Rolling Stones songs: She’s a Rainbow
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
Have you seen her all in gold/ Like a queen in days of old/ She shoots colors all around/ Like a sunset going down…
Also known as: She Comes In Colours/ Lady Fair/ Flowers In Your Hair
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, May 16-19, June 12-13 1967
Guest musicians: Nicky Hopkins (piano), John Paul Jones (strings arrangements)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
With a trippy, playful sound, this song wasn’t typical of The Rolling Stones, but it endured as a fan favorite. It is a rare pure love song by The Stones, whose songs about women tended to be much more libidinous at this time.
The distinctive string section was arranged by John Paul Jones, who was doing session work two years before he joined Led Zeppelin.
This was one of the first songs The Stones produced without manager Andrew Loog Oldham. They wanted to get rid of him, so they angered him away by going against his wishes in many aspects of Their Satanic Majesties Request.
Apple used this in 1999 commercials for their colorful iMac computers. Over the next few years, the company would change the dynamics of the music industry with the introduction of iTunes and the iPod.
Nicky Hopkins played piano on this song. Hopkins, along with Ian Stewart and Billy Preston, played on Stones albums from Between The Buttons in 1967 until Black And Blue in 1976. Preston usually played on the more gospel-sounding songs where an organ was required; Stewart played boogie-woogie on the fast songs, and Hopkins played on the ballads. >>
The song returned to Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs chart in 2018 as a result of its appearance in a commercial for the all-new Acura RDX.
“She’s A Rainbow” shined bright in 2018 when it was used in various sync placements thanks to a push by its publisher, ABKCO, as part of the 50th anniversary release of the Their Satanic Majesties Request album. Acura used it in a commercial for their RDX, and Dior in a spot starring Jennifer Lawrence. It also featured in an episode of American Horror Story: Coven.In 2020, the song was revived again when it was used in a commercial for Adobe Photoshop.
This song is a plot point in the 2021 Ted Lasso episode “Rainbow.” Early in the episode, it plays as the ringtone when Higgins’ wife calls – he explains that it was the song that was playing when they met. Later, the song plays when the soccer club’s former star, Roy Kent, returns to join the coaching staff.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“She’s a Rainbow” sounds like a logical follow-up to “Lady Jane” or “Ruby
Tuesday.” It is a sort of musical fairy tale with not a trace of the legendary
misogyny of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Indeed the heroine is
endowed with almost supernatural virtues. She’s like a rainbow and like a
queen in days of old, she shoots her colors all around. Could this female
figure perhaps be a fairy inspired by Arthurian legend or a short story by
“She’s a Rainbow” is without a doubt one of the songs most influenced
by the festive optimism of flower power and therefore one of the most
atypical in the catalog of the Dartford songwriting duo, which acquired a
certain consistency from this time forward. This psychedelic pop song,
carried by a subtle melody, somewhat makes a transition between the blues
and rhythm ’n’ blues of the band’s beginnings and its triumphant return to
blues rock in the upcoming single “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and the album
Beggars Banquet. Billy Childish (a British poet, painter, and musician):
“‘She’s a Rainbow’ is a very pretty tune. I love how poetic it is, like a
calibration of love and beauty in a Tudor garden. And then there’s a little
sadness there too, portending the end of the Stones’ vitality as they ceased
to be fans of Muddy Waters and became fans of themselves.”63
“She’s a Rainbow” was released as a single in the United States (but not
in the United Kingdom), with “2000 Light Years from Home” as its B-side,
on December 23, 1967. It reached number 25 on the Billboard pop chart on
January 27, 1968.
“She’s a Rainbow” is a song by the Rolling Stones and was featured on their 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request. 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.
The song starts with a Carnival barker saying:
Alright there now listen very closely for how to play the game, I’ll tell you how to do it.
Now luv, all you gotta do, luv, is when the whistle’s blown, I want you to give one spin, one spin only on your ball.
Any prize, take what you like. One winner, one prize, the pick o’ th’ stall. Are you all ready?
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 except for Charlie Watts. Notably, all of the vocals sound like soft background singing with the music overshadowing them to the point of the lyrics being difficult to hear. 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 run with a turnaround, which returns throughout the song as a recurring motif. This motif is developed by the celesta and strings in the middle 8. 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
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Categories: Can You Hear the Music?