Script error: No such module "Unsubst". Script error: No such module "Unsubst". Template:Infobox single Template:Infobox single "As Tears Go By" is a song written by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham. It was released as a single by Marianne Faithfull in 1964 and peaked at #9 in the United Kingdom.[1] The Rolling Stones recorded their own version later, releasing the track in late 1965 on the album December's Children (And Everybody's) and subsequently as a single in North America.[2]


"As Tears Go By" was one of the first original compositions by Jagger and Richards, as until that point The Rolling Stones had chiefly been performing blues standards. A story surrounding the song's genesis has it that Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham locked Jagger and Richards in a kitchen in order to force 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 replaced "Time" with "Tears".

“We thought, what a terrible piece of tripe. We came out and played it to Andrew [Oldham], and he said ‘It’s a hit.’ We actually sold this stuff, and it actually made money. Mick and I were thinking, this is money for old rope!”[3]

According to Jagger biographer Philip Norman, the song was mainly created by Jagger, in co-operation with session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan.[4]

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. The melody features a distinctive oboe line.[5] The demo had Mick Jagger singing and Big Jim Sullivan playing 12-string guitar. It reached no. 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 28 November 1964, where it stayed for nine weeks peaking at no. 22. Faithfull also performed the song on the television show Hullabaloo, in the segment presented by Beatles manager Brian Epstein from London.

It is sometimes said that the song was written as an answer to The Beatles' "Yesterday", a strings-driven ballad that became one of the band's biggest hits in 1965. However, this is false: "As Tears Go By" was written at least one year before "Yesterday"'s parent album, Help!, was even released. However, the Rolling Stones may have been influenced by "Yesterday'"s particular arrangement. The Rolling Stones changed the arrangement from Faithful's 1964 version to one that more closely resembled the arrangement of "Yesterday", which may have been intentional given that the new arrangement was recorded while the Beatles' song was topping charts all over the world, including the US Billboard Hot 100. Marianne Faithful's 1964 version of "As Tears Go By" features percussion and strings throughout; the Rolling Stones' version completely lacks percussion and opens with acoustic guitar followed by strings entering in the second verse, just as in "Yesterday".

The Rolling Stones recorded their own version of "As Tears Go By" in 1965. This recording is notable for its heavy string arrangement by Mike Leander. It was one of the three songs (including "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "19th Nervous Breakdown") that the band performed live during their third appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was released as a single in December 1965 by their North American record label, London Records, due to popular demand after radio DJs across the country started playing it from the band's recently released album, December's Children (And Everybody's). It peaked at no. 6 on the American Billboard Charts, and also had great success on the Billboard Easy Listening chart (no. 10 peak) years before the seemingly more wholesome Beatles would see their first entry. The song was later released in the UK in 1966 as the B-side to the single, "19th Nervous Breakdown".

The Stones released a version with Italian lyrics as a single in Italy, under the title "Con Le Mie Lacrime".[6]

The song was performed live on tour for the first time in November 2005 on the Stones' "A Bigger Bang Tour". A performance from the 2006 leg of the tour was captured for the 2008 concert film Shine a Light and the accompanying soundtrack album. On 11 July in Milan the Stones performed the song with the Italian lyrics.[7] The song was performed as a duet between Jagger and Taylor Swift on 3 June 2013 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, for the band's "50 & Counting" tour.[8]



Chart (1966) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[9] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 6

Cover versions

Other live versions include a rendition by French pop star Vanessa Paradis and Marianne Faithfull accompanied by guitarist Johnny Marr during the tribute, Concert for Linda McCartney at the Royal Albert Hall in April 1999.

It was covered by British pop band The Primitives on the 12" of "Sick of It" and as a regular part of their live show.

It has also been recorded in Catalan by Majorcan singer Maria del Mar Bonet.

It was also covered by Nancy Sinatra in 1966 on her album Boots and PP Arnold in 1970, once again produced by Andrew Loog Oldham.

The New Age group Angels of Venice made an instrumental cover of this song on their self-titled album.

The cover version by the British project Georgia II was released as a 12" maxi-single on "Presicion Records & Tapes Ltd." label (catalogue number: 12P 274). On CD, this song was released on "Voiceprint" label on "View with Suspicion" compilation by Random Hold in 2009 (catalogue number: VP511CD).

The song appears as bonus track on the 1984 Psychic TV album of demo recordings A Pagan Day.

Balaam and the Angel recorded a version of the song that was released as B-side on their 1987 single "I Love the Things You Do to Me".[11]

Johnny Thunders played it live in the eighties and the nineties. His versions are on several Thunders albums.

The song was translated into Italian ("Con le mie lacrime") and released in 1965 as the flip-side of "As Tears Go By" single record in Italy. It was also performed live in the last Bigger Bang tour in Milan, on July 2006.

On the 1990 Stones tribute album Stoned Again, the song was recorded by The Waltones.

In 1998, new-age pianist David Lanz covered the song from his album Songs from an English Garden.[12]

In 1966 The Brazilian singer Ronnie Von released a Brazilian version for his debut album. The version is written by Fred Jorge and called Meu Pranto a Deslizar. Another Brazilian singer that used to do a version is Jerry Adriani with the name Não tenho ninguem.

In the fall of 2001, Victor João, from the Portuguese Catholic choir "Stones", made and performed a version of the song with the lyrics of a Pentitential Act for the wedding of his brother.

The Vitamin String Quartet's cover was used for the Season 5 finale of House, Both Sides Now, directed by Greg Yaitanes.

In 2010, French band Exsonvaldes covered the song on their album There's no place like homes and in their live sets.

In 1998, Argentinean band Flemita covered the song into a punk rock version in their album Raro? Raro tenes el orto , and the title was "Mientras caen las lagrimas" (As tears go by in Spanish)


  1. UK Chart History database Script error: No such module "webarchive".
  2. Template:Pop Chronicles
  3. Richards, Keith (2010), Life, p. 172
  4. Philip Norman, Mick Jagger, biography, 2012, p. 143, Dutch translation
  5. Everett, Walter, 2009, The Foundations of Rock : From "Blue Suede Shoes" to "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes", Oxford: OUP, ISBN 0-1953-102-41 p.95
  6. Script error: No such module "Citation/CS1".
  7. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  8. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  9. "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5695." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  10. Script error: No such module "WLink"./chart-history/HSI "The Rolling Stones Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  11. Strong, Martin C. (2002) The Great Scots Musicography, Mercat Press, ISBN 978-1841830414, p. 227
  12. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".

Script error: No such module "Check for unknown parameters".

External links

  • Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
Preceded by
Script error: No such module "MultiReplace".
Canada RPM number-one single
(The Rolling Stones version)

7 February 1966 (one week)
Succeeded by
Script error: No such module "MultiReplace".

Template:Marianne Faithfull Template:The Rolling Stones Template:The Rolling Stones singles

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.