As Tears Go By (song)

As Tears Go By (song)
"As Tears Go By"
Single by The Rolling Stones
from the album December's Children (And Everybody's)
B-side "Gotta Get Away"
Released 18 December 1965 (US)
Format 7"
Recorded 26 October 1965, IBC Studios, London
Genre Baroque pop[1]
Length 2:45
Label London 45-LON9808
Writer(s) Jagger/Richards/Oldham
Producer Andrew Loog Oldham; engineer: Glyn Johns
The Rolling Stones singles chronology
"Get Off of My Cloud"
"As Tears Go By"
"19th Nervous Breakdown"
"As Tears Go By"
Single by Marianne Faithfull
B-side "Greensleeves"
Released June 1964
Format 7" single
Recorded 1964
Genre Baroque pop
Length 2:33
Label Decca
Writer(s) Jagger/Richards/Oldham
Producer Andrew Loog Oldham
Marianne Faithfull singles chronology
"As Tears Go By"
"Blowin' in the Wind"

"As Tears Go By" is a song written by The Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards, and their manager Andrew Loog Oldham, and was a popular hit for both British singer Marianne Faithfull in 1964 and The Rolling Stones[1] in 1965.



"As Tears Go By" was one of the first original compositions by Jagger and Richards, as until that point The Rolling Stones had chiefly been performing covers of blues standards. The myth surrounding the song's genesis has it that Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham locked Jagger and Richards in a kitchen forcing 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 was initially named “As Time Goes By”, the title of the song Dooley Wilson sings in the film Casablanca. It was Oldham who changed “Time” for “Tears". 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. The success of the recording caused the record company, Decca, to switch the song to an A-side, where it became a very popular single. It reached # 9 in the British charts and launched Faithfull's career as a major singer. The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 in America the week ending November 28, 1964, where it stayed for nine weeks peaking at # 22. Faithfull also performed the song on the television show Hullabaloo, in the segment presented by Beatles manager Brian Epstein from London.

Another myth is that the song was written as an answer to The Beatles' "Yesterday," a strings-driven ballad that became one of the band's biggest hits in 1965. However, this is false; "As Tears Go By" was written at least one year before "Yesterday"'s parent album, Help!, was even released (although Paul McCartney had written and played the song for many people in 1964 before finally releasing it on the album Help!).

The Rolling Stones recorded their own version in 1965. This recording is notable for its heavy string arrangement by Mike Leander. It was one of the three songs ("(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "19th Nervous Breakdown" being the other two) the band performed live during their third appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was released as a single in December 1965 by their American record label, London Records, due to popular demand after radio DJs across the country started playing the song from the band's recently released album December's Children (And Everybody's). The song peaked at #6 on the American Billboard Charts. The song also had great success on the Billboard Easy Listening chart (#10 peak) years before the seemingly more wholesome Beatles would see their first entry. The song was later released in the UK in 1966 as the B-side to the single "19th Nervous Breakdown".

The Stones released a version with Italian lyrics as a single in Italy, under the title "Con Le Mie Lacrime".[2]

It was performed live on tour for the first time in November 2005 on the Stones' A Bigger Bang Tour. A performance from the 2006 leg of the tour was captured for the 2008 live release Shine a Light. On July 11 in Milan they performed the song with the Italian lyrics.[3]

Cover versions

Other live versions include a rendition by French pop star Vanessa Paradis and Marianne Faithfull accompanied by guitarist Johnny Marr during a tribute concert to Linda McCartney at the Royal Albert Hall in April 1999.

It was covered by British pop band The Primitives on the 12" of "Sick of It" and as a regular part of their live show.

It has also been recorded in Catalan by Majorcan singer Maria del Mar Bonet.

It was also covered by Nancy Sinatra in 1966 on her album Boots and PP Arnold in 1970, once again produced by Andrew Loog Oldham.

The New Age group Angels of Venice made an instrumental cover of this song on their self-titled album.

The song appears as bonus track on the 1984 Psychic TV album of demo recordings A Pagan Day.

The song was translated into Italian ("Con le mie lacrime") and released in 1965 as a bonus track on "As Tears Go By" single album in Italy. It was also performed live in the last Bigger Bang tour in Milan, on July 2006.

On the 1990 Stones tribute album Stoned Again, the song was recorded by The Waltones.

In 1998, new age pianist David Lanz covered the song from his album Songs from an English Garden.[4]

Briget Boden covered this song on Chill Out in Paris Vol 2 (2002).

It was covered by Indie Rock band Exsonvaldes on their 2010 album There's No Place.

The song has also been covered by Antony & The Johnsons.

Melanie (Safka) recorded this song on her album Moments From My Life from 2002.

Flemita - Raro? Raro Tenes El Orto (1998) - Mientras Caen Lagrimas

In popular culture

The song is featured at the end of the season five finale of the American TV show House (entitled "Both Sides Now"), in which it is used to link scenes of Cameron and Chase's wedding with scenes of House's internment in a psychiatric hospital.


  1. ^ a b Mick Jagger interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969).
  2. ^ Prato, Paolo (2007). "Selling Italy by the sound: cross-cultural interchanges through cover records". Popular Music (26): 441–462. doi:10.1017/S0261143007001377. 
  3. ^ "The Rolling Stones cover The White Stripes!". NME News. New Musical Express. July 12, 2006. Retrieved April 7, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Songs from an English Garden overview". 

External links

Preceded by
"Yesterday Man" by Chris Andrews
Canada RPM number-one single
(The Rolling Stones version)

February 7, 1966 (one week)
Succeeded by
"My Love" by Petula Clark

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