"Let It Loose" is a song by The Rolling Stones which was released as the last song on side three of their 1972 double album Exile on Main St..
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, “Let It Loose” is an emotional gospel blues ballad with a fervent religious feeling, the song being one of the band’s prominent forays into soul and gospel during the Exile era after Jagger had attended the services of the Reverend James Cleveland and remained deeply impressed by the singing of the gospel choir. A portion of the lyrics were lifted from the song Man of Constant Sorrow. In an interview with Uncut Magazine in April 2010, Jagger was asked about this song’s lyrical content; he replied: “I think Keith wrote that, actually. That’s a very weird, difficult song. I had a whole other set of lyrics to it, but they got lost by the wayside. I don't think that song has any semblance of meaning. It’s one of those rambling songs. I didn’t really understand what it was about, after the event.” However, in the same article Richards says “I would never take Mick’s recollection of anything seriously.”
Recording began in December 1971 and continued through March 1972, with some recording taking place at Nellcôte using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. With Jagger on lead vocals, backing vocals are provided by Tami Lynn, Dr. John, Clydie King, Venetta Fields, Shirley Goodman and Joe Green. Electric guitars were performed by Richards and Mick Taylor, and played through a Leslie speaker. Bass is performed by Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts on drums, Nicky Hopkins on piano, Bobby Keys on tenor saxophone, and Jim Price plays both trombone and trumpet.
Russell Hall in the 20 February 2008 edition of Gibson Lifestyle describes Jagger’s strident, heart-wrenching singing on “Let It Loose” as his finest vocal achievement.
“Let It Loose” has never been performed live by the Rolling Stones. Phish covered the song as part of their “costume” album during Festival 8 in 2009, and then again on June 30, 2012.
The song was featured in Martin Scorsese’s 2006 film The Departed and included on its soundtrack.
The song was also featured in Kevin Spacey’s 2004 film Beyond the Sea but is not included on the movie’s soundtrack.