The Rolling Stones Release 'Between the Buttons'

The Rolling Stones' 1967 recordings are a matter of some controversy; many critics felt that they were compromising their raw, rootsy power with trendy emulations of the Beatles, Kinks, Dylan, and psychedelic music.

Approach this album with an open mind, though, and you'll find it to be one of their strongest, most eclectic LPs, with many fine songs that remain unknown to all but Stones devotees.

Between the Buttons is the fifth British and seventh American studio album by The Rolling Stones and was released on 20 January 1967, in the United Kingdom and 11 February 1967, in the United States as the follow-up to the ambitious Aftermath.

Recorded in two spurts, in Los Angeles in August 1966 and London that November, Between the Buttons caught The Rolling Stones at a period where they were moving more into arty territory and away from their R&B roots. With the release of The Beatles' Revolver, The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, as well as their own Aftermath and the accompanying singles during 1966, the parameters of rock music had been expanded considerably.
Much like Aftermath, Between the Buttons saw some differences in its UK and US versions. The UK edition (how producer Andrew Loog Oldham and The Rolling Stones intended it) was issued in January 1967 on Decca Records, concurrently with a separate single, "Let's Spend the Night Together" b/w "Ruby Tuesday". Because of common practice in the British record industry at the time, the single did not appear on the album. Generally well-received (although the critics took note of their influences), Between the Buttons reached #3 in the UK.

In the US, "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday" were slotted onto the album, with "Back Street Girl" and "Please Go Home" getting the boot (these would be included on the following US release, Flowers). With "Ruby Tuesday" reaching #1, Between the Buttons shot to #2 in the US, going gold.

Additionally, Between the Buttons would prove to be the last album produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, with whom The Rolling Stones would have a creative falling-out in mid-1967. Indeed, Oldham's influence is more evident here than on earlier albums, as he employs Phil Spector-like layering on "Yesterday's Papers", "My Obsession", and "Complicated" and uncredited background vocalists (including, possibly, Graham Nash) throughout. Brian Jones continues his experiments in exotic instruments on this album. Keith Richards busies himself with distinctive guitar work on "My Obsession", "Connection", "All Sold Out", "Please Go Home" and "Miss Amanda Jones".

In the years following its release, Between the Buttons somehow became overlooked. Today, however, many critics and fans have come to appreciate the album's eclectic qualities and a wealth of obscure gems, making it a unique album in The Rolling Stones' released catalog, one that more or less abandoned the Stones' blues based style and featured more consistent songwriting than their previous efforts.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 355 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

In August 2002 both editions of Between the Buttons were reissued in a new remastered CD and SACD digipak by ABKCO Records.