Ruby Tuesday - The Rolling Stones

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"Ruby Tuesday" - The Rolling Stones (1967)

The reluctance of 1960s radio stations to play the suggestive “Let’s Spend the Night Together” propelled its mournful B side “Ruby Tuesday “ to enduring international fame.

 In its place, the melodic composition of “Ruby Tuesday “was a departure from the energetic, in your face Stones repertoire. Rather than celebrating hedonism or life on the edge, it deals with the lonely aftermath of a broken relationship. Despite the sad theme, the song contains an element of beauty and a wistful respect for the free spirited woman who inspired it.

Written during the chaos of The Stones ascent through the very hectic year of 1966 there is some confusion about the origin of the song. The initial lyrical input came from Keith Richards and the baroque style musical arrangement was devised by Brian Jones. However from there- it was officially credited to Richards and Jagger- leaving Jones out completely. The same thing happened on "Jumping Jack Flash" a few years later when that song was the work of bassist Bill Wyman- but wound up being attributed to the pen of Richards and Jagger.

The unconventional instrumentation included a double bass, piano and recorder. Playing them together required dexterous collaboration between the entire band.

A large double-bass was used. Bill Wyman plucked the notes while Richards played it with a bow. Charlie Watts’s drum work really stands out.

Keith Richards said:

“That’s one of those things - some chick you’ve broken up with. And all you’ve got left is the piano and the guitar and a pair of panties. And it’s goodbye you know. And so it just comes out of that. And after that you just build on it. It’s one of those songs that are easiest to write because you’re really right there and you really sort of mean it."

Some have said “Ruby Tuesday” is the Stones nostalgic look back to the earliest days of R&B music. The lyrics themselves are a wistful farewell to the root form of R&B, which, by the time the British Invasion had taken hold, had changed “with every new day”.

Sadly, Brian Jones, the talented musical virtuoso of the band, died just a couple of years after this track was recorded. The melancholic ode that he set to music in this song became part of rock and roll culture. It also established reputation of The Stones as a multi dimensional act, unafraid to explore different artistic themes.

Songs such as “Ruby Tuesday,” “She’s a Rainbow,” and “Paint It Black” gave The Rolling Stones their signature sound and Brian Jones was the band’s musical guiding light. After Jones died- the band transmogrified themselves into the “greatest rock and roll band in the world” and for the next four decades became a cover band of themselves. To this day, Brian Jones’ contribution to the unique sound of the mid-to-late 1960s Rolling Stones has yet to be recognized.

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