Being the only blues and boogie oriented track on the album, 'Silver Train' stayed closest to the band's electrifying 'roots' sound on the previous two albums. No wonder, since the origins of the song dated back to the October 1970 recording sessions at Olympic Sound Studios and Stargroves (with the Mobile Recording Unit), during which many "Sticky" and "Exile" tracks were first taped.
In his book The Rolling Stones: The Stories Behind The Biggest Songs, Steve Appleford catches the spirit of the song best: "The Stones recorded 'Silver Train' at Island Studios in London, seemingly inspired to reconnect with some chugging blues rock. And who better to send the boys along than that erstwhile Stone, Ian Stewart? His spirited boogie-woogie keyboard work is joined here by the slippery bottleneck of Taylor and the frantic harp-playing of Jagger, who blows a stirring train whistle between lyrics describing another jolly encounter with a prostitute".
Adapted from the following sources:
Steve Appleford, The Rolling Stones: The Stories Behind The Biggest Songs, Carlton Books Limited, 2010.
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Books, 2002.