Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and recorded in November and December 1972, “Angie” is an acoustic-guitar-driven ballad which tells of the end of a romance. The song’s distinctive piano accompaniment was played by Nicky Hopkins, a Rolling Stones recording-session regular. The strings on the piece (as well as on another song, “Winter“) were arranged by Nicky Harrison. An unusual feature of the original recording is that singer Mick Jagger‘s vocal guide track (made before the final vocals were performed) is faintly audible throughout the song (an effect sometimes called a “ghost vocal”)
Released as a single in August 1973, “Angie” went straight to the top of the USBillboard Hot 100 and reached No. 5 on the UK singles chart. The song was also a No. 1 hit in both Canada and Australia for five weeks each and topped the charts in many countries throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
Because of the song’s length, some radio stations made edits to shorten it to 3 minutes, omitting the longer coda and the second instrumental section of the song.