The Rolling Stones

Lady Jane

Song Review by

"Lady Jane" was one of the highlights of the Rolling Stones' 1966 album Aftermath, and a Top 30 hit as the B-side of "Mother's Little Helper"; had it been issued as an A-side, it no doubt would have gone higher. More important, it was a significant departure for the group, as a beautiful love ballad that treated women with respect. This is contrast to the usual modus operandi of the Rolling Stones in 1965-1966, which viewed women primarily as stuck-up, neurotic bitches. Reflecting the group's growing interest in Appalachian folk music, "Lady Jane"'s most prominent riffs are played on a dulcimer, backed by an enchanting, slowly picked guitar figure. Combined with the stateliness of the melody and the introduction of a harpsichord into the arrangement for much of the song, the atmosphere has justly been viewed as Elizabethan. Mick Jagger discarded his frequent macho posturing to gently declaim the lyrics in a manner that was downright courtly (and clearly enunciated). The gentlemanly stance of the composition -- in which Jagger politely explains to a series of lovers that he has made his choice and pledged his love to Lady Jane -- was such an about-face from the usual Stones lyric that it was hard to puzzle out exactly what its intention was. An ironic approach to playing the field with lovers? A renunciation of promiscuity, perhaps? (Unlikely, considering the source.) Why not, however, just take it at face value -- an excellent, delicate love song that proved that the Rolling Stones were more versatile composers than many had suspected? The Baroque qualities of the song were noted by psychedelic soul group the Rotary Connection, who did an elongated, orchestral cover of the song on their 1967 debut album, featuring super-high-pitched operatic background vocals by Minnie Riperton.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1964 ABKCO Records 3:08
Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) 1966 ABKCO Records 0:00
Aftermath 1966 ABKCO Records 3:07
Flowers 1967 ABKCO Records 3:08
More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies) 1972 ABKCO Records 3:08
Rolled Gold: The Very Best of the Rolling Stones 1975 Universal Distribution
Stones Story 1976 Decca
No Image 1977 Arcade Music
No Image 1981 Decca
The Complete Singles Collection: The London Years 1989 ABKCO Records 3:11
Remastered Series 2004 ABKCO Records 3:08
Singles 1965-1967 2004 ABKCO Records 3:09
GRRR! 2012 ABKCO Records 0:00
The Rolling Stones in Mono 2016 ABKCO Records 3:10