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Between The Buttons:The Rolling Stones

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Between the Buttons is the fifth British and seventh American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released on 20 January 1967 in the UK and 11 February in the US as the follow-up to Aftermath. It was the beginning of the Stones' brief foray into psychedelia. In 2003, the American version of Between the Buttons, which included "Ruby Tuesday" and "Let's Spend the Night Together", was ranked #355 on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[3]


 [hide*1 Recording and background

Recording and background[edit]Edit

Sessions for the album began on 3 August 1966 and lasted until the 11th at Los Angeles' RCA Studios during the Rolling Stones' 1966 American Tour. David Hassinger was the engineer for the album. Several songs were worked on; the backing tracks of six songs that would appear on the album were recorded, as were those of "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Who's Driving Your Plane?", B-side of "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?", released as a single in late September.

The band returned to London and sessions continued at IBC Studios from 31 August until 3 September. "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?" was completed to be released on 23 September before the Stones embarked on their seventh British tour which lasted into early October and was their last UK tour for three years.

The second block of recording sessions for Between the Buttons began on 8 November at the newly opened Olympic Sound Studios in Barnes, London and alternated between there and Pye Studios until 26 November. During this time the bulk of the album was completed including vocal and other overdubs on the previously recorded backing tracks and mixing. "Ruby Tuesday" was also completed.

Around the same time producer Andrew Loog Oldham was also preparing the US-only live album Got Live If You Want It!, a contractual requirement fromLondon Records that contained live performances from their recent British tour as well as studio tracks overdubbed with audience noise. After that album's release on 10 December, a final overdubbing session for Buttons was held at Olympic Studio on 13 December 1966 before Oldham took the tapes back to RCA Studios in Hollywood for final mixing and editing. Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys was invited down to RCA Studios during the mix-down of "My Obsession," which remains one of his favourite Rolling Stones songs.[citation needed]

The album was recorded using 4-track machines and initial tracks were pre-mixed to make room for overdubs. Mick Jagger felt the songs lost clarity. He commented during an interview, "We bounced it back to do overdubs so many times we lost the sound of it. [The songs] sounded so great, but later on I was really disappointed with it."[4] He commented further; "I don't know, it just isn't any good. 'Back Street Girl' is about the only one I like."[5] In an interview with New Musical Express, he even called the rest of the album "more or less rubbish."[6]

Between the Buttons was the last album wholly produced by Oldham, with whom the Stones fell out in mid-1967 during the recording sessions for Their Satanic Majesties Request.


The photo shoot for the album cover took place in November 1966 on Primrose Hill in North London. The photographer was Gered Mankowitz, who also shot the band photos for the cover of Out of Our Heads. The shoot took place at 5:30 in the morning following an all night recording session at Olympic Studios. Using a home-made camera filter constructed of black card, glass and Vaseline, Mankowitz created the effect of the Stones dissolving into their surroundings. The goal of the shoot was, in Mankowitz's words, "to capture the ethereal, druggy feel of the time; that feeling at the end of the night when dawn was breaking and they'd been up all night making music, stoned."[7] Brian Jones' dishevelled and ghostly appearance on the cover disturbed many of his fans, and critic David Dalton wrote that he looked "like a doomed albino raccoon."[4]

"Brian [Jones] was lurking in his collar," Mankowitz commented years later, "I was frustrated because it felt like we were on the verge of something really special and he was messing it up. But the way Brian appeared to not give a shit is exactly what the band was about."[8] Outtakes from this photo session were later used for the cover and inner sleeves of the 1972 ABKCO compilation release More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies).

The back cover of Between the Buttons is dominated by a six-panel cartoon accompanied by a rhythmic poem drawn by drummer Charlie Watts. When Watts asked Oldham what the title of the album would be, he told him it was "between the buttons", a term meaning "undecided". Watts gave the phrase to the title of his cartoon which in turn became the title of the album.[4]

Release and reception[edit]Edit

Between the Buttons, like many British long-players differed between its UK and US versions. The UK edition (in the form Oldham and the Stones intended it) was issued on 20 January 1967 (Mono, LK 4852; Stereo, SKL 4852) on Decca Records, concurrently with a separate single, "Let's Spend the Night Together" b/w "Ruby Tuesday". As was common in the British record industry at the time, the single did not appear on the album. Generally well-received (although the critics took note of their influences), Between the Buttons reached #3 in the UK.

In August 2002 both editions of Between the Buttons were reissued in a new remastered CD and SACD digipak by ABKCO Records.[9] All reissues of the album since 1968 have been in stereo; the album's mono mix has yet to see an official CD release. While most reissues have used the US track-listing to maximise profit by featuring the two hit singles, the UK version was re-issued by ABKCO in 2003 on 180 gram vinyl in the US.

Track listing[edit]Edit

All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Side one
No. Title Length
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
No. Title Length
7. "All Sold Out"   2:17
8. "Please Go Home"   3:17
9. "Who's Been Sleeping Here?"   3:55
10. "Complicated"   3:15
11. "Miss Amanda Jones"   2:47
12. "Something Happened to Me Yesterday"   4:55

American release[edit]Edit

Between the Buttons
Studio album by The Rolling Stones
Released 11 February 1967
Recorded 3–11 August, 8–26 November, and 13 December 1966
Genre Rockbaroque poppsychedelic rock
Length 38:42
Language English
Label London
Producer Andrew Loog Oldham
The Rolling Stones American chronology
Got Live If You Want It!


Between the Buttons




In the US, the album was released by London Records on 11 February 1967 (mono, LL 3499; stereo, PS 499). "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday" were slotted onto the album while "Back Street Girl" and "Please Go Home" were removed (these would be included on the following US odds-and-ends release, Flowers, in July 1967). With "Ruby Tuesday" reaching #1, Between the Buttons shot to #2 in the US, going gold.

Christopher Walsh of Billboard reviewed the album in 2002 and said it "reveals a pensive and somewhat fatigued Rolling Stones" but went on to say, "it's brimming with overlooked gems, the band delivering a captivating blend of folky, Beatles-esque pop and tough bluesy rockers."[9]

In 2003, the American version of the album was ranked #355 on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[3]

Track listing[edit]Edit

All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Side one
No. Title Length
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
No. Title Length
7. "All Sold Out"   2:17
8. "My Obsession"   3:20
9. "Who's Been Sleeping Here?"   3:55
10. "Complicated"   3:15
11. "Miss Amanda Jones"   2:47
12. "Something Happened to Me Yesterday"   4:55


The Rolling Stones
Additional musicians

[10] [11] [12]

Chart positions[edit]Edit

Year Chart Position
1967 UK Albums Chart 3[13]
1967 Billboard 200 2[14]
Year Single Chart Position
1967 "Let's Spend the Night Together/Ruby Tuesday" UK Top 40 Singles 3[13]
1967 "Let's Spend the Night Together" The Billboard Hot 100 55[15]
1967 "Ruby Tuesday" The Billboard Hot 100 1[15]


Country Provider Certification

(sales thresholds)

United States RIAA Gold

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