Highwire

Composers: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
First release: single, March 1991
Recording date: January 1991        Recording location: Hit Factory Studios, London, England
Producers: Chris Kimsey & The Glimmer Twins      Chief engineer: Mark Stent
Never performed onstage


Probable line-up:

Drums: Charlie Watts
Bass: Bill Wyman
Electric guitars: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards (incl. leads) & Ron Wood
Lead vocals: Mick Jagger
Background vocals: Mick Jagger & Bernard Fowler
 

We sell them missiles, we sell them tanks
We give them credit, you can call up the bank
It's just a business, you can pay us in cruise
You'll love these toys, just go play out your feuds

We've got no pride, don't know whose boots to lick
We act so greedy, make me sick, sick, sick

So get up, stand up, out of my way
I want to talk to the boss right away
Get up, stand up, who's going to pay?
I want to talk to the man right away

We walk the highwire
Sending the men to the front lines
And hoping they don't catch the hell fire
Of hot guns and cold, cold nights

We walk the highwire
Sending the men to the front lines
We tell them to pop in the sunshine
With hot guns and cold, cold nights

All right


Our lives are threatened, our jobs at risk
Sometimes dictators need a slap on the wrist
Another Munich we just can't afford
We're going to send in the 82nd airborne


Get up, stand up, who's going to pay?
I want to talk to the boss right away
Get up, stand up, out of my way
I want to talk to the man right away


We walk the highwire
Putting the world on a deadline
And hoping we don't taste the shell fire
Of hot guns and cold, cold nights


We walk the highwire
Putting the world on a deadline
Catching the bite on prime time
With hot guns and cold, cold nights


Uh-huh yeah

Get up, stand up

Get up, stand up - high


We walk the highwire
We're sending the men to the front lines
We're hoping that we back the right side
With hot guns and cold, cold nights


We walk the highwire
We're sending the men to the front lines
We're hoping they don't catch the hell fire
With hot guns and cold, cold, cold, cold, cold nights

Yeah

Ah yeah

We walk the highwire

We walk the highwire

Oh yeah

With hot guns and cold, cold, cold nights

 

Oh yeah

 

TrackTalk

I thought it would be a good idea for the live album to have something new on it, not just the same old things again. And around Christmas, this is what everyone was talking about, what’s gonna happen in the gulf. War was on everyone’s mind… It comes from the thing where we get ourselves in these situations, boxed into corners, and we have to act one way or the other. There is a lot of division of opinion between the people who are gung-ho, who think war solves everything, and the people on the other side, who say it never solves anything. And in the middle is most everybody else.

- Mick Jagger, 1991

It was one of those things that I played for people, but no one seemed to pick up on it. I didn’t know if it was going to come off, whether it was anything that anyone would want to hear. But it really just sounds like the Rolling Stones.

- Mick Jagger, 1991

(I can mimic Keith's guitar playing style, including the 5-string open-G stuff.) I can't do it ALL maybe as well as him, but I can do a lot of it. Like on Highwire, I do it.

- Mick Jagger, 1994

It's not about the (Persian Gulf) war. It's about how it started.

- Mick Jagger, 1991


I don’t want it to sound like some cheap history lesson. It is about that, though. We built the armaments up to a point where 30 ago it might have been a very low-key affair. These days, it is not low-key. And this scenario of the mad dictator in the Middle East, it’s been talked about for as long as I can remember. One of these days, one of these guys is going to be loose out there with all this weaponry. And eventually these things come to pass… I don’t want to take advantage of this in terms of publicity, just because the new album’s coming out and all. But I think it’s good to be able to make a comment on something everyone is talking about. It’s a valid function of writers and artists everywhere.

- Mick Jagger, 1991


This is not about the war. It's about how you build up some shaky dictator (by selling him arms). You can't build them up, 'cause then you've got to slam them down.

- Keith Richards, 1991



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