“Miss You” is a song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It was released as a single by The Rolling Stones on Rolling Stones Records in May 1978, one month in advance of their album Some Girls, and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. An extended version, called the “Special Disco Version”, was released as the band’s first dance remix on a 12-inch single.
“Miss You” was written by Mick Jagger jamming with keyboardist Billy Preston during rehearsals for the March 1977 El Mocambo club gigs, recordings from which appeared on side three of double live album Love You Live (1977). Keith Richards is credited as co-writer as was the case for all Rolling Stones originals written by either partner or in tandem.
Jagger and Ronnie Wood insist that “Miss You” wasn’t conceived as a disco song, while Richards said, “…’Miss You’ was a damn good disco record; it was calculated to be one.” In any case, what was going on in discotheques did make it to the recording. Charlie Watts said, “A lot of those songs like ‘Miss You’ on ‘Some Girls’… were heavily influenced by going to the discos. You can hear it in a lot of those four-to-the-floor and the Philadelphia-style drumming.” For the bass part, Bill Wyman started from Preston’s bass guitar on the song demo. Chris Kimsey, who engineered the recording of the song, said Wyman went “…to quite a few clubs before he got that bass line sorted out”, which Kimsey said “made that song.” Jagger sang a good part of the chorus using falsetto “ooh”s often in unison with harmonica, guitar and electric piano.
Unlike most of Some Girls, “Miss You” features several studio musicians. In addition to Sugar Blue who, according to Wood, was found by Jagger busking on the streets of Paris, Ian McLagan plays understated Wurlitzer electric piano, and Mel Collins provides the saxophone solo for the instrumental break.
The 12″ version of the song runs over eight minutes and features additional instrumentation and solos, particularly on guitar. It was remixed by Bob Clearmountain, then an upcoming mixer and engineer. This song, the first edit the Stones did for a 12″ single, also contains tape repeats and an additional set of lyrics in the second verse, after the line “Hey, let’s go mess and fool around you know, like we used to.” The extended version can be found on the “Don’t Stop” CD single and in edited form on the album Rarities 1971–2003.
Personnel per Some Girls CD credits.
The Rolling Stones
Mick Jagger – lead and backing vocals, electric guitar
Keith Richards – electric guitar, backing vocals
Ronnie Wood – electric guitar, backing vocals
Bill Wyman – bass guitar
Charlie Watts – drums
Ian McLagan – electric piano
Mel Collins – saxophone
Sugar Blue – harmonica
“Miss You” became The Rolling Stones’ eighth and final number one hit in the United States on its initial release in 1978. It hit the top on 5 August 1978, ending the seven week reign of “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb. It also reached number three in the United Kingdom. The song was originally nearly nine minutes long, but was edited to nearly five minutes for the album version, and to three-and-a-half minutes for the radio single. In order to properly edit the radio single without audible bumps and glitches, a separate mix was constructed and then edited for continuity. The B-side of the single was another album track, “Far Away Eyes”, a tongue-in-cheek country tune sung by Jagger in a pronounced drawl.
A live recording was captured during the Rolling Stones’ 1989-1990 Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle Tour and released on the 1991 live album Flashpoint. Other live versions have been recorded and/or filmed, including a July 2013 performance featured on Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live (2013) and a July 1995 performance on Totally Stripped (2016).
In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine rated “Miss You” number 498 in its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The song featured in the première episode of the TV series Miami Vice, “Brother’s Keeper” and at the beginning of the film At Close Range.