The Rolling Stones

Let's Spend the Night Together

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Song Review by Richie Unterberger

Although it didn't sound very controversial several decades later, "Let's Spend the Night Together" was the most controversial single the Rolling Stones had ever released when it first came out in early 1967. With the title alone, the group was spelling out, pretty much, the implications of many of the songs they had sung over the last few years -- not to mention of many, perhaps most, songs in popular music. As sexual mores loosened in the late 20th century, the title expression would come to be seen as a normal, even healthy way of consolidating affection, and certainly not grounds for censorship. This was not the case in early 1967, when Mick Jagger was coerced into mumbling the title when it was performed on television, and limited radio airplay caused the flip side of the record, "Ruby Tuesday," to become the hit in the United States. All of this notoriety has tended to overshadow the considerable musical merits of the song. "Let's Spend the Night Together" was actually a pleasant, mid-tempo piano-based rocker, with rather charming harmonies of nonsense doo wop syllables and an enthusiastic, lusty vocal by Jagger that nonetheless certainly did not cross the line into offensive crudeness. The role of backup vocalists on 1960s Rolling Stones records is often overlooked, and there are some nice responsive lines throughout the verses. Jagger did effectively bring out some of the more sexual implications of the lyric by lingering on and elongating the final phases of the verses, but if that's too hot for you to handle, you have probably wandered into the wrong section of this database by mistake. The chorus, on which Jagger is joined by other members of the Stones, is downright celebratory and infectious. There's also a cool, brief bridge in which the tempo dramatically slows, Jagger emphasizing how tonight he really does need her more than ever. Harmonies start to swirl behind him, and then he summons his studly energy once more to lead a charge back into the verse, with his most forceful vocals of the song. A buzzing organ nicely underscores the mood during the elongated fadeout. Undoubtedly the most notorious version of this notorious song was recorded by David Bowie, who did a radically different version for his 1973 Aladdin Sane album that, in the minds of some critics, made the kinkiness implicit in the original much more explicit.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1964 ABKCO Records 3:10
Between the Buttons 1967 ABKCO Records 3:37
Flowers 1967 ABKCO Records 3:38
Through the Past, Darkly: Big Hits, Vol. 2 1969 ABKCO Records 3:36
Hot Rocks: 1964-1971 1972 ABKCO Records / Universal Music 3:36
Rolled Gold: The Very Best of the Rolling Stones 1975 Universal Distribution
No Image 1976 Decca
No Image 1977 Arcade Music
No Image 1984 EMI Music Distribution
The Complete Singles Collection: The London Years 1989 ABKCO Records 3:28
No Image 1997 Colosseum
No Image 1999 Cool Daddy 4:20
No Image 2000 Rattlesnake Records 3:47
Forty Licks 2002 ABKCO Records 3:25
No Image 2002 3:40
Remastered Series 2004 ABKCO Records 3:38
Singles 1965-1967 2004 ABKCO Records 3:27
GRRR! 2012 ABKCO Records 3:39
The Rolling Stones in Mono 2016 ABKCO Records 3:27
Honk 2019 Interscope 0:00
Various Artists
Universal 3:41