Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadow?

Album: Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) (1966)
Charted: 5 24

Songfacts®:

  • This song is shadowy indeed. "Mother" could be code for "girlfriend," or something else entirely. Keith Richards asks that we don't read too much into it. "You must listen to it and place your own interpretation on the lyric," he said. "There is no attempt to present a controversial 'Mother' theme."
  • The American single has a picture of The Stones in women's clothes on the sleeve. According to legend, after the photo session, they kept their costumes on and went to a bar in New York.
  • Footage of the band dressed as women for the single photo shoot was compiled into a promotional film for the song that was distributed to various broadcast outlets. This was an early example of a music video, although they were still using film back then. The Beatles made them for some of their songs as well.
  • This was the first Stones song that used a horn section, which was arranged by Mike Leander. He also did the horns on The Stones "As Tears Go By" and wrote the score for the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home."
  • There is guitar feedback at the beginning and end. The Beatles had used feedback before, but it was still a new technique.
  • Keith Richards said: "I liked the track, I hated the mix. Mainly because there was a fantastic mix of the thing, which was just right. But because they were in a rush and they needed to edit it down for the Ed Sullivan Show, the mix was rushed and the essential qualities of it, for me, disappeared. Just because of the lack of time. It needed another couple weeks. The rhythm section is almost lost completely." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • This was the first Stones song released in the US and England at the same time.
  • The B-side of the single was Who's "Driving Your Plane?" Both sides of the single are questions.
  • When The Stones performed this on The Ed Sullivan Show, September 11, 1966 (their fourth appearance), guitarist Brian Jones wore a cast on his hand. It was rumored that he got the injury when he punched a wall.
  • Glyn Johns, who engineered the "As Tears Go By" session in 1965, engineered this song as well. This led to more work with The Stones, recording the live album Got Live If You Want It! in the fall of 1966 and then engineering the London Between The Buttons sessions in November of that year. He was used as chief engineer for the producer-less Their Satanic Majesties Request in 1967, after which he suggested to the Rolling Stones that they use Jimmy Miller as their next producer. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France

Comments: 12

  • Robert Weingartner from Staten Island, New York, United StatesIn a personal email to me, former Rolling Stones record producer stated it was his idea to put horns in "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?", and that the idea was inspired by the then current Ike & Tina Turner hit, "River Deep, Mountain High".
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 11th 1966, the Rolling Stones performed "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows?" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Three weeks later on October 2nd, 1966 it entered Billboard's Hot Top chart at position #40; and three weeks later on October 23rd it peaked at #9 {for 2 weeks}, and then on its 7th and final week on the Top 100 it was at #46...
    It also reached #9 in Germany...
    On the same 'Sullivan' show they performed "Paint It, Black" {it peaked at #1 for 2 weeks on June 5th, 1966} and "Lady Jane" {which reached #24 for 1 week on August 7th, 1966}.
  • Alastair from Stranraer, United KingdomAlways thought this song was about prostitution... painting a grim image of passing clients looking for comfort with both men and women (have you seen your mother/brother) in shadowy back alleys, a place for illicit sex and unwanted pregnancies.
  • Devin from Rancho Cucamonga, CaI disagree with Keith Richards. There are a lot of unpolished rock and roll gems, and this is one of them. If they made the mix 'perfect' it would lose a lot of its raw energy. It fits well with their image too, especially, since the Beatles were starting to get rougher-around-the-edges with their music and image at that time (Revolver).
  • Emily from Detroit, MiThe last 10 seconds or so of this song are the best -- that great, echoey guitar strumming -- pure rock n roll!
  • Juan from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaI don't like the horns. I wonder how this song could be without them. KR is right saying that the mix is awful.
  • Ptlover from None Ya, KsLet's see; how can we summarize this song: Completely awesome and unlike anything ever. Love it!
  • George from Oc, MdGreatest ending to a song I ever heard.
  • Elliott from Douglassville, PaThis is apparently why The Stones had to mime their appearance on Sullivan, rather than play live (which is a shame, I think) - since Brian Jones couldn't really use his hand properly. He also had to play sitar on "Paint It Black" and dulcimer on "Lady Jane" - I guess it was better safe than sorry.
  • Matt from Russell Springs, KyRidiculously long song title, good fun! Oh, and how did they get feedback to sound so bizarre? Is there a production trick on it or something? I've never gotten or even heard feedback quite like that anywhere else.
  • Simon from Brno, Czech RepublicIan Stewart and Keith Richards played the pianos.
  • Chelsea from Nyc, OrKeith played piano. Jagger called this tune "the ultimate freakout" because of it's breakneck speed and mega production.
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