The band debuted "Living in a Ghost Town", their first original tune since 2012's "Doom and Gloom", on Thursday, April 23, 2020, which they first recorded a year ago while working on music for a new album.
Fans have noted the prescience of lyrics that include, "life was so beautiful, then we all got locked down," as people around the world face lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. So have the band - and Mick says the original version of the song was even more on the nose, as it contained darker references to disease.
"It was written about being in a place that was all full of life and is now bereft of life," the 76-year-old tells Apple Music's Zane Lowe. "When I went back to what I'd written originally, it was all full of plague terms and things like that."
"I never actually used that, but it was all there and Keith (Richards) and I both had the idea that we should release it, but I said I've got to rewrite it because some of it was not going to work. Some of it was a bit weird and a bit too dark."
The "Jumpin' Jack Flash" hitmaker also updated fans on progress on the new Stones album, which will be their first full studio release of original material since 2005's "A Bigger Bang".
He said, "We've been recording and we've got some really good stuff," but fans shouldn't "hold their breath" for a release date as he wanted the new record to be "great" rather than just "good."