"As Tears Go By" is a song written by The Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards, and their manager Andrew Loog Oldham and most popularly recorded by British singer Marianne Faithfull in 1964.
The song is considered to be the first original composition by Jagger and Richards. Up until that point they had been performing covers of blues standards. The myth surrounding the song's genesis has it that Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham locked Jagger and Richards in a kitchen forcing them to write a song together, even suggesting what type of song he wanted: “I want a song with brick walls all around it, high windows and no sex.” The result was initially named “As Time Goes By” the title of the song Dooley Wilson sings in the film Casablanca. It was Oldham who changed “Time” for “Tears.” Oldham subsequently gave the ballad (a format that the Stones were not yet known for) to Faithfull, then 17, for her to record as a B-side. The success of the recording caused the record company, Decca, to switch the song to an A-side, where it became a very popular single. It reached # 9 in the British charts and launched Faithfull's career as a major singer. The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 in America the week ending November 28, 1964, where it stayed for nine weeks peaking at # 22.
The Stones recorded their own version in 1965. It appeared as the B-side to "19th Nervous Breakdown" in the U.K. This recording is notable for its heavy string arrangement by Mike Leander. It was one of the three songs ( "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "19th Nervous Breakdown" being the other two ) the band performed live during their third appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was released as a single by their American record label, London Records, due to popular demand after radio DJ's across the country started playing the song from their recently released compilation album December's Children (And Everybody's). The song peaked at # 6 on the Billboard charts in America for the Stones. The song had great success on the Billboard Easy Listening chart (#10 peak) years before the seemingly more wholesome Beatles would see their first entry.
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