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It has been called "the prettiest and most uncharacteristic song" that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote for the Stones, although somewhat ambiguous in intention. It features rich lyricism, vibrant piano by Nicky Hopkins and Brian Jones' use of the mellotron.
|“||Have you seen her all in gold,
Like a queen in days of old? She shoots colours all around like a sunset going down. Have you seen a lady fairer?
The song notably begins with the piano playing an ascending scale, which returns throughout the song as a recurring motif. Humorous and ambiguous devices are used, such as when the strings play out of tune and off key towards the end of the song, and when the other Stones sing their "La La's" like little children. The song ends on an unusual sour electric guitar chord. However, the guitar chord isn't heard on the album version because the song fades out earlier andsegues into the following track.
"She's a Rainbow" was released as a single in December 1967 and went to No. 25 in the US. It is included on a large number of the Stones' hits compilations, including Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2), More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies), 30 Greatest Hits, Singles Collection: The London Years,Forty Licks, and GRRR!. It was performed occasionally on the 1997–98 Bridges to Babylon Tour. Apple Inc. used this song in an advertisement for the iMac G3. Later Sony used the song in an advert for BRAVIA.
In a 1971 interview, John Lennon claimed that "She's a Rainbow" was an imitation of the Beatles' "All You Need is Love", and that the "Their Satanic Majesties Request" album was an imitation of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
On the 2011/12 season finale of Saturday Night Live, host Mick Jagger was in a "graduation" skit where the band Arcade Fire and the SNL cast performed "She's a Rainbow" as a tribute to departing cast member Kristen Wiig. In the sketch, Wiig is a student who was held back and is finally graduating after seven years to leave SNL to become a nun. Although Jagger does not sing "She's a Rainbow", he returns at the end of the skit, along with a number of SNL alumni, to join in the song "Ruby Tuesday".