The Rolling Stones: Between the Buttons

ON THIS DATE (45 YEARS AGO)
January 20, 1967 – The Rolling Stones: Between the Buttons is released in the UK. (US version in February 1967)
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 5/5
# Allmusic 5/5

Between the Buttons is the fifth British and seventh American studio album by The Rolling Stones. It was released on 20 January 1967 in the United Kingdom and 11 February 1967 in the United States as the follow-up to the ambitious Aftermath. Between the Buttons is seen as the beginning of the Stone’s first complete departure from their R&B roots and the beginning of their brief foray into psychedelia. In 2003, the American version of the album featuring “Ruby Tuesday” and “Let’s Spend the Night Together” was ranked number 355 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Initial sessions for the album began during the Rolling Stone’s 1966 American Tour at Los Angeles’ RCA Studios on 3 August 1966 and lasted until the 11th. Dave Hassinger was the engineer. During this time several songs were worked on and the backing tracks for six songs that would appear on the album were recorded. Also completed was the backing track for “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and the R&B throwback “Who’s Driving Your Plane?”, which would appear as a B-side to the somewhat psychedelic “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?” single in late September. The band returned to London where sessions continued at IBC Studios on 31 August and lasted until 3 September. This session was dedicated largely to completing “Have You Seen Your Mother…” for single release. Following the release of that single on 23 September, the Stones embarked on their 7th British tour which lasted into early October 1966. It would be their last UK tour for 3 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 overdubs of the previously recorded backing tracks, mixing and arranging. “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 from London Records which contained live performances from their British tour 2 months prior mixed with studio tracks overdubbed with fake 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.

The entire album was recorded using a 4-track machine in which certain tracks were bounced down for overdubs, so much so that 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.”

Between the Buttons proved to be the last album produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, with whom The Rolling Stones would have a creative falling-out in mid-1967 during the arduous and meandering recording sessions for Their Satanic Majesties Request.

REVIEW
by Richie Unterberger, allmusic
The Rolling Stones’ 1967 recordings are a matter of some controversy; many critics felt that they were compromising their raw, rootsy power with trendy emulations of the Beatles, Kinks, Dylan, and psychedelic music. Approach this album with an open mind, though, and you’ll find it to be one of their strongest, most eclectic LPs, with many fine songs that remain unknown to all but Stones devotees. The lyrics are getting better (if more savage), and the arrangements more creative, on brooding near-classics like “All Sold Out,” “My Obsession,” and “Yesterday’s Papers.” “She Smiled Sweetly” shows their hidden romantic side at its best, while “Connection” is one of the record’s few slabs of conventionally driving rock.

TRACKS:
UK tracklisting)
All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

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
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

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