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Lady Jane

by

The Rolling Stones



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This might be about Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIII. She was one of the few wives not executed, but died at childbirth while bearing his only son. Another possibility is that it's about Jane Ormsby-Gore, a British woman Mick Jagger was involved with.
Brian Jones, who was The Stones guitarist until his death in 1969, played the dulcimer, an instrument you play on your lap by plucking or strumming the strings. Jones could learn just about any instrument very quickly. He had just recently learned how to play it when they recorded this.
Keith Richards: "Brian was getting into dulcimer then because he dug Richard Farina. We were also listening to a lot of Appalachian music then too. To me, Lady Jane is very Elizabethan. There are a few places in England where people still speak that way, Chaucer English."
Mick Jagger: "Lady Jane is a complete sort of very weird song. I don't really know what that's all about myself. All the names are historical but it was really unconscious that they should fit together from the same period." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
Jack Nitzsche played the harpsichord, which gave this an Elizabethan feel. Nitzsche was a prolific keyboard player and producer. He died in 2000 at 63.
This was left off the US version of Aftermath. It was on the Flowers compilation.
This was the basis for the Neil Young song "Borrowed Tune," which appears on his Tonight's The Night album. He sings the lyric, "I'm singin' this borrowed tune I took from the Rolling Stones." (thanks, John - UK, England)
Chip Monck, who handled lighting and production duties for the Stones in the late '60s and early '70s, often played an instrumental version of this song over the sound system after the band left the stage. He said it was "like a madrigal, really. Have a good evening, get home safely, we look forward to seeing you the next time around."
The Rolling Stones
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Comments (22):

After Brian Jones died, The Stones never played this song live.
- Bertrand, Paris, France
I just heard Lady Jane again on satellite radio and was listening very closely to the stringed instrumentation. While the tone sounds a little dulcimer-like, the slightly "booming" resonance makes me think it might be a cittern. ("an old musical instrument related to the guitar, having a flat, pear-shaped soundbox and wire strings.") Anyone else hear that? Warren Zevon used one on his Mutineer album (played by David Lindley)
- Steve, Lenexa, KS
I think Tyler from CA is closer to the real meaning/intent of 'Lady Jane'. Lady Jane was not Lady Chatterley in 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' but her lover's (Mellors) pet name for her vagina. Her pet name for his penis was "John Thomas'. The descritption of John Thomas meeting Lady Jane is very descriptive in the book! It's an excellent book too!
- robertk36@hotmail.com, melbourne, Australia
Lady Jane may be that slang, but then who are Lady Anne and Marie?

If Lady Jane is Lady Jane Grey, who is her chivalrous man? She was forced to marry a man she hated.

If Marie is Marie Antoinette, who is the Lady Jane referred to in her part of the song?

The song makes perfect sense if Lady Jane is Jane Seymour, and Henry VIII is assuring her that once Anne Boleyn is dead he will marry her; then telling Anne her time is up, he's going to marry Jane. The last verse makes a bit of sense as well in that context, as the man is indicating the end of one relationship and the assurance that Lady Jane's life is secure. Henry did not execute Lady Jane, but she died soon after he married her, which was ironic. Marie could be one of Anne's ladies in waiting.
- Mary, Los Angeles, CA
Love the guitars on this.
- Reed, New Ulm, MN
There is a feeling to this song (the studio version, that is...) that is all its own. Kind of puts you in another world and time.
- Eric, Camas, WA
Pay Attention:

"My sweet Lady Jane
When I see you again
Your servant am I
And will humbly remain
Just heed this plea my love
On bended knees my love
I pledge myself to Lady Jane..."

The first report of Henry VIII's interest in Jane Seymour was in February 1536. Jane Seymour was noted to be pale and blonde, the opposite of Anne Boleyn's dark hair and olive skin.

(Previously, however...)

In 1525, Henry VIII became enamoured of Anne and began his pursuit of her.

"My dear Lady Anne
I've done what I can
I must take my leave
For promised I am
This play is run my love
Your time has come my love (note this line)
I've pledged my troth to Lady Jane..."

To Henry's displeasure, however, she failed to produce a male heir; and by March 1536, he was paying court to Jane Seymour. In April and May 1536, Henry had Anne investigated for high treason: tried and found guilty, she was beheaded on 19 May.

"Oh my sweet Marie
I wait at your ease
The sands have run out
For your lady and me

Wedlock is nigh my love
Her station's right my love
Life is secure with Lady Jane"

Anne resisted the King's attempts to seduce her and refused to become his mistress, as her sister, Mary Boleyn, had done.

Any Questions?
- Charles, Bronxville, NY
Above says it was left off the U.S. version of "Aftermath". That is incorrect. A friend of mine in the 70's had the album. And it was on there. I have just double-checked. It is the 3rd track on both the U.S. and UK copies. Of course the overall song selections differ on the 2 copies. But "Lady Jane" is on both. I remember in tenth grade health class. We watched a film strip(accompanied by a record album) on the dangers of drug abuse. Well in one scene they showed some weed. And they were playing Lady Jane at the same time. It was silly. Because I knew the song wasn't about that.
- wayne, Salem, VA
Yes, to the distinction between the Appalachian, or mountain, or lap dulcimer and the hammered dulcimer. The two have quite different sounds. The lap dulcimer has 3 or 4 strings, and is pretty easy to learn many a simple tune on, especially for an already accomplished guitar player. It can be plucked, or slid, and can sound a bit like an acoustic guitar played bottleneck-style, but only on the treble strings. *** Charlie/CT -- actually, way pre-Victorian. Vickie was queen from mid-19th century to very early 20th. The minuet was a dance style that was popular from the late 17th until the late 18th century. But it was in triple time (3/4); Lady Jane is in 4/4. But yeah, I see what you mean--LJ is made to sound a couple centuries or so old. The harpsichord helps with that. Now, the Elizabethan period (Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and reigned 1558-1603) puts it a century or so before the minuet -- late 16th century.
- Fred, Laurel, MD
I have always thought Lady Jane was about Jane Grey without really analysing (or listening ha ha) to the lyrics. It was just so evident in the saddness that it is about someone dying. But Steve from New Jersey got it because how ever else could a Marie be in the song. It has to be Marie Antoinette, Anne Boleyn and Jane Grey - all beheaded. Not Jane Seymour although there is allusion to her too in the second stanza as Henry VIII left Anne for her.
- Nicholas, Montreal, Canada
First of all, "Lady Jane" was NOT taken off the U. S. "Aftermath" album. "Mother's Little Helper" was taken off, but not LJ. Also, it took me 35 years, but it finally dawned on me: this song is about three beheaded women---Lady Jane, Anne Bolyn, and Marie Antoinette.
- Steve, Princeton, NJ
Brian Jones was sooooo talented and beautiful. I miss him
- Shannan, Wilmington, DE
Brian Jones creó el sonido Stone y además le dió el color y la categoría musical que jerarquizó a la banda. La delicadeza de Lady Jane es sublime.
- Dardo, Montevideo, South America
"..Jagger claimed that "Lady Jane" was slang for the female genitalia.."
It looks like it is no slang, but a quite refined allusion to the thing: That Lady Jane is Lady Chatterley. For the male genitalia, as a tribute to D.H. Lawrence, an equally discriminating substitue is "John Thomas".
It should also be noted that Brian Jones plays the appalachian dulcimer and not the hammered. "Lady Jane" - which views women primarily as stuck-up, neurotic bitches - was also released as the B-side to "Mother's Little Helper" and it's Baroque qualities make it an excellent, delicate love song. However, the fact that Brian Jones never recieved a song credit for this song is absolutely absurd.
- Tyler, Tustin, CA
Nitpicking, but Brian Jones left the band very shortly before his death.
- fyodor, Denver, CO
The 60's band Rotary Connection, which had Minnie Riperton as a member, does a weird, psychedelic version of "Lady Jane."
- Jules, Baltimore, MD
this song was released in the U,S as a b-side and was played enough to reach number 24 on the pop charts
- devin, brooklyn, NY
Am I the only person here who thinks that the Rolling Stones were way, way off course trying to do a song with Elizabethan overtones? Or were they trying to supply Spinal Tap with future material?
- Wes, Springfield, VA
Best use of a dulcimer in a rock song ever.
- XX, Whakatane, Hong Kong
lady jane is a minuette, i probably spelled that wrong, anyway, it is a very old type of song, like victorian times old.
- Charlie, Thomaston, CT
in the "unauthorized biography" Jagger claimed that "Lady Jane" was slang for the female genitalia
- Randy, Beaumont, TX
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