“I have my freedom… but I don’t have much time” – Rolling Stones, Wild Horses
When I was in college I watched a bunch of documentaries about my favorite artists. No Direction Home had come out not too long ago and I was searching for others that were just as good. I watched the incredible The Last Waltz and loved another Dylan documentary called Don’t Look Back, but for some reason the one I liked most at the time was the Stones’ Gimme Shelter.
The fact that the documentary was focused on the Altamont concert the Stones gave in 1969 was very appealing. It was famous because the band had hired the Hells Angels to run security and midway through the concert a man carrying a gun was stabbed to death by one of the Hells Angels.
From the documentary there are two scenes I remember vividly…
The first is the Stones in a studio actually looking at the footage of the man taking his gun out and getting stabbed. They make comments as they watch the scene several times and even freeze the image every now and then so they can see the gun and the stabbing.
The second is a scene where the band listens to one of my favorite Rolling Stone songs they’ve just finished recording, Wild Horses. It’s a rare breed for a song, one of those I like more over time. It helps that it’s not overplayed and whenever I hear it I rarely feel that I’ve heard it not too long ago. Yesterday, when watching the documentary Muscle Shoals (not great, unfortunately), I was excited when I saw the exact same scene which I remembered perfectly from 8 or 9 years ago. Coincidentally it was recorded at a Muscle Shoals studio and the scene, in my opinion and I hope in everybody else’s too, stole the documentary.
The clip has a lot of character: Keith Richards mouthing the song, Charlie Watts looking at the floor, Mick Jagger burying his head in his hands but softly clapping with a smile on his face when it’s over…. it’s just memorable.
It’s a song that’s been with me the last ten years, I’ve listened to it with girlfriends, with friends and mostly on my own. Yet to this day I have doubts as to what are “Wild Horses”, I have an idea but whenever I listen to the song with somebody I ask them what they think and how they interpret it.
“Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day.”