- Album name: Between the Buttons
- Group name: the Rolling Stones
- Year: 1967
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Decca Records
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Who owned it: I think my father
- Buy it on Amazon: $29.99
Level of familiarity before listening
I’m pretty sure that I’ve never heard of Between the Buttons, which is weird, because it seems to have a couple of the best and most recognizable Rolling Stones songs of their entire career.
Here are other Rolling Stones records that I’ve reviewed recently:
- Beggars Banquet (1968): 4/5
- Exile on Main St. (1972): 5/5
- It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (1974): 4/5
- Made in the Shade (1975): 4/5
- Some Girls (1978): 4/5
What I expected
1960s blues-influenced pop rock.
What it was actually like
One of my big questions when I put this record on was whether it was going to be a case of two world class singles (that both weren’t even on the UK album release) and a bunch of filler crap, or whether Let’s Spend the Night Together and Ruby Tuesday would be representative of the whole record.
Unfortunately, they weren’t, and my hunch was right.
To address those two first, I think Let’s Spend the Night Together is a very good song, but Ruby Tuesday has to be one of my all time favorites. Here is the famous performance on the Ed Sullivan show, when he made them change the lyric to “let’s spend some time together” and they lolled so hard – Ed Sullivan was such a square!
Also, how did Mick Jagger get to be such a bad dancer? Drugs alone couldn’t do that, right?
And let’s not forget that Melanie covered Ruby Tuesday on Candles in the Rain, but it wasn’t spectacular.
Anyway, those were the only strong tracks on Between the Buttons and now I can understand why I hadn’t heard of it.
Connection was a bit anachronistic, sounding much more like early 1960s music, and it was ok. She Smiled Sweetly reminded me of listening to a Velvet Underground demo tape from 1964.
Cool, Calm & Collected definitely stood out as a ragtime song with a kazoo on a Stones record – that decision was a fascinating mix of corny and courageous.
My Obsession sounded like just the outline of a song, as if they were jamming and came up with it, but never actually worked on it. Complicated, on the other hand, was more fully formed and coherent, but still more on the boring side.
Miss Amanda Jones was a blues rock song that had more of an electric sound that most of the others, and I thought it was decent.
Something Happened to Me Yesterday had a strong Oompa Loompa influence, but also it sounded kind of like a joke, and at times like Bob Dylan might have been the joke’s punchline.
The others – Yesterday’s Papers, All Sold Out, Who’s Been Sleeping Here? – were just forgettable.
With the exception of the two hit songs, my impression of Between the Buttons was that it may have been thrown together over a long weekend to have an LP to release in support of their singles.
3/5: interesting, but not for me