The Rolling Stones, who had planned a major tour before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world, have done the next best thing: Released a new song and video that, as Mick Jagger says, “would resonate through the times that we’re living in right now.” It’s called “Living In A Ghost Town.”
With what sounds and looks to be nods to 1981’s anti-Thatcher reggae anthem and video “Ghost Town” by The Specials, the Stones song opens with some vaguely “Missing You” guitar and drum vibes, a semi-chanted “whoa oh oh oh” backup vocal, Mick’s strong-voiced, double-tracked singing and eventually gets around to a blast of his harmonica. “I’m a ghost,” Jagger whisper-sings, “living in a ghost town/You can look for me/but I can’t be found.”
The video, which premiered today on YouTube, shows flashes of the band recording the song, and utilizes fast-motion, street-level footage of empty cities, a sight familiar to everyone by now.
Written by Jagger & Stones guitarist Keith Richards, the song was actually recorded more than a year ago in Los Angeles, London and “in isolation,” despite some prescient (hmmm) lyrics like “Life was so beautiful/then we all got locked down.”
Said Jagger in a statement, “the Stones were in the studio recording some new material before the lockdown and there was one song we thought would resonate through the times that we’re living in right now. We’ve worked on it in isolation. And here it is – It’s called ‘Living in Ghost Town’ – I hope you like it.”
“So, let’s cut a long story short,” said Richards. “We cut this track well over a year ago in L.A. for part of a new album, an ongoing thing, and then shit hit the fan Mick and I decided this one really needed to go to work right now and so here you have it , ‘Living in a Ghost Town’. Stay safe!”
Drummer Charlie Watts, ever a man of few words: “I enjoyed working on this track. I think it captures a mood and I hope people who listen to it will agree.”
Guitarist Ronnie Wood: “Thanks so much for all your messages these past few weeks, it means so much to us that you enjoy the music. So we have a brand new track for you, we hope you enjoy it. It has a haunting melody, it’s called ‘Living in A Ghost Town’.”
The song is available for streaming and download only, and features Jagger (vocals/harmonica/guitar/backing vocals, Richards (guitar/backing vocals), Watts (drums), Wood (guitar/backing vocals), Darryl Jones (bass) and Matt Clifford (keyboards, french horn, sax, flugelhorn).
“Living In A Ghost Town” is available via streaming and download. Check it out above.