Released: 2nd September 1991
Recorded: The Music Grinder Studios, Hollywood, CA.; A&M Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA.
Producer: Richie Zito
Label: Beggars Banquet, Sire


IA: "It's kinda like autobiographical. It's just talking about the fact that being put down for you know, beliefs, the way I look, etc., which is a lot of people experience that. The song's basically saying it's OK to be different, OK to express yourself the way you want to. Take life and read between the lines."

Wild Hearted Son, 7", GER, 114720
Wild Hearted Son, 7", ITA, JBV 334, jukebox 7” released only in Italy, b-side by Canoro
Wild Hearted Son, 7", UK, BEG 255
Wild Hearted Son, 7", UK, BEG 255, white label promo
Wild Hearted Son, 7", UK, BEG 255, w/ press release and promo sticker at sleeve
Wild Hearted Son (Hijo de Corazon Salvaje), 7", MEX, 700 1123, promo, plain sleeve
Wild Hearted Son (Hijo de Corazon Salvaje), 7", MEX, 700 1123, promo, picture sleeve

Wild Hearted Son, 12", GER, 614720
Wild Hearted Son, 12", UK, BEG 255T
Wild Hearted Son, 12", UK, BEG 255T, white label promo
Wild Hearted Son, 12", UK, BEG 255T, w/ white and silver embossed ‘For Promotional Use Only’ sleeve
Wild Hearted Son, 12", ITA, BEG255T, promo - free sample, perforated sleeve 'campione gratuito'
Wild Hearted Son, 12", ITA, VI PRO 49, promo sampler with 4 diff. artists in black 'Virgin' company sleeve
Wild Hearted Son - Mix Promocional Invendavel, LP, BRA, 9951 282, part of 6-track promo sampler

Wild Hearted Son, CDS, AUS, BEG 255CD
Wild Hearted Son, CDS, CAN, 868925 2
Wild Hearted Son, CDS, CAN, CDP 557, 2-track promo copy only w/ picture sleeve
Wild Hearted Son, CDS, OOS, 664 720, w/ press release sheet
Wild Hearted Son, CDS, UK, BEG 255CD, digipack
Wild Hearted Son, CDS, UK, BEG 255CD, promo, housed inside a gold embossed digipack
Wild Hearted Son, CDS, USA, PRO-CD-5009
Wild Hearted Son - Ltd Edition Collector's Box, CDS, CAN, 868925 2, 'The Ceremony Collection' (sealed)
Wild Hearted Son - Ltd Edition D-luxe CD pak, CDS, UK, BEG 255CD, 'The Ceremony Collection' (sealed)

Wild Hearted Son, TAPE, AUS, BEG255C, 4 track cassingle, slipcase
Wild Hearted Son, TAPE, CAN, 868925-4, 4 track cassingle
Wild Hearted Son, TAPE, UK, BEG255C
Wild Hearted Son, VID, UK, 1-track promo w/ stickered sleeve and press release sheet

IA: I was talking to a previous interviewer about how formats create the intention and maybe the parameters of a song. Like, the 7-inch really pushed the single track. It fit for radio. It was a great format for radio: It played for two or three minutes, the DJ could speak over the introduction. So I think there’s a generation of artists who are writing very much for that modality and format. The thing I’m alluding to is: Here we are writing singles. You know if something’s a single. Why weren’t “Wild Hearted Son” or “She Sells Sanctuary” 12 minutes long? The Doors hit on something with “Light My Fire.” Its original incarnation was six and a half minutes long because they added a keyboard solo. But it’s a societal fucking format, so you start writing singles subconsciously, and I think “Wild Hearted Son” very much came out of that mindset. It was a muscle that we’d been flexing since “Spiritwalker.” You look at “She Sells Sanctuary,” “Rain,” “Love Removal Machine,” “Wild Flower,” “Fire Woman”… We had a way with this kind of three-and-a-half minute rock ’n’ roll song, a certain animal that just comes roaring out.

The idea of “Wild Hearted Son” was alluding to the outsider, the primal, the instinctual. Again, it has a very heavy Native American modality to it, but these are references that, when we look at indigenous people, they’re the ones that really do live closer to the way things really are. They’re much more in tune with the natural elemental environments, whereas we in cities and urban environments tend to live more dictated by media institutions, the policemen. It’s very different when you’re in a forest or in the mountains or a very natural environment, where different rules apply. There’s a wisdom and intelligence that comes with that. So I think what I’m alluding to is the awareness around that, and it’s about our value system as well.

AVC: Given that you were coming off the huge success of Sonic Temple, was there any pressure—either from the label or amongst yourselves—to come up with a similar-sounding follow-up?

IA: Absolutely. Sure there was. Everyone was like, “Give us more!” Believe me, the management we had at the time said, “Go do it again.” And there was even some of that internally. But for me, I was in kind of a weak place. My father was dying of cancer—in fact, he’d just passed away—so I was dealing with that. And I’d been doing it for 10, 11, 12 years by then, so I was dealing with attrition as well, and I think that song and Ceremony as a whole came out of that place. But I think it was a very important record for us to make because I think it’s probably the only record I can dig out of our canon where there was an agenda. We did that that one time, probably more so on that song. Actually, people love that song. We get requests for it all the time. But I think there’s a reason why it’s not in our set: Because we have far greater songs than that. That’s not to say that we didn’t put the energy and time into the song, but…

AVC: It was for the wrong reasons?

IA: Well, not for the wrong reasons. It’s different when you’re on the field and doing it. It’s only when you get time and objectivity you can really talk about it. You just don’t know. I’m sure there are times in your life when you take the easiest path. Like, if you don’t want to piss off your wife, you might forget to share something. Do you know what I’m talking about?

AVC: I’m sure I have no idea.

IA: Oh, everybody knows what I’m talking about. [Laughs.] Of course we do it. We all do it. Sometimes you just instinctually go, “You know what? I think I’m gonna take the easy way this time.” But when you’re writing music, if you take the easy road, you get hit with a stick. If you play by those rules, you’re gonna get hit by the same stick. We knew what we were doing, but we were lost, in a way. Jamie [Stewart] had left, Matt Sorum had gone to Guns N’ Roses, my father had just passed away; there was a lot of inner tension within the band. It was fragmented. We were pulling in different directions, and I was pulling more toward Rick Rubin. I thought that was the way we should go. So it was more like we had a Broadway hit, and we had to do a follow-up. I don’t know too many follow-ups that are as good as the original. The lesson at that point was, “You know what? Go with your gut. Go with your instinct, and stay with that.”

You go to any artist’s body of work, and you’ll always find those transitional records. For example, like with Neil Young, he’s got his computer-age album [Trans]. We tend to forget about that one, don’t we? [Laughs.] And we forget about David Bowie’s Labyrinth and all these other things because they’re transitional things, but they’re done in public. You’re doing your laundry in public. And there’s also the time pressure to create something, so you try out what you think is the best piece that you’ve got the time for. But then you go into the Ceremony album and you look at things like “Wonderland,” which I think is an incredible song, and “White,” which I also think is incredible and which we actually perform. You look at some of the songs on that record, and you go, “Wow, there are some really incredible songs that never really got to be fully worked through.”

We never fully realized those songs. But the way we play them live… The way we play “White” now, it’s one of the best moments in the set. When we made the Ceremony record, we had Charley Drayton playing bass and we had Mickey Curry, who played drums on Sonic Temple. So we had two session musicians plus Billy and myself, and it was very much like, Billy would play during the day, then I’d come in in the evening and finish it up. So we never really integrated on that record, whereas when we made the eponymous record in ’94 with Bob Rock, the band was on the floor. All of us were on the floor, and it was an integrated band. And certainly with this record we’ve made now, Choice of Weapon, that’s a fully integrated band, and you can see the difference. So this is how you learn. You learn in public.

(from The AV Club interview w/ Ian Astbury - jun 7, 2012)