|Single by The Rolling Stones|
|from the album Flashpoint|
|B-side||"2000 Light Years from Home"|
|Released||1 March 1991|
|Producer(s)||Chris Kimsey, The Glimmer Twins|
|The Rolling Stones singles chronology|
"Highwire" is an anti-war song by The Rolling Stones featured on their 1991 live album Flashpoint. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "Highwire" is one of the rare examples of the Stones taking on political issues—in this case, the fall-out from Persian Gulf War.
"Highwire" was released as Flashpoint's first single on 1 March 1991. It reached number four in Finland, Norway, and Portugal, number six in the Netherlands, number 10 in Canada, and number 57 in the United States. In the latter country, the single peaked at number one on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart for three weeks. An accompanying video directed by Julien Temple was released and depicts the Stones in an industrial set performing the song.
On the song, Jagger said at the time of its release, "It's not about the war. It's about how it started." Richards continued, saying, "This is not about the war. It's about how you build up some shaky dictator. You can't build them up, 'cause then you've got to slam them down."
The song's lyrics deconstructs the build-up to the war and criticises the politics behind it:
We sell 'em missiles, We sell 'em tanks; We give 'em credit, You can call the bank; It's just a business, You can pay us in crude; You love these toys, just go play out your feuds; Got no pride, don't know whose boots to lick; We act so greedy, makes me sick sick sick.
We walk the highwire; Sending the men up to the front line; Hoping they don't catch the hell fire; With hot guns and cold, cold lies.