In a new interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe, Mick Jagger said he wrote the song with guitarist Keith Richards over a year ago; “It wasn’t written for now," explained Jagger, but it was just one of those odd things.
"It was written about being in a place which was full of life but is now bereft of life so to speak…I was just jamming on the guitar and wrote it really quickly in like 10 minutes.”
Jagger also revealed in an Instagram post that the band had been recording songs in a studio before the lockdown begun, part of a number of sessions working on new material over the last few years. "Living In A Ghost Town - we thought would resonate through the times we’re living in," he posted.
The singer (who also plays harmonica on the track) also revealed to Lowe that the lyrics of the song were later changed to reflect the current situation.
"Keith Richards and I both had the idea that we should release it,” Jagger said. “But I said, ‘Well I’ve got to rewrite it.’ Some of it is not going to work and some of it was a bit weird and a bit too dark. So I slightly rewrote it. I didn’t have to rewrite very much, to be honest. It’s very much how I originally did it.”
“It’s sort of eerie when suddenly it’s coming to life,” added Richards. “I mean the ghost comes to life… I had said to Don [Was] about a month or so ago, ‘Hey, this is a time for the ghost town track.’ And then Mick called me and said the same thing and that great minds think alike.”