Rolling Stones’ Colorful ‘She’s a Rainbow’: As Seen on TV

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The Rolling Stones’ 1967 album, Their Satanic Majesties Request

In 2017, ABKCO Music released a magnificent, colorful (naturally) lyric video for “She’s a Rainbow,” in conjunction with the 50th anniversary release of the Rolling Stones‘ Their Satanic Majesties Request album. (The elaborate limited edition, in a deluxe package contains both the stereo and mono versions of every song, all newly remastered by 11-time Grammy winner Bob Ludwig and features Michael Cooper’s original 3-D lenticular cover photograph, featuring the band in peak psychedelic regalia.)

The original album was the band’s first to be released in identical versions in both the U.K. and U.S., where it reached #3 and #2, respectively. “She’s a Rainbow” peaked at just #25 in the U.S., probably because it didn’t have this snappy video.

Watch the lyric video for “She’s a Rainbow”

Their Satanic Majesties Request was the first self-produced album in the Stones’ vast catalog. Experimental in nature, it was such a departure from the band’s rhythm and blues roots that it threw critics for a loop. The record was lauded by DownBeat with a five-star review declaring the album “a revolutionary event in modern pop music.”

The LP followed 1967’s Between the Buttons and preceded 1968’s Beggars Banquet, and was the first of the band’s albums to have identical tracklists in the U.S. and U.K. Its 10 tunes are saturated with studio effects, non-traditional instruments such as mellotron and theremin, ambient sounds created using oscillators, the marvelous keyboards by Nicky Hopkins, and string arrangements by a pre-Led Zeppelin John Paul Jones.

Personnel on “She’s a Rainbow” are said to be Mick Jagger on lead vocal, harmony vocal and tambourine; Keith Richards on acoustic guitar and lead guitar; Hopkins on piano and harpsichord; Brian Jones on Mellotron; Bill Wyman on bass, Charlie Watts on drums, and Jones with string arrangements.

Though the song was somewhat under-appreciated when it was first released, decades later, “She’s a Rainbow” has been re-discovered by Madison Avenue for use in numerous ad campaigns.

Watch a 2007 ad for Sony Bravia

When Apple introduced its lineup of colorful iMacs in 2007, the song was a natural fit.

It’s hard to top the creativity used by Adobe in 2020.

Jennifer Lawrence starred in a 2018 ad for Christian Dior’s new fragrance, JOY.

And almost simultaneously, Acura featured the ad for its 2019 RDX model. ABKCO’s chief operating officer, Alisa Coleman, told Variety, “You can’t say enough about how great the Stones’ recording is. That instrumental, the beginning, the piano that helps drive so much. [Music supervisors] are always looking for those big, instrumental, recognizable parts.

“When something is great, it’s great. You watch that Dior spot, can you say anything except that it takes your breath away? When you watch that Acura spot, can you not say that is a perfect use for that song?”

“Play ‘She’s a Rainbow’…”

Coleman intimated that the 2018 placements yielded a seven-figure sum. ABKCO owns the Stones’ masters and publishing rights for their 1960s recordings.

Related: Our interview with ABKCO’s chief audio engineer

Best Classic Bands Staff

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  1. Da Mick
    #1 Da Mick 6 September, 2021, 04:41

    You won’t find many critics praising SMR, with most blowing it off as just a inconsequential reaction to Sgt. Pepper, where the Stones were out of their depth, which was/is a criminal travesty. As the article states, in context, much of the reception it received was colored by where they had been, and where they were headed, with their following most celebrated recordings with Jimmy Miller. While this record is certainly a one-off, it’s a glorious excursion down a dreamscape of a path that’s only failing, is that its rebuke led the Stones to move on, and musical ideas in the directions opened up here weren’t explored further. It was yet one more glorious period for the Stones, and for all the kudos that Brian Jones received in the early days of the band, SMR was probably his most creative and influential period with the band. If you’ve never given it much of a chance, it’s worth repeated listenings, if you’re able to get what the Stones “are supposed to sound like” out of your head.

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