As Tears Go By
“As Tears Go By” was one of the early compositions by Jagger and Richards; previously the Rolling Stones had chiefly been performing American blues and R&B tunes. By one account, Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham locked Jagger and Richards in a kitchen in order to force them to write a song together, even suggesting what type of song he wanted: “I want a song with brick walls all around it, high windows and no sex.” The result initially was named “As Time Goes By”, the title of the song Dooley Wilson sings in the film Casablanca. It was Oldham who replaced “Time” with “Tears”.
We thought, what a terrible piece of tripe. We came out and played it to Andrew [Oldham], and he said “It’s a hit.” We actually sold this stuff, and it actually made money. Mick and I were thinking, this is money for old rope!
According to Jagger biographer Philip Norman, the song was mainly created by Jagger, in co-operation with session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan, although Jagger claims he was responsible for the lyrics while Richards wrote the melody. Oldham subsequently gave the ballad (a format that the Stones were not yet known for) to Faithfull, then 17, for her to record as a B-side. Oldham played a demo for her with Jagger singing and Big Jim Sullivan on acoustic guitar. “He handed me a scrawled lyric sheet and I went back into the studio and did it. As soon as I heard the cor anglais playing the opening bars I knew it was going to work. After a couple of takes it was done. Andrew came and gave me a big hug. ‘Congratulations darling. You’ve got yourself a number six,’ he said.”
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