Rolling Stones – Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadow?

This is one you don’t hear everyday.

There is guitar feedback at the beginning and end. The followed The Beatles as the Beatles had used it for I Feel Fine before this one. This was also the first Stones song that used a horn section, which was arranged by Mike Leander. He also did the horns on The Stones As Tears Go By and wrote the score for the Beatles She’s Leaving Home when McCartney didn’t want to wait for George Martin.

The Stones performed this on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1966. Lead guitarist Brian Jones wore a cast on his hand. It was rumored that he got the injury when he punched a wall in a dressing room.

This was the first Stones song released in the US and England at the same time. The Beatles and Stones sometimes would work together on album and single releases. They didn’t want to release something each at the same time so they would make sure to stagger the releases.

This song peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100, #5 in the UK, and #8 in Canada in 1966. The song was credited to Jagger/Richards.

Keith Richards: “I liked the track, I hated the mix. Mainly because there was a fantastic mix of the thing, which was just right. But because they were in a rush and they needed to edit it down for the Ed Sullivan Show, the mix was rushed and the essential qualities of it, for me, disappeared. Just because of the lack of time. It needed another couple weeks. The rhythm section is almost lost completely.” 

From Songfacts

This song is shadowy indeed. “Mother” could be code for “girlfriend,” or something else entirely. Keith Richards asks that we don’t read too much into it. “You must listen to it and place your own interpretation on the lyric,” he said. “There is no attempt to present a controversial ‘Mother’ theme.”

The American single has a picture of The Stones in women’s clothes on the sleeve. According to legend, after the photo session, they kept their costumes on and went to a bar in New York.

Footage of the band dressed as women for the single photo shoot was compiled into a promotional film for the song that was distributed to various broadcast outlets. This was an early example of a music video, although they were still using film back then. The Beatles made them for some of their songs as well.

The B-side of the single was Who’s “Driving Your Plane?” Both sides of the single are questions.

Glyn Johns, who engineered the “As Tears Go By” session in 1965, engineered this song as well. This led to more work with The Stones, recording the live album Got Live If You Want It! in the fall of 1966 and then engineering the London Between The Buttons sessions in November of that year. He was used as chief engineer for the producer-less Their Satanic Majesties Request in 1967, after which he suggested to the Rolling Stones that they use Jimmy Miller as their next producer. 

Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadow?

Have you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadow?
Have you had another, baby, standing in the shadow?
I’m glad I opened your eyes
The have-nots would have tried to freeze you in ice

Have you seen your brother, baby, standing in the shadow?
Have you had another baby, standing in the shadow?
Well I was just passing the time
I’m all alone, won’t you give all your sympathy to mine?

Tell me a story about how you adore me
Live through the shadow, see through the shadow,
Live through the shadow, tear at the shadow
Hate in the shadow, love in the shadow life

Have you seen your lover, baby, standing in the shadow?
Have they had another baby, standing in the shadow?
Where have you been all your life?
Talking about all the people who would try anything twice

Have you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadow?
Has she had another baby, standing in the shadow?
You take your choice at this time
The brave old world or the slide to the depths of decline


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

14 thoughts on “Rolling Stones – Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadow?”

  1. This single was certainly stranger than anything the group had previously released, both in production and words. Some people describe this song as being discordant, filled with distorted guitar twanging becoming a complete wall of noise that annoyed some of the listeners like the aftermath of a car crash.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes it was more out there…it was 1966 and with the Who’s experimental singles out also…I guess they wanted to try something different.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. you’re right, don’t hear that every day! I wouldn’t have known it was a hit of theirs, certainly not one radio remembers. It’s pretty good and quite experimental but like Keith suggests, there’s a lot going on and they might have done well spending that bit of extra time to mix it better. Neat to know they and Beatles tried to stagger releases…that’s smart for both. Oasis and blur should have copied them in the 90s.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s one of those hits you don’t hear much and that makes me like it more now.

      With the Beatles and Stones…they liked each other…I’m not sure Oasis and Blur liked each other that much lol. I guess with the Beatles experimenting they felt like they needed to try it.


  3. This is one of their unique works for sure. I do like the song. Their performance of it is full of great bits with their signature harmonies and instrument sounds coming through. I didn’t realize this is when they did the pictures dressed as women. I was thinking that came later, around 1979-80. They were ahead of Bowie and everybody else. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes I read about that picture a long time ago. They were saying no one paid them any attention in England. You could do that and no one would bat an eye…but in America it would have been a different story.


  4. This one of those songs that encapsulates why the Stones must have seemed so dangerous… it’s a racket (in a good way) with all the feedback, the debatable lyrics (that you can barely make out), and then there’s them doing drag on the sleeve… All just 10 years after Elvis’s hips.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: