She's a Rainbow
|"She's a Rainbow"|
|Single by The Rolling Stones|
|from the album Their Satanic Majesties Request|
|B-side||"2000 Light Years from Home"|
|Released||23 December 1967 (U.S. only)|
|Recorded||18 May 1967|
|Genre||Psychedelic rock, psychedelic pop, baroque pop|
|Writer(s)||Mick Jagger/Keith Richards|
|Producer(s)||The Rolling Stones|
|The Rolling Stones singles chronology|
It has been called "the prettiest and most uncharacteristic song" that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote for the Stones, although somewhat ambiguous in intention. It features rich lyricism, vibrant piano by Nicky Hopkins and Brian Jones' use of the mellotron. The second verse goes:
Have you seen her all in gold,
Like a queen in days of old?
She shoots colours all around
like a sunset going down.
Have you seen a lady fairer?
John Paul Jones, later of Led Zeppelin, arranged the strings of this song during his session days. Backing vocals were provided by the entire band, excluding Charlie Watts. The lyrics in the chorus share the phrase "she comes in colours" with the song of that title by Love, released in December 1966.
The song begins with the piano playing an ascending scale, which returns throughout the song as a recurring motif. Humorous and ambiguous devices are used, such as when the strings play out of tune and off key towards the end of the song, and when the other Stones sing their "La La's" like little children. The song ends on an unusual sour electric guitar chord.
Release and aftermath
"She's a Rainbow" was released as a single in December 1967 and went to No. 25 in the U.S. It is included on a large number of the Stones' hits compilations, including Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) (1969), More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) (1972), 30 Greatest Hits (1977), Singles Collection: The London Years (1989), Forty Licks (2002), and GRRR! (2012). It was performed occasionally on the 1997–98 Bridges to Babylon Tour. Apple Inc. used this song in an advertisement for the iMac G3. Later Sony used the song in an advert for BRAVIA.
On the 2011/12 season finale of Saturday Night Live, host Mick Jagger was in a "graduation" skit where the band Arcade Fire and the SNL cast performed "She's a Rainbow" as a tribute to departing cast member Kristen Wiig. In the sketch, Wiig is a student who was held back and is finally graduating after seven years to leave SNL to become a nun. Although Jagger does not sing "She's a Rainbow", he returns at the end of the skit, along with a number of SNL alumni, to join in the song "Ruby Tuesday."
A cover version was released by indie band World of Twist in 1992.
- Mick Jagger – vocals, percussion
- Keith Richards – acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- Brian Jones – mellotron, electric guitar, percussion, backing vocals
- Bill Wyman – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Charlie Watts – drums
- Additional personnel
- John Gilliland (narrator). "Show 46: Sergeant Pepper at the Summit - The very best of a very good year (part 2, segment 5)". Pop Chronicles. KRLA. via the Digital Library of the University of North Texas. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
- Eder, Bruce. The Rolling Stones "She's A Rainbow". allmusic. 2007 (accessed 31 October 2008).
- The Database "She's a Rainbow". Time Is On Our Side. 2007 (accessed 31 October 2008).
- Pierce, Tony (4 August 2006). "R.I.P. Arthur Lee - thanks for all the Love". LAist. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
'Da Capo' also includes Love's biggest hit '7&7 Is' which some regard as the first punk tune, as well as 'She Comes in Colors' which was clearly an inspiration for the Rolling Stones hit 'She's A Rainbow'.