FREEZE FRAME: Rugged up for winter are (from left) Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman.
1. Yesterday’s Papers
2. My Obsession
3. Back Street Girl
5. She Smiled Sweetly
6. Cool, Calm and Collected
7. All Sold Out
8. Please Go Home
9. Who’s Been Sleeping Here?
11. Miss Amanda Jones
12. Something Happened to Me Yesterday
Between The Buttons
It’s all a bit trippy, this lot of sometimes drippy ditties. It was > after all > the “flower power” years. More pop than rock, more vaudeville than violence.
- January, 1967
- Rock On Rock Recommends:
Back Street Girl; She Smiled Sweetly; Miss Amanda Jones; Connection: Who’s Been Sleeping Here
THAT MOTHER of musical invention the late Frank Zappa rates Between The Buttons highly > and it went top three on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Rolling Stones were keen to move on from their rhythm and blues roots and went down the pop/vaudeville/three-ring circus path. A real mixed bag of fruit with mixed results.
Band founder Brian Jones, while not writing any songs – Jagger/Richards had a monopoly on that – was instrumental in the vast array of instruments on Between the Buttons.
“One of Brian’s agonies was he wanted to be the leader of the band > and unfortunately he wasn’t talented enough.”
> drummer Charlie Watts, from the book According to the Rolling Stones.
STONE THE STONES: Meanwhile, the privileged classes and their servants > the police > had been watching the Rolling Stones with increasing alarm. [Just who the hell do they think they are this bunch of rock and roll hoodlums with their long hair, money for nothing and chicks for free > snubbing their noses at society > Something has to be done, my Lord and Lady Farnsworth. And they take drugs, you know!!]
Mick Jagger continues the revenge on girlfriend theme with Yesterday’s Papers. He had recently ended a relationship with model Chrissie Shrimpton > taking up with singer/actor Marianne Faithfull. “Who wants yesterday’s papers. Who wants yesterday’s girl,” Jagger sings. The song itself is pretty ineffectual.
Album highlights are the more tender Back Street Girl with its swells of accordion and She Smiled Sweetly > Jagger sounding like a smitten kitten for a change, albeit in need of some mollycoddling.
Rock song Miss Amanda Jones also comes to the party along with the not so tender Who’s Been Sleeping Here?
The steady beat of Connection delves into the band’s dilemma of constantly coming under police and airport security scrutiny.
Cool, Calm and Collected has a carnival atmosphere, kicking off with rock and roll piano great Nicky Hopkins doing ragtime.
Between The Buttons was the first Rolling Stones album Hopkins played on and he would go on to add deft touches to the band’s best albums. The song finishes in a musical thrash > there’s even a kazoo.
It’s a similar vibe on Something Happened to Me Yesterday, the album’s closing track which finishes with the trite “So if you’re out tonight, don’t forget if you’re on your bike, wear white”.
The bass-driven My Obsession; Please Go Home and All Sold Out > with Charlie Watts thrashing at the cymbals > are average rockers, a messy mix failing to ignite real excite. Complicated, with Brian Jones on organ, is similar.
American television variety show host Ed Sullivan took exception to the band singing supposedly sex-laden Let’s Spend The Night Together on his show. After a furious argument between Sullivan and band manager Andrew Loog Oldham, it was agreed the words would be changed to “Let’s spend some together”.
Sullivan said: “I’ve hundreds of thousands of kids watching my show. I won’t stand for anything like that with a double meaning. Either the song goes, or the Stones go.”
SWINGS > BUT NO ROUNDABOUTS
Win some, lose some. The Rolling Stones may have reluctantly agreed to sing “Let’s spend some time together” > instead of Let’s Spend The Night Together > on the Ed Sullivan Show in the US, but back on their home turf it was a different story.
The Stones appeared on variety show Sunday Night at the London Palladium, singing three songs, but refused to join in the show’s finale of guests joining together on a roundabout > all waving their happy goodbyes.
A media furore ensued and Mick Jagger told rock magazine New Musical Express: “Anyone who thought we were changing our image to suit a family audience was mistaken”.
> WRITTEN by MALCOLM LIVERMORE
Some source material from the books According to the Rolling Stones; Rolling with the Stones by bass player Bill Wyman;
The Rolling Stones It’s Only Rock and Roll by Steve Appleford.