“As Tears Go By” by The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones’ “As Tears Go By” is a relatively-simple tune lyric-wise, which is based on the singer’s depression. The setting is that he is sitting somewhere, watching children play. And the implication is that under normal circumstances, just beholding them in jest would be enough to liven up his spirit. And it appears the children are indeed enjoying themselves. However, he is unable to smile due to his melancholy.

The source of this sorrow is not revealed. But what is made known symbolically is it is so strong that it has completely taken over his disposition. So the implied conclusion is that, at least for now, said depression is something that he cannot shake.

“Smiling faces I can see but not for me”

Facts about “As Tears Go By”

The writers of this song are The Rolling Stone’s own Mick Jagger and Keith Richards along with their manager at the time, Andrew Loog Oldham, who also produced the track. And it was one of the very-first songs Jagger and Richards, at the insistence of Oldham, ever composed. Also interesting to note is that upon actually finishing the initial draft, in Richards own words, he and Jagger thought it was “a terrible piece of tripe”.

“As Tears Go By” was originally released by an artist named Marianne Faithfull in 1964.  And apparently the reason this was so was because after first penning it, The Rolling Stones could not conceptualize recording it themselves.

But instead it turned out to be a big hit for the band, peaking at number 6 on the all important Hot 100 chart and topping the Canada Top Singles.

The Rolling Stones’ own version was released on 4 December 1965. And the labels behind it were Decca Records in the UK and London Records in the US.

“As Tears Go By” served as the second single for The Rolling Stones’ album entitled “December’s Children (And Everybody’s)”.

The Stones also released an Italian version of this song, which was appropriately entitled “Cone Le Mie Lacrime” (tr. “With My Tears”) and written by a songwriter called Danpa (1921-2012).

Another interesting fact is that The Stones never played (the English version of) “As Tears Go By” on tour live until late-2005.

Notable artist this track has been covered by include Frank Sinatra’s daughter Nancy Sinatra. And in 2013 Taylor Swift performed it alongside The Stones themselves.

4 Responses

  1. Allen Spearing says:

    I remember listing to the song As Tears Go By by The Rolling Stones in 1965 in the backyard of my home. I was only seven at the time

  2. ol rocker says:

    a favorite for over 50 years i play this an sing this song guitar solo all time with losing my touch a hit hit hit

  3. Middle rocker says:

    Sad song but brilliantly simple, and reminds people of a certain age of that time

  4. Radio Denizen says:

    This “terrible piece of tripe” made fall in love with Marianne Faithful at the ripe ol’ age of 10!

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