The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger Felt Fans Misunderstood ‘Beast of Burden’

The Rolling Stones‘ Mick Jagger said he mostly portrayed women in one of two ways in his songs. He felt The Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden” was an exception to the rule. Despite this, he felt many fans misinterpreted the song.

'Beast of Burden" singer Mick Jagger holding a microphone
The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger | Evening Standard/Getty Images

Mick Jagger didn’t think about the types of women in The Rolling Stones’ songs until a journalist asked him about it

During a 1978 interview with Rolling Stone, Jagger was told he sometimes portrayed women as “mystical” and other times as “stupid.” “There are two different types of girls in my songs: there’s the beautiful dreamy type and the vicious b**** type,” Jagger responded. “There are also one or two others, but, yeah, you’re right — there are two kinds of girls … only I never thought about it before.”

Jagger was told The Rolling Stones didn’t have too many songs that portrayed women as dreamy and vicious. “Ah, I see, I’m not integrating them properly,” Jagger replied. “Maybe not.”

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What Mick Jagger was trying to say about women in The Rolling Stones’ ‘Beast of Burden’

Jagger said “Beast of Burden” stood out from The Rolling Stones’ other songs. “Maybe ‘Beast of Burden’ is integrated slightly: I don’t want a beast of burden, I don’t want the kind of woman who’s going to drudge for me,” he said. “The song says: I don’t need a beast of burden, and I’m not going to be your beast of burden, either.”

Jagger felt women would have an easy time interpreting the song. “Any woman can see that that’s like my saying that I don’t want a woman to be on her knees for me,” he opined. “I mean, I get accused of being very antigirl, right?”

The singer was upset fans didn’t listen to “Beast of Burden” closely. “But people really don’t listen, they get it all wrong; they hear ‘Beast of Burden’ and say ‘Argggh!'” Jagger said.

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How ‘Beast of Burden’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“Beast of Burden” became a hit in the United States. The song reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 13 weeks. The Rolling Stones released “Beast of Burden” on the album Some Girls. The album was No. 1 for two of its 88 weeks on the Billboard 200.

“Beast of Burden” was not nearly as popular in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song did not chart there. Meanwhile, Some Girls reached No. 2 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for 25 weeks.

“Beast of Burden” became a cultural juggernaut. Bette Midler’s cover of the song became a single. The original version of the song appeared in trailers for the film Dog. “Beast of Burden” became a hit even if Jagger felt fans didn’t understand the song.

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