Between the Buttons (UK Version)
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115 of 117 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2002
This is the remastered January 20, 1967 - U.K. Decca release as the Stones intended it. To further explain:
With the release of the remastered super audio CDs (SACD) of the Stones ABCKO catalog (which includes all the early Decca/London material), there are now 2 different Between The Buttons releases available, the original UK version that was released on January 20, 1967 and the US version that was released on February 10, 1967. There are now 2 US versions, the original CD release (which is the same mix as the original vinyl release) and the remastered version, which has much better sound, although some reviewers are commenting that not all tracks have been mixed to the same quality level.
In addition, the UK and US versions include different tracks. The Stones designed the UK release, which did not include the just released single Let's Spend The Night Together and Ruby Tuesday. The American record execs removed Back Street Girl and Please Go Home to make room for the two single cuts. To clarify:
There are 3 Between The Buttons releases:
January 20, 1967 - U.K. Decca (remastered on SACD)
.....does not include Let's Spend The Night Together and Ruby Tuesday
February 10, 1967 - U.S. London (remastered on SACD)
.....does not include Back Street Girl and Please Go Home
February 10, 1967 - U.S. London (not remastered)
.....does not include Back Street Girl and Please Go Home
Back Street Girl and Please Go Home were released in the U.S. on the Flowers album on July 14, 1967. Let's Spend The Night Together and Ruby Tuesday were released on an album in the U.K. on Through The Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) on September 12, 1969.
This is the remastered super audio CDs (SACD) of the Stones ABCKO catalog (which includes all the early Decca/London material. ABCKO acquired the Stones' catalog after Allen Klein became their manager in 1965. The resulting legal battles produced releases that the Stones opposed (they took out full page adds asking fans not to buy them), including the controversial Metamorphosis releases (which are now available on CD for the 1st time ever). But the sad fact is that the Stones lost control of their great early material. With the remastered SACD releases, we at last have some idea of what they really sounded like in the studio. I guess if we had these 40 years ago they would have ended up Greatest Rock And Roll Band in the Universe instead of just the Greatest Rock And Roll Band in the World.
The Between The Buttons tracks were recorded in 1966 as follows:
Aug 3-11, 1966 at RCA Studios in Hollywood
.....Who's Been Sleeping Here?
.....Miss Amanda Jones
.....Connection
.....Back Street Girl
.....All Sold Out
.....Please Go Home
.....Let's Spend The Night Together
.....Something Happened To Me Yesterday
.....Cool, Calm, Collected
.....Complicated
.....Yesterday's Papers
.....She Smiled Sweetly
.....My Obsession
Nov 9-26, 1966 at Olympic and Pye Studios in London
.....Ruby Tuesday
.....final mixes were done on all the Aug RCA Studio tracks as well
Tracks recorded at the Aug RCA sessions but not released on Between The Buttons were:
.....Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
.....Who's Driving Your Plane (also released as Who's Driving My Plane)
Tracks recorded at the Aug RCA sessions but never released were:
.....Panama Powder Room
.....Godzi
.....Get Yourself Together
.....Something BB
Tracks recorded at the Nov Olympic/Pye sessions but not released on Between The Buttons were:
.....Dandelion
Tracks recorded at the Aug RCA sessions but never released were:
.....Trouble In Mind
.....English Summer
An interesting note is that English Summer was intended as a UK single release, but it was put on hold (and never released) when Brian, Mick, and Keith's arrests began in the summer of 67. We Love You was released instead. It was recorded with Nicky Hopkins, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney as a thank you for fan support during the trials.
This information comes from "It's Only Rock And Roll: The Ultimate Guide To The Rolling Stones" by Karnbach and Bernson and from my own collection.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2002
On 20 January 1967, Decca Records issued The Rolling Stones' 5th studio album BETWEEN THE BUTTONS in the UK. After issuing AFTERMATH nine months earlier which was the first written completely by Mick Jagger and Keith Richard(s), the duo perform the same songwriting function here. "Let's Spend The Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday" were concurrently released as the band's latest single. UK practice meant that it would remain independent from the album, while the US mentality was to kick off two songs and slap the single on to ensure sales (that's why "Paint It, Black" appears on the US AFTERMATH in the place of "Mother's Little Helper"). Avoid the US versions of both albums like the plague. They are not what The Rolling Stones and producer Andrew Loog Oldham had in mind when they created them. BETWEEN THE BUTTONS reached a strong # 3 in the UK (its American counterpart hit # 2). The Monkees inconceivably were what kept the infinitely superior Stones out of # 1. "Yesterday's Papers" was a brisk, trippy and sophisticated opener, with Brian Jones (who was starting to fall away during these sessions) on marimba. "My Obsession" is a fantastic and ingeniously abstract recording with Charlie and Keith as the focal points (on rigid and deliberately off-time and drums and Keith with his electric stun guitar effects - something that you can actually hear on this remastered CD which sounds WAY better than the 1986 version). "Back Street Girl", one of the castaways for the US album (it ended up on the loose ends compilation FLOWERS later in 1967), is one of the major highlights here with its parisienne waltz style with well played accordian. Great track. "Connection" is a brilliant example of Brit Rock in the mid-60's and still a band favorite today. It's short, catchy and infectious and you'll be hitting repeat on that one many times. "She Smiled Sweetly" (which apparently the band will revive for their upcoming tour) is distinguished by the church organ played by Keith. "Cool Calm And Collected" was a comedy number full of kazoos, banjos and a sped up ending with the band laughing at its end. Not the best cut here, but still fun to listen to. "All Sold Out" is more solid Brit Rock with Charlie's drums as the focal point. "Please Go Home" (again pushed onto the US FLOWERS album) is a Bo Diddley-ish song in the tradition of "Not Fade Away" - not the high point of the album, but still nice. "Who's Been Sleeping Here?" is a Dylan pastiche with its jangly piano and harmonica à la "Like A Rolling Stone". Beating Dylan at his own game is usually tough but this track pleases. The band return to their usual style with "Complicated" which is distinguished by its distorted lead guitar line (reminiscent of "Satisfaction"). Great and fun track. "Miss Amanda Jones" is more uptempo rock and "Something Happened To Me Yesterday" is a return to the music hall variety sound of "Cool Calm And Collected", though the subject matter is about taking acid. Keith even sings a few lines (sounding nowhere near his raspy self now). All in all, BETWEEN THE BUTTONS was, and still is, a great Rolling Stones album. It has always been considered inferior to AFTERMATH, and while the number of phenomenal songs are less forthcoming here, there's more clunkers on AFTERMATH, making BETWEEN THE BUTTONS the more balanced album. I love this album. The Stones were in the middle of the psychedelic period here - culminating in THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIES REQUEST, after which they returned to R&B. This may not be the best album the Stones ever did, but it is a piece of history and recorded by a band that was at the peak of creation and innovation.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2002
"Between The Buttons" is easily one of The Rolling Stones best albums. Like most Britsh LPs from the '60s (before The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper and The Stones' "Satanic Majesties") "Buttons" has been issued on both sides of the Atlantic with different contents. With ABKCO's Stones' restoration project, you can choose between the US and UK versions of "Between The Buttons". The UK version of this album is the definitive one and is the one to go for. While you lose the hits "Ruby Tuesday" & "Let's Spend The Night Together" you'll gain by getting "Back Street Girl" and "Please Don't Go" which are two of the best Stones' LP cuts (and you can get "Ruby" & "Night" on any Stones compilation). "Buttons" catches The Stones at the beginning of the psychedelic era with exotic instumetation (harpsichord, marimba, banjo, kazoos) enchancing the groups sound without overwhelming it (as they would on "Satanic Majesties") and shows some the funniest ("Cool, Calm & Collected", "Something Happend To Me Yesterday"), caustic ("Yesterday's Papers" , "All Sold Out") and melodic ("Back Street Girl", "She Smiled Sweetly") songs that The Stones ever recorded. The remastering here is excellent and is far superior to the CD issued in the '80s. In short, one of the greatest albums of the '60s has finally been done justice. Button up!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2002
Disclaimer: This review is *not* primarily a review of musical quality. Between the Buttons UK is one of my favorite albums, and if sound quality/etc. don't bother you, it should hopefully rank amoung your favorite Stones discs. That said, this is a reissue and--frankly--a long awaited one, so it must be judged in part as such.
As with many 60s groups, the Stones had their albums configured differently in the US and UK. Between the Buttons was no exception, with the US version losing "Please Go Home" and "Back-Street Girl" and gaining their current hit, "Let's Spend the Night Together/Ruby Tuesday," and suffering a slight reconfiguration in track order. ABKCO initially issued only the US version on CD, but for this reissue campaign--for reasons known only to them, although said reasons probably include a heck of a lot of green--they declined to "combine" the two albums, instead issuing both. Curious.
That said, to me, Buttons is the strongest of their pre-Beggars efforts, combining a pop sensibility with some excellent arrangements, and--unlike on Majesties and Aftermath--there don't seem to be any obvious "throwaways" here.
ABKCO's first CD version of Buttons was, in a word, horrific. What had once been a nice, wide stereo album was now a bizarre mixture of stereo, folded stereo, and near-mono tracks, with sub-par quality to boot. This new version is a definite upgrade, but is almost as frankensteinian as its predecessor; in short, it sounds like every track was worked on separately, without any consideration to the whole. Some tracks sound massively altered ("My Obsession" and "Miss Amanda Jones") while others sound comparitively untouched ("Connection" "Complicated"). If you're sensitive to these things, expect to be thrown off a bit. Also, while the stereo spectrum is much wider than on the old ABKCO disc, there is some folding in present, not to mention odd uses of noise reduction (the aforementioned "Miss Amanda Jones.")
The verdict? Great album, and this version will be just fine for the uninitiated. It's also a wonderful upgrade from the ABKCO disc. But if you're one of the lucky owners of the London Records disc that was in-print in Europe before 1995 (and Japan before 1997), think twice about upgrading, even with the correct UK tracklisting at stake; the London disc remains the best reference version of this album on CD.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2000
It's hard to call any Stones album "overlooked", but "Between The Buttons" comes closest to that tag. The US version available on CD includes both sides of the #1 single "Ruby Tuesday" (one of their all-time finest ballads, with a chorus which never grows tired even after hundreds of listenings) b/w "Let's Spend The Night Together", but there are many more delights to be found on the record: tentative attempts at psychedelia ("Yesterday's Papers", "All Sold Out"), Kinks-inspired music-hall kitsch ("Cool Calm Collected", "Something Happened To Me Yesterday") and some of their hardest rockers to date ("My Obsession", "Miss Amanda Jones") make this a unique and fascinating record in the group's career. The original UK album also featured the seductive French waltz "Back Street Girl" and Bo-Diddley-on-acid "Please Go Home". Those looking for the classic Stones sound found on "Beggar's Banquet"or "Exile" won't really find it here, but it's also refreshing to hear a great Stones album which doesn't adhere to their later formula. Overall, "Between The Buttons" reflects its era--post-"Revolver", pre-"Pepper" Swinging London at its glittery best--with a clutch of catchy tunes and varying moods. Jagger later professed to disappointment in the results, but since when was he ever right about anything!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I finally received my copy of the UK Between the Buttons release. It was well worth the wait. I can't really improve on Brian Christie's earlier review, so I won't say to much about the cuts, Brian's done a great job of describing each track. Note to Brian: For God sake's man, split your reviews into multiple paragraphs!

I can't understand why this release get trashed in some circles... The song writing is as good as anything else they've done, the production is great. This is a superb CD! This is the way I remember the Rolling Stones during their appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show all those years ago.

I will even go out on a bit of a limb here and say that this Stone's release, while it definitely has little or nothing to do with R & B, seems to have that same spirit of exploration we find on the masterwork "Exile on Main Street". No, I'm not saying the records sound even remotely like one another... I'm talking about the spirit of exploration. These guys are definitely taking risks here - a prerequisite for real creativity. I've given Buttons a few spins now and I think it's as good as any of those in the highly regarded quartet of releases that started with Beggar's Banquet and completed with Exile on Main Street... but it sure is different! I don't know if I would call it "psychedelic" as some have written in earlier reviews... but it sure is different!

I can't for the life of me figure out why US record execs would have removed Back Street Girl and Please Go Home... if anything, these tracks are probably the two stronger tunes - although the entire group of tunes is great. Buttons is full of nice surprises.

If you are familiar with 80's bands like The Psychedelic Furs and The Cure, you can really hear the influence of this record on these later bands. It would be great to hear Robert Smith (The Cure) cover some of these tunes.

Personally, I think Buttons is absolutely brilliant - I love it! This isn't the Stones doing the kind of music that won them the title of "The Greatest Rock-n-Roll Band in the World", but it's still great stuff and really, really interesting.

Now, if you are pondering whether to purchase the UK or US release, think no more. You want the UK release. If you must have Let's Spend the Night Together and Ruby Tuesday, pick up Through The Past Darkly and you'll get lots of other goodies :)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This album was panned by the critics but is loved by those of us who have taken the time to check it out. My only complaint is the inclusion of Let's Spend The Night Together and Ruby Tuesday which do not belong on this album. They were only put on to cash in on their hit status. On the original UK version they are left off and the songs Back Street Girl and Please Go Home appear. Also if you have the original on vinyl there is a cartoon on the back drawn by Charlie Watts. Whether you have the US or UK version this album is a lot of fun to listen to. One of the many highlights of this album is Keith's vocals on Something Happened to Me Yesterday. Keith sings lead for the first time. This tune is supposedly about Mick's first experience with acid. This album is unique for the Rolling Stones. Noone has recorded anything like it before or since. The only thing that comes close (about a million miles away) is Paul McCartney's Wings Wild Life which was a radical departure from the rest of his work. When I first bought this album (US version) over 20 years ago I played it once or twice and forgot about it. Years later I bought it on cassette (UK version). I started playing it in my car and I was hooked. Don't overlook this album like I did. It is an underated, often forgotten Stones' classic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2005
The four Stones' albums from 1968 through 1972 get all the acclaim, but in the era before Beggars Banquet there was one true masterpiece, Between The Buttons.
This collection of songs is unique in the Stones' catalogue: nothing sounds like it. It ain't blues, not hard rock or even psychedelia. Even worse, the Stones themselves disown the album and have rarely played any of these songs in concert. However, Frank Zappa and Neil Young swear by BUTTONS -- and so do I.
Between The Buttons is to the Stones what Rubber Soul was to The Beatles. It's the band's transitional album, a break from the past that explores new sounds, rhythms and instruments. BTB is also a rock album invaded by folk. Acoustic guitars dominate. Add to that the various textures in drumming and percussion by Mr. Watts that I've never heard on any other Stones record. And add to that the experimentation by Brian Jones on several tracks, most notably on Ruby Tuesday (on the US version), which is perhaps his shining hour.
Lyrically, Mick's misogyny continues to flourish on tracks such as Yesterday's Papers with its voodoo beat, and the bittersweet Back Street Girl, but Jagger reveals his tender side on the brooding and magnificent She Smiled Sweetly (used throughout The Royal Tenenbaums film). Arguably, BTB is the Stones album most influenced by Bob Dylan.
The Stones can still rock (Complicated, All Sold Out, Miss Amanda Jones), but there's little trace of Chuck Berry or Muddy Waters on these songs. Instead, BTB is a melting pot of musical styles that works wonderfully. It it both light and dark, hopeful and cynical, and above all imaginative.
My only complaint is with Mr. Klein for issuing both the UK and US versions when the track lists are virtually the same. What, you couldn't throw Ruby Tuesday and Let's Spend the Night Together onto the UK edition as bonus tracks?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2002
This truly eccentric album doesn't have the command of 'Aftermath' (from the year before) or 'Beggars Banquet' (from the year ahead). To some, it is clearly a dud: Brit rock crit Roy Carr dismissed it as a "turkey." But while there's nothing here to trouble one's dreams -- no ravaged moonlight miles, no fighting in the streets -- I'd classify 'Between the Buttons' as a first-rate lark.
God knows what the album's peculiar aura owes itself to -- a platter of new drugs, the claustrophobic watch of the narcs, or just sheer exhaustion after five break-neck years of non-stop work. Up till then, their great mission was to turn black music inside-out. In 1967 they never sounded more white: instead of bottlenecks and mouth harps, 'Between the Buttons' offers harpsichords, banjos, vaudevillian asides...even tubas. This isn't the Mississippi Delta -- this is tea time in England. It's almost as if we've entered Ray Davies' Village Green. But with this normally hard-hearted band at the helm, this proves to be kind of fascinating.
Some singularly enjoyable stuff here, from the impossibly catchy "Connection" to the big guitars of "Please Go Home" to the crackpot "Cool, Calm, Collected." But the killer is "Backstreet Girl" (which the American execs fatally farmed out to the 'Flowers' album). To my mind, this song just lords over the rest. Mick adopts the Elizabethan gent's role he used in "Lady Jane," but here he is callous rather than courtly. The lyric transcends misogyny and ends up as good as Randy Newman, if not Lord Rochester (look him up). Brian Jones adds a yearning combo of organ and accordian that is extremely effective. And they said Jones was all washed up by '67. Not by a long shot.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2002
The difference between the UK and US versions of "Between The Buttons" is probably the least disruptive of all the Stones' early albums. The single sides "Let's Spend The Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday" are replaced by the equally good "Back Street Girl" (a classic, which has been gradually overlooked over time) and "Please Go Home" (an early stab at psychedelia), otherwise the essential feel and flow of the album is the same. Influenced by "Revolver", this was the group's attempt to come up with the perfect UK pop album, an attempt which is either viewed as a relative failure or a smashing success by fans and critics alike. I go for the latter--if The Stones could only release an album half as good as "Between The Buttons" these days, I'd be more than satisfied. The sound quality on the remaster is not as dramatic as that for "Aftermath" but still an improvement; there is even an added stereo effect at the end of "Cool Calm And Collected" I had never heard before. The packaging is faithful to the original vinyl, and of course the cover photo is one of the best--if not THE best--in the band's career. With songs like "Yesterday's Papers", "My Obsession", "Back Street Girl", "All Sold Out", "Connection" and "Please Go Home" all perfect encapsulations of contemporary sounds by The Beatles, Who, Kinks, Yardbirds etc, this really is a snapshot of Swinging London at the height of its giddy, druggy glamour in late '66/early '67.
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