The song was coupled as double A-side single with the risque “Let’s Spend The Night Together”
The Rolling Stones scored their fourth U.S No.1 in 1967 with “Ruby Tuesday”
It’s an absolute Rolling Stones classic, and a superb evidence of how the band could craft melodic pop songs as good as The Beatles did, “Ruby Tuesday”, coupled with “Let’s Spend The Night Together” as a double-A side single, was released on January 13, 1967 and became an instant hit. Officially, the songwriting is credited to Jagger/Richards but there seems to be some contradictions on that. Jagger himself admitted in 1995 that he never wrote neither the music or lyrics to the song. Bill Wyman states in Rolling with the Stones that the lyrics were completely written by Keith Richards with help from Brian Jones on the musical composition. Marianne Faithfull recalls it differently; according to her, Brian Jones presented an early version of this melody to the rest of the Rolling Stones and finally, according to Victor Bockris, Richards came up with the basic track and the words and finished the song with Jones in the studio. The conclusion seems to be that the song was a Jones/Richards composition and not a Jagger/Richards, but as everyone knows, at the time, tensions between the band and Brian Jones were starting to rise up and Jagger might had discretely added his name there. Controversy aside, “Ruby Tuesday” is a beautiful melody that features multi instrumentalist Brian Jones playing the recorder (the signature sound of the song) whilst the double bass was played jointly by bassist Bill Wyman pressing the strings against the fingerboard and Keith Richards bowing the strings. On March 3, 1967, the song went to No.1 on the US Hot 100 chart, becoming their 4th U.S No.1 single. The risque “Lets Spend The Night Together” was the original A side but after radio stations banned the song “Ruby Tuesday” became the “A side” and hence why it shifted into a double A side single. Because of that, “Ruby Tuesday” earned more airplay due to the lyrical controversy of “Let’s Spend The Night Together” and ended up charting higher in both the UK and the US. “Ruby Tuesday” was included in the American version of the Rolling Stones 1967 album “Between the Buttons” but left out of the British and European releases. At the time, in the UK, was common practice singles being excluded from studio albums. In the Summer of 1967, the Stones released their American compilation “Flowers” and the song was again included. Only in 1969, due to the to its success, the song became a staple of the band’s compilations released in the UK (and Europe), starting with “Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2)”. Today, there isn’t practically any Stones best of compilation that doesn’t includes both “Ruby Tuesday” and “Let’s Spend The Night Together”.
But…who was Ruby Tuesday?
Here’s some facts on that: according to Keith Richards in a 1971 Rolling Stone interview, he stated that he wrote the song in a Los Angeles hotel room in early 1966 about a groupie he knew, however, decades later, in his 2015 autobiography, “Life”, he states that it was written about his girlfriend Linda Keith who had taken up with Jimi Hendrix, and had got involved with drugs. She left Richards, and he tried to get her back. He eventually went to her parents and told them she was going down a dark path. Linda’s father went to New York City to collect her, and by order of court she was grounded. Richards reports that Linda regarded this as betrayal, and they did not speak again for many years. According to Richards’s, Linda Keith survived, brought up a family, and now lives in New Orleans.
Watch the Rolling Stones in 1967 performing “Ruby Tuesday” and “Let’s Spend The Night Together” live at The Ed Sullivan Show
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