After the release of "Beggars Banquet", and the "Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus" extravaganza in December 1968, the Stones took a two months break before starting recordings for a new studio album. During various sessions at Olympic Sound Studios (February-May, 1969) the band, mainly without Brian Jones, recorded some 10 new tracks, among which gems like "Midnight Rambler", "Gimme Shelter", "You Can't Always Get What You Want", "Sister Morphine" and "Love In Vain".
Nicky Hopkins and American guitarist Ry Cooder played important roles during the recordings, but Ian Stewart was invited to play piano on the band's next single release, "Honky Tonk Women". Author Martin Elliott recalls: "A short session in May 1969 enabled Mick Taylor to establish himself as suitable for an honorary guitar position with the Stones, and one of the first songs he played on was "Honky Tonk Women".
Jimmy Miller taps out the first few beats on the cowbell. Charlie Watts then hits the snare and kicks into the bass drum. Keith Richards follows shortly with the guitar riff. "Honky Tonk" is a unique piece of rhythm artistry. The released take features Ian Stewart's piano and brass instruments in the background. Was this Jim Horn who was playing with Leon Russell at the time or Bobby Keys and Jim Price who where recording with those soul stax rockers, Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett?"
Adapted from the following source: Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones. Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Books, 2002.