Song of the Day: “Sweet Virginia”


“Tryin’ to stop the waves behind your eyeballs,” Mick Jagger sings on “Sweet Virginia,” a determined country shuffle off their seminal 1972 record, Exile On Main Street, an album frequently mentioned on Best Of lists and widely hailed as one of the most influential of the century. The next line, “Drop your reds, drop your greens and blues,” seems to allude to a mysterious elixir of drugs. Guitarist Keith Richards, Jagger’s co-writer on “Sweet Virginia,” was allegedly plunging into the depths of a heroin habit that would last many years beyond the song’s release. In spite of that atmosphere, this song swings hard, carried forward by a perfect complement of gospel backup vocals and soulful saxophones.

Read more of Max Gray at Big City Sasquatch or follow him on Twitter @City_Sasquatch. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Encounters, Mount Hope, Conte,, and English Kills Review. He co-hosts the etymology podcast Words For Dinner and is a graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA program. More from this author →