The Rolling Stones

She's a Rainbow

Song Review by

The prettiest and most uncharacteristic song that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards ever wrote for the Rolling Stones (as opposed to "As Tears Go By," which was originally written for Marianne Faithfull to sing), "She's a Rainbow" also marked the end of the band's foray into pop-psychedelia. For most serious fans at the time, it seemed like a lapse, an attempt by the Rolling Stones to emulate the Sgt. Pepper- and Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles, but the song and the single alike did have some merits worthy of the Stones. Considered in the context of the group's entire history, "She's a Rainbow" forms the last part of a lyrical, folk-based cycle that started with "As Tears Go By" and carried through "Lady Jane" and "Ruby Tuesday." And taken in that context, it's a decent Stones record with an unexpectedly pretty melody. Keith Richards' heavily strummed acoustic guitar adds some muscle even in the parts where the band, driven by Charlie Watts' emphatic drumming, isn't playing. Nicky Hopkins' elegant piano and the string section (arranged by future Led Zeppelin alumnus John Paul Jones) are balanced by the Richards/Watts/Wyman rhythm section punching away around them. The weak link on the record, if there is one, is Mick Jagger: On much of the record he sounds as though he can't decide whether he's a troubadour extolling the virtues of a lady ("Have you seen her all in gold") or a satyr in lustful contemplation ("She comes in colors") of a recent conquest. One also wonders how seriously the Rolling Stones were taking this all, with that fey, overstated chorus of "ooo-la-la"s. The ambiguity probably didn't hurt the record (which sold well but not exceptionally so, and was quickly filed under the category of engaging novelties by most Stones fans), but it did spotlight a brick wall -- of image and musicality, and attitude -- toward which the Stones were heading with their psychedelic music. Luckily, the blues soon beckoned once again with Beggars Banquet.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Their Satanic Majesties Request 1967 ABKCO Records 4:35
Through the Past, Darkly: Big Hits, Vol. 2 1969 ABKCO Records 4:13
More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies) 1972 ABKCO Records 4:38
Rolled Gold: The Very Best of the Rolling Stones 1975 Universal Distribution
Stones Story 1976 Decca
No Image 1977 Arcade Music
The Complete Singles Collection: The London Years 1989 ABKCO Records 4:11
No Image 1997 Colosseum
Forty Licks 2002 ABKCO Records 4:13
Remastered Series 2004 ABKCO Records 4:35
Singles 1965-1967 2004 ABKCO Records 4:12
GRRR! 2012 ABKCO Records 4:13
The Very Best of the Rolling Stones 1964-1971 2013 ABKCO Records 4:13
The Rolling Stones in Mono 2016 ABKCO Records 4:36
Honk 2019 Interscope 0:00