Tyler Childers & The Rolling Stones Prove “Dead Flowers” is a Country Song

The Rolling Stones are currently rolling through their North American tour, and have tapped some cool openers throughout the run, including from the country and roots realm. The Red Clay Stray got to open for the rock legends on May 30th in Foxboro, MA, and Tyler Childers opened their massive show in Orlando, Florida on June 3rd.

At this point, Tyler Childers is an arena draw himself, so the opening slot was just as much a bucket list item for Childers as it was an opportunity for exposure. But Childers got an even more memorable moment when he was asked to come out and sing “Dead Flowers” with Mick Jagger and the boys.

It’s been the long contention of Saving Country Music and others that the 1971 album Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones was their “country” album, and arguably their best. The song “Dead Flowers” is a great example. It’s a straight up country song if there ever was one, so much so conspiracy theories still swirl that it was in fact Townes Van Zandt that wrote it, not The Stones.

A similar conspiracy theory persists for another one of the Sticky Fingers tracks—“Wild Horses,” which was recorded by Gram Parsons before The Stones during a period where Gram was hanging out with the band. It just happens to be in that Stones era, they were being heavily influenced by American country influences, and that came through in their music.

Listening to Mick Jagger sing “Dead Flowers” now over 50 years since its release with Tyler Childers, you can definitely tell he’s trying his best to put some British twang to it, and you hear a similar effort from the guitar work of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood.

Whether you want to consider them country songs or not, the simple fact is that Sticky Fingers tracks like “Dead Flowers,” “Wild Horses,” and “Sway” have just as much influence on American country artists as many of the country songs of the same era. They’re elemental to the country genre. And it’s quite remarkable that Mick, Keith, Ronnie, and the rest are still out there performing them, and now with a new generation of performers influenced by their take on country music.

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