Rolling Stones songs: Yesterday’s Papers
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
I’m living a life of constant change/ Every day means the turn of a page/ Yesterday’s papers are such bad news/ Same thing applies to me and you…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: RCA Studios, Hollywood, USA, Aug. 3-7 1966; Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, Nov. 9-Dec. 6 1966
Guest musicians: Jack Nitzsche (piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
This was the first Stones song Mick Jagger wrote by himself. It’s about Chrissie Shrimpton, his girlfriend from 1963-1966 (she was 17 when they started dating). Chrissie was the sister of Jean Shrimpton, who as a fashion icon in ’60s London can make a claim to the title “world’s first supermodel.” With Chrissie by his side, Jagger found himself mingling with artists and fashionistas, where he fit in quite well. When Mick and Chrissie split up, he took up with the singer Marianne Faithfull.
This song is a great example of the Stones’ growing interest in psychedelic rock, which would be charted in full bloom by the time of Their Satanic Majesties Request.
Not only is this song about Jagger’s ex-girlfriend, but it has a strong misogynist tone as well. Other songs by The Rolling Stones with misogynist lyrics include:
“Under My Thumb”
As for how Jagger treated his girlfriends in real life, Marianne Faithfull said that he was never domineering toward her, but that he did keep Chrissie Shrimpton “under his thumb.”
The back of the album contains some cartoons drawn by The Stones drummer, Charlie Watts. Watts was quite the dapper fellow, elected to the “best-dressed list” in both The Telegraph and Vanity Fair. He was famously faithful to his wife in stark contrast to the typical rock star’s prolific conquests. He turned down groupies for sex and at a party at the Playboy Mansion, he kept himself occupied in Hugh Hefner’s game room rather than cavort with bunnies. This wasn’t even apparently due to any religious influence; he’s just that distinguished a guy with that high a standard.
As for the front cover, that was a photo shot by Gered Mankowitz, who used special effects involving a distorted lens and Vaseline to give the smeared, dreamy look. Impressive what photographers came up with in the days before Gimp and Photoshop.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Yesterday’s Papers” was written and composed exclusively by Mick
Jagger. Once again, the singer levels a relentless indictment against women,
or rather against one woman in particular. The girl he is comparing to
yesterday’s papers could well be ex-girlfriend Chrissie Shrimpton.
Yesterday’s papers are such bad news/Same thing applies to me and you: the
words may possess the virtue of clarity, but they are undeniably cruel.
Marianne Faithfull would recognize the lyrics as a “horrible public
humiliation” for Chrissie Shrimpton. In this respect, “Yesterday’s Papers”
can be compared to “Under My Thumb” and “Stupid Girl” on Aftermath.
Keith Richards has his own individual take on these songs that could be
described as misogynistic: “Maybe we were winding them up… But I think
the Beatles and the Stones particularly did release chicks from the fact of
‘I’m just a little chick’… When you’ve got three thousand chicks in front of
you that are ripping their panties and throwing them at you, you realize
what an awesome power you have unleashed.”
Musically, too, this song follows logically from various numbers on
Aftermath. The Stones had already entered the psychedelic era.
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