It was on 20 October 1973 that the Rolling Stones secured their 7th US No.1 when ‘Angie’ made the top of the Billboard chart. It was their 24th US single (18th in Britain) and over the years many have speculated that it was inspired by Angie, David Bowie’s wife, or even Keith’s daughter. Keith, who wrote the majority of the song’s music and lyrics said in his autobiography that the name Angie came to him while in Switzerland detoxing from his heroin addiction. “I wrote ‘Angie’ in an afternoon, sitting in bed, because I could finally move my fingers and get them in the right place again…It was not about any particular person, it was a name, like “Ohhh, Diana”
The recording of the song began in late November 1972 at Dynamic Sound Studios in Kingston, Jamaica with Jimmy Miller producing and Andy Johns engineering what was an early version of the song; this version can be heard on the soundtrack to the band’s documentary, Crossfire Hurricane. While Nicky Hopkins is there playing piano, as he is on the final version, there are no strings. These were added in May/June 1973 at Island Studio in London. This is the final version that became the single and was included on the album, Goats Head Soup that came out on 31 August.
Backed by ‘Silver Train’ the single was released on 20 August in the UK and a week later in the US and entered the Billboard charts on 8 September at No.75, the highest new entry of the week (ahead of the Osmonds’, ‘Let Me In’ and Ike and Tina Turner’s ‘Nutbush City Limits’). The Stones were replaced at No.1 by Gladys Knight and The Pips’ version of ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’, which had been the previous week’s highest chart entry.
In the UK ‘Angie’ made No.5 on the charts. The Stones’ debuted the single on the first date of their 1973 European tour in Vienna, Austria; it went on to make No.8 on the Austrian chart. Elsewhere it topped the charts in Australia, Canada, Holland, Norway and Switzerland.
Interestingly writer Nick Kent, had this to say in the New Musical Express, “This is positively the most depressing task I’ve ever had to undertake as a rock writer. This new single is a dire mistake on as many levels as you care to mention. ‘Angie’ is atrocious.” It only goes to prove that critics opinions are not always to be trusted.
Here is one of the two official promo videos for the Rolling Stones’ 1973 single “Angie”. It reached number 5 in the UK singles chart, and number 1 in the US Billboard chart.