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|Song by The Rolling Stones from the album Sticky Fingers|
|Released||16 April 1971|
|Genre||Hard rock, blues rock, proto-punk|
|Sticky Fingers track listing|
"Bitch" is a song by the English rock band The Rolling Stones from their 1971 album Sticky Fingers, first released one week before the album as the b-side to its advance single, "Brown Sugar". Despite not being used as an official single by itself, the tune has garnered major airplay from classic rock radio stations. With a bombastic use of horns, the track is not about a specific woman, but it instead focuses on how, in general, "love is a bitch".
Bitch is the second incarnation of the classic outtake Highway Child as shown by the alternate early version released in 2015 in the bonus disc of the Sticky Fingers reissue, which includes lyric and other elements from Highway Child. While Highway Child could stem from a Redlands rehearsal in spring 1968 (or London 1970 as well), Bitch was conceived during the Sticky Fingers sessions in October 1970. Richards was late that day, but when he arrived he transformed a loose jam into the trademark riff found on the released take. Andy Johns claims:
When we were doing Bitch, Keith was very late. Jagger and Mick Taylor had been playing the song without him and it didn't sound very good. I walked out of the kitchen and he was sitting on the floor with no shoes, eating a bowl of cereal. Suddenly he said, Oi, Andy! Give me that guitar. I handed him his clear Dan Armstrong Plexiglass guitar, he put it on, kicked the song up in tempo, and just put the vibe right on it. Instantly, it went from being this laconic mess into a real groove. And I thought, Wow. THAT'S what he does.
- Andy Johns, 2007
The song is also notable for its heavy brass section that punctuates the guitar riff after the choruses. Mick Jagger said:
The brass for me is great, especially on like Bitch. I mean as long as it's used sort of tastefully. I'm not saying I'd like to work with a band with sort of five or six brass. But I wouldn't mind a band with sort of 5 saxophones.
- Mick Jagger, 1971
It also features the positions of Richards and Taylor swapped, as Taylor performs the guitar riff while Richards fills in various licks and the eventual guitar solo that closes the song. The humorous lyrics are also laced with obscenity like ''Brown Sugar'', as opposed to the sexual innuendos of previous albums. Ronnie Wood recalled in 1997:
I was reading (the lyrics to) Bitch, and I was cracking up at some of the words.
- Ron Wood, 1997