In 1973, the Rolling Stones tackled life on the streets, in a gritty, horn-filled way that not only vividly suggests how tough a life like that is, but also, that political solutions to runaways and homelessness are stabs in the dark, at best, often. The sexy grunge of the tune, alas, at the same time, makes the mean streets sound… exciting.
The lyrics refer to a police shooting of an innocent, and the drug overdose of a girl. But the “doo doo doos” and Jagger’s Dirty Harry-style glorification of violence (“…with your .44, I want to tear your world apart…”) also brings us a little closer to a world we fantasize about from afar without getting burned. This makes the song like many other by the Rolling Stones, taking us to a dark side of policy, where unsolved public problems brew and fester.