Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones song Keith Richards thought was badly recorded

The Rolling Stones were in a strange place as the mid-1960s soldiered on. No longer content with simply doing old blues songs and Beatles covers, the Stones looked to tap into the up-and-coming psychedelic scene for inspiration. Sometimes that would lead to inspired sounds, like the raga-infused ‘Paint It Black’ or the piano-led ballad ‘She’s A Rainbow’. But the Day-Glo experimentalism didn’t always go the way the band wanted.

‘Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow’ is one of the more obscure and strange singles to be released by the Stones. Coming out in the summer of 1966, ‘Have You Seen Your Mother’ received praise for its wildly anarchic composition but was much less beloved by the band themselves.

“It was cut badly. It was mastered badly. It was mixed badly,” was Keith Richards’ verdict recalled in the 2014 interview collection Keith Richards on Keith Richards. “We tried trombones, saxes, and every permutation of brass, before the trumpets. Everything else dragged.” Keith went on to explain that “the only reason we were so hot on it was that the track blew our heads off, everything else was rushed too quickly.”

Richards’ bandmates seem to have agreed with his assessment. “The rhythm section is buried in the mix and it failed to create as much excitement as we felt it should have,” Billy Wyman said in his book Rolling with the Stones. “Although we took longer to record and mix this single than any of our previous releases, Keith always felt it needed more.” Mick Jagger kept it succinct in the 2009 anthology According to The Rolling Stones when he called the song “not very good.”

‘Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow’ managed to make it up all the way to number five on the UK Singles Chart and number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. But for a band whose six of seven previous singles had hit number one in the UK (the only one that didn’t, ‘19th Nervous Breakdown’, hit number two), the chart results were as unsatisfying as the song’s recording. The band retired the song from live performances after less than two weeks in 1966, and ‘Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow’ became an afterthought once their next single, ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’, dropped a few months later.

Listen to ‘Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow’ down below.

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