Was the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” Based On Something Marianne Faithful Said to Mick Jagger After Nearly Dying?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the music urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: The Rolling Stones’ song “Wild Horses” is based on something Marianne Faithfull said after almost overdosing.

The song “Wild Horses” appears on the 1971 Rolling Stones album, Sticky Fingers.

It’s likely one of the most beautiful songs that the band ever released, and it has been covered numerous times, with the most notable cover likely being by The Sundays (The Sundays’ version is the one that’s typically used in commercials).

For years (heck, including right now), “Wild Horses” was said to have been written about Marianne Faithfull, Mick Jagger’s girlfriend of a number of years in the late 1960s.


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Were the Rolling Stones Playing “Sympathy for the Devil” When A Crowd Member Was Killed at Altamont?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the music urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: The Rolling Stones were performing “Sympathy for the Devil” when a crowd member was killed at the Altamont Free Concert.

The song “Sympathy for the Devil” was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and appeared on the 1968 Rolling Stones album, Beggars Banquet.

The song is a first person narrative from the viewpoint of Lucifer/Satan/The Devil. In the song, he takes credit for a great deal of current tragedies, including the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers.

For years, this dark song has been linked to the death of Meredith Hunter at a free concert that the Rolling Stones played at the Altamont Theater in December of 1969 (almost literally the end of the 1960s, let alone figuratively).

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Was Harry Nilsson’s Coffin Lost During an Earthquake?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the music urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Harry Nilsson’s coffin was lost during an earthquake

Harry Nilsson (he usually went by just Nilsson as a performer) was an acclaimed American singer and songwriter, with his most famous songs (either as a performer or as a songwriter or as both) probably being “Everybody’s Talkin'” (as in the theme song to Midnight Cowboy), “Without You” (as in “I can’t liiiiive if living is without you”), “Coconut” (as in “you put the lime in the coconut”) and “One” (as in “one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever know”).

However great Nilsson was, he most likely did not have the career, popularity-wise, that his talent “deserved” and was actually in rough financial straits (at least partially due to a crooked financial advisor who ended up going to prison for what she did to Nilsson’s finances) when he had a heart attack in 1993.

He was pushing RCA to put out a box set of his music, and he was just finishing up a new album (which I don’t believe has ever been released) when he died of heart failure in 1994 at the age of 54.

Let’s leave Nilsson for a moment and turn to our next player in this story.

Marianne Faithfull burst on to the scene in 1964 with a song penned by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Andrew Loog Oldham (the Rolling Stones’ manager) called “As Tears Go By.”

Soon Faithfull was involved in a much-publicized romance with Jagger, which lasted until 1970.

By the time she split with Jagger, Faithfull was heavily addicted to drugs, specifically cocaine.

During the 70s, while her singing career was in ruins, she developed a bout of laryngitis that, coupled with her constant drug abuse, rendered her once soprano voice to practically a complete 180 degree turn, and she is now a gravelly Deep contralto, but she is an acclaimed musician nowadays, despite her gruff voice.

Why do I bring Faithfull up?

Well, during the mid to late 90s, a story began circulating that an earthquake had taken place in Los Angeles after Nilsson’s death, and that his coffin had actually fallen from the funeral home into a crevice and was lost. So that when his funeral burial took place, they basically buried an empty coffin (as a replacement for the lost one).

Sounds absurd, right? But is it absurd and true?

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