On Wednesday 4 June 1975 The Rolling Stones did a photo shoot at the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas for the Daily Mirror. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

“Hannah, honey was a peachy kind of girl,” laments The Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger in his poignant, wailing vocals on the bluesy track “Memory Motel,” on the 1976 record Black and Blue. “We spent a lonely night at the Memory Motel. It’s on the ocean, I guess you know it well.” It’s not your typical Rolling Stones tune. While lacking the punchy angst of their mid-’60s catalog, the ballad is embroiled in unquenchable soulful bravado with an earnest passion, recollecting a brief and whirlwind romance.

Well over a decade after they conquered the nascent rock scene amid the heady days of the “British invasion,” the Stones embarked on yet another musical metamorphosis: discovering a safe haven in the quiet and quaint seaside town of Montauk in the Spring of 1975, at a little establishment dubbed the Memory Motel.

The Stones had first uncovered the party potential of the Hamptons three years prior, when Jagger and his then-wife Bianca vacationed at pop-art catalyst Andy Warhol’s luxe Eothen estate (originally built by the heirs to the Arm & Hammer fortune in 1931). Taking their holiday alongside Princess Lee Radziwill, the Jaggers dined at the local Shagwong Tavern (frequented by the likes of Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Taylor, and Paul Simon), and Gosman’s at Montauk Harbor.

Later returning to Eothen with his bandmates, guitarist Keith Richards, bassist Bill Wyman, drummer Charlie Watts, and the newest addition to the band, guitarist Ronnie Wood, the “Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World” also brought along collaborator Billy Preston and their touring percussionist Ollie Brown. The Rolling Stones prepared for their iconic Tour of the Americas set to take place in the summer of 1975, in a humble collection of coastal lodgings, courtesy of Warhol, for five creative weeks.

English singer Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones playing an acoustic guitar, October 1973. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

It wasn’t exactly a quiet respite. The Stones unleashed a maelstrom of mayhem upon the local haunts, one that’s still talked about today. Though they stayed at Warhol’s luxe estate, the group would visit the Memory Motel to indulge in heavy drinking, dancing, shooting pool, tussling, scuffling, and playing the only piano in town until sunrise. Film producer and Warhol contemporary Vincent Fremont stayed with the brand at Eothen to play gopher, to wrangle the carousing bunch during rehearsals, and to oversee the security detail as more and more fans traveled out East in the hopes of a rock star sighting.

“Mick Jagger really put Montauk on the map,” said Warhol in the 1979 Bob Colacello book Exposures. “All the motels were overflowing with groupies. When Mick went into town everything stopped. Surfers chased him from White’s Drug Store to White’s Liquor Store.”

With their stay came an onslaught of free-wheeling socialites as well. From Warhol and Radziwill, to photographers Richard Avedon and Peter Beard, actress Candice Bergen, writer Truman Capote, designers Halston and Ralph Lauren, and model Lauren Hutton, the party circuit made its way to the Hamptons, ready to embark on a haute bohemian odyssey with the Stones providing the soundtrack.

Rolling Stones : The photocall Introducing Mick Taylor (2nd Left) who took Brian Jones place in the band to press in Hyde Park 13 June 1969 (Photo by Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Written by both Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards, the song that would be “Memory Motel” actually began in the middle of recording sessions held in Munich earlier that year but took shape after the band invaded Montauk. Describing a woman with whom he had a one-night stand, Jagger remembers a girl with hazel eyes, a curved nose, slightly curved teeth, beach sprayed hair, with a “mind of her own,” who drove a green-blue pick-up truck; a woman who picked up Mick’s guitar and played him a tune, she clearly left a strong impression.

Many have long believed the identity of “Hannah” to be an alias for singer-songwriter Carly Simon, based on the subject’s detailed description and Simon’s long-brewing “will they, won’t they” relationship with The Rolling Stones frontman. However, “Hannah” is more likely to be a young woman Jagger romanced amid his Montauk escape.

Describing the aching loneliness of life on the road, a love lost, and a dewy Montauk spring, Jagger paints a transportive picture, emitting a vulnerability rarely seen and soul-searing vocals, co-led by Richards. Going on for over seven minutes, the song is one of the longest in the Stones’ ample body of work.

ROLLING STONES; L-R: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards performing live onstage (Photo by Robert Knight Archive/Redferns)

Meanwhile, the Memory Motel lives on, too. Now helmed by Brian Kenny, founder of Montauk Ventures LLC, the historic property has grown into a successful hospitality establishment in recent years. The HBO series Girls even filmed in one of their rooms, and Kristian Nairn (who played Hodor on Game of Thrones) DJ’d there the week his character met his demise on the fan-favorite series. “We’ve had the full gamut of stars stopping by,” Kenny told GRAZIA Gazette: Hamptons. “Leonardo Dicaprio rocks the Memory Motel T-shirt daily.” In addition, Kenny says his spot’s been frequented by Busta Rhymes, NBA star Blake Griffin, Chad Smith from Red Hot Chili Peppers, former POTUS Bill Clinton, actress Rebecca Romijn, and countless models from the city, along with the thousands of people who have come to set their sights on the legendary Rolling Stones landmark.

Soon, fans worldwide will be able to get a glimpse: Kenny is currently in the midst of producing a Memory Motel series, with part of the show planned as a scripted cartoon format.

While their five-week residence has evolved into the stuff of legend and lore, the Memory Motel will forever be known as a charming artifact of rock n’ roll history, immortalized by The Rolling Stones ballad and the sense of charm, wonder, and summer love it embodies.

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