Torn and Frayed

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Torn and Frayed"
Song by The Rolling Stones
from the album Exile on Main St.
Released12 May 1972 (1972-05-12)
RecordedSummer 1971, December 1971 – March 1972
StudioVilla Nellcote and Sunset Sound Recorders, Los Angeles
LabelRolling Stones Records
Producer(s)Jimmy Miller

"Torn and Frayed" is a song by the Rolling Stones that appears on their 1972 album Exile on Main St. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "Torn and Frayed" is called "a twangy, three-chord honky tonk, but not typically country ... the progression of the chords brings gospel music to mind",[1] by Bill Janovitz in his review of the song.


The song is included on side two of Exile, the side known for its acoustic folk and country tunes. Janovitz continues, "The music comes as close to definitive country-rock or Stax-like country-soul as anything from the era, barring Gram Parsons – an immediate influence on the Stones." Gram Parsons was present for the recording sessions of Exile at Nellcôte, and "Torn and Frayed" is perhaps the most overtly Parsons-influenced cut the Stones ever recorded, with a country-soul flavour reminiscent of the Parsons-fronted Flying Burrito Brothers' 1969 debut album The Gilded Palace of Sin.

In fact, Al Perkins, a good friend and collaborator of Parsons', appears on the track and performs the song's pedal steel guitar. Jagger performs lead vocals and is accompanied by Richards on backing. Richards provides the song's base of acoustic guitar and electric Telecaster. Mick Taylor bass and Charlie Watts performs drums. Organ is performed by Jim Price and piano is played by Nicky Hopkins.[2] Basic tracking took place in Richards' basement in the South of France during the summer of 1971, and overdubs were done in Los Angeles' Sunset Sound Studios between the months of December 1971 and March 1972.

Janovitz says of the lyrics, "'Torn and Frayed' follows a vagabond-like guitar player whose 'coat is torn and frayed'":

Well the ballrooms and smelly bordellos, and dressing rooms filled with parasites
On stage the band has got problems, they're a bag of nerves on first nights
He ain't tied down to no home town, yeah, and you thought he was reckless
You think he's bad, he thinks you're mad, yeah, and the guitar player gets restless.

Live performances[]

"Torn and Frayed" was first performed by the Stones on the opening night of the 1972 tour of America in Vancouver, Canada, but was subsequently dropped from the setlist and not played again until the fall 2002 leg of the Licks Tour at several theater shows. In 2009, it was covered by The Black Crowes on Warpaint Live. The song was also covered by Phish during their live cover of the entire Exile on Main St. album on 31 October 2009. The song later appeared in another of their live shows in Cincinnati on 21 November 2009, as well as during their Superball IX festival in 2011, Pittsburgh on 23 June 2012, Saratoga Performing Arts Center on 7 July 2012, and Moon Palace, Mexico 20 February 2020.


  1. ^ Janovitz, Bill. "Torn and Frayed". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 September 2006.
  2. ^ "Torn and Frayed". Keno's Rolling Stones Lyrics. 2007 (accessed 21 September 2007).
Retrieved from ""