Boy, did I need a break tonight. Luckily, my good friend Regan Kelly swooped in with a guest blog to save me! Regan is originally from Central PA but now resides in Brooklyn with her awesome husband Alberto Riva. From what I have gathered, she spends the bulk of her time taking the most spectacular photos of people and things. Check out her work at www.regankellyphotography.com. Thanks Regan!
Title: Miss You
Artist: The Rolling Stones
Album: Some Girls
Chances are you weren’t spending your nights at New York City’s Studio 54 at the end of the 1970s, but Mick Jagger was. You can hear those nights bubbling up through The Rolling Stones’ monster 1978 hit “Miss You,” arguably their deliberate – some say calculated – foray into disco. It was unmistakably disco, but filtered through the Stones’ singular, more sinister sensibilities. It’s solid while being slippery, with longing lyrics over an immediate, thumping bass groove.
Mick may have brought back the feeling of “Miss You” from the sounds he heard being spun in the clubs that year, but it was Billy Preston, then touring with the band, who contributed its super-slick bass line (later modified/refined by Bill Wyman). In fact, it’s that hyper-dominant bass line that differentiates “Miss You” from most of the Stones’ other songs, which are propelled instead mainly by Keith’s rhythm guitar.
“Miss You” differed, too, in the number of imported players it used: the track features Sugar Blue – found busking in the Paris street – on harmonica (instead of Mick); Mel Collins on sax; and Ian MacLagan on electric piano – an unusually outsider-y lineup then. Regardless of those many new and different voices it had to integrate, the song cooks.
“Miss You” was released in May of 1978 as a sort of dirty pre-tease to the “Some Girls” album to be released a month later. It shot to #1 that summer and stayed there. In fact, “Miss You” was one of those annual summer songs that absolutely could not be escaped – at the time, it seemed to be floating out of every apartment, every humid suburban backyard, every car window, at the same time languorous and insistent.
Having caught the cultural moment, “Miss You” re-established the Stones for a slightly younger generation – it was their 8th #1 hit and their first #1 in five years, closing the longish gap that followed “Angie” in ’73. It enabled the rejuvenated Stones to slip back into relevance, in the middle of a fast-changing music world that now sounded like not only disco, but also the counter-punch of punk.
If you were around in the summer of ‘78, you felt, even as it was happening, that the song marked a departure from earlier Stones. It was dark and interesting, crackling with a kind of summer-hot decadence and risk. And what’s rock and roll without an element of risk?