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Rolling Stones – Between The Buttons
(Abkco Records  2003  95001)

Sleeve & Vinyls in MINT condition


The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first settled line-up consisted of Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica), Ian Stewart (piano), Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica), Keith Richards (guitar), Bill Wyman (bass) and Charlie Watts (drums). Jones left the band less than a month prior to his death in 1969, having already been replaced by Mick Taylor, who left in 1975. Since then Ronnie Wood has been on guitar in tandem with Richards. Following Wyman’s departure in 1993, Darryl Jones has been the main bassist. Stewart was removed from the official line-up in 1963 but continued as occasional pianist until his death in 1985. Other notable keyboardists for the band have included Nicky Hopkins, active from 1967 to 1982; and Chuck Leavell, active since 1982. The band was first led by Jones, but after teaming as the band’s songwriters, Jagger and Richards assumed de facto leadership.

The Rolling Stones were in the vanguard of the British Invasion of bands that became popular in the US in 1964–65. At first noted for their longish hair as much as their music, the band are identified with the youthful and rebellious counterculture of the 1960s. They were instrumental in making blues a major part of rock and roll, and of changing the international focus of blues culture to the less sophisticated blues typified by Chess Records artists such as Muddy Waters, writer of “Rollin’ Stone”, the song after which the band is named. After a short period of musical experimentation that culminated with the poorly received and largely psychedelic album Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967), the group returned to their bluesy roots with Beggars’ Banquet (1968) which – along with its follow-ups, Let It Bleed (1969), Sticky Fingers (1971) and Exile on Main St. (1972) – is generally considered to be the band’s best work, and are considered the Rolling Stones’ “Golden Age”. Musicologist Robert Palmer attributed the “remarkable endurance” of the Rolling Stones to being “rooted in traditional verities, in rhythm-and-blues and soul music” while “more ephemeral pop fashions have come and gone”.

The band continued to make successful records through the 1970s and selling many albums with Some Girls (1978) and Tattoo You (1981) being their two most sold albums worldwide. In the 1980s, a feud between Jagger and Richards about band’s musical direction almost caused the band to split but they managed to patch their relationship and had a big comeback with Steel Wheels (1989) which was followed by a big stadium and arena tour. The band’s tradition of supporting albums with big stadium tours continued through the 1990s and 2000s. The band made what were then the four highest-grossing concert tours of all time (Voodoo Lounge Tour (1994-95), Bridges to Babylon Tour (1997-99), Licks Tour (2002-03) and A Bigger Bang Tour (2005-07)).

The Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. Rolling Stone magazine ranked them fourth on the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” list, and their estimated album sales are above 250 million. They have released twenty-nine studio albums, eighteen live albums and numerous compilations. Let It Bleed (1969) was their first of five consecutive number one studio and Live albums in the UK. Sticky Fingers (1971) was the first of eight consecutive number one studio albums in the US. In 2008 the band ranked 10th on the “Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists” chart. In 2012, the band celebrated their 50th anniversary.

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.

Recording and background

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.


The photo shoot for the album cover took place in November 1966 on Primrose Hill in North London. The photographer was Gered Mankowitz who also shot the band photos for the cover of Out of Our Heads. The shoot took place at 5:30 in the morning following an all night recording session at Olympic Studios. Using a home-made camera filter constructed of black card, glass and vaseline, Mankowitz created the effect of the Stones dissolving into their surroundings. The goal of the shoot was, in Mankowitz’s words, “to capture the ethereal, druggy feel of the time; that feeling at the end of the night when dawn was breaking and they’d been up all night making music, stoned.” Brian’s dishevelled and ghostly appearance on the cover disturbed many of his fans, and critic David Dalton wrote that he looked “like a doomed albino raccoon.”

“Brian [Jones] was lurking in his collar,” Mankowitz commented years later, “I was frustrated because it felt like we were on the verge of something really special and he was messing it up. But the way Brian appeared to not give a shit is exactly what the band was about.” Outtakes from this photo session were later used for the cover and inner sleeves of the 1972 ABKCO compilation release More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies).

The back cover of Between the Buttons is dominated by a six-panel cartoon accompanied by a rhythmic poem drawn by drummer Charlie Watts. When Watts asked Andrew Oldham what the title of the album would be, he told him it was “between the buttons”, a term meaning “undecided”. Charlie gave the phrase to the title of his cartoon which in turn became the title of the album.

Release and reception

Much like Aftermath, Between the Buttons saw some differences in its UK and US versions. The UK edition (in the form producer Andrew Loog Oldham and The Rolling Stones intended it) was issued on 20 January 1967 (Mono, LK 4852;Stereo, SKL 4852) 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.

The album was reviewed critically by Mick Jagger himself. When asked why he didn’t like it, he responded, “I don’t know, it just isn’t any good. ‘Back Street Girl’ is about the only one I like.” In an interview with New Music Express, he even called the rest of the album “more or less rubbish.”

In August 2002 both editions of Between the Buttons were reissued in a new remastered CD and SACD digipak by ABKCO Records. All reissues of the album since 1968 have been in stereo; the album’s mono mix has yet to see an official CD release. While most reissues have used the US track-listing to maximise profit by featuring the two hit singles, the UK version was re-issued by ABKCO in 2003 on 180 gram vinyl in the US.

Track listing

All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Side one  
No. Title Length  
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  
No. Title Length  
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
The Rolling Stones
  • Mick Jagger – lead vocals, backing vocals, harmonica (“Cool, Calm, Collected”), percussion
  • Keith Richards – guitars, backing vocals, bass guitar, piano, and double bass, co-lead vocals on “Connection,” “My Obsession” and “Something Happened To Me Yesterday”
  • Brian Jones – guitar, piano, organ, electric dulcimer, vibraphone, recorder, saxophone, percussion, kazoo and sitar (“Cool, Calm, Collected”), backing vocals
  • Charlie Watts – drums, percussion
  • Bill Wyman – bass guitar, percussion, double bass, backing vocals
Additional musicians
  • Jack Nitzsche – piano, organ, harpsichord, percussion and horn arrangements
  • Ian Stewart – piano and organ
Weight 1.00000000 kg


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