Album: Their Satanic Majesties Request
. . .
Somehow, 50 years later, Their Satanic Majesties Request — the culmination / death of the Rolling Stones experimental period — remains the most controversial album in their entire canon.
Made while the Stones were going through an incredibly tumultuous period in their personal lives — Mick, Keith and Brian all were dealing with drug busts, Anita Pallenberg dumped Brian for Keith, Andrew Loog Oldham up and quit — it’s not so much terrible, but disjointed, full of extraneous sound effects (excusable) and extraneous jamming (inexcusable).
That said, it’s not because they went psychedelic: after all, that was in the air in 1967, and in fact there was a great Stones album to be made from the post Between The Buttons session, they were just too distracted to discover it. But I have, and would like to present Children of The Moon, the Rolling Stones’ alternate universe psychedelic album.
1. 2000 Light Years From Home
3. In Another Land
5. Sing This All Together
1. 2000 Man
2. She’s A Rainbow
3. The Lantern
4. Child of The Moon
5. We Love You
Not only would it be free of the funny but distracting “Satanic Majesties” joke — and you could still keep all of the cover art madness without it — it would also include “Child of The Moon,” the dynamite “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” b-side that had its roots in these sessions.
There were two singles released from Their Satanic Majesties Request: Bill Wyman’s (yes, you read that correctly) shimmery “In Another Land” — which was actually released as a Wyman solo single, probably so they wouldn’t have to put it on any actual Stones greatest hits albums in the future — and the dynamic “She’s A Rainbow.”
Starting off with a seemingly tentative Nicky Hopkins piano part, which is insanely sad and lovely at that same time, “She’s a Rainbow” utterly explodes into its chorus, dominated by a big Charlie Watts beat and an even bigger mellotron hook by Mr. Brian Jones.
She comes in colours everywhere
She combs her hair
She’s like a rainbow
Coming colours in the air
She comes in colours
This is followed by a couple of speeded-up “ooh-la-la-ooh-la-la-la-la,” before repeating both the piano hook and chorus again. And that’s followed by an extended piano break, accompanied by a string arrangement by a session wizard named John Paul Jones, who was never heard from again.
Until, finally, halfway through the song, we have a verse.
Have you seen her dressed in blue
See the sky in front of you
And her face is like a sail
Speck of white so fair and pale
Have you seen a lady fairer
I’m not gonna lie, until just last week, when I watched the lyric video for this, I always thought that Mick was singing “have you seen the lady Pharaoh?” instead of the more romantic and less exotic “have you seen a lady fairer?” Either way, I reserve the right to interpret “she comes in colours” as being capital-D Dirty, and love every single Charlie Watts drum roll that accompanies it.
Near the end, there’s another piano/strings duet, only this time, the strings are fucked-up and disjointed, someone’s banging on what sounds like an upside plastic bucket, and the “ooh-la-la-ooh-la-la-la-la” vocals are also hanging out until one last explosion to the chorus.
It’s a weird, totally fucked-up arrangement, and yet it also somehow works, because the contrast between the piano/strings parts and the band explosions — the non-Rolling Stones vs. the Rolling Stones proper — never cease to bowl me over. However, that unconventional arrangement might have worked against it as a single, as it only made it to #25 in the U.S. and wasn’t released at all as a single in the U.K.
“She’s A Rainbow”
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