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Music

Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts explain The Rolling Stones song 'Miss You'

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‘Miss You’ is a clear standout from The Rolling Stones’ back catalogue, and the highlight from the 1978 album Some Girls. It fiercely kickstarted a new era for the group and proved those wrong who incorrectly believed that they were over the hill following the lacklustre release of Black and Blue.

It was the right song at the right time for The Rolling Stones and it revived the group. However, the version of ‘Miss You’ which became a hit is almost unrecognisable from the original idea conceived by Mick Jagger. It proved to be a calculated move by The Stones who cleverly adapted the track to make it suitable to the disco trends of the day.

In a documentary from 2000, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts looked back into the process behind creating ‘Miss You’ as well as getting into the details of some of their inspiration. According to the duo, this song wasn’t at the top of their priority list when they made their way into the studio to record, but after being stuck in the booth working on a few of the other tracks on the album, they got into writing ‘Miss You’.

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While Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were behind the actual songwriting process, Watts and Wood had a close-up view of how ‘Miss You’ was formed. All four are in agreement on the source of the inspiration behind the melody: the disco boom.

Both in the documentary and elsewhere, the band maintains that there’s a disco flair to the song, which makes sense given the time period and environment. “We’d always just adapt with what music was in the air,” Ronnie Wood said. “We thought, just, about the beat. We could do disco.”

However, Wood argues it wasn’t intentionally written as a disco song. Richards, on the other hand, has been previously quoted as saying, “‘Miss You’ was a damn good disco record; it was calculated to be one.” Late drummer Watts then weighed in, and said: “A lot of those songs like ‘Miss You’ on ‘Some Girls’ … were heavily influenced by going to the discos. You can hear it in a lot of those four-to-the-floor and the Philadelphia-style drumming.”

It’s fascinating to hear the many sides of what it takes to write a Rolling Stones song, and how the inspiration can come in from every avenue of songwriting, from the vocals to the drums. The ‘Extended Disco Version’ was released as an additional single separate from the album, and the 12-inch original single version of the track runs for more than eight minutes—it also features additional instrumentation and solos, specifically on guitar.

The track went on to make a significant impact, it became the band’s eighth and final number one single in the United States, as well as reaching number three in the UK.

If you want to hear a little more about the process of making this song, you can hear Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts discuss it below.

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