Their Satanic Majesties Request

The Rolling Stones
December 1967

Produced by  The Rolling Stones;
Engineer Glyn Johns
(1967, London; 1986 CD remaster Abkco, 2002 remastered again CD/SACD 

Their Satanic Majesties Request: The Rolling Stones. US LP copy 1967. London.
UK copy is identical except for logo – Decca replaces London.
Front / Rear

Tracks:

American copy: centre label
side oneside two
Sing This All Together
(Jagger-Richards)
She’s A Rainbow
(Jagger-Richards)
Citadel
(Jagger-Richards)
The Lantern
(Jagger-Richards)
In Another Land
(Bill Wyman)
Gomper
(Jagger-Richards)
2000 Man
(Jagger-Richards)
2000 Light Years From Home
(Jagger-Richards)
Sing This All Together (See What Happens)
(Jagger-Richards)
On With The Show
(Jagger-Richards)
Their Satanic Majesties Request

Musicians:

“Songs and singing by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (“In Another Land” written and sung by Bill Wyman)” is what it says on the cover. There are no sleeve notes.

Mick Jagger – vocals
Keith Richards – guitars, vocals
Bill Wyman – bass, lead vocal on “In Another Land”
Charlie Watts – drums
Brian Jones – guitar, Electric dulcimer, Moroccan drums, percussion, Mellotron

with
Nicky Hopkins – piano, organ, harpsichord
John Paul Jones – string arrangement on “She’s a Rainbow”

CHART:

The album made #2 in the USA and #3 in Britain. The title was the third, replacing The Rolling Stone’s Cosmic Christmas and Her Satanic Majesty Requests. 

US #2
UK #3

What the critics said:

Probably no pop record before or since was so eagerly awaited, or so stunning a disappointment.
(Philip Norman, The Stones)

The Stones have been caught up in the familiar dilemma of mistaking the new for the advanced The album is marred by poor production … with the shift in pose to something nearly “arty”, the weak guitars and confused balance merely become annoying … it is an identity crisis of the first order and one that will have to be resolved more satisfactorily … if their music is to continue to grow.
(Jon Landau, Rolling Stone)

Privately, I agreed entirely. (i.e. with Jon Landau)
(Bill Wyman, Stone Alone)

Satanic Majesties is a bad idea gone wrong. The idea of making a truly druggy answer to the cherubic joyousness of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper was silly enough. Doing so by fuzzing up some pretty good songs with tape loops and early synthesiser experiments is unforgivable.
(Dave Marsh, The Rolling Stone Record Guide, 1979)

To be fair, no record album ever has suffered the handicap of having its three main musicians variously on trial and in prison … nor had to contend with the 1001 incidental conflicts and vexations which beset The Stones during their ten month labour to produce music betokening love, peace and flower-garlanded happiness. That any finished album at all emerged seems miraculous. As in an amateur theatrical production in which actors forget their lines, the scenery falls down and the producer has a heart attack, one must try to consider the positive aspects.
(Philip Norman, The Stones)

Brian Jones was fading fast. He too successfully appealed against a jail term, but a psychiatrist diagnosed him as “anxious, depressed and potentially suicidal.” He might well have been reviewing this album.
(“What could possibly go wrong? 10 disastrous albums that shook their creators to the core.” Mojo, April 2000)

If hippies are impressed, well that’s nice. If unsophisticated pop fans don’t like it, well, too bad. No great melodies emerge. Nothing is particularly exciting.
(Melody Maker, 2 December 1967)

Keith Altham’s enthusiastic New Musical Express review was written after listening to it in the same room as Mick Jagger:

I expect to see the critics call it everything from ‘brilliant’ to ‘nonsense.’ You must make up your mind. I have.
(Keith Altham, New Musical Express, 2 December 1967)

Their Satanic Majesties received the worst reviews of the Stones career, but still shifted half a million units by Christmas. Even the band slagged it, Mick describing it on a London TV show as ‘a bunch of dirgy toe-tappers.’ In the press, it was routinely attacked as pretentious and a terrible mistake, slavishly imitative of The Beatles.
Stephen Davis: Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40 Year Odyssey of The Rolling Stones 2001

What The Stones said:

The Stones themselves consider Their Satanic Majesties Request the lowest of low points in their career. Though Keith likes the album better than he once did, it still mainly evokes indecision, compromise and almost terminal boredom.
(Philip Norman, The Stones)

Most critics branded the album  a sad, ill-conceived, druggy attempt to reply to The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper – and John Lennon was among those who disliked it.
(Bill Wyman)

Satanic Majesties … was all a bit of flim-flam to me.
(Keith Richards, Life, 2010)

Basically I thought the album was a load of crap.
(Keith Richards, 1979)

I can remember virtually nothing of these sessions. It’s a total blank.
(Keith Richards, According To The Rolling Stones, 2005)

There’s a change between the material on Satanic Majesties and Beggars Banquet. I’d grown sick to death of the whole Maharishi guru shit, and the beads and the bells.
(Keith Richards, According To The Rolling Stones, 2005)

2000 Light Years From Home was a good track; we performed that live quite a lot, but the studio version was actually a bit too long and not focussed enough. There’s a lot of rubbish on Satanic Majesties. Just too much time on our hands, too many drugs, no producer to tell us, ‘Enough already. Thank you very much. Now can we just get on with this song? Anyone let loose in the studio will produce stuff like that. There was simply too much hanging around. It’s like believing everything you produce is great and not having any editing … Andrew (Loog Oldham) had gone at that point.
Mick Jagger, According To The Rolling Stones, 2005

Sometimes I think it was a miracle that we produced anything with all the emotional upheavals within the group. We had to find a new direction.
(Charlie Watts)

I don’t think the songs are as good as a lot of music we did before and after, but that happens. It wasn’t one of our great records.
(Charlie Watts, According To The Rolling Stones, 2005)

The album is a very personal thing, but The Beatles are just as introspective. You have to remember our entire lives have been affected latelty by socio-political things that come out in our work. In a way, songs like “2000 Light Years From Home” are prophetic, not at all introverted. They are the things we believe will happen. Changes in values and music. Entertainment is boring. Communication is everything.
(Brian Jones)

 The cover

It’s not really meant to be a nice picture at all. Look at the expressions on our faces – it’s a Grimms’ fairy tale – one of those stories that used to frighten me as a young child.
Mick Jagger, New Musical Express, 9 December 1969

The original LP had a plastic plate over the centre picture, which was a 3D (or ‘lenticular) picture. When you moved it, the eyes moved. The intention was for it to be 12 x 12 ” so the full cover design, but costs were so prohibitive that they reduced the size and put a border around it. The border is supposed to show wisps of hash smoke, and the same motif runs over the red inner sleeve insert.

The red inner sleeve on original copies: a vital ingredient for collectability

This plastic square was dropped from subsequent reissues, and had gone after the initial release. The gatefold sleeve had a maze and collage.

The inner gatefold

The original goal (for the gatefold) was a nude picture of Mick Jagger but this was vetoed by the record company. The maze was surrounded by a Hieronymous Bosch collage mixing floral designs, Indian imagery, Renaissance painting fragments and science fiction motifs superimposed on a map of the world.
Stephen Davis: Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40 Year Odyssey of The Rolling Stones 2001

According to Wikipedia, there was a 1980s limited edition using the stick-on plastic 3D picture, and after its release the 3D masters were intentionally destroyed. Obviously not as the 2018 Record store day release restores the lenticular picture.

The final cover suggestion, which was implemented, came from Brian, whose maze idea was complicated. When you found your way through the maze, if you went through the cover, you came through the door of the citadel. I never tried it, but I thought, knowing Brian, that it would have been one of those mazes where there was no way out – that he’d done it on purpose for people who were stoned out of their brains …
(Bill Wyman, Stone Alone)

£15000 were spent on (an opaque plastic square which the finished album sleeve had stuck on it like a table mat. It was) meant to give the effect of peering through a crystal ball but actually worrying the eyes into a sensation more like mild airsickness.
(Philip Norman, The Stones)

£15,000 is £275,000 in 2020 money.

Last word on the cover to Andrew Loog-Oldham:

We’d recorded nothing in three weeks. The studio bill was £18,000, and here we were discussing the fucking sleeve.
Andrew Loog-Oldham, ‘2Stoned’ (2003)

£18,000 is £330,000 in 2020 money.

My feelings …

I remember hearing it a friend’s house. He bought it. We went to his house, put it on and sat staring at it spinning around and around. Side one finished, we turned it over. We listened through.

‘It may take a few more listens to get through to us,’ suggested the purchaser of what was for us an expensive item.
‘Mmm …’ I said sympathetically, secretly pleased that I had invested my own earnings as a temporary Christmas postman in The Vanilla Fudge LP instead. I still am. We listened to the Stones several times that Christmas holiday. It wasn’t bad as such. It’s just that nothing became an earworm. Fortunately we were listening on a mono record player so were spared the shock of the “wow! you can mix different stuff on each speaker!” of the stereo version.

We were entirely sympathetic to the Stones in 1967 … it had been a dreadful year, full of News of The World set-ups for very dodgy busts, police-started bullshit stories about Mars Bars, prison doors clanging shut. To me the Rolling Stones had yet to do any wrong musically. I loved every album. Their Satanic Majesties was an anomaly and they were to come back with their three greatest albums, one after the other: Beggars’ Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers. (Oddly, I never liked Exile On Main Street).

Andrew Loog Oldham, their manager who had produced the previous albums, had diverted his attention to his new Immediate label (See Immediate). Oldham has said that he was terrified of being busted in the wake of Mick, Keith and Brian, so had left the country, which the Stones had seen as abandoning them. He returned once the dust settled, and spent three weeks on the series of sessions that became Their Satanic Majesties Request. These had begun with Oldham producing the single, We Love You / Dandelion. Oldham said:

It had been a non-productive party, one I had not organized, did not want to go to and was getting disinvited from. I felt redundant. 2000 Light Years From Home and She’s A Rainbow would be all that would emerge from this psychedelic effort in trying to top The Beatles. The Stones may have got the clothes to go with the material, but they did not have the material itself.
Andrew Loog-Oldham, ‘2Stoned’ (2003)

The Stones were running up massive studio bills.

They were not recording sessions as I had known them. Charlie, Bill, Stu and Glyn Johns would be the first stream to arrive, and when Brian, Mick and Keith avec entourage eventually arrived, and they eventually deigned to play, they didn’t sound so much like a group as a waste of life.
Andrew Loog-Oldham, ‘2Stoned’ (2003)

The Stones stayed away from the studio for five days in a row, while Loog-Oldham and engineer Glyn Johns sat and waited. Oldham points out that Glyn Johns was earning £15 an hour and didn’t mind, but Oldham did. He then discovered that Mick and Keith had been in New York to meet Allan Klein, and plot his removal. They parted company with Oldham in September 1967. They were broke. They had massive legal bills. They faced visa issues for touring after the busts, with Brian Jones waiting the result of a further one. Allan Klein’s spiel was that his forensic accounting would turn up tons of money from record companies. It did.

Mick Jagger was confident about taking over producing … after all the year before he’d produced Chris Farlowe’s #1 single Out of Time … for Immediate. He’d discovered and launched P.P. Arnold. He was about to find that it’s one thing producing a grateful to-be-there Chris Farlowe, and highly paid session men like John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Nicky Hopkins, who turned up on time and did what he asked them to. It was quite another thing getting all his (stoned) bandmates into the studio at the same time. The Stones expensive habit of booking a studio and turning up twelve hours late had already commenced.

There’s an argument that the “hippy martyrdom” turned Mick and Keith’s heads and they now saw themselves as the voice of the new culture:

After Redlands (the bust), Keith started to get noticed. Before that it had been all Mick and Brian. Keith’s turn started in the witness box. That rebel yell, that defiance, that’s what started the folk hero … the legend. And Keith was no dummy; he got the picture fast and liked it … he turned the drawbacks of the bust to his own advantage.
Andrew Loog-Oldham, ‘2Stoned’ (2003)

Brian Jones was largely playing Mellotron (you can do it with one finger) or electric dulcimer. As any roadie will tell you Mellotrons are a bad idea, being far too unreliable to tour with. They were expensive and you needed a spare.

The one positive thing this concept album succeeded in doing was to synchronize the British and US  Rolling Stones releases, after a few years of squeezing five albums out of four by US labels. It was shameful that the Stones are still mainly represented on CD by the inferior American releases. A couple were issued in both versions. The Rolling Stones #2 has never been available. (See The Record Collector. A short story on this site)

The album track-by-track

Sing This All Together (Jagger-Richards)

Love … Love … Love … All You Need Is Love … they were in the studio for that recording. By The Beatles. It breaks into noodling around, a phrase that will come up again. Then there’s a brass section played on Mellotron by Brian Jones. Keith Altham says it was a 15 minute track edited down:

Why don’t we sing this song all together
Open our heads let the pictures come …

On this, The Rolling Stones: All The Songs by Phillipe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guisdon (2016) suggest the bass is Keith Richard, playing his Fender Precision Bass with a pick. That’s very specific. Before I read it, I thought the bass guitar at the start of 2000 Light years From Home was different to the one in the song, and possibly Keith Richards.

Citadel (Jagger-Richards)

This does at least sound like the Rolling Stones, but Mick’s vocal is buried quite deep in the mix and oddly tinny. It sounds like The Stones because of Keith Richards’ riffing guitar. The sound that intervenes (really annoyingly) might be a glockenspeil or vibraphone, but is most likely Brian Jones hitting a Mellotron key repeatedly. You can see why he had to go.

There are references to Men at arms shout who goes there / Armed with bibles make us swear / Flags are flying dollar bills, round the heights of concrete hils … hear the peasants come and crawl, you can hear their numbers called. Sounds like Donald Trump’s New York City to me. Everyone notes the reference to Candy in the chorus as Andy Warhol’s Candy Darling.

The chorus is actually Candy and Taffy … Would ‘Taffy” (a normal reference to a Welshman) be John Cale? It sounds likely, in that John Cale had passed a Velvet Underground demo around to various influencers , including Marianne Faithful.

In Another  Land (Bill Wyman)

In Another Land: Bill Wyman / Rolling Stones. London 45, 1968
Us only release

Released as a US single, reaching #64.

Wyman goes solo in the off-beat piece of rock ballad material that should prove a monster – a weirdy that can’t miss.
(Billboard 1968)

It is drenched in echo. Or sung through a megaphone backwards. Actually, Bill Wyman asked Glyn Johns to put tremelo on his voice to give the other-worldly effect.

Wyman, Watts and Nicky Hopkins arrived on schedule for a session at Olympic Studios on July 13, 1967, only to discover that Jagger and Richards would not be attending. With costly studio time already blocked out, engineer Glyn Johns asked Wyman if he had a song to record. What Wyman had was something he had just written on his organ at home. The working title was fittingly ‘Acid in The Grass.’
Steve Appleford. The Rolling Stones- The Stories Behind The Biggest Songs, 2010

The backing vocals include Steve Marriott of The Small Faces who was recording next door. The next day, Mick and Keith added more to the backing vocals. You can hear Mick Jagger very clearly on: Then I awoke. Was this some kind of joke?

It ends with a long bout of snoring by Bill Wyman.

You have to look on it as a complete coincidence. If everybody had turned up on the night, the song would never have appeared on record. That’s the way it is.
Bill Wyman, Guitar Player, 1978

Bill Wyman’s debut as a vocalist and songwriter is fairly inconspicuous.
(Jon Landau, Rolling Stone 1967)

You can find pleasure in the singles, although not the freakish mutant runt third single ‘In Another Land.’ throughout which Bill Wyman intones drivel like a broken Dalek.
David Quantick, Uncut Rolling Stones Special

I find that harsh … if you play it two or three times in a row it’s quite catchy.

2000 Man (Jagger-Richards)

This starts well with Keith Richards on acoustic guitar, accompanied by Brian Jones on electric dulcimer (one of his better contributions). Keith put down three guitar parts too. It reminds that when Keith’s guitar disappears or gets drowned it doesn’t sound like The Stones. Charlie Watts drum part is striking.

It breaks into what sounds like a different song at 1 minute 25 seconds in, with Nicky Hopkins on Hammond B3 and some freak out lead guitar from Keith. The issue is there are to many sudden shifts in style and a lot going on.

Sing this all Together (See What Happens) (Jagger-Richards)

It starts out with Brian Jones trying to replicate the Strawberry Fields Forever flute sound on Mellotron then breaks into an improvisation that lasts just under eight minutes with some sort of meaningless discussion in the background. Be thankful! It was cut from a fourteen minute original.

A long filler track with noodling guitar, percussive jams, freak-out groans, bad trip screams, an embarrassing mix of borrowed ideas and uninspired chants.
Stephen Davis: Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40 Year Odyssey of The Rolling Stones 2001

She’s a Rainbow (Jagger-Richards)

She’s A Rainbow: The Rolling Stones, US copy, London 45-906 1968

Single from the album in the US #25. Not issued in England. The actual song starts at 1 minute 09 seconds in on the LP. It’s easily the strongest track … with nice “Immediate label” style orchestra. The line She comes in colours everywhere … would surely be inspired by Love’s 1966 single She Comes in Colors (written by Arthur Lee) which is on their Da Capo album, released a year earlier. Both have a leaning to baroque, in spite of different melodies. The girl referred to is Marianne Faithful.

The fairground barker points to Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus. The string arrangement is by future Led Zep, John Paul Jones. The harpischord is Nicky Hopkins. The string arrangement is so welcome after all the Mellotron attempts to reproduce wind or string instruments elsewhere. Given the vast amount expended on studio time, you have to wonder why they didn’t just expunge the Mellotron parts and get a proper string and brass section in, as John Paul Jones had often done on Immediate recordings.

The Lantern (Jagger-Richards)

B-side of In Another Land single.

Freaky Hammer horror film images (or bad trip images) in the lyrics:

My face it turns a deathly pale, You’re talking to me, through your veil,  I hear you wail. 

The guitar solo part is extraordinarily George Harrison influenced in places.

The Lantern is a song that deserves to be rediscovered, but it is important to get hold of the mono version, as the stereo version is a catastrophe, mixed by someone with tired ears.
The Rolling Stones: All The Songs by Phillipe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guisdon (2016)

This is true, but I’d apply it to the stereo mix on all of the album. Back in 1967, the British had far less experience of stereo and there was a tendency to over-use the effect. They’re right that the song does begin to creep into you on repeated listening.

Gomper (Jagger-Richards)

Steve Appleford: Watch now as the Rolling Stones try very hard to become George Harrison.

Yes, yet another, Sgt Pepper reference, this time to Within You, Without You,

Charlie Watts is made to play tablas. I see. I have seen a lot of authentic Indian music and he doesn’t get it for me. Brian Jones plays around, double-tracking on dulcimer trying with limited success to get a sitar feel. The organ is said to be a Vox Continental, but I can’t see why you would do this with a Hammond B3 already in the studio. You’d just set the Hammond to sound cheesier.

According to Keith Altham’s review:

Gomper is full of organ sighs and guitar cries and the mystery of Tibet – a swamp of sound. Gomper is, in fact, the Tibetan term for the incredible journey some of the monks make while under the influence of hypnosis.
(Keith Altham, New Musical Express, 2 December 1967)

The Shorter Oxford Dictionary has:
gompa n. Early 20th c. [Tibetan gon-pa, gom-pa a solitary place, a hermitage] A Tibetan temple or monastery.

Or … the Urban Dictionary online has:
gomper A person of low intelligence or retarded.It can apply to a male or a female. The term originates from the Gomper School for The Mentally Challenged in Phoenix, Arizona.

2000 Light years From Home  (Jagger-Richards)

B-side of She’s A Rainbow.

 Jagger wrote it during his one night incarceration in Brixton prison, but this is no Ballad of Reading Gaol. Brian Jones Mellotron part was improvised. It starts with rather daft avant garde piano, then has a good bass run before the drums and main bass part. In later years, interesting bass usually meant Keith was playing it.

It’s the other “best song” and appeared on the 1989 Steel Wheels tour. However, not on the Flashpoint Live album from the tour.

Like much of this album, it would be improved by deleting the inevitable avant garde fiddling around at the start.

On With the Show (Jagger-Richards)

Roll up! Roll up! The Magical Mystery Tour is coming to take you away …

Or not. In the Rolling Stones version, it starts with the guy outside a strip show trying to pull in the punters with tales of naked dancers, all done in a mock upper class voice with that huge echo effect applied as so often before. Then we have a mass of conversation some in exaggerated American accents.

It’s crap.

REVISIONISM

Divorce this long time whipping boy from its absurd Sergeant Pepper remake status and you’ll find a risky, off kilter, bloody intriguing oddity. Volume, sound, quality and mood waver … At the end of Sergeant Pepper you’re left thinking ‘That was that’. this is more like’What was that?’
(Steve Lowe, Q, January 2002 – Q started a series on misunderstood albums about three months after their publisher received a proposal for my “Reviled” book, which they ignored.)

All psyche arouses interest. Many artistes discover new fondness for albums on the release of the 30th, 40th and 50th Anniversary de-luxe high-priced re-issues. The ultimate revisionist article was in The Mojo Special Edition: The Rolling Stones 40th Anniversary in 2003. It’s Acid Reign by Dave DiMartino. He places it with Between The Buttons as The Stones best period (Jagger has said he loathed Between The Buttons). This was a highly unusual opinion in 2003.

How strange it is that this album, more than any other Rolling Stones record from the 60s, has been so summarily dismissed as an aberration. Yet even now it sounds like one of the strongest albums in the band’s catalogue, and maybe even one of the strongest albums of the 60s.
(Dave Di Martino, Acid Reign, Mojo ‘Rolling Stones’ 2003)

He concludes:

Perversely, the least dated album in the Rolling Stones canon is the one they made when they were taking too much acid. Would it be impolite to suggest they didn’t take enough?
(Dave Di Martino, Acid Reign, Mojo ‘Rolling Stones’ 2003)

David Quantick in the Uncut Rolling Stones Special summarises:

It wasn’t brilliant. It may not be the three dimensional turd some people (who paid their earned cash for it) have made it out to be, but it’s not much fun Their Satanic Majesties is neither as bad as some people say nor as underrated as some other people say. If you’re a Stones fan, you probably should own it. And if you’re a fan of underrated, peculiar cuckoo-in-the nest psychedelia, you definitely should own it.

IN THE END …

Yes, they were playing Beatles catch-up, and continued with the plain white sleeve for Beggars’ Banquet next. Satanic Majesties outsold Magical Mystery Tour  according to Wyman. But does he mean the imported American LP (arriving in small quantities … I bought one) or the standard British EP, which sold extremely well? It must be the former. 

 It doesn’t matter how many they sold really. With just three weeks of the protracted studio sessions costing £18,000 and the sleeve costing £15,000 they were down £33,000 before we account the rest of the recording sessions. In 2020 terms we’re talking £0.6 million. They couldn’t have made a profit on it. Bear in mind though that those figures are Loog-Oldham’s. He was notorious for not paying artists on the Immediate label, and telling them that expenses had eaten up all the earnings.

If we just go head to head (an unintentional pun, sorry) on psychedelia (or taking too much acid), let’s compare Magical Mystery Tour – the full LP issued in America, not the British EP. Let’s Sing This All Together was a cringingly obvious attempt to do an All You Need Is Love. Then The Beatles have Strawberry Fields Forever, Baby You’re A Rich Man, I Am The Walrus, Blue Jay Way. I’m only citing the obviously psych ones. Nothing on Satanic Majesties competes. Then add the rest of Magical Mystery Tour

The revisionist views get quite iffy about The Beatles comparison, so here’s the perspective of my semi-generation. There was a point where we deserted The Beatles (right at the height of Beatlemania) for The Rolling Stones. In those days we were ultra gender conscious and at parties the girls wanted to hear The Beatles, the boys wanted to hear the Stones. It was the Help! / Beatles For Sale era, and we returned to The Beatles one they got Rubber Soul out then Revolver. But the Stones had a special place in male affections. We didn’t want them imitating The Beatles and were greatly relieved wen they stopped, and on Beggars’ Banquet they went back to being The Rolling Stones we knew and loved.

The singles?

We Love You: The Rolling Stones, Decca 1967

We Love You / Dandelion had been the single earlier in the year (UK #8) and still a Loog Oldham production. It came out on 18 August 1967. Like Strawberry Fields and Sergeant Pepper, it was a prelude to the album and part of the same sessions. A lot of us went out and bought We Love You out of a “support the Stones” mood. The Times article “Why break a butterfly on the wheel?” came out on 1st July 1967 in defence of Jagger and Richard in the face of their set-up bust. It was the mood of the time … The Who released a cover of The Last Time to boost the Stones finances.

The track opens with the sound of walking along then a prison cell door clanging shut. Lennon and McCartney returned the favour from All You Need Is Love and sang backing vocals/

Keith Altham enthused in the NME:

A musical-mindjammer with everything going like the clappers … to provide that special kind of ugly-excitement in sound which is the Rolling Stones speciality … The basic idea of the song is as simple as ‘All You Need Is Love’ but the musical holocaust surrounding it is so cleverly produced you will be able to listen to it again and again and still find new ideas.

In long retrospect, both sides are weak in comparison to the rest of their singles.

Only one album track deserves a place on a collection of Rolling Stones hits. I’d say She’s A Rainbow is worthy of inclusion in a “Best Of” (double album). Just about.

The triple album set The Singles Collection: The London Years has two releases:

She’s A Rainbow / 2000 Light Years From Home November 1967 … US (London label). The single got to US #25. It was not released in the UK, but Decca copies were pressed for export (Decca F22706). The British demo version has 2000 Light Years From Home stamped as the A side. It had releases in most European countries.

Gallery: She’s A Rainbow / 2000 Light Years European 45s … click to enlarge


In Another Land / The Lantern … was a US only release (London label), and credited to Bill Wyman. It’s an oddity in that it slipped out with no promotion … Bill Wyman was as surprised as anyone. It is said that Alan Klein wanted the release, but that it was a love song, so he didn’t want The Stones name on it.

In 2019, She’s A Rainbow was released for Record Store Day on a 10″ one-sided single at an eye-watering price of £14.99. It was a live performance from Paris, 2017 and it has indeed joined the set list in recent years.

She’s A Rainbow: The Rolling Stones, Live in Paris 2017.
Record Store Day 2019, on yellow vinyl. One-sided disc. £14.99? 

That expensive 2019 release succeeded at last in creating an ear-worm from the album for me … the original album track is better, but it sent me back to it. It’s been playing in the background and dominated writing this.

COLLECTABILITY

My copy is American, on London, stereo with the correct inner sleeve and the stuck on 3D picture with moving eyes. I don’t recall when I obtained it.

Some values (RRG = Rare Record Price Guide 2022):

British, first press 1967 mono, 3D gatefold, red inner sleeve: RRG £200 (It IS better in mono.)
British, first press 1967 stereo, 3D gatefold, red inner sleeve: RRG £150. Discogs median £35. Highest £100, Currently on sale near mint £299
British 2nd press, 1969 mono, gatefold, red inner sleeve: RRG £50, Discogs Median and highest £60
British 1971 reissue, stereo, gatefold, Decca boxed logo: RRG £25

A near mint Australian copy is on sale in the UK at £275.

My copy? London, stereo 1967 … Discogs highest £76, current highest on sale £130

Sadly my copy has a mark on track one. I don’t think I paid much for it, having spotted that.

Maybe I should have bought the mono copy back in December 1967 … the one at £200 mint. My Vanilla Fudge purchase is still listed at £75 mint. However, those were my Dansette years … though I always had a good, new stylus. I doubt I’d have played it much.

The vinyl copy for wealthy collectors would be the Record Store Day 2018 release. Coloured vinyl, it does have the allegedly destroyed lenticular picture and was remastered by Bob Ludwig, with supervised lacquer cutting at Abbey Road. It was sold at £74.99 originally. Currently online at £59.99. But there’s nothing extra.

CDs

The Rolling Stones de-luxe box sets have never appealed – there’s nothing new on them, just alternative formats for the same stuff. I love Let It Bleed, one of my all time greats. The Let It Bleed box set was £149.99 (now £119.99). It contains:

2LP Boxset: Limited edition hand-numbered box set 2 x 180-gram LPs in stereo and mono with restored original album art.
2 x SACDs in stereo and mono housed in custom 12” sleeve 
7” single of Honky Tonk Women/ You Can’t Always Get What You Want in mono with original picture sleeve 
80-page hardcover book with essay by David Fricke and never-before seen photos by Ethan Russell 
Three 12”x12” hand-numbered, replica-signed lithographs printed on embossed archival paper, housed in foil-stamped envelope Full-colour (23 x 23) poster with restored art from original 1969 Decca package.

Not a bonus track or live extra on there. So I didn’t bite. I already have the hybrid SACD / CD.

Their Satanic Majesties Request CD is just the album. If you buy a new one, it’s the CD / SACD hybrid. I can’t understand why they didn’t tack on We Love You and Dandelion as bonus tracks at least.

The issue of more goodies might be ownership … all these 60s albums are ABKCO / London, then the Rolling Stones formed Rolling Stones Records. So they may have no say on ABKCO releases, and no impetus to contribute more recent live bonus tracks. My copy is an ordinary CD. I can’t see sufficient hi-fidelity in this to be worth an SACD version.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s