The Rolling Stones


Composed by Keith Richards / Mick Jagger

Song Review by

Although it was intended as the B-side of the mid-1967 Rolling Stones single "We Love You," and remained so in the United Kingdom, "Dandelion" became the A-side and a much bigger hit than its companion in the United States, where it reached the Top 20. To be honest, it's not hard to hear why: although "We Love You" has its good points, "Dandelion" is far more melodic and upbeat. Indeed, it's about as cheerful as any song in the Rolling Stones' catalog, and as the title might lead you to guess, espoused a flower-power ethos in tune with the summer of 1967. It is, perhaps, odd to hear Mick Jagger sing of princes and paupers in the childlike storybook fashion prevalent in much of British psychedelia. But it's also convincing and charming, with a delicate, almost ginger melody and slightly campy high background harmonies. For a 1960s Rolling Stones song, "Dandelion," for those who care about such things, has an unusually comfortable and balanced integration of verse, chorus, and bridge. The melody becomes especially tender at the end of the chorus, when the title is harmonized, which after the second pass melts into a bridge that rocks harder than any other part of the song, but nonetheless is still pretty gentle. The second run through the bridge, in fact, is instrumental, as playful wordless scat vocals take over and a pastoral oboe is heard. The fadeout tag emphasizes the group's wistful harmonies, as the rhythm stutters and becomes more fractured while they repeat the phrase about the dandelion blowing away. This, one could say, subtly reinforces the lyric about the ephemerality of the kind of good vibes that bloomed during the summer of love. Some party-liners have maintained that the Stones were never good at this sort of thing because their flower-power phase was just an uncomfortable act. Well, that's their loss; by maintaining the purity of their outlook, they're missing out on some good songs, such as this one.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Through the Past, Darkly: Big Hits, Vol. 2 1969 ABKCO Records
More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies) 1972 ABKCO Records 3:32
Rolled Gold: The Very Best of the Rolling Stones 1975 ABKCO Records 3:31
No Image 1977 Arcade Music
The Complete Singles Collection: The London Years 1989 Universal Music 3:47
Remastered Series 2004 ABKCO Records 3:33
Singles 1965-1967 2004 ABKCO Records 3:48
GRRR! 2012 Universal / Universal Music 3:34
The Rolling Stones in Mono 2016 Abko / Universal
blue highlight denotes editor's pick