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Music / Between the Buttons

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"We could have fun just groovin' around!"

"The American release — I don't like the English version so much because it contains a totally different set of tunes. I understand that they don't like the album very much but I thought that it was an important piece of social comment at the time. I remember seeing Brian Jones very drunk in the Speakeasy one night and telling him I like it and thought it superior to Sergeant Pepper ... whereupon he belched discreetly and turned around."
Frank Zappa naming Between the Buttons his third favourite album of all time in "Faves, Raves and Composers in their Graves", Let It Rock magazine, June 1975.

Between the Buttons is the fifth studio album (seventh American album) by The Rolling Stones, released in 1967. It is the second of three Stones albums that dabbled in psychedelia, coming after Aftermath (Album) from 1966, and before Their Satanic Majesties Request from the same year. It is best remembered for the hits "Let's Spend the Night Together" (later covered by David Bowie on Aladdin Sane from 1973) and "Ruby Tuesday", which were both nevertheless only featured on the American version.

Tracklist (Standard Version):

Side One

  1. "Yesterday's Papers" (2:04)
  2. "My Obsession" (3:17)
  3. "Back Street Girl" (3:27)
  4. "Connection" (2:08)
  5. "She Smiled Sweetly" (2:44)
  6. "Cool, Calm & Collected" (4:17)

Side Two

  1. "All Sold Out" (2:17)
  2. "Please Go Home" (3:17)
  3. "Who's Been Sleeping Here?" (3:55)
  4. "Complicated" (3:15)
  5. "Miss Amanda Jones" (2:47)
  6. "Something Happened to Me Yesterday" (4:55)

Tracklist (US Version):

Side One

  1. "Let's Spend the Night Together" (3:38)
  2. "Yesterday's Papers" (2:01)
  3. "Ruby Tuesday" (3:16)
  4. "Connection" (2:08)
  5. "She Smiled Sweetly" (2:44)
  6. "Cool, Calm & Collected" (4:17)

Side Two

  1. "All Sold Out" (2:17)
  2. "My Obsession" (3:20)
  3. "Who's Been Sleeping Here?" (3:55)
  4. "Complicated" (3:15)
  5. "Miss Amanda Jones" (2:47)
  6. "Something Happened to Me Yesterday" (4:55)

Principal Members:

  • Mick Jagger - lead vocals, percussion, tambourine, bass drum, maracas, truncheons
  • Brian Jones - guitar, piano, organ, vibraphone, recorder, saxophone, dulcimer, percussion, oscillator, harmonica, organ pedals, tambourine
  • Keith Richards - guitar, backing and co-lead vocals, bass, piano, organ, double bass
  • Charlie Watts - drums, percussion, tambourine, claves
  • Bill Wyman - bass, organ, vocals, double bass

Who's Been Troping Here?:

  • Alliterative Title: "Between The Buttons", "She Smiled Sweetly" and "Cool, Calm and Collected."
  • Baroque Pop: This is the band's only album in this style. Several songs feature classical music arrangements.
  • Bowdlerize: The Stones were forced to change the lyrics of "Let's Spend The Night Together" in "Let's Spent Some Time Together" when performing in the Ed Sullivan Show. Jagger agreed to change the lyrics but ostentatiously rolled his eyes at the TV camera while singing them, as well as Bill Wyman. When The Rolling Stones, following their performance of the song, returned on stage, they were all dressed up in Nazi German uniforms with swastikas, which caused Sullivan to angrily order them to return to their dressing rooms to change back into their performance clothes, at which they left the studio altogether. As a result of this incident, Sullivan announced that The Rolling Stones would be banned from performing on his show again. However, the Stones did appear on the show again and performed three songs on 23 November 1969.
  • Break-Up Song:
    • "Connection"
    Connection, I just can't make no connection.
    But all I want to do is to get back to you.
    • "Ruby Tuesday"
    Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
    Who could hang a name on you?
    When you change with every new day
    Still I'm gonna miss you...
  • Dirty Old Man: "My Obsession"
    Didn't see you were so young
    I could almost be your son
  • Disposable Woman: "Yesterday's Papers", where women are described as being as useful as yesterday's newspaper.
  • Face on the Cover: A group shot of the band.
  • Intercourse with You: "Let's Spend the Night Together".
    Let's spend the night together
    Don't hang me up, just to let me down (don't let me down)
    We could have fun just groovin' around, around and around
  • Last Chorus Slowdown: "Ruby Tuesday".
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Cool, Calm & Collected" has a jolly, jaunty music-hall vibe to it - then after the last verse, the beat starts quickening, slowly at first, getting more and more reckless as the piano gets more and more frantic, until it all collapses into a big reverberating noise.
  • Left Hanging: We never find out what exactly happened in "Something Happened to Me Yesterday".
  • Longest Song Goes Last: Both versions of the album end with "Something Happened to Me Yesterday" (4:55).
  • Misogyny Song:
    • "Yesterday's Papers"
    Who wants yesterdays papers?
    Who wants yesterdays girl?
    Who wants yesterdays papers?
    Nobody in the world
    After this time I finally learned
    After the pain and hurt
    After all this what have I achieved
    I've realized it's time to leave
    • "Back Street Girl"
    Don't want you out in my world
    Just you be my backstreet girl
    Please don't be part of my life
    Please keep yourself to yourself
    Please don't you bother my wife
    • "Miss Amanda Jones"
    Hey girl, with your nonsense nose
    All pointing right down at the floor
    Hey girl, your suspender shows and the girl behind you looks a bit unsure
  • New Sound Album: The only Baroque Pop album made by the Stones.
  • Obsession Song: "My Obsession".
    My obsessions are your possessions
    One that you should give away
    Give it to me now I've no objection
  • Ode to Intoxication: "Connection", about an airport search of their bags, thinly implied to be a drug bust.
  • One-Woman Song: "Miss Amanda Jones".
  • One-Word Title: "Connection".
  • Pep-Talk Song: "She Smiled Sweetly"
    She smiled sweetly
    And says don't worry
    Oh, no no no
    "There's nothing in why or when
    There's no use trying, you're here
    Begging again, and ov'r again"
    That's what she said so softly
    I understood for once in my life
    And feeling good most all of the time
  • Questioning Title?: "Who's Been Sleeping Here?".
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Around the time of recording Jagger, Richards and Jones had been arrested because of drug possession, something that's alluded to in "Connection".
    My bags they get a very close inspection.
    I wonder why it is that they suspect 'em
    They're dying to add me to their collection
    And I don't know if they'll let me go?
  • Really Gets Around: "Who's Been Sleeping Here?"
    What you say girl, you see what is wrong
    You, must be joking, you was led alone
    But the butler the baker, the laughing cavalier
    Will tell me now, who's been sleeping here?
    (...) Oh the soldier, the sailor then there's the three musketeers
    (...) Yes, there's the nose-less old newsboy, the old British brigadier
    (...) There's the sergeants, the soldiers, the cruel old grenadiers
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "All Sold Out"
    I hope that you're nearly done with me
    You sold me out and that's that
  • Shout-Out:
    (...) There's the three musketeers, yes, they'll now tell me now, who's been sleeping here?
    (...) Don't you look like a goldilocks?
    But you'll tell me now, who's been sleeping here?
    Who's been eating, eating off my plate?
  • Spoken Word in Music: "Something Happened to Me Yesterday".
    Well thank you very much and now I think it's time for us all to go. So from all of us to all of you, not forgetting the boys in the band and our producer Reg Thorpe, we'd like to say God bless. So if you're out tonight, don't forget, if you're on your bike, wear white. Evening all!
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Keith Richards sings co-lead vocals on "Connection" and "Something Happened to Me Yesterday", the first Stones songs where he sings any lead vocals.
  • Studio Chatter: We can hear a musician counting off near the end of "Ruby Tuesday".
  • Textless Album Cover: On the original vinyl release, although CD versions add the same band and title graphics used on the back cover.