The Mick Jagger Song That Keith Richards Wished He Would Have Written

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The saying, ‘art imitates life’ is widely known and throughout their long career, the Rolling Stones have made it a habit to derive artistic inspiration from the people they’ve met, the places they’ve been, and their interesting experiences. It almost seems like the lyrics would come to the band’s primary songwriters, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, quite naturally.

Of course, Jagger and Richards aren’t the only ones that have written a song inspired by actual events, but Mick and Keith’s lyrics almost feel alive. Sometimes, they would address someone in particular, and sometimes, they would embody a group of people in one fictional person, like in ‘Angie.’ However, there were certain songs in which the band members addressed each other.

The songwriters have a lot of interesting material from the long and mostly drug-infused early career of the Stones, but there was one particular incident that inspired a Mick Jagger song. The said incident’s protagonist was Keith Richards, and the song was dedicated to him.

Which Track Did Mick Jagger Dedicate To Keith Richards?

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It could be said that Keith Richards probably wasn’t the best neighbor. He and his girlfriend Patti Hansen would play loud music all day and apparently, all night. Sometimes it would be six in the morning and Richards would want to compose a new melody. The guitarist’s creative process wasn’t favored by all of his neighbors, and an eventual dispute would lead to Keith and Patti’s eviction from their Manhattan apartment.

As Keith would refer to himself as ‘homeless’ during this period, the incident was a gold mine for Jagger. Mick found the humorous aspect of the situation and started writing the lyrics to the song, ‘Neighbours.’ The track was featured on their 1981’s ‘Tattoo You.’ The single would address noisy neighbors who wouldn’t let the main character, Richards, live peacefully.

When discussing the song’s origins and then-recent eviction with Rolling Stones in 1981, Keith would joke that Patti and he had nowhere to call home, but on the plus side, the incident had ignited Mick’s creativity, who had never had any conflicts or disputes with his own neighbors.

Richards said the following:

“Patti and I are homeless at the moment. Mick wrote the lyrics to that [the song] — and he never has trouble with neighbors.”

As Keith discussed that Mick was smart enough to live in an old building with thick walls and fewer people around, the guitarist said he liked living close to ‘cool people.’ Unfortunately, there would always be at least one ‘uncool’ neighbor that would argue with him over his musical enthusiasm. Richards joked that the uncool neighbors would almost always be a couple as they would live either in the flat right next to, above or below him.

The Stones icon continued by saying:

“Jagger got himself into a good old building with very thick walls and nobody particular around. I have a knack for finding a whole building of very cool people, you know, but there’ll be one uncool couple — they’re always a couple. And my apartment will always be either just above them or next door to them or just below. And they’re the kind of people who’ll knock you up at six in the morning, while you’ve just sort of got a little bit of music going.”

Even though Richards stated that he understood he shouldn’t blast music all day and he was trying his best about the situation; the guitarist also expressed that they wouldn’t cut him some slack, either way. The neighbors would come to his door, complaining that they couldn’t watch cartoons on their TV due to the loud music, and ask them to turn off the instruments. By all means, Richards felt like he was cursed.

The rocker stated:

“By now, I’m aware that I can’t blast the sounds. So I’m trying to be cool about it. And these people come up to our door saying, “We can’t even hear Bugs Bunny on our TV, your music’s so loud! Turn the kettledrums down!” So, I mean, I’m plagued by that kind of thing.”

Keith joked that the couple bothering him was always the same one. To him, the uncool couple would follow him wherever he moved, just to mess with him. The situation wasn’t all bad, though as Jagger had written his first song for Keith following the incident. ‘Neighbors’ was a song that Keith definitely wished he had written it.

Keith expressed:

“I swear they’re the same couple everywhere I go. They just follow me around: ‘Let’s bug him; he’s an asshole, he deserves it.’ ‘Neighbours’ is the first song I think Mick’s ever really written for me. It’s one I wish I’d written, that.”

For Mick Jagger, he didn’t need to experience a situation in order to be inspired and write a track. The Rolling Stones’ music could be influenced by anything the band found interesting enough. In ‘Neighbours’ case, it was Keith Richard’s bad luck with uncool neighbors, or perhaps, the rocker was the ‘uncool’ neighbor.