It was on October 20, 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,” the Rolling Stones guitarist wrote. “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 August 31.
Backed by “Silver Train,” the single was released on August 20 in the UK and a week later in the US and entered the Billboard charts on September 8 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. The Rolling 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.
Listen to “Angie” and the best of The Rolling Stones on Apple Music and Spotify.