s dream, full of unheard songs and one never-before-heard cover.
The album’s recording was filmed, and a vague storyline was incorporated, resulting in the home video The Undertaker, released on VHS and Laser Disc in 1995. We’re bringing you a shining example of one of those covers.
The cover in question is that of The Rolling Stones’ 1969 hit ‘Honky Tonk Women‘. Written in the late sixties with Jagger and Richards the track is a jumping and jiving reminder of the Stones’ inherent groove. It’s a groove that one man fills with aplomb, Prince’s first-ever recorded cover song is a triumph.
The recording features a line-up of only Prince on vocals and guitar, Michael B. on drums and Sonny T. on bass guitar. Together they create a contender for one of the best Rolling Stones covers ever, and trust us, there’s been quite a few.
Keith Richards said of the song: “‘Honky Tonk Women’ started in Brazil. Mick and I, Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg who was pregnant with my son at the time. Which didn’t stop us going off to the Mato Grasso and living on this ranch. It’s all cowboys. It’s all horses and spurs. And Mick and I were sitting on the porch of this ranch house and I started to play, basically fooling around with an old Hank Williams idea. ‘Cause we really thought we were like real cowboys. Honky tonk women.”
He continued: “We were sitting in the middle of nowhere with all these horses, in a place where if you flush the john all these black frogs would fly out. It was great. The chicks loved it. Anyway, it started out a real country honk put on, a hokey thing. And then couple of months later we were writing songs and recording. And somehow by some metamorphosis it suddenly went into this little swampy, black thing, a Blues thing.”
With this cover, Prince shows off his incredible talent by toeing the very fine line on how best to perform a cover. That includes not only adding your own flair. which for Prince, who is about 98% flair, that was no problem and ensuring you pay homage to the song, which with his guitar licks he does in abundance.
It’s a wonderfully cultured and textured cover and is the perfect way to start your weekend. Listen below to Prince’s 1993 of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Honky Tonk Woman.’