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Rolling Stones songs: Let’s Spend the Night Together
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You know I’m smiling, baby/ You need some guiding, baby…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, Nov. 16-Dec. 6 1966
Guest musicians: Jack Nitzsche (piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
It’s pretty obvious what’s going on in this song, as Mick Jagger makes a play to bed down a lovely lady. All this talk of “satisfying her every need” got the attention of censors. Many radio stations either refused to play it or bleeped out the word “night.”
The Stones had yet to score their first Top 10 hit in America when they made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. When they returned for their fifth appearance on January 15, 1967, they played this song, but with the lyric altered to “let’s spend some time together.”
This was an unusual capitulation for The Rolling Stones, but Sullivan was a very big deal and would likely have banned them from the program if they didn’t follow the rules. Jagger made his displeasure clear, rolling his eyes when he sang the line. It ended up being the group’s last performance on the show with founding member Brian Jones, who died on July 3, 1969. They returned one more time, performing on November 23, 1969.
The lead instrument on this track is the piano, rather than guitar, which was unusual for The Stones. Jack Nitzsche, who often contributed keys for the group, played it.
According to Glyn Johns, who was the engineer at the session, the tapping sound in the bridge came about when two policemen came into the London studio while he was mixing the track. To distract them from the various drugs that were tucked away, the Stones’ manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, had the cops record a take banging their batons for percussion, which made the final cut.
This was not on the British version of Between The Buttons because it was already released as a single there, and it was customary not to put singles on albums.
Marianne Faithfull, Mick’s ex-girlfriend, claims Jagger wrote this song after their first night together.
This was one of four songs The Stones were not allowed to play in China when they tried to perform there in 2003. The others were “Honky Tonk Women,” “Beast Of Burden,” and “Brown Sugar.” These songs were also removed from Chinese versions of their greatest hits compilation 40 Licks.
David Bowie covered the song on his 1973 album Aladdin Sane, the sound of which was heavily influenced by the raw rock style of the Rolling Stones.
In his version, Bowie added the lyrics:
They said we were too young
Our kind of love was no fun
But our love comes from above
Let’s make… love
He released the song as a single, which reached #19 on the Dutch Top 40. “Lady Grinning Soul” was the B-side.
In 2003, Sheraton hotels used “Let’s Spend The Night Together” as the slogan for their ad campaign. The version of the song used in the commercials was performed by a San Diego group called Convoy.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
Marianne Faithfull is categorical: “‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’ was
Mick’s. It came out of that night we spent in the motel in Bristol.” The
character in the song certainly seems impatient to demonstrate to his
girlfriend all the love he feels for her—a love which is by no means
exclusively cerebral. However, in an interview given to the Melody Maker,
Mick Jagger claimed that “Let’s Spend the Night Together” did not have to
be seen as an invitation to indulge in physical lovemaking: “I always say
‘Let’s spend the night together’ to any young lady I’m taking out. What it
means is: shall we spend the evening together? If people have warped,
twisted, dirty minds, I suppose it could have sexual overtones. The song
isn’t really very rude. When you hear it, you’ll realise this.”
Despite Mick Jagger’s protestations, “Let’s Spend the Night Together”
caused a tremendous scandal when the single was released (on January 13,
1967, in the United Kingdom and the following day in the United States).
Some radio stations censored it, preferring to play the other side of the
single, “Ruby Tuesday.” The prize for caution (or maybe hypocrisy) goes to
Ed Sullivan. On January 15, 1967, while the Rolling Stones were promoting
their single, the charismatic presenter of The Ed Sullivan Show asked Mick
not to sing the fateful phrase but instead to replace it with the line let’s
spend some time together in order to avoid offending the prudish ears of the
young American television audience watching the show. After initially
refusing, Mick in the end consented—but not without rolling his eyes in
disapproval during the (taped) refrain. On the other hand, after appearing on
The London Palladium Show on the British television station ITV a week
later, the Stones refused to take part in the procession of stars that rounded
off each show, enraging the producer Albert Locke: “Who do the Stones
think they are?” Jagger’s response: “That revolving stage isn’t an altar. It’s
a drag… Anyone who thought we were changing our image to suit a family
audience was mistaken.”27
Despite the ban imposed by various broadcasters, “Let’s Spend the
Night Together” became a big hit, peaking at number 3 in the United
Kingdom on February 15, 1967.
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Categories: Can You Hear the Music?