Between the Buttons (USA version) Roundup
1. "Let's Spend the Night Together" – 3:36
2. "Yesterday's Papers" – 2:04
3. "Ruby Tuesday" – 3:17
4. "Connection" – 2:08
5. "She Smiled Sweetly" – 2:44
6. "Cool, Calm and Collected" – 4:17
1. "All Sold Out" – 2:17
2. "My Obsession" – 3:17
3. "Who's Been Sleeping Here?" – 3:55
4. "Complicated" – 3:15
5. "Miss Amanda Jones" – 2:47
6. "Something Happened to Me Yesterday" – 4:55
Recorded in two spurts in Los Angeles in August 1966 and London that November, Between the Buttons caught The Rolling Stones at a period where they were moving more into arty territory and away from their R&B roots. With the release of The Beatles' Revolver, The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde during 1966, the parameters of rock music had been expanded considerably and The Rolling Stones - in particular Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, as the main songwriters - were forced to keep up. Conscious that they had to progress beyond Aftermath, the Stones follow-up - betraying influences drawn from British pop contemporaries like The Kinks - was Between the Buttons.
Much like Aftermath, Between the Buttons saw some differences in its UK and US versions. The UK edition (how producer Andrew Loog Oldham and The Rolling Stones intended it) was issued in January 1967 on Decca Records, concurrently with a separate single, "Let's Spend the Night Together" b/w "Ruby Tuesday". Because of common practice 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 the US, "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday" were slotted onto the album, with "Back Street Girl" and "Please Go Home" getting the boot (these would be included on the following US release, Flowers). With "Ruby Tuesday" reaching #1, Between the Buttons shot to #2 in the US, going gold.
Additionally, Between the Buttons would prove to be the last album produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, with whom The Rolling Stones would have a creative falling-out in mid-1967. Indeed, Oldham's influence is more evident here than on earlier albums, as he employs Phil Spector-like layering on "Yesterday's Papers", "My Obsession", and "Complicated" and uncredited background vocalists (including, possibly, Graham Nash) throughout. Brian Jones continues his experiments in exotic instruments on this album, playing electric and acoustic guitars, harmonica, recorder, piano, trumpet, trombone, and banjo-ukulele. Keith Richards busies himself with distinctive guitar work on "My Obsession", "Connection", "All Sold Out", "Please Go Home" and "Miss Amanda Jones".
In the years following its release, Between the Buttons somehow became overlooked. Today, however, many critics and fans have come to appreciate the album's eclectic qualities and a wealth of obscure gems, making it a unique album in The Rolling Stones' released catalogue, one that more or less abandoned the Stones' blues based style and featured more consistent songwriting than their previous efforts.
It appears that I am in the minority in finding this album a terrifying experience. I can live with that.