The Rolling Stones are kicking up dust with their song about Operation Desert Storm: ”High Wire,” the band’s latest single, blames the war in the Middle East on the world’s indiscriminate sale of arms to Iraq. ”We sell ’em missiles, we sell ’em tanks/We give ’em credit, you call up the bank,” sings Mick Jagger. Although the single is sympathetic to the troops in the gulf, it has become a hot topic in Britain, where popular sentiment for the war has already forced two bands, Bomb the Bass and Massive Attack, to change their names. The BBC added ”High Wire” to a list of songs that it discourages its DJs from playing and a Conservative member of Parliament called the record ”appalling in time of war.”
One member of the Stones’ camp says the group expected similar problems here, but they have yet to emerge. New York’s WNEW-FM program director Dave Logan, who says the station’s Feb. 22 airing of ”High Wire” was the first in the country, reports, ”Everyone seems to like it.” And a spokeswoman for Sony Music says American radio listeners have been supportive. ”So far everyone has understood that it’s neither a pro-war nor an antiwar record,” she says.
”High Wire” is one of three studio tracks on the Stones’ forthcoming live album, Flashpoint, and was cut just as the air war began. Jagger told the The Times of London, ”Pop music should address a broad range of subjects — not only sex and cars.”