“Honky Tonk Women” The Rolling Stones

If you never thought a cowbell could be sexy, the opening notes of “Honky Tonk Women” will prove you wrong.  With a quick clank, you’re moving and don’t really know why, but Keith Richards’ guitar quickly justifies it – a low, throbbing strum occasionally lurching up to a rocking surface that explodes at the chorus.  It may present a simple story of many conquests whom Mick Jagger just can’t seem to drink off his mind, but what it really is The Rolling Stones at their most down and dirty charming – a bad boy rock anthem for which even the percussion is seductive.  I’m never quite sure where “Honky Tonk Women” came from – it’s not from any of the great rock records, not Beggar’s Banquet or Sticky Fingers or Aftermath or Let It Bleed, but it out-slinks and sexys every song on those records, creating bravado for the Stones’ five-man lothario army.  It’s a classic because none of its swagger – more in the music than the salacious lyrics, mind you – is remotely diluted today.

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